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How to Fix the Attribute Design in Pillars of Eternity


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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.

 

 

Yeah ... I'd prefer to have bonuses than functionally meaningless penalties. I really like the present "everything gives bonuses" model. Mechanical equivalency + ease of comprehension and simplicity = yes please.

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In theory, the dialog options are supposed to keep people away from the 3/18 distribution and direct them to the 13/13 distribution. I know I won't minmax because I don't want to miss out on content.

 

Well, and 3/18 looks ugly too :D

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Well it could also be argued that if you don't min-max you won't get the dialogue options with the highest qualifiers :p

 

ATM I only think options go up to a 16 in the beta (someone correct me on that?)

 

So I imagine you'll get a mix of stuff if you do a balanced array and more of certain types and less of others if you min-max.

Edited by Sensuki
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Well it could also be argued that if you don't min-max you won't get the dialogue options with the highest qualifiers :p

 

ATM I only think options go up to a 16 in the beta (someone correct me on that?)

 

So I imagine you'll get a mix of stuff if you do a balanced array and more of certain types and less of others if you min-max.

 

Ah :(

 

I was hoping it would cap at 14-ish, allowing a balanced character to get almost everything.

 

Well, there is still the "ugly" argument. And you could also have your penalties/bonuses be non linear to reinforce the "extreme" side of a min maxed character (a socially inept genius or a brainless brute...)

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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.

 

 

It's not just new players that avoid penalties, I do it all the time in my replay of D&D based games. I don't think that the majority of players care about min/maxing either, the majority just want a build that works to finish the game.

Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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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.

And you do it by pulling out extra "ability" points that otherwise would have never existed in the same build. It's effectively the same as adding more ability points to make everything more powerful. Except you're doing it in a way that encourages maxing out at least two attributes. A less min-maxed distribution will invariably lessen the bonus.

 

 

 

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.

 

Not the case. If you pump might, dex and int, you lose will-saves, reflex saves, and you interrupt extremely poorly.

 

If you outfit a fighter this way, you can use them effectively as a tank of course. But if you get knocked down, and even the AI in the beta can do this once in a while, you see just how vulnerable that build is.

 

With a wizard, the drawbacks are even greater. Sure, you do loads of damage - but in return you can be interrupted by someone farting in your direction, and you're going to fail the saves against the simplest spell in any spell-book. 

 

And what you're suggesting is basically to make that might/dex/con or might/dex/int build less vulnerable, by making a minimized stat give you better protection. So you have zero dt, but you have dodge anyway. So you have no dodge, but you get deflection base. This is protection that the other classes and other builds don't rely on.

 

And it's protection which they will really lose, along with the max-out bonuses, if the point distribution is less extreme. 

 

Meanwhile, perception and resolve will never be maxed at the cost of the other stats in your makeup. If you did that, you just wouldn't get a viable character build.

 

In other words - before: make a max-min build, and have exaggerated strengths and debilitating weaknesses. After: make a max-min build, or lose significant bonuses.

 

*shrug*

 

On a sidenote - I guess I really should stop getting annoyed by stuff like this, but I've been very unpleasant to random peeps on the forum for playing designers and making suggestions without explaining their own approach to embarrassing detail. So now it's your turn.

 

----

 

Btw, did I ever tell you about Killzone 2? Guerrilla Games had this brilliant control setup that they had balanced and tested the game with for at least four years before any of us tested it in the beta. The feedback then was generally positive. As in, it's unusual, but it makes sense, I can see myself preferring this over twitch very quickly, and it makes sense in terms of the gunplay and movement in the multiplayer, which is very slow but still intense -- this is interesting.

 

Come release, and a small forum-majority managed to come up with the idea that the entire system was broken. There were pages upon pages with insistence that there was some scientific reason for this (although the explanations were bull****). But that in any event, the forumites argued, that regardless of the bs explanations -- the fact that "everyone agreed".. everyone being ten people on a forum... that everyone agreed that it was broken, meant that "something had to be done".

