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How to Fix the Attribute Design in Pillars of Eternity


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The RP concerns are secondary IMO. As long as it makes reasonable sense, the mechanical balance is the most important thing to me. You're welcome to make suggestions and welcome to disagree - just don't expect Sensuki or I to agree with you on a system that places Concentration as the only major stat on an attribute. Neither of us is a fan of that for various reasons already stated. To each their own though. :)

I suppose the problem we're running into is that you don't actually "balance" the game against it's own design context. Then you just changed the design and did something else instead.

 

And I'm worried that suggestions like this turn up and look like they make sense within the existing design, and are argued to be necessary to make sense of it. But the reason it's really wished for is to make a better max-min build. And you somehow fail to explain that along the way.

 

Some don't think is a problem, because they always make an effort to gear their builds into the specific rules. While those of us who create characters that seem to make sense, with weaknesses and strengths, etc. - what the PoE system does incredibly well - are punished for not making specialists who have an edge on basic stats. Since the game now expects a higher middle level character strength, as it should do.

 

I really thought we had escaped this crap this beta. But no. Of course not.

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All the proposed changes sound fantastic. I would say that making 10 the baseline before penalties feels a bit high. It might be a bit better at 9 so players have a few more points to feel powerful with. There is no real differrence, of course.

Edited by Shevek
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The RP concerns are secondary IMO. As long as it makes reasonable sense, the mechanical balance is the most important thing to me. You're welcome to make suggestions and welcome to disagree - just don't expect Sensuki or I to agree with you on a system that places Concentration as the only major stat on an attribute. Neither of us is a fan of that for various reasons already stated. To each their own though. :)

I suppose the problem we're running into is that you don't actually "balance" the game against it's own design context. Then you just changed the design and did something else instead.

 

And I'm worried that suggestions like this turn up and look like they make sense within the existing design, and are argued to be necessary to make sense of it. But the reason it's really wished for is to make a better max-min build. And you somehow fail to explain that along the way.

 

I'm a bit confused by these assertions - the design goals we used, those of "no bad builds" and "all attributes are useful in some way for all classes" were not our own design goals, but goals stated by Josh Sawyer for his attribute system. 

 

As for the second remark - that's not true. These suggestions aren't to allow better min-maxing at all, they're to roughly equalize the impact of each attribute so the player isn't punished for favoring some stats over others. If anything, that's anti min-maxing, though I don't really think it's min-maxing related at all. The whole point of the attribute redesign is to allow players to "create characters that seem to make sense, with weaknesses and strengths, etc." - and we believe our redesign does a better job of that than the current system does.

 

I may have misunderstood you, would you mind clarifying? Because as I read your concerns, they seem to be related to a misunderstanding of our goals for this attribute redesign. We laid out those two design goals above as our ideal, looked at the current system, and came up with an alternate system we believe fits those goals better than the current system. That's all there is to it.

Edited by Matt516
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The RP concerns are secondary IMO. As long as it makes reasonable sense, the mechanical balance is the most important thing to me. You're welcome to make suggestions and welcome to disagree - just don't expect Sensuki or I to agree with you on a system that places Concentration as the only major stat on an attribute. Neither of us is a fan of that for various reasons already stated. To each their own though. :)

 

So this design is more about combat focus than roleplaying? And balancing the combat aspect of it? And roleplaying has taken a back seat?

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The RP concerns are secondary IMO. As long as it makes reasonable sense, the mechanical balance is the most important thing to me. You're welcome to make suggestions and welcome to disagree - just don't expect Sensuki or I to agree with you on a system that places Concentration as the only major stat on an attribute. Neither of us is a fan of that for various reasons already stated. To each their own though. :)

 

So this design is more about combat focus than roleplaying? And balancing the combat aspect of it? And roleplaying has taken a back seat?

 

 

Oy. Let me start over.

 

RP concerns such as whether certain stats fit on certain attributes are subjective, and as such are harder to get "right" for everyone. As long as an explanation can be provided that is reasonable, I'm not concerned about having an absolutely perfect correspondence between the attribute names and which stats fit them "perfectly". Deflection makes the most sense from an RP perspective on Dexterity or Perception, but it can be finagled to make sense on Intellect or Resolve as well. It's not perfect, but it works.

 

The combat balance, on the other hand, needs to be correct in order to meet the two primary design goals (because they are combat-related). If the attributes are not roughly equal in power from a combat perspective, dump stats will be created. If the boni of the attributes are not generally applicable to a wide range of builds, then some attributes will not be useful for all classes in some way. To continue with my example from before, it would make the most RP sense to have Deflection and Accuracy both on Perception, or Deflection and Speed both on Dexterity. Problem is, that makes those two stats overpowered in combat and leaves Resolve high and dry. Since Deflection can also make sense on Resolve (albiet with a bit of explanation - Sensuki had one, as does Ineth above), it should go there to balance out the attributes since Resolve on its own with only Concentration is boring.

