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Discussion: the PoE beta xp system

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I didn't first mention Portal in this discussion and I even said it is not comparable.

Oh, yes, thank you. I was totally in danger of losing track of this conversation.

Point?

 

 

And all games are about receiving some mental reward for your actions during the game.

In Portal that is gained by progressing to next area.

And sometimes victory is its own reward.

Progression for the sake of it because sometimes the means by which you progress are inherently rewarding, without the need for a hamfisted pat on the back in the form of XP or *shudder* "Achievements".

 

 

But PoE has trash mobs and to many people fighting those is not rewarding by itself and they want a traditional reward that worked well in 100+ games before - XP.

That's a problem with encounter design and the currently unbalanced and clunky combat. Adding kill XP would simply be treating the symptoms.

If an encounter serves no purpose, then it should be removed.

 

 

I've been playing bg2 recently and after each fight with tought trash mobs I like to check how much more XP my guys need to next level. The fights are easy and drops are almost meaningless and XP is only real reward. And I don't want really tough fights vs trash, I want those to be around a quest or some special encounters with named enemies.

I've been playing BG2 too and XP has never been a significant motivation for anything I do in that game. If I found myself checking the XP bar after each encounter that would be a sign that I was bored with it and should be doing something else.

 

XP is a useful mechanic for controlling the pacing in a non-linear game, but that is all it should be. Linear games like Zelda have absolutely no need for XP because the designers have precise control over the options available to the player at any given point.

If you're making a game and find yourself treating XP like an inherent component of the reward structure, then you're probably designing an MMO or aRPG. Genres known for having one-dimensional reward structures and for being addictive because of it, though personally I just get bored all the faster.

 

 

Random beetles or wolves will never be to me more than trash mobs.

The inability to change one's mind is not a virtue.

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I didn't first mention Portal in this discussion and I even said it is not comparable.

Oh, yes, thank you. I was totally in danger of losing track of this conversation.

Point?

 

You tell me, you mentioned Portal first. I told you my thoughts about it.

 

 

And all games are about receiving some mental reward for your actions during the game.

In Portal that is gained by progressing to next area.

And sometimes victory is its own reward.

Progression for the sake of it because sometimes the means by which you progress are inherently rewarding, without the need for a hamfisted pat on the back in the form of XP or *shudder* "Achievements".

 

Yes, victory is a good reward when you have interesting, multi-layered combat that is part of some goal/quest.

When that part is missing, other things are needed. Like XP or memorable loot (not animal parts).

 

 

But PoE has trash mobs and to many people fighting those is not rewarding by itself and they want a traditional reward that worked well in 100+ games before - XP.

That's a problem with encounter design and the currently unbalanced and clunky combat. Adding kill XP would simply be treating the symptoms.

If an encounter serves no purpose, then it should be removed.

 

 

So you recommend we remove all encounters on the maps that are not part of quests? And have empty maps?

Or we can add minor quests that are connected with different trash encounters. Or we can add XP to trash encounters. Not much, just enough so they don't feel completely pointless.

 

 

I've been playing bg2 recently and after each fight with tought trash mobs I like to check how much more XP my guys need to next level. The fights are easy and drops are almost meaningless and XP is only real reward. And I don't want really tough fights vs trash, I want those to be around a quest or some special encounters with named enemies.

I've been playing BG2 too and XP has never been a significant motivation for anything I do in that game. If I found myself checking the XP bar after each encounter that would be a sign that I was bored with it and should be doing something else.

 

XP is a useful mechanic for controlling the pacing in a non-linear game, but that is all it should be. Linear games like Zelda have absolutely no need for XP because the designers have precise control over the options available to the player at any given point.

If you're making a game and find yourself treating XP like an inherent component of the reward structure, then you're probably designing an MMO or aRPG. Genres known for having one-dimensional reward structures and for being addictive because of it, though personally I just get bored all the faster.

 

So we are too different kind of players, and BG2 caters to both of us. That makes it a good game. Maybe PoE designers should learn something from this.

And I looked at XP only after non-quest related encounters that were not cakewalk and gave solid XP, I didn't check it after each goblin or gnoll killed. I love leveling in these games, it makes me happy.

 

I don't understand the point of this second part. PoE is a non-linear game FYI.

 

 

Random beetles or wolves will never be to me more than trash mobs.

The inability to change one's mind is not a virtue.

 

I got no clue what you mean with this. Is this supposed to be some kind of insult?
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"Imma let you finish but Vampire: Bloodlines had the best XP system of all time."

 

No. But, it is better than PE's.


