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How to Fix the Attribute Design in Pillars of Eternity


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@MC ...

 

I don't get it.

 

This system is much more straightforward than any DnD edition. If you did a similar analysis of the AD&D or DnD3 attribute and combat systems, you'd get something that's every bit as intricate, probably more so. What exactly do you find hard to understand about it?

In general, I find Pathfinder fairly easy to explain....until you factor in the various combat maneuvers, bonus spells per day, and certain class mechanics. IMO, PoE has some stuff that is unintuitive, like interrupt and engagement, but once those are properly explained and proper feedback is given things should be easy to understand.

 

When a group of people I play Pathfinder with looked through 2e AD&D, they were baffled. So for the uninitiated, PoE will probably be a lot easier to understand than BG.

Edited by KaineParker
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"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlshot

"I'm fine with humanity being wiped out" - majestic

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They could probably be a bit more impactful (off the top of my head, 3% for the percentages that are 2% and +2 for the stats that are +1 would be a good starting point), but I think we should focus on getting the effects of the stats figured out first. Balancing numbers is the easiest to iterate, while major design changes are hard.

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PoE's system appears to be more difficult than it really is due to:

  • People being used to d&d 6 stat way of doing things
  • This is a BETA and things are likely to change from day to day, remember this is work in progress
  • This is a NEW 6 stat concept (all being useful) different from what we are used to

 

I don't think PoE's system is harder than any d&d. Once you get it everything is transparent and elegant. 

d&d had all the problems that people are complaining about all the same, some examples:

 

  • i spent 5 years playing BG1 and BG2 without knowing what THACO was. i just figured out that lower was better because that is what my guts told me. 
  • weapon proficency? yeah i like 2H swords i should be proficient in that but what if i have +2 2H, and +1 dual weilding... now i got this cool sword. maybe i could equip this 2 cool swords instead of my big ass 2H. but wait, i have +2 weapon prof in 2H. What should i do?

I could play the game without knowing those answers. I had fun all the same. It wasn't until i sat and read about THACO, about proficiency affecting THACO, damage, attacks per round and weapon speed that i started to grasp the underlying math beneath it. Granted, once i fully understood how the system worked the game was easier to play because i could get more out of the same chars. 

 

What i'm trying to say is that PoE's system LOOKS to be hard because its NEW and everything is being presented to us on this beta at lvl 5. d&d and IE games had this same issue. It happens that after so much time playing similar games you are used to it.

I'm sure that once we start from the beginning things will be easier. Also giving us time to acomodate for this new system. 

 

I'm also willing to venture that this system (once properly finished) could be easier and more intuitive than traditional d&d.

Edited by Roarkkk
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I've played the beta and looked at the stats. I think I'm halfway there, but tbh I'm struggling to understand the synergies behind the stats. Does a high int fighter perform better than a high might one? If so, how? And why?

A high INT fighter will have more effective special abilities (Vigorous Defense, Knockdown etc), but will not have as high DPS in standard attacks. It will perform better if you make effective use of those special abilities, and worse if you don't or, for whatever reason, can't. This is because he'll do less damage per hit, but the durations of the special abilities will be longer.

 

'Gamism' for me seems to be about sacrificing verisimilitude in favour of maths. Nothing I've seen dissuades me from atm. I've spent thirty-odd years playing games with stats that boost fairly easy-to-understand metrics (STR = damage, DEX = agility and defence and so on) to... this.

Cool, but I still don't understand what you find so difficult to grasp about this. Especially compared to the "abortion" that was AD&D2, with its two completely different multi/dual-classing mechanics with entirely arbitrary restrictions, some classes completely unable to even equip certain weapons or armor, hard level caps for nonhumans, or even DnD3 with feat chains and prestige classes with hard prerequisites so you had to--literally--plan your character advancement as far as 18 levels ahead to hit the prerequisites you want. How opaque and "gamist" is that?

 

Add in deflection and interrupts and grazes and stamina and I'm quite simply baffled. Then there are these predefined character roles (heavy-hitter, support, crowd control). How do I build a light fighter? How do I build a tank with an emphasis on soaking-up damage? How...

