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I think "bundling" groups of weaponry in fighter specialization will be a hindrance in the long run. I can understand grouping them as ruffian, noble, soldier for once at the beginning as it would be just a reshuffle of the "one-handed blunt", "one handed bladed" distinctions.

 

However making the fighters specialize in a bundle of weapons is counter-intuitive for 2 reasons:

 

1) How would a pike and a great sword have any fundamental mastery similarities? Specialization, specifically the brand of spec that exists in IE, AD&D etc. is a permanent and qualitative choice by the player. It's a commitment and a decision that needs to be heavily thought out. 

 

This rumination on that choice is something that is beneficial because it creates a character's identity. Imagine all the archetypes and poster children of the genre. Gatts with his great sword, Drizzt with his scimitars, Sigmar with his warhammer. As long as there's a substantial amount of magical, and epic weapon diversity, this choice becomes a defining and enjoyable moment of attachment to your character. Imagine that excitement when your long sword spec fighter first found a red hilted longsword +1 in Baldur's Gate.

 

2) Specialization with a single weapon creates so many opportunities for both role-play, and combat. They allow many minimalist dialogue options, that don't even need to branch out. It becomes an opportunity to enrich the fighter experience.

 

Imagine walking into a town where you're known for you deeds, good or bad. Imagine a head text that says

 

"Isn't that Alper who saved the mayor's daughter? I hear he's a monster with a longsword."

 

Aside from reputation floating texts, a specialized character, for example, should he choose to specialize in one weapon rather than a bundle (if devs truly wish to keep the bundle system) could get certain mastery bonuses both in combat and perhaps in dialogue with craftsmen. Instead of going the entire bundle and choosing greatsword, my character could get a defense bonus with that given weapon. (Its only logical that a person well versed and a master of a certain weapon be able to deduce possible attacks or devise easier evasion during combat)

 

A single weapon specialized character can also get bonuses to crafting or slight damage/accuracy bonuses.

 

In AD&D 2nd Ed Baldur's Gate this was balanced out perfectly.

 

1 proficiency = using without penalty

1 proficiencies = specialization, get a thac0 bonus (accuracy)

3 proficiencies = mastery, get a thac0 and a damage bonus

 

and they kept expanding this with similar, and yet not too overpowered treats.

Call me old fashioned, but in my understanding, truly becoming a master of a weapon is feeling that hunk of metal as an extension of your body. The bundle system is convenience that comes at the cost of both player-immersion and opportunities for side quests, crafting, and perhaps a certain amount of realism.

Edited by AlperTheCaglar
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Although then you'd need a bunch of Throne of Bhaal-like loot, raining down high-level equivalent weapons of every single type. I mean, BG2 specializations made me slightly annoyed the first playthrough, since of course I went for longsword grandmastery only to find out that the game (vanilla BG2) had no longsword I liked enough to justify sinking 5 spec points into it. Maybe the devs want to avoid this kind of scenario, I don't know.

 

Personally, I find the tematic weapon sets quite immersive and realistic: after all, no real-life military man specialized in just one weapon, since you end up many times having to fight with whatever you have at disposal, have equipment shortcomings, lose/break weapons, etc. That's me, but I like the thing like Legionary: specialized in pilum, gladius, pugio, hasta, plumbatae, etc. I find it quite realistic, actually. But that doesn't mean I am insesitive to the appeal of highly focused specialization in gameplay terms.

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1A) How would a pike and a great sword have any fundamental mastery similarities?

 

More than you'd think (especially since I doubt you're talking about real pikes, which were fifteen feet long and pretty much only used in formation fighting). As any martial artist can tell you, movements between apparently dissimilar weapons bear striking resemblances when you actually practice them, and learning one improves your technique with all others. More crucially, different weapons have different applications, and as such they'd both be taught in one school of combat (this is true even for "specialized" schools that favored particular weapons, like TSKSR or German longsword). Professional soldiers, duelists, and fighting masters did not study single weapons within a discipline, but rather, an entire discipline.

 

 

1B) Specialization, specifically the brand of spec that exists in IE, AD&D etc. is a permanent and qualitative choice by the player. It's a commitment and a decision that needs to be heavily thought out. 

 

I split this off from (1A) because they are completely different, unrelated statements. There are two responses to this part: (i) This isn't D&D. (ii) It's also an incredibly metagamey, trap choice, that punishes players for lack of advance knowledge of which magic items are going to be both consistently available and ultimately useful to their particular character. My first time through BG2, I didn't know about the Flail of Ages, or the Celestial Fury, or any of the zillion amazing magical axes in the game. Ultimately, a whole bunch of my proficiency points were wasted. That sucks.