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Yes, victory is a good reward when you have interesting, multi-layered combat that is part of some goal/quest.

When that part is missing, other things are needed. Like XP or memorable loot (not animal parts).

The goal could be to get past an encounter on your way to a quest objective.

 

 

So you recommend we remove all encounters on the maps that are not part of quests? And have empty maps?

Or we can add minor quests that are connected with different trash encounters. Or we can add XP to trash encounters. Not much, just enough so they don't feel completely pointless.

Or the combat could be fun and engaging. Why are you not getting this?

 

 

So we are too different kind of players, and BG2 caters to both of us. That makes it a good game. Maybe PoE designers should learn something from this.

They have to decided to go with good design.

 

 

I don't understand the point of this second part.

The point is that XP was invented to solve a problem. Judging by your comments one would think the problem was that GM's sucked at designing encounters.

XP is a useful mechanic for controlling the pacing, which also ties into the learning curve. How and when XP is given is largely irrelevant as long as the designers achieve the desired pacing.

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Yes, victory is a good reward when you have interesting, multi-layered combat that is part of some goal/quest.

When that part is missing, other things are needed. Like XP or memorable loot (not animal parts).

The goal could be to get past an encounter on your way to a quest objective.

 

Not if said encounter is on a map completely outside you goal/quest. Than it is just a trash mob encounter and should reward players with something more.

 

 

So you recommend we remove all encounters on the maps that are not part of quests? And have empty maps?

Or we can add minor quests that are connected with different trash encounters. Or we can add XP to trash encounters. Not much, just enough so they don't feel completely pointless.

Or the combat could be fun and engaging. Why are you not getting this?

 

Go tell OE to make all spider and beetle encounters fun and engaging then by removing them from the maps and giving us something better.

I don't have access to beta but from what I seen, I don't care to fight random animals that don't give me anything back. I would rather skip all those fights. It is about as fun as fighting a group of nameless goblins that give you 35xp each when you are lvl 10+ even if this encounter is harder (which makes is even more irritating, at least you deal with goblins with 1 fireball).

 

 

So we are too different kind of players, and BG2 caters to both of us. That makes it a good game. Maybe PoE designers should learn something from this.

They have to decided to go with good design.

 

Design that caters to only one type of player is not good design.

 

 

I don't understand the point of this second part.

The point is that XP was invented to solve a problem. Judging by your comments one would think the problem was that GM's sucked at designing encounters.

XP is a useful mechanic for controlling the pacing, which also ties into the learning curve. How and when XP is given is largely irrelevant as long as the designers achieve the desired pacing.

 

XP is here to give players sense of progression. Even in PnP players play for progress of their characters, not to see if they can beat random animals while walking through the forest. PoE left trash mob fights in the game like we had in BG2 but decided to not give any reward for them. Their current approach works for a game like IWD where all fights are parts of some quest and there are no random encounters.

But they are going to have map exploration like in BG games, they have to change their design.

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My biggest problem with the lack of combat XP in a BG-esque environment is the sense that the areas are full of all these pointless fights that I'm generally much better off avoiding. I could fight these random homicidal druids hanging around ... but fights in PoE are slow and eat into my resources, so why would I? IE games were rewarding in part because of the constant stream of rewards - from combat in the form of XP, and from exploration in the form of more combat and quests and gear.

 

I understand the thematic decision to remove kill XP, and the reasons behind it. But there's got to be a solution that maintains some kind of XP rewards for things other than quests. Specific rewards for high value enemies, perhaps. Combat does have an on/off switch - what about XP for completing (or surviving/avoiding/whatevering) encounters? What about exploration XP, including for moving through (stealthily or with facestabbing) enemy-controlled areas? These are all ways to give that sense of encouragement back to core gameplay that seems missing with no combat XP.

 

(Or just go all Rune Factory and give XP for absolutely everything, including bathing, and fill me with delirious joy.)

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Sooooo. Either its

 

A. Ahhh theres all the mobs in the wilderness that i want to fight and kill but i dont feel like im gonna be rewarded so i dont want to kill everything i see

 

Or

 

B. Ahhhh theres all these mobs in the wilderness that since i get exp per battle i want to go out and fight any mobs that i find

 

From reading alot of these threads and posts, i understand that people want to feel rewarded for their fights but im also seeing ALOT of people when u look at their posts that because of kill exp, they are inticed or even compelled to get into fights to ne rewarded with progression.

the whole feeling "compelled or inticed" to actually seek out battles for the sake of being rewarded with kill exp to feel a sense of progression which is exactly what they are trying to avoid. Now i will agree with wilderness battles it needs work on to acheieve their goal since with battles against humans is actually suceeded with the loot of currency, magical items, and such.

right now its not perfect BUT it is heading in a good direction. Like i said they succeeded with the humanoid battles and now they need to work on wilderness battles and once they can figure out a way to do so either by (chance of hidden items, hidden locations, hidden quests, etc) then problem will be solved imho

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Wow, I didn't realize that for so many people the only important thing about combat was XP gains.

