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Marceror

Pause-with-Real-Time Combat

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Pause-With-Real-Timetm

 

This is a phrase that I coined (to my knowledge) shortly after the backer beta was released. What does it mean? It means that combat seems to be designed such that far more time in combat is spent paused than not.

 

What about PoE supports Pause with real-time?

  1. Consistently difficult combat that requires a lot more micromanagement than simply selecting your party and attacking an enemy (note: that some of the higher level, boss fights in the IE games were similar to this, but in PoE this is the rule rather than the exception).
  2. A large number of selectable abilities for each class, which are pretty much required to close the gap on the above mentioned difficulty level. Particularly "per encounter" abilities promote the idea that these abilities are meant to be selected in all but perhaps the most trivial of combats (of which there doesn't seem to be any in the backer beta).
  3. Timing the abilities - point 2 is only compounded by the fact that there are a fair number of those abilities that rely on proper timing to be used effectively. The rogue's finishing blow, for example. Use it too early on an enemy and it does little. To use it effectively you need to pay extra attention to find that "right" moment. Chanters invocations are similar, since you have to wait until you've completed the correct number of chants to use them. Even some of the fighter's abilities fall into this. Which foes do you want to knockdown, and when, for example?
  4. Positioning - In this game we have flanking. We have the engagement mechanics. It's not simply enough to attack an enemy, it's about where you attack them from. And by extension, where the enemy attacks you from (though this is somewhat less relevant as the AI is still a WIP).

Those are the primary factors that come to mind. The effect is something that is much more of a hybrid between the Infinity Engine's Real-time with pause mechanics and full blown turn-based combat. If Obsidian Entertainment is reading, and feels so inclined to chime in, is this what you were going for?

 

So is this a failure, a great innovation, or something else?

 

This is the more subjective part of the conversation. I've said from the beginning that I felt that PoE's combat mechanics were better suited to a turn-based system. While I still feel that way I must confess that the PoE combat system is growing on me. I should preface that I prefer more complex combat systems to simplified systems that require little thought to master. Obsidian promised a game with combat that is tactically interesting, and I feel that PoE is poised to "outdo" the Infinity Engine games in this regard -- though there's still plenty of polish needed.

 

I'm now closing in on some 20 hours with the backer beta, and I'm thinking that I'm good with pause with real-time combat -- more so than I expected to be. Once the systems are better polished, I might even come to love it. I'm concerned though that many will be resistant or even completely put off by the combat mechanics since they are so different than what the I.E. had.

 

How do the rest of you feel?

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"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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I use slow-motion quite a lot. Pausing not that much.

 

I'm quite convinced it can get seriously good once the pacing, feedback, and balance issues are sorted.

 

(Also more variety for some classes, but that's not strictly combat-related.)


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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It's definitely more pause-intense than the BG series, considering it's low level. I believe it's a step in the right direction, with more tactical meaningful choices. I generally hate TB games (except xcom, because it's sci-fi *_*), I find those boring. PoE sounds like a good hybrid of RtwP and TB, with a lot of things to think about, yet action-y when needed.

 

Boss fights will be AMAZING.


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I haven't touched the slomo yet. I've been fearing it will make my IE-spiritual successor look like Neo in Matrix dodging bullets in 2D isometric mini-format. I must try this mode!


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I use slow-motion quite a lot. Pausing not that much.

 

I'm quite convinced it can get seriously good once the pacing, feedback, and balance issues are sorted.

 

(Also more variety for some classes, but that's not strictly combat-related.)

I have doubts:

 

Let me explain. The current speed of enemy chars is too high for a reason. If it were too slow, the game would be dman straight easy. You would be able to run circles around the beetles and the lions and they would never be able to even scratch you, just like in NWN2. The problem is with the entire idea of simultaneous action and real time. In these categories the abilities than stun or slow are just plain over powered if the game speed is low. They allows stunlocking anything in place while party members pelt enemies with everything they got. Combine this with per encounter abilities and you get the perfect "degenerate mix". Don't belive me? That is exactly how you are finding the game easy when it is slow.


"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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I use slow-motion quite a lot. Pausing not that much.

 

Hmm... Slo-mo-with-pause?

 

I haven't used slow motion much. For me it's preferable to consider my tactics, issue my commands, and then watch them play out at their intended speed. But it goes to show that there are a few options on how to tackle the game.


"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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I refuse to use slow motion because it is altering the default speed of the game. Testing in slow motion is counterproductive when we are trying to get the default speed of combat correct.

 

Marceror, which fights are you struggling with?

 

I've been repeating some of the fights over and over for different class demonstration videos and I've improved quite a bit. In my first video I paused quite a lot, but I find that now I don't need to as much. Unfamiliarity with the spell levels also magnifies this issue.

 

Several Priest spells make most fights pretty trivial now

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I refuse to use slow motion because it is altering the default speed of the game. Testing in slow motion is counterproductive when we are trying to get the default speed of combat correct.

 

Marceror, which fights are you struggling with?

 

I've been repeating some of the fights over and over for different class demonstration videos and I've improved quite a bit. In my first video I paused quite a lot, but I find that now I don't need to as much. Unfamiliarity with the spell levels also magnifies this issue.

 

Several Priest spells make most fights pretty trivial now

I wouldn't say that I'm struggling with any of the fights, to be honest. Pausing just seems to be the most effective gameplay style. I haven't really challenged myself to pause less, because I see no compelling reason to do so.

 

Perhaps if I was posting gameplay videos on Youtube I would, because I'd want them to be as exciting as possible. But that's not really my thing, so that's not a consideration for me.


"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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I can have just as much fun playing turn based as real-time. I see PoE as being closer to turn based than real time (hence the designation of pause with real time), and I'm finding that's not particularly reducing the fun factor.

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"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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In IE games I loved to issue commands at the start of the fights and only tweak as fights progressed. For tougher fights, I would micromanage much more. It was a good design/system with lots of fights that didn't require micromanagement (but still reguired you to use your wits) and those that did to break the pace. One thing I disliked about Dragon age: Origins, was the amount of micromanaging I had to do (tactics were useless), even on easy fights (particularly during later games).

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