Deflection is like AC. Armor is like damage resistance. Interrupts are... interrupts: like getting hit while casting a spell. The only innovation of P:E there is that you get a degree of control over how good you're at causing them, and instead of a saving throw you have a stat called Concentration to roll against.

 

You can't build a "light fighter" very effectively right now, but I hope that's going to change. To build a tank, you pump the defensive attributes at the cost of offensive ones, i.e. Constitution and Resolve (in the S&M system) for more hit points and higher deflection and concentration.

 

Any more questions?

 

(snip whine)

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No.  :huh:

 

In other parts of your paper you're actually talking about the elegance and symmetry and how you want to preserve them. The more I think about it, the more this seems like a very big flaw.

It's not a flaw I created. The elegance we spoke about was two offensive, two defensive and two universal attributes. We do not count what the attributes give to the minor defenses in that assessment.

 

 

It is a flaw you created when you took Deflection into the mix. (A move that I approve of, just to make that clear.)

They're not "minor defenses", they're defenses, plain and simple. Three of them. Before, there was symmetry, then you included the fourth defense without re-arranging the others, and now there is no symmetry anymore.

 

And I find your notion that Deflection is more important than the other defenses very worrying, because unlike any of the other changes, you don't back it up with evidence. You're saying that physical damage happens more frequently, but I know that you know the math behind this kind of stuff, so you should know how simplified that argument is and how many things you are ignoring.

Saying that Will and Reflex saves are less important than Deflection saves is saying that spellcasters are useless. It's also ignoring the numbers in the calculations. If an attribute gave you enough Will to make you immune against magic, that would be useful as hell.

 

In any case. One possible solution would be to put all defenses into Resolve. All four of them. Think about it. It's the exact same thing that was done for damage, accuracy, AoE and duration... it was de-coupled from the kind of effect it had. All that mattered was its primary function, and that's what the attribute affected.

Simple and symmetrical.

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Percentages are probably throwing you out. Integers are easier to grasp.

 

+1 Damage - very easy to grasp

 

2% - not so easy

 

That's why most games either go with integer damage and integer or percentile armor - as that's much easier to understand.

I still hope that once mechanics are set in stone all the percentages are going to be turned into closest equivalent integers for preservation of sanity of players.
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Monte Carlo is talking about intuitive feels and this is very important in good design. It's why Apple's products are universally liked- because they make things simple to understand even though there is a lot of complexity behind them (or is there? I dunno, I don't like Apple products, but others seem to).

 

The infrastructure of the mechanics and gears and wheels can be as complex as they want to be, but when they present that information to the gamers, it must be clear and quickly so. And text isn't always the easiest way to do this, so the devs should think about other methods (graphs, images, videos?) to boil the elements down to "just the brass tacks."

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Thanks to everyone who took time to explain stuff to me, it's beginning to make more sense. I am grateful.

 

Hormalakh nails it, he said it better than I did. It's not intuitive imo. But I've got lots of muscle-memory to work against, I suppose.

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No.  :huh:

 

In other parts of your paper you're actually talking about the elegance and symmetry and how you want to preserve them. The more I think about it, the more this seems like a very big flaw.

It's not a flaw I created. The elegance we spoke about was two offensive, two defensive and two universal attributes. We do not count what the attributes give to the minor defenses in that assessment.

 

 

It is a flaw you created when you took Deflection into the mix. (A move that I approve of, just to make that clear.)

They're not "minor defenses", they're defenses, plain and simple. Three of them. Before, there was symmetry, then you included the fourth defense without re-arranging the others, and now there is no symmetry anymore.

 

And I find your notion that Deflection is more important than the other defenses very worrying, because unlike any of the other changes, you don't back it up with evidence. You're saying that physical damage happens more frequently, but I know that you know the math behind this kind of stuff, so you should know how simplified that argument is and how many things you are ignoring.

Saying that Will and Reflex saves are less important than Deflection saves is saying that spellcasters are useless. It's also ignoring the numbers in the calculations. If an attribute gave you enough Will to make you immune against magic, that would be useful as hell.

 

In any case. One possible solution would be to put all defenses into Resolve. All four of them. Think about it. It's the exact same thing that was done for damage, accuracy, AoE and duration... it was de-coupled from the kind of effect it had. All that mattered was its primary function, and that's what the attribute affected.

Simple and symmetrical.