 

So the designers took the feedback seriously, tweaked the game apart, and released the solution in the way people wanted - and had specifically asked for. And the game was broken. It didn't work, it wasn't balanced, it didn't make any sense. IGN didn't revise their review from 96 to 100 points, or whatever. The player base dropped from 100k to 5k in two months. But the forum-majorities were happy now, and that was all that mattered.

 

And if you ask these people now, they still believe that their solution was perfect. They wanted twitch, they got twitch. They demanded a specific and very narrow way to play the game. They got what they wanted. They were happy, they were the greatest fans of GG in the entire world. And it removed 95k players from the game in three weeks.

 

I'm not saying all changes are bad. But try to be aware of that even if you intuitively min-max -- practically requiring every player to do it in order to get anywhere in the game (I fully expect balance tweaks to come in later), is something that /may very well/ cause certain problems later.

 

Never mind that it makes the class and attribute system infinitely less interesting. But what it seems to me you're doing is that you're really setting up a specialized variant of your typical build as the baseline for a new system. That in turn effectively has all attributes raised, to compensate for the extreme weaknesses. And you then let players make minor variations for that specific build.

 

You're right that doing so would make it fall in line with the "other IE games". The other IE games being mostly BG and BG2. But it would also gut a really, really interesting design that has actually proven to be very workable for a vast amount of very interesting character builds. And not only that, it at the moment also makes fights very dynamic, and gives multiple solutions to get out of a very difficult fight, for example. How many IE games had that?

 

So if Josh implements something like this, I'll be disappointed, to put it mildly.

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Here's an idea: When the attributes have been re-balanced and inserted into a patch, how about exaggerating their effects - i.e. how about increasing the bonus points, bonus effects and so forth granted for each attribute - this would facilitate our checking out the balancing effects?

It would hit two birds with one stone, since we'd also get to see what would happen to the system if attributes had much more weight to them. Either it's catastrophic or really fun. :biggrin:

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And you do it by pulling out extra "ability" points that otherwise would have never existed in the same build. It's effectively the same as adding more ability points to make everything more powerful. Except you're doing it in a way that encourages maxing out at least two attributes. A less min-maxed distribution will invariably lessen the bonus.

 

I don't understand how you come to that conclusion: imho, having balanced attributes (that is, attributes that bring the same amount of power to a character) is the antithesis of min-maxing.

 

Look at Baldur's Gate! For a figther, mental attributes were useless so you could dump them to 3. For a mage, wisdom was useless so you could dump it to 3. Even for a bard, charism was not so useful and you could let it at the minimum required.

 

And in the current Beta build, perception is useless so you can dump it easily. As I understand, the proposition aims at redistributing power among the attributes so you won't be able to dump perception (or you will be punished for it).

 

 

On a sidenote - I guess I really should stop getting annoyed by stuff like this, but I've been very unpleasant to random peeps on the forum for playing designers and making suggestions without explaining their own approach to embarrassing detail. So now it's your turn.

 

 

This is an unfair and unaccurate criticism when you read the work of Sensuki and Matt.

Edited by QDI
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Nipsen, you mentioned that you don't like people playing designers without describing their approach to embarrassing detail. Here's the thing - we did describe our approach in an extremely detailed way. We wrote a 20 page paper describing exactly what our approach was and why we think it results in a better system. So I'll ask you again - did you read the pdf linked on page 1 of this thread? If not, there's not much point in any continued discussion as you will remain uninformed of our actual arguments and the math supporting them. If so, your accusations that we didn't go into enough detail are strange to say the least.

 

You claim that our makeup will never lead to perception and resolve being maxed (and that the current system somehow does? Wat.) You're claiming that our approach somehow lessens the penalties of dumping certain stats compared to in the current system. Both of these assertions are simply... wrong, and I'm really not sure how you arrived at them other than completely misunderstanding either our suggested system or the game mechanics themselves...

 

Other forum-goers - am I missing something? Help me out here.