 

Now I wonder - why bother with playing the game at all if you share that point of view? If you don't care about the process, if you all you care about is XP, you can as well cut out the middle man. Use a cheat engine and watch the numbers fly!

Edited by prodigydancer
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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.

 

 

1. Well I haven't seen any MMO-type quests by which you just go talk to someone in the Inn 50 feet away to finish a 'quest', or to kill 5 spiders.

2. It will all even out, even if some quests are faster than others eventually one will eventually end up doing them all.

3. Some particularly long quests can just be worth 2x or even 3x

 

I am still not convinced we need a almost continuum of quest XP reward as it stands now. XP points make sense with combat XP or a whole lot of fetch quests, not with the quest types  I have seen in the Beta.

Edited by Lioness

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The backer beta has 4 quests right now. In my opinion these are a short one (find the orlan), a medium one (bring me the dragon egg), a long one (defeat the ogre), and a very long one (find the nobles daughter).

 

Assuming that quest lengths are similar to these in the full game, I don't think a character who has only done several short quests should level at the same rate as a character who has done the same number of very long quests.

 

Of course, that's just my opinion.


"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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You think the ogre one is long? Hmmm...


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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You think the ogre one is long? Hmmm...

 

It's longer than either the Orlan or Dragon Egg quest. Also, I'm not talking about length in absolute terms. I could have said very short, short, medium, and long and the point would be the same.

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"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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Wow, I didn't realize that for so many people the only important thing about combat was XP gains.

 

Now I wonder - why bother with playing the game at all if you share that point of view? If you don't care about the process, if you all you care about is XP, you can as well cut out the middle man. Use a cheat engine and watch the numbers fly!

 

Because those people would like to play a game that is fun. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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They're already awarding loot and/or body parts for slaying monsters. Methinks this "degenerate gaming" argument is just an excuse to not have to balance combat XP. That's the real reason they're staying away from it. If they didn't want to reward combat at all, enemies wouldn't drop anything, and there wouldn't be so damned many unavoidable fights.

 

That's the other reason it feels odd that you don't earn token experience from combat--the sheer number of monsters that are thrown at you. If PoE's designers really wanted a dialog-centric or stealth-centric game, they'd need to drastically change the map and encounter designer; you'd have to really go out of your way to find baddies.

 

They don't want to deal with balancing XP rewards. And sadly there's an army of OE shills who will defend their every decision, no matter how silly. When the game releases, if they do not address this, I guarantee it will be noticed and complained about. It's not going to ruin the game, but it will be a significant and puzzling flaw. 


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I keep seeing this argument that the design team is simply too lazy to include combat XP.  That doesn't make sense.  Sure, balancing combat XP is more difficult.  ...But it's not just harder.  After all that effort, the balance will still be inferior.  It's not a matter of laziness.  It's a matter of believing that the benefits to the overall package are not worth the shortcomings.  ...And, frankly, I think balance is the least of the issues.  Players will always gravitate towards things that grant immediate gameplay rewards.  The people who want the 'freedom' of combat XP don't want freedom at all.  They want instant gratification of a desire for rewards.  You are just as free to kill everything if you want, you just lack the XP incentive to do so, which means that, if you play the role of the badass who kills everything in sight, you do so for the role you have envisioned for your character, not because you see a gameplay advantage to do so.

 

I *do* think equating loot and mats to XP is clever, but they are different things.  First of all, as Hydra says, it's easier to balance extra loot off of kills than loot *and* XP.  However, I don't think most people who advocate quest only XP have gone so far as to say there should *never* be any reward for extra combat.  Getting extra loot from people you kill is an intuitive and natural expectation for defeating them in combat.  Not only that, but the players must balance the risks involved with combat against the rewards for engaging in it.  Moreover, the player doesn't get valuable loot from every combat.  He might engage in a fight expecting a reward only to find the fight was costly and yielded nothing of particular value.  If you get XP from every fight, there is always a reward for fighting.  The risk diminishes compared to a guaranteed reward.  Potential loot is a reasonable reward for combat.  Guaranteed experience becomes a *much* larger factor in the aggregate than loot.  ...And, anyhow, like most clever arguments, claiming that loot has parity with XP simply doesn't pass the smell test.  Putting them in the same category is merely an after the fact argument for combat XP.  It's preceded by the kitchen sink and followed by whatever desperate tactic the proponents can fashion next.

