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Discussion: the PoE beta xp system


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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).

This sounds like a nice and happy medium.

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haha  I thought about this and just came back expecting a response along the lines you just gave, Gromnir... only a lot harsher.  lol  Okay okay, if you use the structure, why not just call it what it is then:  a quest!  What I'm thinking is that what some folks want is the sort of spontaneity of getting random encounters.  That's why I think, for some of the folks who want combat XP, they might find some gratification of having XP thrown at them unknown.  It won't really be a 'random encounter.'  It could be partially random or completely set, but maybe have some of these things happen outside of the quest structure to give the feel of surprise.  Otherwise, I'm not even going to pick at the small points because the important thing to me is that we don't have combat XP.  Out of all the issues and topics, it's really the only one I follow much at all.  I won't refuse to play and enjoy the game if they go back on their plans, but I'm convinced it would be a mistake.

 

Anyhow, I was going to edit this explanation in, but now...  :Cant's smiling under the halo icon:

 

EDIT:  Always behin' tha 8-ball, I am!

Edited by Cantousent

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A couple things -

 

Beta =\= entire game. Since combat is something that needs a lot of testing, of course the beta is going to focus on combat. Getting your panties in a wad about this is myopic at best (or most likely disingenuous and an excuse to go on a tirade about investors or what not).

 

Josh's post is completely inline with the stated design direction of the experience system (sans the trap/lock, which is a terrible idea). No one who wasn't a complete maniac thought you were only going to get experience for things explicitly in your quest log. Objectives that award experience do not have to be known before hand (although of course they will after the first play throughs and such). 

 

EDIT - DAMNIT! Evil magic made me post in an experience thread again even though I swore I wouldn't! 

Edited by DCParry
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If they introduce discovery-xp I'll be pretty satisfied.

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Josh's post is completely inline with the stated design direction of the experience system (sans the trap/lock, which is a terrible idea). 

am agreeing that josh statements is consistent... save for trap/lock xp.  even so, we can see a bestiary and exploration being handled far better via quests. if you got objective rewards that allow for multiple methods o' completion, then that kinda sounds like a quest, even if is only completed via a mechanical process. if you do not give multiple methods o' completion, then developers is cheating themselves o' increasing meaningful role-play and replay options. 

 

am not certain what would be the point o' having a quest with multiple options for completion and satisfaction, but necessarily having different nomenclature just to appease the folks who want different kinds o' xp from quest xp. seems rather... silly.

 

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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I think part of the push back on making Exploration/Bestiary XP a quest would be that you'd need to find the quest giver first, and potentially hand it in.

 

Now those aren't necessary component of making it a quest, but if you don't need to pick the quest up from someone and XP is handed out at appropriate intervals then it really would be a moot point.

"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."

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I think part of the push back on making Exploration/Bestiary XP a quest would be that you'd need to find the quest giver first, and potentially hand it in.

 

Now those aren't necessary component of making it a quest, but if you don't need to pick the quest up from someone and XP is handed out at appropriate intervals then it really would be a moot point.

you can force a player to speak to a quest giver. PoE is gonna be a story-driven game, like it or not. there will be essential plot points and such quests can be given simultaneous with reaching one o' those initial plot points. regardless, in the event that the quest giver is missed, such quests can be added automatically to a quest log. these is not noteworthy hurdles.

 

*shrug* 

 

if the only point is to prevent the developers from calling an award of xp a quest, then it strikes us as silly. if you can offer players multiple routes to achieve objectives in a crpg, how can that be a bad thing? therefore, if you expunge options just so folks feel better that they is getting combat or exploration specifically, well, that doesn't make any sense to us either.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I think part of the push back on making Exploration/Bestiary XP a quest would be that you'd need to find the quest giver first, and potentially hand it in.

 

Now those aren't necessary component of making it a quest, but if you don't need to pick the quest up from someone and XP is handed out at appropriate intervals then it really would be a moot point.

you can force a player to speak to a quest giver. PoE is gonna be a story-driven game, like it or not. there will be essential plot points and such quests can be given simultaneous with reaching one o' those initial plot points. regardless, in the event that the quest giver is missed, such quests can be added automatically to a quest log. these is not noteworthy hurdles.

