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Discussion: the PoE beta xp system


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Meh. Combat XP does not an engaging game make. I won't miss it as long as the gameplay is interesting and I feel like I'm being rewarded for exploring.

 

And the polls have been split, for the record. An earlier one was overwhelmingly in favor of no combat XP. Then people kept making new polls, and the majority (myself included in that) fell mostly silent because we'd already said our piece and didn't really feel like there was much point in continuing to talk about it.

 

Combat XP is gone. They're trying something different. That's not gonna change (I dearly hope). And most of the backers are supportive of this change.

Less then 0.5% is not most of the backers. Those polls don't mean anything either way, I would just like people to stop using them in any kind of argument.

It is a small sample size - that said, it's the only sample they've got. I was just pointing out that regardless of the sample size (could do the math to quantify exactly how representative we expect it to be, but there's really not much point because) the polling that HAS been done shows support for the planned system.

 

Come one. You are a smart man. Don't push this. Anyone that does statistics will tell you that poll means 0. Zilch. Nothing. If it was 100% for combat XP, it would still mean nothing. 

If OE did a poll like what InXile did for Torment 2 that one would get closer to relevant. 

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This game could have been made by the wishes (create similar IE game // mechanic, visual etc.) of investors, and it is us. Not even a little bit risking the success of the game. And now it's all a bit shaky.

 

Can someone explain to me from supporting this new xp system, what was wrong with the old system?

XP is a tool to control power progression of the player. If they can do that without kill XP then there's no reason to complicate matters.

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This game could have been made by the wishes (create similar IE game // mechanic, visual etc.) of investors, and it is us. Not even a little bit risking the success of the game. And now it's all a bit shaky.

 

Can someone explain to me from supporting this new xp system, what was wrong with the old system?

 

XP is a tool to control power progression of the player. If they can do that without kill XP then there's no reason to complicate matters.

 

The main reason to complicate matters is gameplay: it can either be an unrewarding obstacle that I feel incentivized to avoid (like it is now), or something that I actually want to seek out because it's fun and rewarding and an active part of progression.

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It would be nice to hear a "final word" on this from OE (Josh). Before anyone posts "on X date, Josh said this": It doesn't matter--this forum is its own community, and a lot of us (myself included) did not closely follow everything Obsidian did and said around this topic. I wasn't even aware they'd cut combat XP until after I backed the game. Fooled by Icewind Dale nostalgia!

 

So here's a call for Obsidian to please, please tell us why did you choose to do a non-combat-XP system even though BG, Icewind Dale, etc. all used this system? And just as importantly, are you open to changing it if your ideals (role-playing choice) don't mesh with the reality (combat-heavy game needing rewarding combat) of the final product?

 

Seriously, as fun as it is to debate the merits and pitfalls of combat XP, I'd feel a lot better if we knew exactly why Obsidian designed it as such, how it is bearing out in testing, and what might happen between now and release. If there is really no way that this system is changing, ever, regardless of its mixed reception, I'd just shrug and devote my attention to other aspects of the game. Until then, this remains a glaring issue.

Edited by PrimeHydra

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I guess I'm on 'the other side' of the combat XP divide in that I don't want it in the game, but I have to back up what my Hydra friends is saying about not following the production.  On one hand, that I didn't (and largely don't) follow the production is my fault.  I could have and chose not to do so in order to save something for the wedding day, so to speak.  On the other hand, the beta release is kind of a fresh start experience in that regard.  It doesn't seem out of line to expect the devs, any one of them, to come out and brave the heat in order to clarify the position.  Hell, Bell dons an asbestos suit and faces all sorts of ugly criticism of his music in order to interact with the community.

 

Frankly, that we haven't heard a single definitive word on this can be construed as simply taking the hard line approach and not even acknowledging the issue.  ...Or, worse from my standpoint, it means that there're still fierce internal debates and they *can't* make a definitive statement and don't want to air their laundry in public.

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The main reason to complicate matters is gameplay: it can either be an unrewarding obstacle that I feel incentivized to avoid (like it is now), or something that I actually want to seek out because it's fun and rewarding and an active part of progression.

 

Do you need achievements too?

If XP is an essential part of the reward structure by design, then that tells me that the actual gameplay is lacking.

