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How to Fix the Attribute Design in Pillars of Eternity

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I've always liked the idea of Resolve governing stamina (endurance, energy or what have you,) as a regular runner and hiker its never been my fitness that's failed me, rather my will to continue. When in a bloody minded or conversely a jolly mood I can push on mile after mile, and take satisfaction in that determination, but when the black dog is upon me my logical mind kicks in, doubts and apathy eat away, the bodys aches seem more urgent and I falter.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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The main conclusions we reached internally were:

 

1) Interrupt chance should be primarily attack/weapon-based with Accuracy (or rather, attack resolution) being the modifying factor.  This doesn't entirely align with your conclusions, but it essentially decouples Interrupt from an Attribute independent of what's affecting Accuracy.

 

2) Accuracy makes as much, if not more, sense on Perception as it would on Dexterity.

 

3) Dexterity should modify Action Speed by 2% per point.

 

4) We should establish 10 as the baseline for any stat, with values below inflicting penalties.  It feels more traditional and it's extremely easy to make the math work either way (i.e., nothing "bad" really happens because of it, gameplay-wise).

 

With Resolve, we were still torn on a few issues.  We also considered putting Deflection onto one of the stats, but having a stat be purely defensive didn't feel great.  Keeping Concentration on Resolve seems good/solid/sensible.  We had discussed what I believe was an idea originally from the forums, which was having Might not affect healing output, but having Resolve affect healing received.  I think that could work well, as could simply making Endurance (FAK Stamina) be Resolve-based, with Health being Constitution-based.

 

Anyway, those are my quick thoughts, but again I want to let you know that I appreciate all of the effort you put into researching these problems.

I can see Dexterity as a hybrid attribute, offering a smaller bonus to action speed ( 1.5% ) and a defense against critical hits, reducing/increasing received bonus damage on a crit ( -2% or -2.5% damage for every point above 10, reverse for below 10 ). Clumsy people have a tendency to get hit in bad places!

Nothing spectacular, but something as a replacement for deflection on an attribute.

 

From all the various suggestions for Resolve in this thread, I like concentration + healing received the most.

Transforming Constitution into a strategic resource (health) is not a good idea IMO; "resting here I come!" Also, putting deflection on Resolve doesn't feel right (there's no need to make attributes even more gamist). Not only that, but coupling two powerful stats, deflection and concentration, under the umbrella of a single attribute doesn't solve the issue of said attribute being subpar for ranged characters and outstandingly useful for melee warriors.

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Might - damage and healing

Dexterity - accuracy, action speed, reflex

Constitution - health, fortitude

Perception  - deflection, interrupt

Intellect - spell duration & AoE size

Resolve - concentration, endurance(stamina), will

 

I wouldn't mind keeping health & endurance on Constitution, removing healing from Might, and adding healing received to Resolve.

 

This would be ideal for me personally, but I care more about role-playing than I do about functionality.

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Josh and his team should definitely consider the changes proposed in this document. It has great structure, the proposed ideas are sound and supporting evidence is included. Great work Sensuki and Matt, I hope you get the recognition that you so clearly deserve.

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OK, here's my full response to the discussion so far:

 

Hey, guys.  First of all, thank you for putting this together.  It's great work.  Your research is (obviously) extremely in-depth and well thought-out.  

 

Thanks for the read and for the reply!

 

 

1) Interrupt chance should be primarily attack/weapon-based with Accuracy (or rather, attack resolution) being the modifying factor.  This doesn't entirely align with your conclusions, but it essentially decouples Interrupt from an Attribute independent of what's affecting Accuracy.

 

I actually think it aligns perfectly with our conclusions - or at least the rationale behind them. In our proposed system, Interrupt chance per point of Perception is reduced from 3% to 1% - so it's very close to making it purely dependent on Accuracy anyway. The reason we left it in was to A) not suggest too drastic a change by removing % interrupt entirely, and (more importantly) B) that with Interrupt and Accuracy on the same stat, Interrupt can be very easily tuned. Either way, I think we're on the same page - Interrupt should be governed by whatever governs Accuracy. I just think that leaving the Interrupt chance variable in as well would give you more flexibility in balancing.

 

 

2) Accuracy makes as much, if not more, sense on Perception as it would on Dexterity.

