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How to Fix the Attribute Design in Pillars of Eternity

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@Matt

I agree with almost all of that but I am curious as to why you think action speed should be a stat?

 

Is it because the current recovery system is too long or slow? and you think this would assist?

Would you still want action speed on a stat if recovery times on armor weren't so harsh?

 

I completely agree that adding deflection on a stat is almost mandatory!

Edited by GreyFox

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This is excellent work, folks. Sounds like Josh and OE were thinking along similar lines, but you've given them some math and clear arguments/solutions to shape the discussion. 

 

Sensuki/Matt's suggestions sound excellent. I would be happy if they were implemented wholesale. Though really appreciate Josh's response here, and the discussion following will only make for more enjoyable mechanics. 

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I agree with almost all of that but I am curious as to why you think action speed should be a stat?

 

Is it because the current recovery system is too long or slow? and you think this would assist?

Would you still want action speed on a stat if recovery times on armor weren't so harsh?

 

I completely agree that adding deflection on a stat is almost mandatory!

 

Partially because recovery time is a little slow (that one's more Sensuki than me, I don't really care), partially because it would be fun to be able to build a "fast" character (impossible in the current system), and partially because another combat stat is needed to round them all out, and IAS fits very well because it can work thematically with DEX or RES and it provides some good "all-around" character improvement without beating any attribute at its own game.

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And while this symmetry still causes me to prefer our design to the others presented in this thread thus far (not that those are bad, mind you), this discussion has brought me to realize that I'm really most concerned about three things at the moment. If these three suggestions are implemented, I'll consider it a win:

  1. Deflection and Action Speed should be on attributes (but not paired with each other or Accuracy)
  2. Might and Constitution should be left alone
  3. Accuracy should be paired with Interrupt (if Interrupt exists as a stat)

 

To be honest i don't actually care how this is solved if PoE can give us a system that achieves:

  1. no dump stats ---> every point matters! 
  2. every attribute usable for every class ---> this allows for a plethora of builds that are nigh impossible to do in every other system

Wether DEX gives us +% to interrupt, stamina, speed, whatever, i think i can accept anything if this 2 req are met. 

 

Using this 3 suggestions i think is the best way to achieve it, so im all for it :)

 

I know achieving this revolution with 6 attributes that feel easy to understand, where you can clearly see the impact of an additional point or two is really hard, but i feel PoE can get soooo close implementing your suggestions. im pumped for this. i want it. this can be the basis for the most glorious RPG ever.

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As much as I love the elegance of the symmetry in Sensuki and Matt's attribute system (seriously, a lot), I can definitely see an argument for swapping deflection and duration in regards to INT and RES, as suggested by Josh. In the S&M system, I can see myself dumping resolve for a purely back-row wizard while dumping INT for a fighter who is built to eschew usage of active abilities. However, by swapping deflection and duration, it becomes difficult to dump either stat for either build, while not loosing much systematically (well, except for the elegant symmetry). So, as of now, I think I prefer Josh's minor tweak to the system, though that might change after I ruminate on it some more.

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As much as I love the elegance of the symmetry in Sensuki and Matt's attribute system (seriously, a lot), I can definitely see an argument for swapping deflection and duration in regards to INT and RES, as suggested by Josh. In the S&M system, I can see myself dumping resolve for a purely back-row wizard while dumping INT for a fighter who is built to eschew usage of active abilities. However, by swapping deflection and duration, it becomes difficult to dump either stat for either build, while not loosing much systematically (well, except for the elegant symmetry). So, as of now, I think I prefer Josh's minor tweak to the system, though that might change after I ruminate on it some more.

 

Josh's suggestion about shuffling INT stats around is very INTeresting. I think it could definitely work. While I'd be loathe to lose the symmetry, as I said: I've come to realize through these discussions (especially seeing other viable ideas for tweaks presented) that in my opinion (like I said, Sensuki might disagree when he wakes up) the three most important suggestions to take from our redesign are these:

  • Deflection and Action Speed should be on attributes (but not paired with each other or Accuracy)
  • Might and Constitution should be left alone
  • Accuracy should be paired with Interrupt (if Interrupt exists as a stat)
Edited by Matt516
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Great suggestion Sensuki/Matt516, but I have a concern:

 

Won't more actions due to the speed boost of DEX make the game even more frantic? 