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Honesty, I think the devs are doing a great job and I AM looking forward to the game. No combat xp is not that big a deal to me, honestly. However, that does not make the current system the best possible solution. Neither does it mean that just because the IE games used it and were successful, it is the only way to be successful. The devs have decided that grind-able combat xp is counter-intuitive to their project, so I think we should support that. Instead of complaining how we only want combat xp is not going to change this.

 

However, I think suggesting some options to improve the system would be more productive. I mean, by the logic that I get experience for completing different goals (and I stress GOALS, not quests. I love questing in RPGs but if they really want to stress the EXPERIENCE, there are lots of different ways to offer xp other than "you have to talk to person A or you get no xp"). If you reward xp for exploration or sneaking around, you should also get xp if you fight your way through. It is an option and I shouldn't be penalized for it. Its MY choice to fight through them or sneak around them. I think both ways should offer equal xp, allowing everyone to choose the options they believe are best for their character.

 

Honestly, I think most people would be fine without combat xp specifically, as long as other options were implemented as well, to make sure that combat is properly rewarded just as equally as noncombat. I think thats a fair point. Neither is better - both are equal. Wouldnt that make everyone happy?

 

Also, I think it would be helpful for the devs to at least comment - whether it is something like "we may take it into consideration" or "no, as of right now there is no plans to change it due to time constraints. This was our decision and we think it will be good once people get used to it". I mean anything is better than no comment whatsoever. However, from what little I have read on these forums, the devs seem to pretty open to suggestion, so as Cantousent said, maybe they are still internally debating it? In which case I can understand making no comment until they are ready. Regardless, I have faith they will make the decision they believe will best fit their vision for the game (whether it has combat xp or not).

 

Something I've kinda noticed (and maybe I cant talk because I wasnt able to back so maybe Im overstepping my bounds) but a lot of people seem to think that this game would be the IE games 2.0. I mean, its a spiritual successor - give the devs the creative freedom to create their own world. Id much rather have something awesome like this over BGEE - (good intentions, bad implementation IMO - not enough freedom to add/explore/develop). Lets just be appreciative of the fact we have SOMETHING to look forward too. For a long time I thought these types of games were nearly extinct (sure theres dragon age which is cool, but was never quite the same as BG2,IWD,or PST...). Now I have some amazing games to look forward (PoEt and TToN) and I am just grateful to have that opportunity to explore some awesome new games!

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grindxp is an unrewarding obstacle.  Having to needlessly grind is one of the most pointless activities.  I do it because other parts of the game make up for it, I would rather not though.  In terms of gameplay, I actually see the hidden gem of the combat that can be fun, it just needs to get tweaked and balanced.

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The main reason to complicate matters is gameplay: it can either be an unrewarding obstacle that I feel incentivized to avoid (like it is now), or something that I actually want to seek out because it's fun and rewarding and an active part of progression.

 

Do you need achievements too?

If XP is an essential part of the reward structure by design, then that tells me that the actual gameplay is lacking.

 

 

My problem with that is what is the point of random battles? why not just remove them like TToN is doing and make every event scripted and handpicked? I can understand (kinda) the need to get rid of grinding (not really, was provided negligible benefits in the IE games), and I can definitely get behind equal xp for alternative options so no one feels penalized for not engaging in combat, but why does it have to be quest xp or nothing? Maybe I am wrong or misinformed, but I dont see why you cant have both combat xp and quest xp (objective xp, I think is the term the devs used - although I dont know if that is currently how it is implemented or not)  As others have mentioned, what if I go through the game fighting monsters because it is fun (and it should be fun, xp SHOULD be a bonus), then Im still lvl2 fighting lvl 8 monsters? thats not fun. "Go do quests!" shouldnt be the ONLY option is what Im saying.

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grindxp is an unrewarding obstacle.  Having to needlessly grind is one of the most pointless activities.

 

 All grinding is combat, but not all combat is grinding.

 

If XP is an essential part of the reward structure by design,

 

You mean like how it is an essential part of the reward structure for completing a quest? Because what that tells me is that the game is about completing quests, that completing quests is The Game. As opposed to XP for a variety of things, encouraging me to be interested in a variety of things.