 

Maybe I'm a shill for OE.  I'm certainly a fan.  However, literally years before Project Eternity, I advocated quest only XP.  I have had bitter arguments with people like Gromnir over other issues.  I have disagreed with Obsidian's design decisions in other ways.  So, shill or not, I don't always toe the 'company line.'  For folks who think *Gromnir* has been a shill for Obsidian should really read his posts on other issues.

 

No, it's not shilliness that compels me to agree with Obsidz about combat XP.  In years of running table top RPGs, I have never allocated kill XP for a game I have personally run.  I don't limit myself to 'quest only' in the sense that there had to be a quest giver and a person to whom the party turned in the quest.  On the other end, I would sometimes grant more or less XP based on the number and difficulty of the monsters the party faced to achieve an objective.  ...But the simple act of fighting the monsters themselves never warranted an XP reward.  So, shill or not, I've had the same view for many years.  Certainly longer than Obsidian has been in business.

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I respect where you're coming from, Cantousent--do they want to evoke more of a tabletop game, in which experience does not flow from felling monsters? Maybe they do, I wasn't there for the planning sessions. I'm coming from having played and loved all of the IE games, and coming to expect experience from winning fights. The tougher the opponent, the more experience rewarded. That's how it was with Baldur's Gate and its sequel, Icewind Dale and its sequel, plus all of the expansion packs. It was always a part of the reward of combat in those games.  That's why for me it was a puzzling omission.

 

I backed Pillars of Eternity because I read the front-page nostalgia pitch for IE lovers, not the fine print describing its punitive reward system (read: No chunk of XP for taking on the Spider Queen). I get that the game isn't Diablo. But every game they're evoking had this mechanic. Based on my time in the beta, it really feels absent. Will I get over it and play the final game? Of course. But when they're honoring Icewind Dale down to the little plus sign when your character levels, it feels empty to not connect a clean sweep of the bridge beetles with a modest gain toward that reward. It's like they want to give us an IE successor--except where it disagrees with their incompatible view of how RPGs should dole out achievement.

 

I don't know, it's clearly a religious issue for people. As a longtime CRPG gamer, it's a weird design to me. Maybe it jibes with some role-playing idealism, but they're kidding themselves if they think for a moment this game isn't absolutely loaded with combat. Why tie leveling up with fighting the "right" monster that some village idiot sends you after? Why do I get experience after clicking the area transition to the second level of the cave, not after defeating the (unavoidable) guardians blocking it? It just plays awkwardly.

 

PS - the "shill" accusation was directed more at those whose flaming, intelligence-insulting attacks make it hard to question any of OE's designs. I'm tired of being called a dopamine addict for favoring XP rewards alongside loot rewards--as if combat XP is something for combat philistines, and other RPG rewards are for the pure at heart.

Edited by PrimeHydra
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 Why tie leveling up with fighting the "right" monster that some village idiot sends you to hunt?

 

This isn't actually in case in PoE, but give player ability to handle task/quest/whatever village idiot sends you in way that player wants to handle it, which fighting seems to be somewhat default option at least in quest that you can find in beta.

 

I would also like to point out that beta currently locks out some of the options to handle those tasks/quests that can already found from game's files or even changes quests/tasks to alternate more limited version of said quests/tasks from those version that can be found from game's files.

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 Why tie leveling up with fighting the "right" monster that some village idiot sends you to hunt?

 

This isn't actually in case in PoE, but give player ability to handle task/quest/whatever village idiot sends you in way that player wants to handle it, which fighting seems to be somewhat default option at least in quest that you can find in beta.

 

I would also like to point out that beta currently locks out some of the options to handle those tasks/quests that can already found from game's files or even changes quests/tasks to alternate more limited version of said quests/tasks from those version that can be found from game's files.

 

The issue of annoying and unrewarding trash mob encounters remains, though. It's cool that you can talk your way out of plot-point fights. But I'd be very surprised if avoiding combat were as easy as their design intends it to be.

 

It's like, they know it's a tactical fantasy RPG, so they put a ton of enemies in it. But then they go and say that striking out to fight said enemies is degenerate and goes against role-playing.  If you want fighting to be a special thing for "murder-oriented" players, then design it as such rather than dump all these beetles on us. There are so many other ways to make areas interesting, like encountering NPCs.

