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The non-combat vs. combat divide


Odd Hermit

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Currently the situation seems to be:

 

- Many buff spell/abilities are combat only

- There are few non-combat focused class spells/abilities for exploration, dialogue, etc.

- Combat is a very in or out, locked in binary sort of status

 

 

There are pros and cons to this that I think would be good to talk about, as I think the current set up could use changes.

 

As I see it:

 

Pros:

 

- No lengthy/tedious "I have to cast 20 buffs in the right order for their durations on all my characters before I fight this dragon"

- Potentially prevents a fair amount of cheese tactics (AoE fields, trap stacking and the like for example)

- Out of combat preparation almost always heavily favored the player(who gets to initiate fights on their terms) rather than the AI

 

Cons:

 

- Feels "gamey"

- Limits the usefulness of many spell buffs, I noticed this particularly with my wizard who has a bunch of smaller buff spells I'll never use

- Non-combat gameplay ends up being less diverse as classes don't offer many different non-combat options (in a game w/no combat XP...)

- Clever out of combat tactics are limited

 

 

 

 

I lean toward wishing there was more to do outside of combat, though I wouldn't want it to go all the way that direction. I think they haven't found the right compromise yet.

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- Potentially prevents a fair amount of cheese tactics (AoE fields, trap stacking and the like for example)

 

There are a lot of cheese tactics already with the Beta and the enemy A.I. One example is you can AoE enemies (eg. Fireball) while they don't notice you standing a few metres away. Would like to see a party of 6 Wizards throw 6 fireballs at an unsuspecting enemy. You can also run away and wait for status effects on your characters to disappear when an enemy (eg. feral druids) hits you with a spell at you. While it might be argued that Obsidian might be able to improve the A.I. as this is only a Beta, I can't see them preventing a fair amount of cheese tactics in the final game.

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This is a single player game, why would anyone want them to spend time and effort on trying to prevent players who want to use cheesy tactics from using them? They'll find ways anyway, use editors to hack max out their stats, save scum and whatnot.

Focus on AI? sure, but not to prevent abusing behavior, only to make things more interesting and challenging for everyone else.

 

Main issue for me is that all this "combat/non combat/etc" thing makes everything feel gamey, as the OP pointed out. Personal preferences of course, but I like giving strategic orders more than having to push buttons.

Edited by mutonizer
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This is a single player game, why would anyone want them to spend time and effort on trying to prevent players who want to use cheesy tactics from using them? They'll find ways anyway, use editors to hack max out their stats, save scum and whatnot.

Focus on AI? sure, but not to prevent abusing behavior, only to make things more interesting and challenging for everyone else.

 

Main issue for me is that all this "combat/non combat/etc" thing makes everything feel gamey, as the OP pointed out. Personal preferences of course, but I like giving strategic orders more than having to push buttons.

 

I don't have a problem with people using edits and the like, when there's a clear line between exploit/cheat and legitimate tactics I'm good staying on my own side, but when it's blurry I don't like trying to sort it out and try to make up my own personal limitations to make up for poor balance, which can put many things off the table lowering the overall complexity/diversity of character building and combat through that exclusion. 

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I don't have a problem with people using edits and the like, when there's a clear line between exploit/cheat and legitimate tactics I'm good staying on my own side, but when it's blurry I don't like trying to sort it out and try to make up my own personal limitations to make up for poor balance, which can put many things off the table lowering the overall complexity/diversity of character building and combat through that exclusion.

Well, that's why usually I'm more focused on (and like more) overall strategy. This means I'll take great care with preparation, character synergy, items they wear and overall battle plan with a couple variants for specific situations and then let things run once battle is actually engaged. In IE, that meant using various scripts (especially more advanced ones from mods) and then, mostly, let things run once actually in a battle, with only very small surgical actions from my part when needed but not so much twitchy clicks every half a second and whatnot.

 

Legitimate tactics, I find, usually end up exploiting a particular flaw with the game, even mildly, and usually do in very hands on manners (lots of direct commands during battle, second by second plays, etc). For example, range kitting or baiting, pre-igniting with heavy AEs, pre-buffing short term duration buffs just before engaging, etc.

 

It all comes down to personal preference of course, many people love being very hands on during battles but I think it's better, overall, to plan a good AI to respond to strategies like I described (something really missing usually are NPC groups AI cohesion, rather than multiple individual AIs), than to try and block people actively using tactics and being very hands on because that not only causes frustration for them (via artificial limitations), but it's also impossible to do unless you lock everything down and put battles in their own very controlled bubble (bit like locking combat, etc).

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I don't have a problem with people using edits and the like, when there's a clear line between exploit/cheat and legitimate tactics I'm good staying on my own side, but when it's blurry I don't like trying to sort it out and try to make up my own personal limitations to make up for poor balance, which can put many things off the table lowering the overall complexity/diversity of character building and combat through that exclusion.