 

I hope that clears things up - the combat effects of the attributes should be balanced with combat in mind primarily, with RP "fittingness" as a consideration but a secondary consideration. As long as it makes sense in the end, I'm ok with maybe one attribute having a slightly odd stat attached to it (such as Deflection on Resolve). This doesn't affect the roleplaying aspects of the stats in the least. We don't propose any changes to the dialog checks or anything, and in fact Sensuki has actively opposed renaming (for example) Intellect to Cunning for the very reason that it would screw up the dialog checks.

 

TL;DR - RP concerns are important, but our paper is focused on how to balance the combat effects of the stats so combat balance is indeed the primary concern in the paper. We like RP too though. :)

Edited by Matt516
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Actually, by having balanced stats under this system it will lead to better role playing characters. Basically it'll mean you'll never have to say "I have this really cool character concept, but I'm not doing it because it would be mechanically useless."

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I keep trying to make it happen, but it's just not catching on. :p

 

EDIT: Bonussen would also be an acceptable alternative. "Bonuses" is just so... boring.

I dunno, "Boni" sounds like something I'd do to my girlfriend.

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Actually, by having balanced stats under this system it will lead to better role playing characters. Basically it'll mean you'll never have to say "I have this really cool character concept, but I'm not doing it because it would be mechanically useless."

 

That's exactly the idea.  :yes:

 

 

 I keep trying to make it happen, but it's just not catching on.  :p

 

EDIT: Bonussen would also be an acceptable alternative. "Bonuses" is just so... boring.

 

I dunno, "Boni" sounds like something I'd do to my girlfriend.

 

In the interest of propriety, then, "bonussen" it is.

Edited by Matt516
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As for the second remark - that's not true. These suggestions aren't to allow better min-maxing at all, they're to roughly equalize the impact of each attribute so the player isn't punished for favoring some stats over others. If anything, that's anti min-maxing, though I don't really think it's min-maxing related at all.

Or in other words - you're not punished as much as before for choosing a min-max build with extremely low and extremely high stats.

 

Meaning that if you do not build after a min-max pattern, you're really "gimping your character for role-playing purposes". So if you want to get a good build, you need to max-min. Exactly the opposite of what was intended, and what was actually achieved with the ruleset as it is.

 

...I'm done with this. I really am. If Josh doesn't see through it, have fun playing the game for both of us, I guess.

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I still don't see what you mean at all - neither Sensuki and I's suggested system nor Josh's second suggested system (both of which I think would work equally well) encourages a max-min build. They let the player build a character however they want and not be punished for it, provided they then play to that character's strengths. I don't understand your assertion that the current system is somehow less encouraging of max-min stats...

 

Or in other words - you're not punished as much as before for choosing a min-max build with extremely low and extremely high stats.

 

This bit here, I'm right there with you. That's true. Sort of. We haven't really changed the impact of attributes, just shifted the bonussen around such that all the attributes are worth roughly the same per-point.
 

Meaning that if you do not build after a min-max pattern, you're really "gimping your character for role-playing purposes". So if you want to get a good build, you need to max-min. Exactly the opposite of what was intended, and what was actually achieved with the ruleset as it is.

 

Here's where you lose me. Comparing the new suggestions to the old system, nothing's really changed with respect to the viability of running around with a few stats maxed out and a few stats not maxed out. All we've done is ensure that you won't be screwed over in combat if you choose to max the "wrong" stats. If you're referring to maxing a few stats out for conversation checks, well maybe you'll want to do that - but our changes haven't affected that in any way other than allowing you more freedom in which stats to max out while remaining viable in combat. So if you don't like that aspect of the system, I apologize - but our suggested changes have nothing to do with it. Additionally, Josh's news that they're planning on setting the "zero point" for stats at 10 with penalties below 10 and bonussen above 10 discourages only maxing a few stats, so if that's your complaint it will be somewhat addressed.

 

So to summarize..... I'm still really confused as to what your complaint is (or if it is what I think it is i.e. the incentive to max a few stats for conversation options, how our suggested changes have anything to do with it). I apologize for not being able to better address your concerns. :(

 

EDIT: Ok, done editing.

Edited by Matt516
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deflection doesn't really seem very resolvy to me, a person with resolve doesn't feel less pain when struck, nor does he move his body in certain ways when hit to reduce the blow (that's dexterity if anything), he just ignores it in order to complete his task.

Well, from playing Badminton, I know that if you're in a 1-on-1 game and starting to get exhausted, and the opponent gets the upper hand and delivers powerful shot after shot that you can just barely defend against & recover from, it can take some determination to keep blocking them no matter what it takes until he makes a mistake that allows you to turn things around. (Rather than, having a moment of weakness and deciding to "give up & let him have the point".)