 

Do *I* want that? Hell no, I like the combat-heavy nature of the genre; at heart these games were, for me, exercises in tactics, reward through winning battles, with a lot of backstory and flavor. Every title PoE pays homage to was like that. Even Planescape: Torment, paragon of the CRPG genere, awarded experience for slaying monsters.

 

I don't understand what convinced Obsidian that awarding combat XP in a combat-heavy game was a bad thing.

Edited by PrimeHydra

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 Why tie leveling up with fighting the "right" monster that some village idiot sends you to hunt?

 

This isn't actually in case in PoE, but give player ability to handle task/quest/whatever village idiot sends you in way that player wants to handle it, which fighting seems to be somewhat default option at least in quest that you can find in beta.

 

I would also like to point out that beta currently locks out some of the options to handle those tasks/quests that can already found from game's files or even changes quests/tasks to alternate more limited version of said quests/tasks from those version that can be found from game's files.

 

The issue of annoying and unrewarding trash mob encounters remains, though. It's cool that you can talk your way out of plot-point fights. But I'd be very surprised if avoiding combat were as easy as their design intends it to be.

 

It's like, they know it's a tactical fantasy RPG, so they put a lot of enemies in it. But then they go and say that striking out to fight said enemies is degenerate and goes against role-playing.  If you want fighting to be a special thing for murder-oriented players, then ****ing design it as such rather than dump all these stupid beetles on us. There are so many other ways to make areas interesting, like encountering NPCs. Do *I* want that? Hell no, I like the combat-heavy nature of the genre; at heart these games were, for me, excercises in tactics, reward through winning battles, with a lot of backstory and flavor. Every title it's paying homage to was that way. Even Planescape: Torment awarded experience for combat--and that game is considered high role-playing art.

 

 

Trash encounter design in beta isn't as good as it could, but area in beta is area that Obsidian has used from their first prototype of the game and they have cut content out of it so that it would spoil as little as possible rest of the game. I think that in game like PoE trash encounter should have reason why the exist, meaning that there should be indicators in map why any particular group of monsters/npcs are in the map and that particular place on the map. I also think that combat should be interesting and enjoyable by its own merits not because of the rewards player gets from it. I would also say that it is better if player is given non-meta game reason (hidden treasure, experience points, etc.) to fight enemies that isn't that player is railroaded from one combat to another without giving option to use inventiveness to go around encounter  

 

I think that their design philosophy about avoiding combat is that it possible in most cases but consequences from avoiding fight wouldn't necessary be what player wants in many cases. So even though avoiding combat with speaking may first seem to be easy option in long run it can cause problems with way you want your character develop (in story wise) and how world will develop (in story wise).

 

PS:T is one of the my favorite games and I think it is one of the best RPGs that is ever made, but combat encounter design in PS:T is weakest part of the game and I would even say that it is weak even compared to games with bad combat design and for me it seems that it got quite little love from designers, which is why I think is probably reason why they didn't do anything more innovative than copy system from previous IE games, to me it looks that combat is in the said game because there has to be combat in crpgs. Which is why I would not use it as example what kind of design game should use for its combat or experience gained from combat. 

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I have been away tha noo, what's the latest, have the devs responded to the fact that the polls indicate the majority want xp from combat?


No matter how many times cats fight, there's always plenty of kittens.

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Nope. And these polls don't mean anything either way. They only represent few hundred people out of the 1% of player base that post on forums. 

If they made a poll on KS and few thousand used it, than it would mean something.

Edited by archangel979
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Nope. And these polls don't mean anything either way. They only represent few hundred people out of the 1% of player base that post on forums. 

If they made a poll on KS and few thousand used it, than it would mean something.

 

Lol, pull the other one it has bells on it.


No matter how many times cats fight, there's always plenty of kittens.

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Current reward system for fighting:

 

Here, here PC char: Have this shiny magic item for going through another boring round with wolves/beetles/rats/dragons. comment_new.png

Edited by Captain Shrek

"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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Current reward system for fighting:

 

Here, here PC char: Have this shiny magic item for going through another boring round with wolves/beetles/rats/dragons.

I suppose it's fine that the combat remain boring, so long as the reward problem is remedied? :)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I am for combat XP, but i wish to correct this quote from OP:

 

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.

 

This isn't actually the case from what i've seen in beta streams.

You can complete the quest in whatever order you wish, as long as you locate main npc tied to the quest.

For instance you can kill the elf party at the start of the game near the river and then talk to the hiding character in the inn and you will get the xp, once you tell him/her they are dead.

Same goes for the ogre. If you go to the cave and kill the ogre and bring back the head and talk to the farmer for the first time, you will get the xp once you show him the head.

Edited by zimcub

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