 

then that tells me that the actual gameplay is lacking.

 

Well, it is, but we're still in beta. This has very little to do with that, though. The combat right now is clumsy, but I can at least put up with it on the occasions that it's clearly leading me somewhere. Actual rewards would make it more bearable, though.

 

Oh, and one other thing.

 

Do you need achievements too?

 

If I did, would that be a problem? Would I be worthy of scorn*, because of pleasure derived from an intangible blinker saying, "you did it?" There are countless inherent aspects of the RPG experience one could criticize, reducing the whole thing down to some combination of chess, reading, and pong. Facing challenges that have been set forth by the game, and being rewarded such a way that you are prepared to face new, still greater challenges, is skinner box nonsense. It's also an essential part of why games that have progression are satisfying.

 

Achievements are good for games, in that they encourage people to play. You can be more or less cynical about the way they do it, but at the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with it. And there's absolutely nothing that makes you superior to people who do care about them and do see them as a key motivation.

 

*For the record, I do enjoy getting achievements, especially when getting them was challenging, although I don't feel their absence.

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

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The main reason to complicate matters is gameplay: it can either be an unrewarding obstacle that I feel incentivized to avoid (like it is now), or something that I actually want to seek out because it's fun and rewarding and an active part of progression.

 

Do you need achievements too?

If XP is an essential part of the reward structure by design, then that tells me that the actual gameplay is lacking.

 

One thing has nothing to do with the other. Talking about achievements, when this is a debate about the xp system is anything but constructive. Don't just arbitrarily attack people with such fallacies, thanks.

 

grindxp is an unrewarding obstacle.  Having to needlessly grind is one of the most pointless activities.  I do it because other parts of the game make up for it, I would rather not though.  In terms of gameplay, I actually see the hidden gem of the combat that can be fun, it just needs to get tweaked and balanced.

Neither BG2 nor any other IE-engine game (except for maybe BG1) had you "grind" xp to finish the game. It made it easier, I agree, but you hadn't had to do it. Then again, switching from normal to easy made the game easier as well, so I don't see why it should be a bad thing if some people would have it easier when they invest a load of their own time into grinding.

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grindxp is an unrewarding obstacle.  Having to needlessly grind is one of the most pointless activities.  I do it because other parts of the game make up for it, I would rather not though.  In terms of gameplay, I actually see the hidden gem of the combat that can be fun, it just needs to get tweaked and balanced.

Neither BG2 nor any other IE-engine game (except for maybe BG1) had you "grind" xp to finish the game. It made it easier, I agree, but you hadn't had to do it. Then again, switching from normal to easy made the game easier as well, so I don't see why it should be a bad thing if some people would have it easier when they invest a load of their own time into grinding.

 

Not even BG1. Sarevok can be beaten even with a level 1 party. So no grinding required. If your running a party of 3 or less party members it isn't even encouraged since you can easily reach the level cap with just standard play. The grind xp argument has not even a hint of truth to it.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

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So here's a call for Obsidian to please, please tell us why did you choose to do a non-combat-XP system even though BG, Icewind Dale, etc. all used this system? And just as importantly, are you open to changing it if your ideals (role-playing choice) don't mesh with the reality (combat-heavy game needing rewarding combat) of the final product?

 

The second question is 50,000 times more important than the first. Josh, if you're reading this here's my question:

 

Is discovery-xp or any non-quest related xp being considered?

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

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Wasteland 2 has this cool feature where you find Toasters and get special items from them with Toaster Repair. At first you don't know what to do with them but if you find a person that can use this item, you get a cool unique reward for it.

 

So lets take this idea and implement something similar into PoE. Put a seemingly useless item as drop on one of the packs on the map (the item is randomly given so next time players cannot easily metagame) and then players need to find someone that can use it and get items/experience for it. So now, there is a reason beyond XP to fight everyone and you also do this cool finding game (NPCs that would take this give hints about wanting something like this if you talk to them before having such an item but don't put a quest in journal).

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Meh. Combat XP does not an engaging game make. I won't miss it as long as the gameplay is interesting and I feel like I'm being rewarded for exploring.

 

And the polls have been split, for the record. An earlier one was overwhelmingly in favor of no combat XP. Then people kept making new polls, and the majority (myself included in that) fell mostly silent because we'd already said our piece and didn't really feel like there was much point in continuing to talk about it.

