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IndiraLightfoot

Discussion: the PoE beta xp system

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Hi!

 

This is just a new thread for the old one: "Do you want xp from combat?"

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/68043-do-you-want-experience-from-combat/page-31

 

This won't have any poll.

 

I have salvaged a few interesting posts and debates at the end of the last thread, just in order to have some stepping stones for further discussion.

 

:)

 

 

 

tl;dr You aren't *punished* by lack of kill XP.  You simply aren't rewarded for extra killing.

 

Well, yes.. but:

 

Now you have to spam click every single npc in each town.. to make sure that you picked up the most amount of objectives before going out. 

(cos otherwise you won't get the quest xp)

And there is no point of exploring this new fantastic cave you found, because you haven't found all the quest givers yet.

There´s no reward for doing anything independent.

 

What if this was a regular RPG?

The game master says: "oh btw. there are some epic ruins to the south"

Would the players then go: "oh no lets stay away from there, cos we haven't talked to any quest givers yet"

Or would they say: "Dude how interesting, lets go there!"

 

Let´s say that you at level 5 want to go on an epic "quest" to explore the entire world.. so you start from one end and walk around by yourself for 2 hours. you have lots of hostile encounters, you see tons of new interesting things, learn a lot about the world, but when you get back you will still be level 5 and non the wiser.

That is if you managed to do anything by yourself at all? It was probably too hard for you, cos you won't get any xp on your epic travels.. (no progression)

 

It´s not punishing, but it´s a lack of reward.. and imo. game breaking, cos it will take the fun out of doing independent actions.

 

 

 

Pendali: That's how I felt after my first RL 5h playing the PoE beta. I didn't realize it, though, until I was about to save and curiously looked at the xp progress of my main. I love that BG 1 has a really slow level progression, so I just presumed it was the same in PoE. I had been exploring almost  all areas, uncovered maps, done remarkable deeds, fought challenging battles, talked brilliantly in convos, found secrets, only to be rewarded by the total sum of zero. Then I looked at the other party members. Zero, zero, zero, zero. I had only five pcs in that playthrough. I was completely taken aback. Two days later, a game dev confirmed that this was the new xp system for PoE. I was like, WTF?

 

 

The realism argument is simply completely bunk.  I can see that you want the system to include combat XP and that you think this better reflects reality, but it's simply a matter of where you draw the line.  I'm not trying to personalize this.  I don't think there's anything inherently bad about wanting combat XP.  I also don't say one system is inherently better than the other.  I think, in this situation, objective XP is better and I prefer the design overall, but that's simply my preference.  Combat XP might make XP more granular, but no less unrealistic.  There's a whole line that goes from an attempt to completely simulate the way in which people improve their skills in real life and a completely static character who doesn't improve at all.  If you say that combat XP should be included because it's more realistic, then someone else can say why have character classes at all?  If someone says that Might doesn't make sense for physical *and* magical prowess, then someone else can say why stop at six attributes?  Why not have ten?  Why not have fifty?  I respect that you want to draw the line in a different place, but I disagree that it really has to do with making the game more realistic.  For some folks, that particular spot of realism might be the most important thing.  For others, it's different, which is why the design team has to decide on a line and create the system to reflect their creative choice.  ...And, furthermore, some folks will undoubtedly argue for combat XP based on realism, but realism will be for them merely a back door argument to sneak in what amounts to their real motivation, which is simply wanting XP for killing.  I'm not saying that anyone in this thread has been disingenuous in such a way, just that I've witnessed such behavior from time to time.

 

A bit more of a snag for me, however, is the idea that you don't want to be forced to quest.  I can understand the realism argument, even if I don't agree.  Fair enough.  Questing?  Why on earth would you back or buy a game like PoE (or BG, IWD, or PS:T) and complain about the need to quest?  Even in a strict action CRPG like Diablo, you couldn't advance the game without questing.  I mean, I really have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that you shouldn't be 'forced' to quest in an IE game.  People talk about keeping to the spirit of the IE games?  How about one of the few things *every* IE game had was that questing was expected and necessary?

