Greetings, all. Today we’re going to talk about the Attribute system in Pillars of Eternity. Traditionally, CRPGs have suffered from certain issues with character attributes that PoE’s Lead Designer, Josh Sawyer, believes detract from the character creation and gameplay experience – namely, the problem of certain classes being pigeonholed into pumping certain attributes to function properly, and the existence of dump stats. To that end, the attribute system in Pillars of Eternity is designed with a few fundamental design goals in mind:
- All attributes should be useful (in some way) for every class.
- No dump stats – that is, no stat should be overwhelmingly better or worse than the others.
These design goals aim to fix some systemic problems with the traditional D&D-based attribute systems. These design goals are admirable and worthwhile, and we believe that if realized, they will make Pillars of Eternity a richer and more rewarding experience. Unfortunately, the current attribute system fails to meet these goals. In particular, Perception and Resolve are simultaneously not useful for all classes/character archetypes, and are also very widely considered to be dump stats in most cases. However, this can be fixed. I (Sensuki) came up with a solution about two weeks ago and after many days consulting with Matt516 on the mathematical, logical, and balance issues with this solution, we have produced this paper.
It contains an introduction (which the text above is an excerpt of) that outlines our proposed changes to the attribute system and three sections. The first section deals with the inherent issues with Perception and Resolve and examines why they are widely considered dump stats by many, and too confusing to bother with by others. The second and third section outline our proposed changes for improving the attribute system, backed by mathematical and logical arguments to declare their balance, in support of their implementation. We also include detailed suggestions for how the game can be rebalanced if these changes are implemented.
Matt516 and I co-wrote this paper, and it represents 10 straight days of work on various calculations, logical and balance issues, and argument structuring. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Matt516 on this, and it would not have been possible without his help. The original idea was mine - but his math and Excel skills, combined with his adept academic writing talent, were paramount in producing the quality of work we have been able to produce here.
I'd like to ask you all, backers and developers alike, to carefully read our paper - not to make any pre-judgements about our solution before you have seen our arguments. We have striven to anticipate issues people may have with this design, and to provide our answers to them in advance.
After you have finished reading through the paper, I'd like to ask you these three questions:
- Would you enjoy creating and playing characters under our proposed attribute system?
- Do you think our solution succeeds in meeting the primary design goals of the attribute system?
- Do you think this solution is an improvement over the current attribute system?
Sensuki (and Matt516)