 

*shrug* 

 

if the only point is to prevent the developers from calling an award of xp a quest, then it strikes us as silly. if you can offer players multiple routes to achieve objectives in a crpg, how can that be a bad thing? therefore, if you expunge options just so folks feel better that they is getting combat or exploration specifically, well, that doesn't make any sense to us either.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

completely agree with you. if they decide to go with the bestiary xp, i hope the bestiary is not amongst the ranger companions like a lion. Still feels artificial, rather i’d also have them expand on their quest xp instead. Give the main quest-giver an additional line like ‘..but beware, on your way to the oger, there’s many beasties and word is they killed a famous adventurer…’. And mix it up with area quest-givers like ‘..help me! A horde of ugly looking creatures attacked me and my caravan, please give it a look and bring me back my precious /whatever/.’ Or log them in without a quest-giver as you also suggested. Ideally, if they had more time, those additional quests could also be designed with different solutions like the main quests so the roleplay guys would also be satisfied...

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I thought of the whole lockpicking/exploration/etc comment in Sawyer's post wasn't specifically saying that they were thinking of giving incidental XP.  I thought they were going to try to find a way to grant XP for folks who engage in those activities.  If they give XP for picking a lock, then why the hell wouldn't they just give XP for killing individual monsters?  ...And if I were one of the combat XP advocates, I'd try to force that door the rest of the way open myself.  It's simply a stupid idea on its face.

 

If they grant incidental XP for every other activity *except* for combat, a lot of folks will think they're going out of their way to **** with them, and I don't blame them for feeling that way.  No XP that isn't determined by the design team.  I don't care if you give quest XP and call it Objective XP, Results XP, or 'Sawyers balloon bag of bilious XP granting.'  No kill XP, no lock-picking XP, and no XP for wandering around aimlessly.  Hell, use Grom's grand exploration quest-line.  ...Or just give people an achievement for doing it.  Whatever.

 

The beast-log idea seems like a great way to accommodate folks who have a particular desire.  It's not intrusive and doesn't dangle incidental rewards in a significant way.  It *is* a quest that just doesn't have the attendant quest nomenclature, and probably it would still work just as well if it *did* have the overt quest structure.  Do something similar with lock-picking if need be to accommodate folks clamoring for lock-picking experience.  They've been loud, proud, and vocal in this forum.  Just don't give them an insta-XP rush for picking some random lock.

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Josh, thank you for commenting on the xp system, and letting us in on where your thoughts are right now on this issue. :)

 

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).

 

 

 

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

 

Sorry if I wasn't clear, but bestiary entries are unlocked piecemeal over time, so you would be gaining progressive XP up to the point where you learn everything about that critter type.

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, I don't understand. What I was trying to say is that by granting "some" kill XP in the form of beastiary XP, then PoE will still be incentivizing killing if for nothing more than maxing out the beastiary XP, which seems to go against one of your design goals. Whether we kill 50% or 100% to get the XP, you have reintroduced "killing just for XP".

 

My goal isn't to discourage killing/combat overall, but to avoid the emphasis of combat solutions as the de facto best way to resolve quests (unless the quest is fundamentally about killing someone/thing, of course) and to avoid the player feeling compelled to kill everything they come across.  I think it will be good for the game if a player can ask themselves, "Am I losing out by not completing this area with combat?" and sometimes answer, "Nah."  Quest only XP accomplishes this, but obviously a lot of people want to gain XP from fighting.  Short of having a separate mode where you get combat XP from everything and all of the quest XP is rebalanced around that, bestiary unlocking XP is the best solution I've come up with to accomplish both goals.

 

 

-Alright, bestiary unlock xp, especially this progressive version Monte Carlo mentioned and Josh confirmed, is absolutely fine. Gfted1 has a point, though, that it's bordering on those classic quests - kill X imps and get some quest xp. I still prefer this over nothing at all for killing, so I'm pretty happy with it.

 

-And this talk about exploration, trap and lock xp, adding such stuff in would certainly improve things like the sense of gameplay progress, small-increment rewards, which I think a game like this sorely needs, not just because of tradition, but because of replayability. Exploration xp seems to be the new kid on the block, though. It remains to be seen how fun it is. If it's implemented in a bad, broad-stroke way, it'll feel artificial and contrived.