 

Combat XP is gone. They're trying something different. That's not gonna change (I dearly hope). And most of the backers are supportive of this change.

Less then 0.5% is not most of the backers. Those polls don't mean anything either way, I would just like people to stop using them in any kind of argument.
It is a small sample size - that said, it's the only sample they've got. I was just pointing out that regardless of the sample size (could do the math to quantify exactly how representative we expect it to be, but there's really not much point because) the polling that HAS been done shows support for the planned system.

Come one. You are a smart man. Don't push this. Anyone that does statistics will tell you that poll means 0. Zilch. Nothing. If it was 100% for combat XP, it would still mean nothing.

If OE did a poll like what InXile did for Torment 2 that one would get closer to relevant.

Nope nope nope nope nope. Couldn't be more incorrect.

 

You want the statistics? Here you go.

 

The two polls that have been conducted had sample sizes of 377 and 217, respectively. Here's a link to each (I apologize if it's a mobile link, I'm on mobile atm):

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/67140-experience-point-system-in-the-beta-and-onwards/?fromsearch=1

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/68043-do-you-want-experience-from-combat/?fromsearch=1

 

Let's look at the first poll. It's got rather a lot of choices. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that we (somehow) bin them into "Yes kill xp" and "No kill xp". Don't worry about the specific split at the moment, what's important is that we now have a binary set of responses.

 

With this binary set of responses "Yes" and "No", we can calculate the confidence interval of any poll with that sample size of 217. Using a population size of 75000 and the standard confidence level of 95%, we get that the confidence interval (AKA margin of error) is 6.6%.

 

Now back to the poll. We can obviously count the bottom response as "Yes" for combat XP. The one above it is ambiguous, so I'll show it both ways.

 

With only the bottom response counted as "Yes", we get nominal results of 26.3% saying "Yes" - apply the statistical results and we can say, with 95% confidence, that if you were to survey the entire population that 26.3 +/- 6.6 % would have said "Yes".

 

With the bottom two counted as "Yes", the result is 44.6 +/- 6.6 %. More ambiguous, but certainly not meaningless.

 

Now let's look at the second poll. Same math, sample size of 377 with population of 75000. Poll is already binary so that's great. After crunching the numbers we get a 95% confidence that 55.2 +/- 5.0 % of the population would say "Yes".

 

So what we end up with is an ambiguous result - within the margins of error, neither poll really says definitely what the population as a whole thinks. Unless we count only the bottom choice from the first poll as a "Yes", in which case that is overwhelming.

 

So in the end, your conclusion was kind of correct - the polls don't really tell us there's any strong preference in the population for one or the other. But your statement that the polls mean "zilch, nothing" and that "even if 100%" were for combat XP it would "mean nothing" are just so, so wrong.... They betray a failure to understand how sampling theory and polls work in general. You can get fairly reliable results with fairly small sample sizes. If these polls I cited were just a tiny bit more skewed to one direction or the other, they would indicate a preference. As is, they aren't meaningless by any stretch of the imagination. In contrast, they tell us that within our margins of error, the community is pretty much divided right down the middle.

 

Sorry if I got a little heated. Please don't condescend to me on math, especially when I'm right. I get tetchy. :p

 

Disagreement is fine. I'll happily disagree with someone on the math and whoever is right in the end is right. Statements like "c'mon, you're smarter than this" and "anyone who knows statistics would agree with me" aren't fine though. Especially when you're wrong. :p

 

Can check my math here:

http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

Edited by Matt516
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I don't agree with you that the forum sample size represents the 75000 backers (+ backers like me + people that are super interested but don't want to buy before release). It is a random group of people we know nothing about and we don't know anything about the bigger group.

When people in real life do prediction polls demographics are taken into account. Web polls mean nothing most of the time.

 

This is not about math, it is about how proper polls are done.

Edited by archangel979
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So here's a call for Obsidian to please, please tell us why did you choose to do a non-combat-XP system even though BG, Icewind Dale, etc. all used this system? And just as importantly, are you open to changing it if your ideals (role-playing choice) don't mesh with the reality (combat-heavy game needing rewarding combat) of the final product?