 

Agreed from an RP perspective. From a mechanics perspective, of course, it doesn't really matter as long as the attributes offer roughly the same utility (as hard to quantify as that may be).

 

 

3) Dexterity should modify Action Speed by 2% per point.

 

Huzzah! :)

 

 

4) We should establish 10 as the baseline for any stat, with values below inflicting penalties.  It feels more traditional and it's extremely easy to make the math work either way (i.e., nothing "bad" really happens because of it, gameplay-wise).

 

Have been trying to convince people that it doesn't matter (mathematically) if they are penalties/boni or all boni ever since the Beta started. xD

I do think that with this target audience (i.e. IE fans), making attributes below the "average" give nominal penalties would probably go over better and in general "feel" better.

 

 

With Resolve, we were still torn on a few issues.  We also considered putting Deflection onto one of the stats, but having a stat be purely defensive didn't feel great.  Keeping Concentration on Resolve seems good/solid/sensible.  We had discussed what I believe was an idea originally from the forums, which was having Might not affect healing output, but having Resolve affect healing received.  I think that could work well, as could simply making Endurance (FAK Stamina) be Resolve-based, with Health being Constitution-based.

 

Here's where I've really got to disagree with you. 2 things:

 

Regarding not putting Deflection on a stat:

For one, there is already one "purely defensive" stat - Constitution. Additionally, stating that purely defensive stats don't "feel" great seems like a bit of a subjective thing. It might not feel great for you and for a majority of the playtesting team (which is where I assume you're drawing that info from), but you really need a larger sample size as this is basically a matter of personal preference. For me (and many others), having the ability to choose a purely defensive stat to augment a character concept "feels" fantastic! Also, Concentration is not a defensive stat, at least not from a mechanical standpoint. It does absolutely nothing to improve survivability - it prevents you from having your own attacks interrupted. At best, this is a hybrid (utility) stat, though I'd honestly even call it slightly offensive. Even if Deflection was added to Resolve, Constitution would still be more of a "purely defensive" stat.

 

Regarding taking healing from Might or splitting up Health/Stamina:

This is a bad idea, in my opinion. The current problems with the attribute system stem from Resolve and Perception. Those are the broken stats. Might and Constitution are just fine how they are. Removing healing from Might or removing health from Constitution would make them weaker, requiring other balance changes to compensate, and in general causing your team to spend much more time than necessary iterating through attribute design systems. From both an RP and a mechanical perspective, you've already gotten Might and Constitution right - they are attributes with very clear benefits that "feel" really good to put points into. Nerfing either one of them would be a mistake, and would cause a balancing chain reaction that would potentially eat up development time that could be better used for other things. Why waste time trying to find a good attribute system that requires major changes to the one already in place when you could have a good attribute system while making only minor changes?

 

Anyway - that's my $0.02. Thanks again for taking the time to discuss these kinds of issues with the BB community - we appreciate it.

 

 

 

PS:

Wow. Good work.

 

Though I have to admit I winced a little when you call it a mathematical proof (it's certainly rigorous as far as arguments over RPG mechanics go but it's not that rigorous).

 

Yeah..... but I'm an engineer, not a mathematician. All I care about is if my analysis lets me draw useful conclusions. ;P

You're right though... O_o

Edited by Matt516
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 @ Sensuki & Matt516

 

Really nice work guys.  I like the changes and particularly like adding deflection to Resolve.  The nice thing about the solution at a glance is that it creates 3 categories of attributes now; Offensive (Might & Perception), Defensive (Resolve & Constitution) & Augmentation (Intellect & Dexterity).  Having attributes re-arranged like this makes the system more understandable at a glance which is really necessary as people seem to be struggling with how attributes function and impact character building.

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The nice thing about the solution at a glance is that it creates 3 categories of attributes now; Offensive (Might & Perception), Defensive (Resolve & Constitution) & Augmentation (Intellect & Dexterity).  Having attributes re-arranged like this makes the system more understandable at a glance which is really necessary as people seem to be struggling with how attributes function and impact character building.

 

That's one thing we really liked about it - it's very intuitive. Works well enough from an RP standpoint (we think) while creating a mechanically appealing and balanced system. The symmetry of having those 3 categories is very aesthetically appealing. Also, the two offensive and defensive attributes directly oppose one another - Might/Constitution and Perception/Resolve. All in all we think it makes the attribute system much more elegant.