Edited by Matt516
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He didn't read the paper Matt. Check his last paragraph

 

 

On a sidenote - I guess I really should stop getting annoyed by stuff like this, but I've been very unpleasant to random peeps on the forum for playing designers and making suggestions without explaining their own approach to embarrassing detail. So now it's your turn.

 

Btw, did I ever tell you about Killzone 2? Guerrilla Games had this brilliant control setup that they had balanced and tested the game with for at least four years before any of us tested it in the beta. The feedback then was generally positive. As in, it's unusual, but it makes sense, I can see myself preferring this over twitch very quickly, and it makes sense in terms of the gunplay and movement in the multiplayer, which is very slow but still intense -- this is interesting.

 

Come release, and a small forum-majority managed to come up with the idea that the entire system was broken. There were pages upon pages with insistence that there was some scientific reason for this (although the explanations were bull****). But that in any event, the forumites argued, that regardless of the bs explanations -- the fact that "everyone agreed".. everyone being ten people on a forum... that everyone agreed that it was broken, meant that "something had to be done".

He's biased because of something else that happened to another game which he describes here. He thinks that us armchair designers are going to come and ruin the attribute system!

Edited by Sensuki
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Not the case. If you pump might, dex and int, you lose will-saves, reflex saves, and you interrupt extremely poorly.

If you have high Int and low Res you'll still have the same Will defense as someone with balanced Int and Res

 

If you have high Dex and low Per you'll still have the same Reflex defense as someone with balanced Per and Dex.

 

"Interrupt extremely poorly" - this bit is a dead giveaway that you took a quick glance, saw the attribute array and then didn't read further.

 

That's very out of the ordinary for someone who's usually a pretty good poster.

 

On a sidenote - I guess I really should stop getting annoyed by stuff like this, but I've been very unpleasant to random peeps on the forum for playing designers and making suggestions without explaining their own approach to embarrassing detail. So now it's your turn.

:blink: 20 pages not embarrassing detail enough ?

Edited by Sensuki
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Well anyway....

 

Regarding the "10 is average" thing. While I recognize that there are a few problems with it, my overall feeling is that it will be a change for the better. Maybe they'll want to revise it down to 9 at some point (I dunno), but I think that since the math behind things can be the same either way, and since most of the PoE audience (not all) is used to the D&D way of doing things, it doesn't hurt to frame very low scores as losses. I dunno - I don't really care all that much either way myself, but I got the feeling that a lot of people were clamoring for this change and I understand why. As for how this affects min-maxing? The people who are going to min-max will figure out what they want their stats to be and pick based on the math anyway. The people who want to role-play will be aided, as if you want to play a "dumb" character (for example) it helps to see that combat modifer as a penalty - reinforces the idea that the character really is deficient in some way and not just "smart, but not as smart as that 18 INT guy over there".

 

So ultimately - I don't think it will affect the mechanical balance of the game much, other than encouraging slightly more "middle-of-the-road" builds. And (from my point of view) it aids the role-playing aspects by reinforcing with mechanics the RP "feel" one will be going for if they intentionally dump a stat.

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All that matters is this: Josh read Sensuki and Matt's paper, and he really appreciated their effort and agreed with most of their scientifically based conclusions and suggestions, the aim of which is to achieve a great enough balance between attributes so that all of them are attractive in their own right. Josh had himself already pondered along very similar lines and made some similar calculations. Unfortunately, there are a few individuals that turn on even the best and most reasonable suggestions, and the reasons for that aren't always clear, so some people call them shills, fanbois or jealous persons. As long as they have good reasons that they can back up with equally good arguments it's one thing, but if it all just boils down to obscure agendas, personal insults and no real counter-arguments, then we have a problem.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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I honestly don't get what Nipson is complaining about either, granted I disapprove of how it is being done, S&Ms system still does allow for a larger variation of builds by making resolve and perception worthwhile having, that larger variation makes minmaxing less favorable as it doesn't allow you to dump resolve and perception without feeling it in the slightest way.

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