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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As much as I love the elegance of the symmetry in Sensuki and Matt's attribute system (seriously, a lot), I can definitely see an argument for swapping deflection and duration in regards to INT and RES, as suggested by Josh. In the S&M system, I can see myself dumping resolve for a purely back-row wizard while dumping INT for a fighter who is built to eschew usage of active abilities. However, by swapping deflection and duration, it becomes difficult to dump either stat for either build, while not loosing much systematically (well, except for the elegant symmetry). So, as of now, I think I prefer Josh's minor tweak to the system, though that might change after I ruminate on it some more.

 

 

Josh's suggestion about shuffling INT stats around is very INTeresting. I think it could definitely work. While I'd be loathe to lose the symmetry, as I said: I've come to realize through these discussions (especially seeing other viable ideas for tweaks presented) that in my opinion (like I said, Sensuki might disagree when he wakes up) the three most important suggestions to take from our redesign are these:

 

  • Deflection and Action Speed should be on attributes (but not paired with each other or Accuracy)
  • Might and Constitution should be left alone
  • Accuracy should be paired with Interrupt (if Interrupt exists as a stat)

This I definitely agree with.

 

@Lasweetlife - S&M system? I nearly wet myself. Sensuki and Matt have a lot of explaining to do.

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Great suggestion Sensuki/Matt516, but I have a concern:

 

Won't more actions due to the speed boost of DEX make the game even more frantic? 

 

We address this in the paper (pages 17-18), but here's a paraphrase:

 

Although many actions in combat are fairly fast (mainly basic attacks), some of the higher level spells in PoE can have up to a 6 second cast time. With standard recovery time and in heavy armor, that's 18 seconds of total action time. Granted, that's in heavy armor - but even naked (12 seconds) that's a very long time to be tied up with one ability.

 

Additionally, the following factors (beyond speed) are also contributing to a frantic and "out of control" feeling for the combat right now: 

 High per-hit damage of enemies combined with normalized attack resolutions
 Underpowered Backer Beta characters (due to lack of gear)
 The movement speed of all units in combat is too fast
 Lack of visual, audio and UI feedback in combat
 Player unfamiliarity with the game’s systems
 Higher level of micromanagement required due to more active and modal abilities for all classes
 
So we don't believe the frantic feeling of the combat at the moment is entirely due to game speed. Once the various UI and feedback issues are fixed and players become more used to the game's systems (remember that the BB throws you into a 5-member lvl 5 party with no tutorial or learning time), we anticipate that many will feel that combat is too slow in some aspects.
 
Additionally, even if IAS ends up making the game too fast, the default speed of all actions can always be turned down to compensate - still preserving the freedom of choice to build a "fast" or "slow" character but not breaking the game speed in the process.
 
 
That's a paraphrase, but we address it more in-depth in the paper. Pages 17-18 will have what you're looking for (but please everyone, read the whole thing! It's worthwhile, I promise! :D)
 
Edited by Matt516
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@Lasweetlife - S&M system? I nearly wet myself. Sensuki and Matt have a lot of explaining to do.

 

Lulz. :p

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I think the only real reason for the resistance (assuming this would be balanced properly) is the RP perspective. I'm personally more of a mechanics focused person myself, so I can look past it - but many people won't like a system like this unless there's some plausible game-world explanation for it.

 

I do and don't understand that perspective. I understand wanting a justification, but it's always seemed fitting to me. Many AoE spells/effects originate at a point and spread outward. Fireball is probably the most obvious example, but I tend to think of most effects that way. You're a super smarty, so as you extend the AoE outward, you are able to selectively shape it at the margins, where it terminates. You can't do it on the interior because that's the origin of the effect, where it's emanating from. That's always been my view of it, anyway.

Makes perfect sense to me, and eliminates some micro to resize the AoE. Edited by Marceror
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"Now to find a home for my other staff."
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Thinking more about it I think thematically AoE might make a bit more sense on Resolve as it's kind of the 'force of personality'/charisma* attribute. If the AoE of Paladin auras and Chanter chants was affected (which I dont think they are now by Int), that would be pretty cool and thematic.

 

Duration could stay on Int but maybe reduced to less than 5%  per level if Int is also going to increase deflection (assuming the % effects of all attributes are staying in the range they are now).

 

*the description talks about drive, emotional intensity, and being good for intimidation, leadership and performances

Edited by limaxophobiacq

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@ Sens & Matt. You both are Beta Backer legends. Thanks for rolling up your sleeves, crunching the numbers and putting forward a great suggestion as to how to solve the Resolve/Perception riddle in the attribute system. It is testers like you folks that end up making games better. <3

 

@ Josh. You're a developer legend. Thanks for rolling up your sleeves and gamely going back and forth everyone on this thread trying to offer reasonable suggestions on how to improve the attribute system. You're on the princes of CRPGs and it is great to see a developer like yourself be so ready to engage with devoted fans of your work. Keep making PoE great! 