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^  Absolutely...I think Obsidian would be doing itself a big favor adopting these proposed changes; from both a character management/development standpoint for us players and also being able to efficiently describe the system and stay on message marketing-wise for them.

Edited by curryinahurry
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I concur with Matt516 on these two points: A) As is, I think the might and constitution stats are quite good and should not be changed (i.e. Healing should not be decoupled from might and endurance should not be decoupled from concentration) and B) I don't think having deflection (or any other defensive stat) assigned to an attribute is an issue.

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Here's where I've really got to disagree with you. 2 things:

 

Regarding not putting Deflection on a stat:

For one, there is already one "purely defensive" stat - Constitution. Additionally, stating that purely defensive stats don't "feel" great seems like a bit of a subjective thing. It might not feel great for you and for a majority of the playtesting team (which is where I assume you're drawing that info from), but you really need a larger sample size as this is basically a matter of personal preference. For me (and many others), having the ability to choose a purely defensive stat to augment a character concept "feels" fantastic! Also, Concentration is not a defensive stat, at least not from a mechanical standpoint. It does absolutely nothing to improve survivability - it prevents you from having your own attacks interrupted. At best, this is a hybrid (utility) stat, though I'd honestly even call it slightly offensive. Even if Deflection was added to Resolve, Constitution would still be more of a "purely defensive" stat.

 

Regarding taking healing from Might or splitting up Health/Stamina:

This is a bad idea, in my opinion. The current problems with the attribute system stem from Resolve and Perception. Those are the broken stats. Might and Constitution are just fine how they are. Removing healing from Might or removing health from Constitution would make them weaker, requiring other balance changes to compensate, and in general causing your team to spend much more time than necessary iterating through attribute design systems. From both an RP and a mechanical perspective, you've already gotten Might and Constitution right - they are attributes with very clear benefits that "feel" really good to put points into. Nerfing either one of them would be a mistake, and would cause a balancing chain reaction that would potentially eat up development time that could be better used for other things. Why waste time trying to find a good attribute system that requires major changes to the one already in place when you could have a good attribute system while making only minor changes?

Yeah, you seem to agree on the needs of changing Resolve but it doesn't actually makes sense at all to involve attribute scores where no obvious problems found in the process.  "If not broken, don't fix it." attitude feels quite engineer-like but it also practical.
 
A very competent argument on concentration, too.  I thought of something similar but you put it much better than I could.  Generally speaking, I found your arguments quite fair.  I also hope your efforts will lead to constructive conclusions in the right direction.
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I also would like to put in my two cents and say that I like the proposed changes. I also saw JES's comment and think those additional changes are also sound. I'm glad you guys decided to do the -/+ thing afterall.

 

All the best.

Edited by Hormalakh

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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With Resolve, we were still torn on a few issues.  We also considered putting Deflection onto one of the stats, but having a stat be purely defensive didn't feel great.  Keeping Concentration on Resolve seems good/solid/sensible.  We had discussed what I believe was an idea originally from the forums, which was having Might not affect healing output, but having Resolve affect healing received.  I think that could work well, as could simply making Endurance (FAK Stamina) be Resolve-based, with Health being Constitution-based.

 

Seems like it would make Constitution pretty weak though if it only affected health even if you increased it to 4% health per point. While then you probably don't want to drop it too low I don't think there'd be much point in having health significantly higher than Endurance so high Con mid/low resolve would be kind of pointless.

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Regarding not putting Deflection on a stat:

For one, there is already one "purely defensive" stat - Constitution. Additionally, stating that purely defensive stats don't "feel" great seems like a bit of a subjective thing. It might not feel great for you and for a majority of the playtesting team (which is where I assume you're drawing that info from), but you really need a larger sample size as this is basically a matter of personal preference. For me (and many others), having the ability to choose a purely defensive stat to augment a character concept "feels" fantastic! Also, Concentration is not a defensive stat, at least not from a mechanical standpoint. It does absolutely nothing to improve survivability - it prevents you from having your own attacks interrupted. At best, this is a hybrid (utility) stat, though I'd honestly even call it slightly offensive. Even if Deflection was added to Resolve, Constitution would still be more of a "purely defensive" stat.