 

 

While there is a certain asymmetry in how the defenses are raised in our system, it's worse in the original system because there's no way to raise Deflection at all. And while it is kind of odd, I don't think it's really enough of a problem to merit making major changes, though I'd be up for hearing suggestions.

 

All 4 defenses in Resolve? Well... I see your point about it being similar to the other attributes in that the attribute effect is de-coupled from the kind of effect. That said, I kind of like that different characters have different strengths and weaknesses though. Under that suggestion, you might as well have only 1 defense (not entirely because of defense buffs/debuffs, but hopefully you get the point). In the current system, a character could be abnormally resistant to AoE attacks (Ref) or to poison (Fort), but be easy to hit with mental magic. This change would greatly decrease that flexibility.

 

It should also be mentioned that this change would significantly nerf all the other attributes. Deflection alone (or even with AoE) might not be enough to compete with the other stats (though I think its close), but all defenses on one attribute would be overpowered, especially considering the others being decreased.

 

May I make an alternate suggestion? (albeit one I still rank below leaving defenses as is :p) I could get behind something like +1 in each defense for Resolve, then +1 in a selected defense for each the other attributes not counting Might. So the defenses distribution could look something like this (with other effects in parentheses):

 

  • Might: no defenses (+2% damage)
  • Constitution: +1 Fortitude (+2% health/stamina)
  • Dexterity: +1 Reflexes (+2% action speed)
  • Intellect: +1 Will (+5% AoE/Duration)
  • Perception: +1 Deflection (+1 Accuracy, maybe +1% Interrupt)
  • Resolve: +1 to all 4 defenses, maybe even +1.5 if we want to get crazy, or maybe even a percentage bonus! (+1% Concentration)

 

^ dis ees much better in my opinion. Could also change the +2%s to +3%s, and the +1 Accuracy to +2 for a start in giving attributes more impact.

Edited by Matt516
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I thought having deflection and accuracy on the same attribute was too OP.

 

Well, as Fearabbit pointed out, Deflection is really not all that distinct from the other 3 Defenses (which are already governed by various other attributes at a rate of +1.5 per point at the moment). It is probably still the most targeted, but that's accounted for by the fact that it's easier to increase via shields and such. This change puts Deflection on par with the other defensive statistics by making each one of them have a single attribute that raises them, with Resolve raising all 4 of them. So the surrounding situation has changed, and I don't think the "OP" argument from before is quite as valid now.

 

Perception would be a crazy good attribute for frontliners though - Constitution might need a boost to 3% so its still the better defensive attribute. Maybe not though as it affects all defenses, so in that way is basically a mirror for Resolve (in this new idea).

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God, I wish Josh would post here. So, he is discussing dropping interrupt and concentration from the attribute system?

 

I like those being part of the attribute system, but I don't like them being the "sole" benefit of an attribute. Eh, to each their own.

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He posted here on Friday - has probably been enjoying his weekend off and I don't blame him haha. I hope he revisits the thread on Monday though - it'd be a good use of his time as a designer IMO as this thread has perhaps the most productive design discussion of any thread I've yet seen on this forum. :)

 

Agreed on Concentration not being the sole benefit of an attribute. It's too weak, and making it strong enough to compete on its own by making Interrupts more severe or more common would just make the Interrupt system too impactful IMO.

Edited by Matt516
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May I make an alternate suggestion? (albeit one I still rank below leaving defenses as is  :p) I could get behind something like +1 in each defense for Resolve, then +1 in a selected defense for each the other attributes not counting Might. So the defenses distribution could look something like this (with other effects in parentheses):

 

  • Might: no defenses (+2% damage)
  • Constitution: +1 Fortitude (+2% health/stamina)
  • Dexterity: +1 Reflexes (+2% action speed)
  • Intellect: +1 Will (+5% AoE/Duration)
  • Perception: +1 Deflection (+1 Accuracy, maybe +1% Interrupt)
  • Resolve: +1 to all 4 defenses, maybe even +1.5 if we want to get crazy, or maybe even a percentage bonus! (+1% Concentration)

 

^ dis ees much better in my opinion. Could also change the +2%s to +3%s, and the +1 Accuracy to +2 for a start in giving attributes more impact.