 

I remember someone mentioning a while back that he didn't want to be forced to kill monsters and that requiring dungeon spelunking was too confining also.  I'm not making this up, if the search function goes back far enough, it was several years ago in the Obsidz forum.  Folks were making fun of the idea by saying that we should have the barmaid class for folks who didn't want to have to quest or engage in combat.  The point is, questing, combat, crafting (which I would be perfectly happy if they left out of the game), soul based magic, strongholds, and a mega dungeon are all what this game will be.  I respect that you want combat XP.  I don't, but that doesn't mean I wish ill on you.  Fine.  ...But the argument in favor of combat XP is that you don't want the *need* to quest?

 

On this issue, Indira and I disagree, but I think, rather than changing the system to satisfy folks who will only be happy with combat XP, the system should be tweaked to grant objective XP more regularly and in a broader set of circumstances.  *That* should not be hard for the design team.  I've even identified ways and advocated them where players get XP for encounters that aren't in the quest log at all before hand.  It gives the player the feel of some random achievement that could honestly be called an objective without taking away from the designer's ability to control the content.  Grant XP for killing the spider queen.  Make a log entry that says something like, "we came across a dreadful arachnid of immense size and power!  Some wanted to leave her in peace, but I feared for the safety of the village and so we engaged her and, through force of sword and fire, destroyed her and her brood of eight legged spiders."  That gives the feel of spontaneity on the part of the player while letting the designers do what they want.  Do I think you should get XP for every spiderling you vanquish in the cave?  No, I don't.

 

Finally, I think the biggest reason for objective only XP is actually exemplified by this discussion.  If you get XP for combat, then why not get XP for crafting?  ...And if you get XP for crafting, why not exploring?  I think XP has become a huge mess because everyone wants to have a little extra reward for doing something they're inclined to do in the first place.  Not rewarding someone with XP for an activity is simply not the same as punishing people for engaging in it.  However, that doesn't mean that I don't think folks should get some sort of XP reward that comes as a direct result of that activity.  Make some objectives require combat.  (That's already true at any rate, but put in that 'random' encounter I cited and give objective XP for killing the critter).  Make some objectives require a glib tongue or street smarts or stealth or whatever.  You still get rewarded for engaging in your brand of fun, but it's still controlled by the design team.  ...And it wouldn't be any more open to abuse than stacking every quest possible.  You could conceivably get experience any way you wanted as long as you invested in the skills and attributes required to do so.

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

 

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A few more posts that sum-up some of the issues and frustrations...

 

I see Cantousent making some good points, and I see IndiraLightfoot making some good points.

There is a lot of pros and cons to this.

The thing is I'm willing to forgive them if they don't add combat xp, (even tho I think it´s a bad idea), but they better implement some system that still makes the game as enjoyable as it would have been with the old system.

I´m afraid that they will just slap this new thing on without compensating or inventing something new.

 

I hope they have thought this through, are able to see the new issues, and have time to playtest it thoroughly.

 

 

 

In essence, I agree with this, but the rewards need to be occurring pretty often, and they should be quite small. For instance, in BG1, I love that it takes hours upon hours in real-time just to advance one level, and I also adore how fast the party members get out of sync with each other xp-wise. It's great to see six party members having like 1,342, 1,065, 889, 798, 1144, and 976, for instance. To invoke what made the xp system of the IE games great, you should be rewarded in micro-increments, and this regardless of quest givers (well, quest xp can be kept of course, but I'd prefer to have that reduced rather heavily), and xp shouldn't follow quest lines regularly, but rather your experiences during the game. I don't need no "what you do, you will become"-xp like in Skyrim, but the xp system in PoE ought to, at the very least, reward exploration, rare non-combat small tasks, fighting a new type a monster for the first time (and your lore book gets updated), some difficult convo haggling (loved that in BG). :)  

 

 

 

 

 

With the new beta removing a lot of bugs, has it been proven that there isn't any objective XP? For example, PrimeJunta observed 1500XP for entering the Ogre cave. Is that not the case? Is that only the case because he was on the farmer quest (what happens if you go to the cave before getting the quest?)

 

With the term "objective XP", Im referring to incremental XP rewards doled out over the course of gaming instead of only getting XP when you turn in the quest.