 

Regarding taking healing from Might or splitting up Health/Stamina:

This is a bad idea, in my opinion. The current problems with the attribute system stem from Resolve and Perception. Those are the broken stats. Might and Constitution are just fine how they are. Removing healing from Might or removing health from Constitution would make them weaker, requiring other balance changes to compensate, and in general causing your team to spend much more time than necessary iterating through attribute design systems. From both an RP and a mechanical perspective, you've already gotten Might and Constitution right - they are attributes with very clear benefits that "feel" really good to put points into. Nerfing either one of them would be a mistake, and would cause a balancing chain reaction that would potentially eat up development time that could be better used for other things. Why waste time trying to find a good attribute system that requires major changes to the one already in place when you could have a good attribute system while making only minor changes?

 

I think we're getting close on this, but here's a small modification: instead of INT being +5 AoE Size/Duration per point and RES being +3 Concentration/+? Deflection per point, for general *~ feels ~* and broader applicability, set INT to +5 AoE Size/+? Deflection per point, and RES to +3 Concentration, +5% Duration per point.

 

Concentration and longer durations seem to feel appropriate on RES.  If you're a character who is not always in the line of fire, you're probably creating more status effects and could use longer durations.  If you're a caster character, AoE size is great even if you're not always in the line of fire (Deflection-wise).  Any front-line character would benefit from increased Deflection even if they weren't creating effects with AoEs.  And Deflection on INT seems slightly more fitting than Deflection on RES.

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Deflection makes more sense on PER or DEX. Does being smarter really help you with deflecting blows? I guess, but not really.

 

edit: I think INT is fine as it is. It makes perfect sense to be able to shape your spells to be larger or longer lasting with your intellect.

Edited by Seari

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A high INT, PER, DEX aoe interrupting barbarian tank  :dancing:, or at least crowd controller. 

 

Edit: I'll try it even without +deflection on INT.

Edited by Lychnidos

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Deflection makes more sense on PER or DEX. Does being smarter really help you with deflecting blows? I guess, but not really.

 

I don't disagree, but if DEX affects Action Speed and PER affects Accuracy, putting Deflection on either would make them must-haves (IMO) and doesn't help out RES at all.

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I think we're getting close on this, but here's a small modification: instead of INT being +5 AoE Size/Duration per point and RES being +3 Concentration/+? Deflection per point, for general *~ feels ~* and broader applicability, set INT to +5 AoE Size/+? Deflection per point, and RES to +3 Concentration, +5% Duration per point.

 

Concentration and longer durations seem to feel appropriate on RES.  If you're a character who is not always in the line of fire, you're probably creating more status effects and could use longer durations.  If you're a caster character, AoE size is great even if you're not always in the line of fire (Deflection-wise).  Any front-line character would benefit from increased Deflection even if they weren't creating effects with AoEs.  And Deflection on INT seems slightly more fitting than Deflection on RES.

 

 

Deflection on Int makes slightly more sense than on Res, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense.

Intelligence would become the attribute for all front-line warriors and meh on casters. 

 

If you believe that deflection can't be put on an attribute that makes RP sense, stick to your vision. 

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Int with Deflection makes me think of the Combat Expertise feat (I always made Int-based Fighters in 3.5e because of that feat). I really like +Duration on Resolve, that one fit really well.


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


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Deflection makes more sense on PER or DEX. Does being smarter really help you with deflecting blows? I guess, but not really.

 

edit: I think INT is fine as it is. It makes perfect sense to be able to shape your spells to be larger or longer lasting with your intellect.

 

It could seen that you character has better understanding how to position themselves better so that it is harder to enemy to hit them and they have better ability to choose right counter move against enemy etc.. 

 

I would say that deflection in intellect as fine as it would work in dexterity and even better than in prospection in my opinion.  

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Regarding not putting Deflection on a stat:

For one, there is already one "purely defensive" stat - Constitution. Additionally, stating that purely defensive stats don't "feel" great seems like a bit of a subjective thing. It might not feel great for you and for a majority of the playtesting team (which is where I assume you're drawing that info from), but you really need a larger sample size as this is basically a matter of personal preference. For me (and many others), having the ability to choose a purely defensive stat to augment a character concept "feels" fantastic! Also, Concentration is not a defensive stat, at least not from a mechanical standpoint. It does absolutely nothing to improve survivability - it prevents you from having your own attacks interrupted. At best, this is a hybrid (utility) stat, though I'd honestly even call it slightly offensive. Even if Deflection was added to Resolve, Constitution would still be more of a "purely defensive" stat.