 

Now I've never been in a sword fight (let alone a sword fight to the death :grin:), but I can imagine conceptually similar situations arising there...

 

So, I don't think Resolve increasing Deflection is problematic.

 

I know this rationalization does not realistically explain why Resolve is the only attribute that increases Deflection (i.e. failure of the attribute system to represent things like physical strength or dexterity contributing to evading blows), but note that:

  • It's no worse than tying weapons + spell damage to the single attribute Might (i.e., failure to represent things like physical strength affecting one type of damage but not the other).

  • If we're honest, it's also no worse than some of the D&D rules in the Infinity Engine games -- we're just more used to those. E.g. how melee Thac0 was only affected by STR (i.e. failure to represent things like dexterity/speed/perception affecting to-hit chances).

  • The attribute system is only part of defining your character's abilities -- even with +1 Deflection bonus per point of Resolve, the biggest factor for determining your character's Deflection will still be your choice of class (e.g. "25 + bonus" as fighter vs "5 + bonus" as barbarian).
I actually complained about the lack of "realism/intuitiveness" of parts of the attribute system myself in earlier threads, but I've since made peace with it. It's meant to be that way. (In line with Josh's "gamism over simulationism" design principle, which Sensuki and Matt are also supporters of.)

As long as they make sure the end result is fun and allows interesting choices, I can live with some impure rationalizations...

By the way, I really like this explanation of how Resolve can fit thematically with Deflection. Good on ya. :)

Edited by Matt516
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I really thought we had escaped this crap this beta. But no. Of course not.

I don't know HOW you think this is possible in the current beta, given how bad Perception and Resolve are - you can make a min/max build pumping MIG, DEX, INT and maybe CON and just laugh through. So I really don't know what you're complaining about there.

 

Our math focuses on supporting a balanced array.

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All the proposed changes sound fantastic. I would say that making 10 the baseline before penalties feels a bit high. It might be a bit better at 9 so players have a few more points to feel powerful with. There is no real differrence, of course.

The biggest effect this change will have is that new players will not put stats below 10 as they don't understand the system and they will consider penalties, no matter how minor, something to avoid.

If that is what OE wants from their players (less min maxing) this is a good change for them.

For me it is a good change mostly because that is how it worked in IE games and I am used to it although I understand math behind does not change.

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IMO generally speaking new players shouldn't minmax. That should only work once you have a good idea of what the stats do and how you can make the most of them.

 

Okay, but there have got to be some people like me, who look at a system and immediately think, "how can I work this for best possible advantage?"

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IMO generally speaking new players shouldn't minmax. That should only work once you have a good idea of what the stats do and how you can make the most of them.

As soon as you dump one stat to 3 so you can put 18 in 2 other stats you are min/maxing even if there is a mechanical penalty for that 3. And if new players see that even 3 gives a bonus they will think it is OK.

 

But changing 3 to penalty they will think it is bad and will think twice before min/maxing.

Edited by archangel979
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IMO generally speaking new players shouldn't minmax. That should only work once you have a good idea of what the stats do and how you can make the most of them.

As soon as you dump one stat to 3 so you can put 18 in 2 other stats you are min/maxing even if there is a mechanical penalty for that 3. And if new players see that even 3 gives a bonus they will think it is OK.

 

But changing 3 to penalty they will think it is bad and will think twice before min/maxing.

 

 

I actually like being able to leave stats at 3 if I should so choose, though. It's ... I dunno, it's nice. I can't explain this.

 

Hm. What about diminishing returns? Something like the largest bonuses between 3-10, slightly smaller bonuses from 11-15, and slightly smaller still from 16-18? That way, players could spread it out so extreme specialization was still tempting for particular builds, but not feel immediately as though that was always the way to go.

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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IMO generally speaking new players shouldn't minmax. That should only work once you have a good idea of what the stats do and how you can make the most of them.

As soon as you dump one stat to 3 so you can put 18 in 2 other stats you are min/maxing even if there is a mechanical penalty for that 3. And if new players see that even 3 gives a bonus they will think it is OK.

 

But changing 3 to penalty they will think it is bad and will think twice before min/maxing.

 

 

I actually like being able to leave stats at 3 if I should so choose, though. It's ... I dunno, it's nice. I can't explain this.

 

Hm. What about diminishing returns? Something like the largest bonuses between 3-10, slightly smaller bonuses from 11-15, and slightly smaller still from 16-18? That way, players could spread it out so extreme specialization was still tempting for particular builds, but not feel immediately as though that was always the way to go.

 

Nobody said you will not be able to put stat at 3, just that new players unfamiliar with the system will mostly avoid putting any stat under 10 once they see it gives them a penalty as they don't know how much this penalty affects the gameplay.
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