 

Just checked and without the Quest Giver, you get a whopping 0 xp.

 

I went straight to Dyrford Crossing, battled my way through and entered the cave. 0 xp

Then I went to the Ogre and killed him as there was no dialogue options concerning the Quest. 0 xp

 

I did however take the Ogre's head and blood. But nothing to indicate what this was all about. So all in all. You get nothing from doing this unless you find the Quest Giver. However, I decided to hand in the quest (knowing it was the farmer) and there was a dialogue to finish the quest. I did receive xp but no xp amounts showed up in the combat log to confirm how much I received.

 

Now if anything is like this in the final game, you may be going past 'xp check points' like the Ogre Cave and not knowing there is an 'xp check point' there because you didn't click on the quest giver. Without the quest givers, this has some problems. Two come to mind:

 

1. You will have Quest items not knowing what these quest items are stacking up in your Quest stash. You then have to click on villagers to find out who this quest item belongs to. You may be in the wrong town or map if there are city maps involved.

2. You are missing out on xp along your route and this may have problems with levelling up. You may be just off levelling up and going past an xp check point and not knowing about it, while another player will know about the xp check points and level up accordingly.

 

 

And...

3. You make the player more vulnerable to game-breaking bugs due to lack of xp progression and thus upcoming walls hit due to encounters being too hard, quests not flagged as finished, and even entire areas level-capped, something I've written about earlier.

 

With xp in small increments, and not these bloated quest xp lumps, this will never be such big threats.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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My opinion is still same one I put in my topic: Kill XP gives immediate reward for fighting. Replace that with something else beside loot (which is assumed) and kill Xp will not be needed.  

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Did you seriously just start a new thread based on an ongoing discussion in another thread, but cutting out everything but the stuff you agree with?

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archangel979: Call me conservative on this issue, but I'd really like to keep the xp trickling, regardless of combat xp or some other micro-increment solution, at a slow pace as well, with tiny packages of xp, so that levelling takes a long time. It should also be rewarded more individually, so each party member get their unique xp profile soon after the game has begun and the party start engage in exploration, etc. :)

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

 

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Quoting myself from previous thread 

 

But as farmer quest that beta uses is prototype version and not actual version of the quest (which you can find from game files) I think they don't necessary have all variations of xp checks in place, as prototype file seems to only check if you have quest activated when you enter in the cave and add text in journal if you do.

 

They should in final version of quest probably add something in your journal xp check points to tell you that things that you have found or kill are part of quest/task

 

Like for example when entering in spider cave there could be journal entry something like this "This seem very gloomy place maybe I should go back in town and try find more information before I venture forth". And if you still go forward and kill ogre or negotiate with it/him/her then there could be entry like this "I have killed orge in cave in near of the town, and as ogres are creatures that have bad habit to cause problems for near by kith settlements I decided to take it head with me and check if anybody will give reward for it" or like this "I persuaded ogre that lived in cave that was near by town to leave the area and as ogres are creatures that have bad habit to cause problems for near by kith settlements, I probably should go check if anybody is interested about getting rid of said ogre and collect easy reward".

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Elerond: Such abundance of journal updates with reflections and pointers would be very cool, like a GM narrating, but also directing the party more or less subtly through the campaign. However, speaking from experience, such updates can be pretty hard to keep track of as you script a game when you have free-roaming players trudging along in all directions, and doing stuff differently, in different order. I'd much rather have xp rewards dealt much more often (for various gameplay reasons, not just for the sake of it trickling in) and in very small, but still always varied doses. Then, you'll have those players that hate hand-holding, and they would perhaps count such journal updates (if they are too frequent) as just that.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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If it is just XP per quests why have XP at all ?

Might as well get a  level every N quests.

 

Say I am level 5and I need 6 quests to get to level 6. I have done 3, I am now at 3/6. Much clearer than an obscure 5(?) digit number that just jumps ahead by 4 digit numbers increments for every quest.