 

Regarding taking healing from Might or splitting up Health/Stamina:

This is a bad idea, in my opinion. The current problems with the attribute system stem from Resolve and Perception. Those are the broken stats. Might and Constitution are just fine how they are. Removing healing from Might or removing health from Constitution would make them weaker, requiring other balance changes to compensate, and in general causing your team to spend much more time than necessary iterating through attribute design systems. From both an RP and a mechanical perspective, you've already gotten Might and Constitution right - they are attributes with very clear benefits that "feel" really good to put points into. Nerfing either one of them would be a mistake, and would cause a balancing chain reaction that would potentially eat up development time that could be better used for other things. Why waste time trying to find a good attribute system that requires major changes to the one already in place when you could have a good attribute system while making only minor changes?

 

I think we're getting close on this, but here's a small modification: instead of INT being +5 AoE Size/Duration per point and RES being +3 Concentration/+? Deflection per point, for general *~ feels ~* and broader applicability, set INT to +5 AoE Size/+? Deflection per point, and RES to +3 Concentration, +5% Duration per point.

 

Concentration and longer durations seem to feel appropriate on RES.  If you're a character who is not always in the line of fire, you're probably creating more status effects and could use longer durations.  If you're a caster character, AoE size is great even if you're not always in the line of fire (Deflection-wise).  Any front-line character would benefit from increased Deflection even if they weren't creating effects with AoEs.  And Deflection on INT seems slightly more fitting than Deflection on RES.

 

 

Hmm. That would be interesting. I'll separate my reply into the mechanical (i.e. balance) and the role-playing (i.e. "appropriateness") sections, since they're really separate considerations.

 

Mechanics:

Of the two statistics currently tied to Intellect, Duration is obviously far superior. The AoE bonus is not very valuable at the moment due to the "my AoE is too big and I can't make it smaller" problem - not sure if that's planned to be customizable pre-cast with the mouse wheel or something. That said, even if that is fixed, AoE will still be much less powerful than Duration IMO. In light of that fact, combining AoE with Deflection doesn't seem like it would end up with an overpowered attribute, but I'm not entirely sure it wouldn't be underpowered either. Doesn't immediately strike me as a good or bad idea though - worth a try. Duration is very very powerful, so tying Concentration to it doesn't seem like a bad idea either since Concentration is kind of "meh" in my opinion. If it did turn out to be overpowered, the Concentration or Duration bonus could just be decreased to balance it.

 

Role-Playing:

While I think Deflection makes a bit more sense on Resolve than on Intellect, I can see how it could make sense for Intellect as well. So no argument here. Duration doesn't really make that much sense for Resolve IMO, but I don't really care all that much personally. I could be convinced to have it make sense on Resolve.

Edited by Matt516

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I think resolve should be renamed. Stamina changed to endurance was a good thing. Resolve also needs to change, imo. I'm not feeling it at all.

 

The only other thing it could be used for is if magic damage and healing is used with this stat.

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Deflection makes more sense on PER or DEX. Does being smarter really help you with deflecting blows? I guess, but not really.

 

I don't disagree, but if DEX affects Action Speed and PER affects Accuracy, putting Deflection on either would make them must-haves (IMO) and doesn't help out RES at all.

 

 

 Agreed - if DEX gives IAS and PER gives ACC, DEF absolutely cannot go on either of the two.

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A high INT, PER, aoe interrupting barbarian tank  :dancing:. Or at least crowd controller, maybe it will serve. 

 

Yes, this has the potential to be game breakingly "good" - especially since interrupts would stack if you have more than one interrupt barbarian in your party. It's an important edge case.

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On first glance Josh's idea just switches dump stat for characters without particularly large set of %duration abilities (like Fighters) from INT to RES.

 

I agree that set of +Duration +AoE is basically a set of modifiers for classes with spells, but you're just kinda moving it around that way. Unless +Duration means that all buffs&heals cast on character also last longer or something like that. Then I can imagine a CON/INT/RES ultimate tank or Gish with RES for longer lasting arcane eyes/mirror image whatever.

Edited by Shadenuat

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