 

The second question is 50,000 times more important than the first. Josh, if you're reading this here's my question:

 

Is discovery-xp or any non-quest related xp being considered?

 

 

This.

 

I'd also like to know about the possibility of Encounter XP. It's clear that PoE (and Sawyer, going by his forum posts) takes a ton of inspiration from tabletop gaming, where kill XP has increasingly become a thing of the past - but XP for winning combat encounters as a whole remains very common in combat-heavy tabletop games, seems to fit with PoE's On/Off combat system, and would reward players for overcoming tactical challenges, rather than caving faces in.

 

The only danger I can see to it would be players kiting an encounter to pick individual opponents in a group off - but (a) I'm not sure how much that really matters, and (b) maybe some limited enemy ability to rebuild forces could counterbalance that.

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I don't agree with you that the forum sample size represents the 75000 backers (+ backers like me + people that are super interested but don't want to buy before release). It is a random group of people we know nothing about and we don't know anything about the bigger group.

When people in real life do prediction polls demographics are taken into account. Web polls mean nothing most of the time.

 

This is not about math, it is about how proper polls are done.

The demographics argument might have merit. But your original argument (stated multiple times) was that the sample SIZE was too small - what with statements like "0.5% doesn't represent the backers" etc, not to mention your dismissive assessment of the "statistics" (AKA MATH) skills of anyone who disagrees with you. That was what I was debunking. The sample size isn't too small in the least. Demographics? Who knows? But statistically, these poll results are very meaningful. 377 is almost the perfect sample size for a 95% confidence +/- 5% result, actually.

 

As for demographics... You claim that the forumites aren't representative of the backers. Could be. Could also not be. There's no compelling evidence either way. Should OE just throw out all the feedback and polls from these forums because of that possibility? Of course not. It's like I said - this is the only sample they've got. I've proven that it's large enough. The question of whether or not it's representative enough is one that neither of us can answer with certainty.

 

I would argue that those who don't care enough to engage on the forum probably wouldn't care either way. But that's an unfounded and hypothetical argument - as is yours that our little forum cabal doesn't represent the backers at large.

Edited by Matt516
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Yeah, we're talking about various other forms of XP including exploration, trap, and lock XP.  We've also discussed XP connected to unlocking elements in the bestiary, which is sort of a limited-pool form of combat XP that eventually gets exhausted and doesn't require you to commit genocide to reach it.  Also, kith (humanoid people) are not (and would not be) in the bestiary, and those are the characters most often associated with quests.

 

The main motivation for our quest-only XP system came from observing how many people, both regular gamers and QA testers, completed certain types of quests in the games we've made.  Those who completed a quest via stealth or conversations often backtracked to kill the people or critters they had just "spared" because the game's basic mechanics systemically rewarded that behavior.  You can set a bunch of flags for each quest and try to side-step around these cases but it's a huge amount of work for something that can be solved in a more straightforward manner by awarding XP for objectives and quests instead of individual creatures killed.

 

Since creatures (i.e., not humans/elves/dwarves/etc.) are directly involved in quests as non-hostiles with much less frequency, I think having XP awarded based on bestiary unlocks could work well.  If we set those unlock thresholds much lower than the total number of critters in the game, players will hopefully learn that they don't need to exterminate everyone/thing they come across and they will eventually exhaust the available XP for that type of creature.  E.g. Korgrak is an ogre, but he's by no means the only ogre, so if you don't kill him, you should still be able to completely unlock the entire ogre bestiary entry (and get all XP from it).

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There's a practical advantage to at least addressing the issue in some manner.  Namutree's question makes sense, it isn't combative, and it doesn't constrict the design team.  Let's say they come out with, "we're still deciding on whether to grant incidental XP (kill, lockpicking, exploration, etc.) and so we can't really answer the question now."  Sure, there will be a firestorm, especially because kill-xp advocates will feel emboldened.  While I don't want that to happen, if that's what the design team is thinking, it would be good to know.  However, a lot of people who want kill XP would still be happy even if word came down, "we don't have any intention of granting strictly kill XP, but we're still devising new ways to grant XP based on various playstyles."  I personally don't want XP granted for anything incidental, however, I *do* like the encounter idea.  There will undoubtedly be XP granted because of combat in some situations, and I think there should be.  Some situations in an RPG of this sort will simply require combat.  Some situations might require a different skill set.  Players should be rewarded for overcoming the encounter and using a variety of tactics.  XP should reflect the benefit of using different methods.  If the idea is to make sure that every method always yields the same result, I'm no in for it.  Some methods are inherently better from the PC's perspective.  Combat will undoubtedly play a big role in the game.  Combat *is* a requirement.  Let some objectives reflect that.  Let some objectives require more creative thinking.  Make some of them rule out a combat solution.  Make some of them have a variety of solutions and have some of the solutions better than other solutions.