Edited by Lioness
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Elerond: Such abundance of journal updates with reflections and pointers would be very cool, like a GM narrating, but also directing the party more or less subtly through the campaign. However, speaking from experience, such updates can be pretty hard to keep track of as you script a game when you have free-roaming players trudging along in all directions, and doing stuff differently, in different order. I'd much rather have xp rewards dealt much more often (for various gameplay reasons, not just for the sake of it trickling in) and in very small, but still always varied doses. Then, you'll have those players that hate hand-holding, and they would perhaps count such journal updates (if they are too frequent) as just that.

Those places are already checked and xp from them is awarded to player when they finally find someone that gives quest for the player, which I think that they should make them give hints about quest givers location if quest in question isn't activated. It would make system responses feel much better for player that focus more on exploration.

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archangel979: Call me conservative on this issue, but I'd really like to keep the xp trickling, regardless of combat xp or some other micro-increment solution, at a slow pace as well, with tiny packages of xp, so that levelling takes a long time. It should also be rewarded more individually, so each party member get their unique xp profile soon after the game has begun and the party start engage in exploration, etc. :)

I am not sure how this relates to what I said, but I agree with you about slow leveling. I was told fast leveling from beta will not be in full game so I am not worried about this.

As for individual awards, although some people find it fun I am not sure it is a good idea. 

 

Although that does not mean I don't want back xp rewards for rogue stuff that only rogue can do. I liked how in IE games wizard could knock locked stuff open, fighters could break, and clerics could find traps but only rogue would get XP for it.

Edited by archangel979
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I'm not entirely sure if this was so in BG vanilla, but in BG:EE, the entire party benefits from your rogue opening a lock; The reward will be miniscule, but it's still 10 xp divvied up, hehe. A reward is a reward, anything to get a crook hooked.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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If it is just XP per quests why have XP at all ?

Might as well get a  level every N quests.

 

Say I am level 5and I need 6 quests to get to level 6. I have done 3, I am now at 3/6. Much clearer than an obscure 5(?) digit number that just jumps ahead by 4 digit numbers increments for every quest.

As long as the quest xp system remains as it is right now in the PE beta, with very few intermittent xp rewards, you certainly have a great point. There's no need for number inflation at all.

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

 

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I'm not entirely sure if this was so in BG vanilla, but in BG:EE, the entire party benefits from your rogue opening a lock; The reward will be miniscule, but it's still 10 xp divvied up, hehe. A reward is a reward, anything to get a crook hooked.

It is much bigger in BG2. 

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In the full game, I would expect that there will be several options for quests of various difficulties with multiple steps that can be run concirrently. For the same reason you don't get one level per X Kills in a game with combat xp, you shouldn't get one level per x quests. Some will be worth more than others and you'll have choices about what to do and when. If we don't get XP regularly and often, I'll be extremely surprised.

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If it is just XP per quests why have XP at all ?

Might as well get a  level every N quests.

 

Say I am level 5and I need 6 quests to get to level 6. I have done 3, I am now at 3/6. Much clearer than an obscure 5(?) digit number that just jumps ahead by 4 digit numbers increments for every quest.

Well the obvious response us that not all quests are worth the same amount of xp. Some quests may only give a very small amount of XP, while others will give a lot.


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I think the issue isn't really with the lack of combat XP (which isn't coming back), but the lack of proper objective XP (which will probably happen as they clean the game up).

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 If we don't get XP regularly and often, I'll be extremely surprised.

 

So will I! I can't underline this enough. The benefits from that would outweigh the possible drawbacks with like ten to one.

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

 

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A few more posts that sum-up some of the issues and frustrations...

 

...

 

 

...

 

And...

3. You make the player more vulnerable to game-breaking bugs due to lack of xp progression and thus upcoming walls hit due to encounters being too hard, quests not flagged as finished, and even entire areas level-capped, something I've written about earlier.

 

With xp in small increments, and not these bloated quest xp lumps, this will never be such big threats.

 

 

 Very good points. As a thought experiment, which of these are bugs?:

 

 If you talk to/kill the ogre before talking to the farmer is there a missing journal entry?

 Do the XP rewards make sense (sometimes you get XP for entering the cave, other times you don't)?

 What specific events in the quests should count as objectives?

 etc.

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One compromise that could have helped to bridge the gap between the combat xp proponents and the quest only xp proponents:

 

What if after killing a certain number of ...lets say 10 kobolts, you got xp for all of those, but after that you would start to get diminishing returns.. and at last reach 0% xp, or a very low percent so that degenerate grinding would not be encouraged.