 

I like your suggestion. Especially the part where Might gets no defense, which really makes a lot of sense and further emphasizes the point that this is not Strength. Currently it has a very physical defense just for the sake of symmetry, making it that much harder to grasp that Might is a new concept.

Both the current system and the system from your paper are hybrids in a way. Your suggestion up there is more abstract, but it is consistently so.

 

BTW if I remember correctly Josh can only access his forum account from the office. At least that was his excuse for always posting on Something Awful. :p

 

EDIT: ...right you are.

Edited by Fearabbit
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May I make an alternate suggestion? (albeit one I still rank below leaving defenses as is :p

*snip*

 

If you like it, you should quote the suggestion itself as well so skimmers are more likely to see it. ;)

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So, concentration is still in the attribute system and would work directly against the weapons innate interrupt capabilities?

 

I am fine with Josh not being on during the weekends, but this conversation should either happen on these forums or not at all IMHO.

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I would love to have interruption be based on damage dealt in combination with base interrupt of weapons.

That way we still have two stats governing how often it happens (damage and accuracy). It is also more intuitive that more damage makes it harder to resist being interrupted.

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@Matt

  • Might: no defenses (+2% damage/healing)
  • Constitution: +1 Fortitude (+2% health/stamina)
  • Dexterity: +1 Reflexes (+2% action speed)
  • Intellect: +1 Will (+5% AoE)
  • Perception: +1 Deflection (+1 Accuracy)
  • Resolve:  no defenses (+1% Concentration,+5% Duration)

They would have to make AoE more significant, like discussed before. Perception still feels too strong.

 

More in line with Sawyer's ideas:

  • Might: no defenses (+2% damage/healing)
  • Constitution: +1 Fortitude (+2% health/stamina)
  • Dexterity: +1 Reflexes (+2% action speed)
  • Intellect: +1 Deflection (+5% AoE)
  • Perception: no defenses (+1 Accuracy, +X% Range of Spells)
  • Resolve:  +1 Will (+1% Concentration, +5% Duration)

Range of spells seems kind of meh to me. I really think it's important to not split the defense stats between attributes.

 

edit: Stacking defenses(will/fort/ref) seems stupid to me.

Edited by Seari
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In any case. One possible solution would be to put all defenses into Resolve. All four of them. Think about it. It's the exact same thing that was done for damage, accuracy, AoE and duration... it was de-coupled from the kind of effect it had. All that mattered was its primary function, and that's what the attribute affected.

Simple and symmetrical.

Josh won't do that ;)

 

Range of anything is pointless because it does nothing for melee. I'm not interested in a range mechanic being used. It's not effective for various ranged characters to be far back because they won't be in range of party buffs.

Edited by Sensuki
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I am fine with Josh not being on during the weekends, but this conversation should either happen on these forums or not at all IMHO.

I don't think we govern Josh's private life just yet. ;)

 

Ok, snarkiness aside I don't get the problem so feel free to ignore my post. Anyway, as fearrabit mentioned Josh doesn't have access from home to his work account here. Thats why he doesn't post here during times he isn't at the office.

 

Generally I wouldn't expect a full answer on the problem till later last week. For the same reason that it was posted on friday and its the weekend.

Edited by C2B
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@C2B - that's fair. If it were me I would just wait to re-engage the discussion until Monday, but you are right.

Eh, its a fair complaint (Not posting enough here). I think Monte also misses the time when Obsidian devs generally seem to have posted more on these forums.

 

(I wasn't actually around back then, so that might be wrong)

Edited by C2B
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I am fine with Josh not being on during the weekends, but this conversation should either happen on these forums or not at all IMHO.

I don't think we govern Josh's private life just yet. ;)

 

Ok, snarkiness aside I don't get the problem so feel free to ignore my post. Anyway, as fearrabit mentioned Josh doesn't have access from home to his work account here. Thats why he doesn't post here during times he isn't at the office.

 

Generally I wouldn't expect a full answer on the problem till later last week. For the same reason that it was posted on friday and its the weekend.

I think most are somewhat put off by that his preferred forum to discuss PoE outside of work is behind a paywall. I can understand why he doesn't want to spend his weekends doing work stuff, but it can be a bit frustrating to hear about tidbits secondhand and not being able to easily find them without forking over 10bux.

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