 

-I still reckon the best and most fair solution is the one that Josh mentions at the end of the last post quoted above: "You get combat XP from everything and all of the quest XP is rebalanced around that". It's an idea that's popped up several times, and it could work as a toggle when you start your campaign. Like Monte Carlo hinted at with his mentioning the ECL system in NWN2, there are plenty of tried methods to balance such a system on top of hefty subtractions from the quest xp rewards themselves. What I'd like to see are really small xp rewards, just trickling, almost in line with trap xp and lock xp. Obviously, if you happen to bring down a huge beast several levels above you, the xp reward should be greater.

 

All in all, I'm very relieved to see that OE listens to our concerns on this important issue too. This xp system wasn't locked in. We will now get more than just quest xp, and I am very, very happy and satisfied about that.

 

EDIT: If OE would have kept it strictly quest-xp-only, masses of backers would have been genuinely surprised, not only at the lack of kill xp, but at the lack of tiny xp rewards during gameplay. The validity of the polls on these forums aside, Obsidian is running a business and they are very good at it. They know that they have had a KS where a number of classic IE games were their selling point backdrop, and they know that there will be far too many negative reactions on a quests-xp-only system. Just imagine how people would have reacted upon WL2 without all those trickling xp rewards. I know they will find a satisfactory xp system solution that doesn't put thousands of players off, just so that some ivory tower RPG ideals should prevail (those are PnP ideals - they don't work as well in computer games).

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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I think part of the push back on making Exploration/Bestiary XP a quest would be that you'd need to find the quest giver first, and potentially hand it in.

 

Now those aren't necessary component of making it a quest, but if you don't need to pick the quest up from someone and XP is handed out at appropriate intervals then it really would be a moot point.

you can force a player to speak to a quest giver. PoE is gonna be a story-driven game, like it or not. there will be essential plot points and such quests can be given simultaneous with reaching one o' those initial plot points. regardless, in the event that the quest giver is missed, such quests can be added automatically to a quest log. these is not noteworthy hurdles.

 

*shrug* 

 

if the only point is to prevent the developers from calling an award of xp a quest, then it strikes us as silly. if you can offer players multiple routes to achieve objectives in a crpg, how can that be a bad thing? therefore, if you expunge options just so folks feel better that they is getting combat or exploration specifically, well, that doesn't make any sense to us either.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

Sounds like more effort on the part of Obsidian to do this instead of just make it a mechanic. Not very much more, but still more. Seems like a waste to put effort into making the game a bit more tedious by forcing us to talk to the quest giver. Wouldn't it make more sense to just... not do that?

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If they plan to give XP for locks and traps it should be expanded to all skills players can use. Otherwise people will all take Mechanics to maximize their XP gain. And it is not illogical that usage of other expert knowledge also gives you some bonus XP.

 

I'll be maxing out mechanics very early to get all that xp.

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If they plan to give XP for locks and traps it should be expanded to all skills players can use. Otherwise people will all take Mechanics to maximize their XP gain. And it is not illogical that usage of other expert knowledge also gives you some bonus XP.

 

I'll be maxing out mechanics very early to get all that xp.

 

And that is why all skills that players can take should give XP for it usage in important situations, and not just using Mechanics.

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If they plan to give XP for locks and traps it should be expanded to all skills players can use. Otherwise people will all take Mechanics to maximize their XP gain. And it is not illogical that usage of other expert knowledge also gives you some bonus XP.

 

I'll be maxing out mechanics very early to get all that xp.

 

I agree with archangel; it would be cool if we got xp for all the skills.

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If they plan to give XP for locks and traps it should be expanded to all skills players can use. Otherwise people will all take Mechanics to maximize their XP gain. And it is not illogical that usage of other expert knowledge also gives you some bonus XP.

 

I'll be maxing out mechanics very early to get all that xp.

 

So if there's no lock-picking XP you'll be fine with leaving locked chests behind?

I don't believe you.

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So if there's no lock-picking XP you'll be fine with leaving locked chests behind?

I don't believe you.

 

Definitely, if my mechanics skill isn't high enough. Especially If it's only trash loot and/or protected by monsters. Now, if there's a possibility of xp, then I'll max mechanics to get the xp reward. And with the bestiary pages, I can kill those monsters guarding that locked chest. :) At the moment, I'm avoiding as much combat as possible and all the trash loot that's around those combat encounters I'm avoiding.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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The main problem is that non-combat character progression and combat character progression use two separate pools of resources, that is, skill points and talents (mostly combat related).