 

(There is just so much you can learn from fighting the same type of opponent over and over)

 

This way you would solve some of the so called "degenerate" game play, and still advance.

The system would encourage you to explore, make your own adventures, discover the game, and try to find rare places and mobs.

(That is if there´s still left enough wiggle room for you to advance your level sufficiently so that you will still be able to explore outside your current dedicated level area)

 

Only getting quest xp will lead to "degenerate" game play as well..

Like: Not exploring the interesting magical cave because you have not gotten all quests for that yet.

(removes spontaneity, and railroads the game experience)  

Edited by Pendali

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Quest xp isn't that great, I still hold it in higher light than kill+quest xp though.

The best xp system would be one with handplaced xp rewards for reacing certain points (ends of dungeons/room with treasure, finding hidden stuff, various unique scenic areas, finding new cities, etc) and handplaced rewards for certain specific interactions with specific characters (dealing with the orge one way or the other (never understood why you get experience from telling a guy you did something and not from doing something), other bosses, learning lore or ability related things through conversation, just various interactions deemed worthy really).

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I think the issue isn't really with the lack of combat XP (which isn't coming back), but the lack of proper objective XP (which will probably happen as they clean the game up).

 

Going by the Beta, there is objective xp but is dependant on when you want to receive it. Do you want to receive it during a quest or at the end of a quest? The Ogre quest example is one that shows you can get it during a quest or at the end of the quest, and this is dependant on when you speak to the quest giver.

 

As I said in the previous thread. I'll be using a walkthrough to find out who all the quest givers are, and I'll be clicking on all the quest givers first to get all those xp check points on my route instead of getting them at the end of the quests. You could very well level up collecting all those check points on your route. And with a party of 6 in the Beta, one of my characters did level up when entering the ogre cave. That's a clear advantage when you now have a higher level party to take on enemies than if you ventured through an area missing out on those objective xp rewards / not knowing where the xp check points are.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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Did you seriously just start a new thread based on an ongoing discussion in another thread, but cutting out everything but the stuff you agree with?

 

naa... He also quoted  mr. Cantousent, who had some interesting arguments against combat xp.

 

Just not quoting every single smug remark. :p

 

Feel free to add the topics that IndraLightfoot overlooked ;-) 

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In the spirit of the thread, I'm one of the "I'd rather not have combat XP", but I completely agree that decoupling XP from "quests" proper is almost essential. XP needs to be given for anything that could be considered "achievements" / discovery XP / ""objectives / quest progression" / "quests resolution". The could even be some kind of combat XP that would reward combat, but to a reasonable, non-exploitable level. Here's a possible solution that would find the middle ground between the two camps

 

1) Quest completion XP (Do you kill the ogre? / Do you let the ogre live?)

2) Major achievements XP (kill the Spider Queen and other major challenges.)

3) Discovery XP / Objective XP (Found the Ogre Cave! Found a corpse with a note telling me Trygil's involve with something!)

4) Bestiary-completion XP (Kill enough spiders to complete their Bestiary entry, awarded once at completion.)

5) Lore XP (Read all the books in a series of books. / Or just a flat per book read XP.)

 

1&3 is what the non-combat XP camp wants, and fears that combat XP will encourage degenerate play styles, and 3) is now decoupled from the quest state (i.e. now you can get quest-related XP before you start the quest). 2&4 adds what the combat-XP camps feels is missing from the game, but with XP being decoupled from individual random mob kills. Now you don't get XP for killing a single rat, you get XP for learning everything there is to know about rat killing. You're rewarded for combat achievements, both great and small, and you can't exploit trash mobs. 5 is just a bonus because why the heck not (and put the all read books into your cyclopedia entries or something).

 

The like button is that way -->

Edited by Headbomb
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4 can also encourage kill sprees when completing quests and the player who takes the non-combat route is disadvantaged. Kill sprees are something the quest-xp people have argued against.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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Last I checked, NPC races didn't have cyclopedia entries, so you wouldn't get XP for going postal in Dyrford.

Edited by Headbomb
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