 

@ The Paper. I am looking forward to sitting down, giving it a good read and putting it together with Josh's feedback on it's various points. If I have anything useful to contribute I'll be sure to post something in this thread. Again, amazing work Sens & Matt! 

Edited by swordofthesith
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Just got through reading it -> *applause*

 

I, for one, would be more than happy with the proposed changes.

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Strength & Constition: Definitely keep as-is, both works mechanically and makes sense thematically, also looks clean (+2% to damage & healing/+2% to health and stamina).

 

Dexterity & Perception: Changing these to Speed & Accuracy is perfect, like Str & Con this works mechanically and thematically, also looks clean (+2% Speed/+1 accuracy)

 

Intelligence & Resolve: Having modifiers to 4 traits (durations, AoE, deflection, and concentration) on 2 attributes is inelegant and they're all completely unrelated and have different values and deflection will be a number which get paired with a % modifier to some other trait. F.ex. for the proposed AoE and Deflection on Int and Duration + Concentration on Resolve it'd be:

 

Str: +2% damage & healing

Con: +2% Health & Stamina

Dex: +2% speed

Per: +1 Accuracy

Int: +1 Deflection & +5% area of effect

Resolve: +3% Concentration & +5% Duration

 

The last 2 just look a lot less elegant than the first 4. It might be balanced mechanically but it's doesn't make all that much sense thematically and it doesn't look very clean at all. They're clearly cobbled together from whatever was left over.*

 

First I thought about throwing both concentration & deflection out of attributes leaving only AoE and Duration but that's problematic because certain classes have no need for AoEs while pretty much all have duration based effects so this is less than ideal.

 

Deflection though, is the one that I think needs to go, because it doesn't make too much sense thematically on either and it looks really bad to combine it with a % modifier to another trait.

 

So here's what I think now: Put back Interrupt into attributes but put it together with Concentration under Resolve, with the same % modifier. This makes sense thematically; when attacking someone else you're intense and scary, which makes them easily interrupted, and you're very determined to keep attacking despite enemy distraction. It is also balanced mechanically; slow attacks and abilities that are vulnerable to being interrupted are generally ones that are bad at causing interrupts, and vice versa for fast ones, so high resolve is about equally good for everyone. Finally, it looks very clean. Keep Int as-is.

 

*Edit: Also it makes Int a lot less usefull to priests (and other casters) who in their description are described as thoughfull and intellectual/philosophical (especially compared to paladins) which I though was just kind of neat and works well with what Int affects now.

Edited by limaxophobiacq

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Just made it through the rest of the thread - good points by Josh - my general feeling is as Matt516 said in this post:

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Glad Obs are looking into in anyway - sounds like things are moving in the right direction.


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We have a bunch of people saying "yeah, AoE increase doesn't really seem that valuable", mostly because the marginal increase can be a liability.  Allowing you to scale it down solves the liability problem, but also means that in those circumstances, you get literally no benefit from it at all.  I still really don't get why this is such a spot of resistance when making the margins safe doesn't remove friendly fire, it makes INT valuable all the time instead of sometimes being a liability, and it doesn't require adding a UI layer on top of the system just to regulate AoE sizes.

 

Feelz.

 

Your idea makes perfect mechanical/balance sense, but it makes the spells feel wrong. Spells like fireballs are "supposed" to be blind invocations of elemental energy. It doesn't make sense for them to be able to discriminate between friends and foes, at the edges or otherwise.

 

Priests calling down divine punishment on their foes are different of course -- they're "supposed" to discriminate.

 

I've no doubt I'd get used to it, but it would feel jarring.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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IMHO combining interrupt and concentration onto a single attribute is a bad idea for a few reasons.

 

1). Interrupt and concentration are the 2 effects that are pass/fail. You succeed or you don't. Every other attribute gives increased damage in some way except constitution, but even it gives health/stamina.

2). Muscle Wizards become god. They hit hard, are hard to interrupt, and interrupt others constantly. I think it is safe to say we enough points to get fairly high in 2 stats.

3). Still dump able for ranged builds if you aren't building a support build.

4). I believe they were designed with the intent to make 2 attributes work against each other. Not really a major issue, but just thought I would mention it.