Well, that's why usually I'm more focused on (and like more) overall strategy. This means I'll take great care with preparation, character synergy, items they wear and overall battle plan with a couple variants for specific situations and then let things run once battle is actually engaged. In IE, that meant using various scripts (especially more advanced ones from mods) and then, mostly, let things run once actually in a battle, with only very small surgical actions from my part when needed but not so much twitchy clicks every half a second and whatnot.

 

Legitimate tactics, I find, usually end up exploiting a particular flaw with the game, even mildly, and usually do in very hands on manners (lots of direct commands during battle, second by second plays, etc). For example, range kitting or baiting, pre-igniting with heavy AEs, pre-buffing short term duration buffs just before engaging, etc.

 

It all comes down to personal preference of course, many people love being very hands on during battles but I think it's better, overall, to plan a good AI to respond to strategies like I described (something really missing usually are NPC groups AI cohesion, rather than multiple individual AIs), than to try and block people actively using tactics and being very hands on because that not only causes frustration for them (via artificial limitations), but it's also impossible to do unless you lock everything down and put battles in their own very controlled bubble (bit like locking combat, etc).

 

 

You should play the original final fantasy tactics + rebalance mod. Its one of the most hardcore rpg games ever created. Its unplayable if you didnt memorize the mechanics perfectly. But beside that it has also one of the nasitest AI's in any rpg. It abuses everything that a player could do to the max.

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I think the Scripted Interactions and Dialogue are mostly supposed to cover the 'things to do' outside of combat. Same with walking around in Scouting Mode I guess.

 

Personally I'd still like to be able to find hidden caches the BG2 way (detects when standing still).

Edited by Sensuki
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I think the Scripted Interactions and Dialogue are mostly supposed to cover the 'things to do' outside of combat. Same with walking around in Scouting Mode I guess.

 

Personally I'd still like to be able to find hidden caches the BG2 way (detects when standing still).

Bit out of topic (sorry!) but any word on being able to scout/sneak with just one party member? From the videos I've seen, people were only able to sneak with the entire group.

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I think the Scripted Interactions and Dialogue are mostly supposed to cover the 'things to do' outside of combat. Same with walking around in Scouting Mode I guess.

 

Personally I'd still like to be able to find hidden caches the BG2 way (detects when standing still).

Bit out of topic (sorry!) but any word on being able to scout/sneak with just one party member? From the videos I've seen, people were only able to sneak with the entire group.

 

 

Depends on what you want, if you want to go move only one character around to scout your surroundings you can do that, but if you want that only one member of the party goes in scouting mode then that isn't possible.

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Depends on what you want, if you want to go move only one character around to scout your surroundings you can do that, but if you want that only one member of the party goes in scouting mode then that isn't possible.

Thanks. And interesting. And very odd at the same time! :)

No invisibility ability/spell either for now right? Can't remember seeing any.

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I'd like to have a single scout also.  To me, it's kind of the opposite of an exploit where the players uses some disconnect in the way the engine depicts reality to do something that intuitively simply isn't possible even in the context of the game world.  Intuitively, not only should it be possible for one character to scout while the others don't, it should be possible for one character to scout while the others use distraction to allow the rogue to hide more effectively.

 

As for exploits, it makes sense to try to find and correct them from a design point of view, but don't think you're going to eradicate them entirely.

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As for exploits, it makes sense to try to find and correct them from a design point of view, but don't think you're going to eradicate them entirely.

In a single player game, trying to fix path-finding about a single rock somewhere that makes any mob going close to it get stuck is pointless, simply because there's no mob anywhere close to that rock anyway, so who gives a damn as long as the player cannot get stuck. Sure, some players can pull monsters all the way back to THAT particular rock and abuse it, but really, who cares right?

 

Now, of course, soon as you put multi-player in there (or any competitive or time-sink system really), that's a huge issue. But otherwise....any resource spent to fix that is wasted in my opinion (and that's not to say any resource spent on fixing path-finding in general is wasted, on the contrary, just not THAT particular rock is all.)

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If there is players that abuse that rock then there is people that care of it existence  :p

 

EDIT: More serious note, so developer should not care bugs in their game if they don't block players ability to complete said game?

Edited by Elerond
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If there is players that abuse that rock then there is people that care of it existence  :p

 

EDIT: More serious note, so developer should not care bugs in their game if they don't block players ability to complete said game?

err..no? unless maybe there's a coder on coffee break and bored or something. But don't take that for what it doesn't mean. If something is there for a reason, it must fulfill that reason without issue (be it cosmetic, etc). That means if there's a typo in a lore text, it must be fixed. If the rock is pink because the texture is screwed up, it must be fixed. If the rock is there to present tactical challenge and whatnot, it must be fixed as well.

 

I mean, sure, if EVERYTHING else is working perfectly, the game is 1000% playable from A to Z without any other issue, then, why not! But otherwise...who cares? 99.9% of your players won't ever notice it and even those who do, probably won't abuse it.

 

As a note, my point was: no reason to try fix everything, fix what's important..just putting it out there that this is my point, not the rock itself :)

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The fact that the game is single player shouldn't be a reason for sloppy game design.  It's also not an excuse to completely throw over balance, and the design team would rightfully be castigated if they didn't try to playtest and balance the game.