 

...And, before someone pulls out his stick of 'arbitrary smiting,' how is the quest system in and of itself not arbitrary?  Freedom on our part shouldn't mean a sterile game that reflects absolutely *none* of the design teams character... and such an RPG would be impossible to make anyway.

 

EDIT:  I wish I'd known Sawyer was going to answer this issue before I wasted the time posting this.  lol

Edited by Cantousent
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Yeah, we're talking about various other forms of XP including exploration, trap, and lock XP.  We've also discussed XP connected to unlocking elements in the bestiary, which is sort of a limited-pool form of combat XP that eventually gets exhausted and doesn't require you to commit genocide to reach it.  Also, kith (humanoid people) are not (and would not be) in the bestiary, and those are the characters most often associated with quests.

 

The main motivation for our quest-only XP system came from observing how many people, both regular gamers and QA testers, completed certain types of quests in the games we've made.  Those who completed a quest via stealth or conversations often backtracked to kill the people or critters they had just "spared" because the game's basic mechanics systemically rewarded that behavior.  You can set a bunch of flags for each quest and try to side-step around these cases but it's a huge amount of work for something that can be solved in a more straightforward manner by awarding XP for objectives and quests instead of individual creatures killed.

 

Since creatures (i.e., not humans/elves/dwarves/etc.) are directly involved in quests as non-hostiles with much less frequency, I think having XP awarded based on bestiary unlocks could work well.  If we set those unlock thresholds much lower than the total number of critters in the game, players will hopefully learn that they don't need to exterminate everyone/thing they come across and they will eventually exhaust the available XP for that type of creature.  E.g. Korgrak is an ogre, but he's by no means the only ogre, so if you don't kill him, you should still be able to completely unlock the entire ogre bestiary entry (and get all XP from it).

Thanks for taking a moment to respond. Bestiary-unlock XP sounds like a clever middle ground, provided the complete bestiary is unlocked slowly enough that we don't quickly exhaust this form of reward. That is, have new monsters in each act.

 

Also, it will be important to design encounters and areas such that we aren't constantly in unavoidable combat situations; otherwise, the major reward (monster body parts) will feel too punitive.

Edited by PrimeHydra

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Also, Josh, FWIW, I'd vote yes on exploration and bestiary XP, no on lock and trap XP. Always seemed strange that the entire party got more experience when my Rogue did something cool. Those last two also promote running around compulsively unlocking and disarming everything in sight even if it makes no damn sense to do so. xD

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I still think you could split the bestiary-xp-difference even further for a compromise between 'genocide' and simply unlocking a creature = xp.

 

Say you talk to a creature and learn something about it you didn't know before? Ping, xp!

 

Say you fight a creature and learn something about it's powaz? Ping, xp!

 

Say you slay 25 lions and become a Big Hunter Dude. Ping, xp! But after you've killed 'x' amount of that creature there's no more xp unless it's (a) linked to a quest of (b) you stop killing that type of creature and instead study / communicate with it. Of course, if you're Ogre-Slayer extraordinary, it might lock you out of the talking-route by reputation...

 

I dunno maybe it's too much work but it takes the sting out of no combat-xp for me personally.

 

Edit - Josh wtf happened to ECL like in NWN2? That squared the circle didn't it?

Edited by Monte Carlo
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How does that modify gamer behavior away from degenerative gameplay? Now players will kill everything up to the limit because the "game's basic mechanics systemically rewarded that behavior." It doesn't even prevent the "sneak by then kill" example. Well, I guess it will after the number is reached and players are capped for that type mook?

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