 

I believe these attributes are being tackled from a function>form angle. So, how clean it looks means very little. What matters is what they do, and that they all serve a purpose for each class in some fashion.

 

Combining them onto a single attribute... I could see it easily becoming a dump stat particularly for ranged builds. I could be wrong here though.

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/aside Oh how I wish all the discussion about the beta was more like this. We would get somewhere and it'd be more fun.

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IMHO combining interrupt and concentration onto a single attribute is a bad idea for a few reasons.

 

2). Muscle Wizards become god. They hit hard, are hard to interrupt, and interrupt others constantly. I think it is safe to say we enough points to get fairly high in 2 stats.

3). Still dump able for ranged builds if you aren't building a support build. 

 

Muscle Wizards throws spell in full-plate, which means they only hit once per 9 seconds. I don't see them interrupting that many peope unless they manage to hit a large group of enemies with an AoE without hitting themselves or their buddies while at the front of the battle in which case well done and even then only every 9 seconds so hardly stunlocking anyone.

 

Fast attack range builds would benefit a lot, slow attack range builds will benefit if hit by enemy ranged attacks or if someone makes it up to them.

 

I'd probably keep it at +3% to both Interrupt & Concentration, Per and Res were both weak attributes before except in edge case interrupt-based builds and combing both the interrupt and the concentration bonus under one attribute rather than giving both of them a larger bonus like +6% has much less potential for creating lame OP stunlock builds.

Edited by limaxophobiacq

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/aside Oh how I wish all the discussion about the beta was more like this. We would get somewhere and it'd be more fun.

Quick, someone do a 20 page paper on how balance is evil and kills fun.


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Josh's revised system is a clear improvement (and I personally particularly like the idea of tuning Endurance and Health separately, through different attributes), but on balance I still prefer Sensuki/Matt's version.

 

There's nothing wrong with a purely defensive stat IMO (isn't CON one already?) since better defenses are an unambiguous and unmitigated good for any character, much like higher DPS. It would also make matching builds and character concepts more intuitive and easier. "I want to make a defender." Pump the defensive stats, and have others take care of doing damage. "I want to make a damager." Pump the offensive ones, and deal with being more fragile. No problem there that I can see.

 

I think con is sort of like IAS, in that it's both offensive and defensive - You can't kill things when you're dead.

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Who says a melee wizard has to wear full plate? You could use positioning and CC to great effect and get away with light armor easily. I wouldn't tank that way though for sure.

 

Either way, my major issue is that interrupt and concentration are pass/fail effects. Neither should be solely on a single attribute, nor should they be combined onto 1 attribute for the same reason. They increase the likelihood of the character to succeed, but they do not guarantee it. No other effects are pass/fail in this way. As Matt pointed out earlier, accuracy is RNG, but it increases DPS on the whole. Might definitively increases damage and healing. Constitution definitely increases stamina and health. Intellect definitively increases AoE and Duration. Perception and Resolve (interrupt and concentration) increase the likelihood of something goo happening. Tossing interrupt and concentration onto Resolve together and you may as well call the Attribute "Luck." I would suggest that if it would fit into the Resolve dialogue options, but I doubt it will.

 

If I want to make a gun toting ranged class I wouldn't be near enough for concentration to even be procced, and interrupt would be useless for the slow attack speed. If an enemy veers toward that character then I will stop him before he gets there. Concentration isn't needed. Interrupt is useful for a utilitarian build that uses a fast firing weapon like a bow. I will give you that.

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/aside Oh how I wish all the discussion about the beta was more like this. We would get somewhere and it'd be more fun.

It's quite a morale boost when fans come together to propose productive alternatives for perceived weaknesses in the game, and the project director comes in to interact with those fans, and really everyone who is contributing, to talk through potential solutions together. That's a rare and, dare I say, beautiful sight to behold.

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As long as the pass/fail effect is going to be in the game, which it is, I don't see why having an attribute affecting it would be wrong.

 

If I want to make a gun toting ranged class I wouldn't be near enough for concentration to even be procced, and interrupt would be useless for the slow attack speed. If an enemy veers toward that character then I will stop him before he gets there. Concentration isn't needed. Interrupt is useful for a utilitarian build that uses a fast firing weapon like a bow. I will give you that.

 

If you're so sure of never being hit, Con to would be useless. Int with Deflection & AoE is also kind of useless for the gun or bow-slinging ranger or Rogue who is sure of not getting hit.

 

Edit: Edited my original post to remove the 'IMO' because after thinking about it some more I know I'm right.

Edited by limaxophobiacq

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