Which leads, as it has been noticed already, to avoiding combat, getting quest xp and leveling up in order to receive a bunch of mostly combat related abilities, which you will use as little as possible since combat almost only offers disadvantages (waste of health, consumables, camping supplies, and the player's time) compared to avoiding it. Which would be fine in Thief or another stealth simulator, but in a IE-style game you shouldn't be punished so for failing to creep past a pride of lions while exploring. So the stealth party waltzes past them, the non-stealth party has a fight, which costs health/potions/camping supplies, and has the player in a worse situation than if he just reloaded the game to the point before meeting the lions. That is, the non-stealth player has either wasted precious game resources for nothing at all, or 10/20/whatever minuts of playing. I don't see it as a need for grinding: it's just that even token kill-xp would go a long way in mitigating that kind of frustrations: yes, those lions costed me 500 bucks of potions and half of my health, but at least I made a tiny step forward in my character progression. Of course, all this wouldn't be a problem if combat were its own reward, but from what I see and read (I am not a backer), it doesn't sound like the tenth beetle you fight makes for the same thrilling experience of the first (that is, assuming that fighting your first beetle is not a drag as well).

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Not sure if I like Joshs proposal this time. If you wanted to be on the safe side, you'd just kill everything as soon as you encounter it, just as Gifted already said - not particular because of sooner xp, but because you fear on missing out on this enemy type later in the game.

 

On the other hand, if lore is still supposed to govern the speed of filling the bestiary, then lore would actually decrease the amount of enemies you are required to kill to max the bestiary bonus. This way, lore is directly coupled with the amount of fights you have to do for the bestiary, which is probably a bad thing.

 

I feel like it would work if you give an alternative method to filling the bestiary, for example paying someone to fill it out, as gromnir proposed. Then it's basically up to the player how they want their incentive to be setup. If you feel like you're going to fight the baddies anyway, then you can ignore paying the price. If you don't want to bother about clearing the map, you can pay some money to get rid of the incentive to do that.

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If they plan to give XP for locks and traps it should be expanded to all skills players can use. Otherwise people will all take Mechanics to maximize their XP gain. And it is not illogical that usage of other expert knowledge also gives you some bonus XP.

 

I'll be maxing out mechanics very early to get all that xp.

 

So if there's no lock-picking XP you'll be fine with leaving locked chests behind?

I don't believe you.

 

I've left locked stuff behind even when there was lock-picking xp.

 

I should say; if they add lock-picking xp, it should be like BG:EE rather than BG2. In BG:EE if you unlock a chest, you'll get about 10 xp. Maybe 30 if it was a tough lock. In BG2 even easy locks could grant 100-xp or more. It was silly. If they wanted the amount of xp given to keep up with how much xp you need to level; then the difficulty of the locks should have kept pace.

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Or maybe the bestiary could give decreasing xp rewards. I mean, the first lion you meet (by stealthing) or fight gives you a certain amount, and every one after gives you less and less, until you complete the entry, and you get no more xp (you learnt everything there was to learn). The bestiary progression could also provide some small bonus in the use of the components you get from animals, to keep things interesting.

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Honestly, I don't think filling out the beastiary is even a good way to give out xp. I think it would be better if Obsidian just added discovery-xp and xp for killing special enemies. The spider-queen would be an example of a special enemy.

Edited by Namutree
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Honestly, I don't think filling out the beastiary is even a good way to give out xp. I think it would be better if Obsidian just added discovery-xp and xp for killing special enemies. The spider-queen would be an example of a special enemy.

 

Yeah, I agree. After all, if you want to make sure to not miss any discovery xp, you have to clear the baddies out of the way anyway.

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Honestly, I don't think filling out the beastiary is even a good way to give out xp. I think it would be better if Obsidian just added discovery-xp and xp for killing special enemies. The spider-queen would be an example of a special enemy.

 

Yeah, I agree. After all, if you want to make sure to not miss any discovery xp, you have to clear the baddies out of the way anyway.

 

Just to clarify; when I say discovery xp; I mean getting xp for discovering special area's. Like a certain underground dungeon.

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Yeah, that's what I understood. Regardless, you can never know if there is something to discover until you go there, so you basically have an incentive to scout the whole map anyway. And if there are enemies in your way you can't sneak around, then you'll have to dispatch them first.

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