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The fact that the game is single player shouldn't be a reason for sloppy game design.  It's also not an excuse to completely throw over balance, and the design team would rightfully be castigated if they didn't try to playtest and balance the game.

 

You balance the game, but you don't make it your primary goal...

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If there is players that abuse that rock then there is people that care of it existence  :p

 

EDIT: More serious note, so developer should not care bugs in their game if they don't block players ability to complete said game?

err..no? unless maybe there's a coder on coffee break and bored or something. But don't take that for what it doesn't mean. If something is there for a reason, it must fulfill that reason without issue (be it cosmetic, etc). That means if there's a typo in a lore text, it must be fixed. If the rock is pink because the texture is screwed up, it must be fixed. If the rock is there to present tactical challenge and whatnot, it must be fixed as well.

 

I mean, sure, if EVERYTHING else is working perfectly, the game is 1000% playable from A to Z without any other issue, then, why not! But otherwise...who cares? 99.9% of your players won't ever notice it and even those who do, probably won't abuse it.

 

As a note, my point was: no reason to try fix everything, fix what's important..just putting it out there that this is my point, not the rock itself :)

 

 

So when when developers begin their process to produce game should they aim one that don't have bugs (in code, area design, system design) that allow exploitation in it or should they design such exploitation in game in first place? Or what is the point?

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So when when developers begin their process to produce game should they aim one that don't have bugs (in code, area design, system design) that allow exploitation in it or should they design such exploitation in game in first place? Or what is the point?

That spam-rest is a non-issue that didn't affect anyone but the ones who wanted to abuse it, therefore didn't need any fixing whatsoever. That's my point :)

 

And the current fix doesn't solve anything, it doesn't solve the "stuck bug with the rock". It just makes the distance between mobs and the rock bigger, hoping that dragging mobs all the way back (or going to the inn to rest) is so boring and frustrating that nobody will do it.

Edited by mutonizer
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The fact that the game is single player shouldn't be a reason for sloppy game design.  It's also not an excuse to completely throw over balance, and the design team would rightfully be castigated if they didn't try to playtest and balance the game.

 

You balance the game, but you don't make it your primary goal...

 

Yeah, I think it's important, but it's not "OMG sacrifice everything to it" important.

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So when when developers begin their process to produce game should they aim one that don't have bugs (in code, area design, system design) that allow exploitation in it or should they design such exploitation in game in first place? Or what is the point?

That spam-rest is a non-issue that didn't affect anyone but the ones who wanted to abuse it, therefore didn't need any fixing whatsoever. That's my point :)

 

And the current fix doesn't solve anything, it doesn't solve the "stuck bug with the rock". It just makes the distance between mobs and the rock bigger, hoping that dragging mobs all the way back (or going to the inn to rest) is so boring and frustrating that nobody will do it.

 

 

So they should had design such exploit in their new game which they make in every way from scratch?  

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So they should had design such exploit in their new game which they make in every way from scratch?

Hmm?

No, just design a system where it's either a non-issue or (and I'd prefer that), where it's an issue that matters (ie: time passed matters a lot so resting is an important choice) and not just a tacked on arbitrary game limitation.

Instead they designed, from scratch, a system were this might be an issue, THEN added something to limit it. I mean, you remove one element, a single element that is the completely artificial notion of "restricted camping supplies" and you're EXACTLY where IE games stood.

 

And I can assure you, that one of the FIRST thing a lot of people will immediately remove if possible via mods/hacking/save editing, is just that.

 

But really, it's done, it's the way it is, it's their game. It's interesting to discuss the logic of it, but won't have any effect on anything.

Edited by mutonizer
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So when when developers begin their process to produce game should they aim one that don't have bugs (in code, area design, system design) that allow exploitation in it or should they design such exploitation in game in first place? Or what is the point?

That spam-rest is a non-issue that didn't affect anyone but the ones who wanted to abuse it, therefore didn't need any fixing whatsoever. That's my point :)

 

And the current fix doesn't solve anything, it doesn't solve the "stuck bug with the rock". It just makes the distance between mobs and the rock bigger, hoping that dragging mobs all the way back (or going to the inn to rest) is so boring and frustrating that nobody will do it.

 

 

You're describing a false dichotomy between knowingly devious "exploiters" and righteous "non-exploiters". In reality, there are many players who just want to play by the rules of the game and don't really think of themselves "exploiters" for clicking that rest button. Those players deserve to be treated more honestly.

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A player should never have to tie their hands behind their back to be challenged by the game; that is to say that if resting is spammable, then the game should be balanced on the assumption that you're resting after each fight, and you may as well remove the rest button entirely and simply make health and spells come back after each encounter.

 

I get really annoyed by the people on the Crusader Kings 2 boards who basically, when people say that such-and-such a thing is too strong and makes the game easy, say "well play the game less efficiently, then". Play a strategy game less efficiently if it's too easy for you.

Edited by Grand_Commander13

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