 

 

Imagine that excitement when your long sword spec fighter first found a red hilted longsword +1 in Baldur's Gate.

 

Then, remember that irritation from when your halberd-spec fighter kept finding +1 longswords.

 

 

2) Specialization with a single weapon creates so many opportunities for both role-play, and combat. They allow many minimalist dialogue options, that don't even need to branch out. It becomes an opportunity to enrich the fighter experience.

 

Imagine walking into a town where you're known for you deeds, good or bad. Imagine a head text that says

 

"Isn't that Alper who saved the mayor's daughter? I hear he's a monster with a longsword."

 

And if you specialize in axes instead, do they say the exact same thing, except with a substitution for the word "axes?" How is that less of a character identifier than training in a knightly combat school, or some other actual set of disciplines, which NPCs might even have meaningful commentary on?

 

 

In AD&D 2nd Ed Baldur's Gate this was balanced out perfectly.

 

1 proficiency = using without penalty

1 proficiencies = specialization, get a thac0 bonus (accuracy)

3 proficiencies = mastery, get a thac0 and a damage bonus

 

and they kept expanding this with similar, and yet not too overpowered treats.

 

Except what that actually means is that unless you spend all of your pips in one category, you end up hamstrung, especially since the differences between weapons were rarely, if ever, great enough to justify switching.

 

 

Call me old fashioned, but in my understanding, truly becoming a master of a weapon is feeling that hunk of metal as an extension of your body.

 

The weapon is always an extension of your body. That is literally the entire purpose of weapons - they are prosthetics that lengthen, weight, and sometimes sharpen the arm. The difference between a master and a student is that even in it's sheath, the master's weapon is always in their hand. That's why we have stories about things like masters killing opponents with oars when their normal weapon would have been at a disadvantage; it's why virtually every historical text on complete combat systems incorporates sections on swords, daggers, polearms, and unarmed combat, among other things.

 

 

The bundle system is convenience that comes at the cost of both player-immersion and opportunities for side quests, crafting, and perhaps a certain amount of realism.

 

I think it's clear that the exact opposite is true on every one of these counts.

Edited by gkathellar
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I think it's clear that the exact opposite is true on every one of these counts.

 

 

Every single counter argument you used actually supports the fact that bundling specialization helps metagame/looting/gearz and not the storytelling aspect. The fact that you're being frustrated for being limited to a weapon when you could have specced the top tier magical loot or flail of ages or such, just demonstrates your powergaming ideal.

 

But alright I'll bite. There are bound to be metagamers as backers such as yourself always trying to find the leet weaponz. A compromise could be reached where at least the bundles make more sense. Rather than social classes deciding spec ,actual weapon mechanics can.

 

Proficiency options at start:

  • Two handed bladed weapons
  • One handed bladed weapons
  • Heavy thrusting weapons
  • Light thrusting weapons
  • Heavy blunt weapons
  • Light blunt weapons

 

Specialization options within o.h. bladed weapons:

  • Long sword
  • Battle Axe
  • Scimitar
  • Yataghan
  • Short sword
  • etc.

 

Also when you spec with a specific weapon within the proficiency bundle, then you can get some bonuses with all others. Weapon system on Age of Decadence regarding this logic/meta balance is fine tuned I suggest you check it out.

 

A compromise between the two extremes of single weapon and bundles can be the ideal solution to avoid the pitfalls of either.

 

TLDR: I suggest a Pathfinder-like solution to this issue. Begin with bundles, then branch out to specific weapons so you get the best of both worlds.

Edited by AlperTheCaglar
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But bundles make sense exactly from a non-metagaming perspective, because you play being sure that you'll find at least a few weapons within your bundle that are good enough to justify the talent-point spent, without any need for metagaming knowledge. Also, bundles encourage trying different weapons and styles, while feeling freed from specialization-related considerations. Shouldn't this be seen as a positive?

I find it a very stress-free system.

Edited by frapillo80
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Agreed. However then a distinction between proficiency, skill and specialization should be made.

 

I dont think a PC should become a Master with 6 weapons at once just because he gave a point to it.

 

What I'm saying is he can achieve proper use in bundles, but should branch out as a fighter only ability into a singular weapon should they want to.

 

Imagine if there were a 3 tier system of proficiency with a weapon -- Good, Exceptional, Master.

 

  • First point can be bundles.
  • Second point probably shouldn't be bundles but perhaps the selection could narrow to 3 very related weapons.
  • A hypothetical final mastery point definitely should be a singular weapon.
Edited by AlperTheCaglar
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Agreed. However then a distinction between proficiency, skill and specialization should be made.

 

I dont think a PC should become a Master with 6 weapons at once just because he gave a point to it.

 

What I'm saying it he can achieve proper use in bundles, but should branch out as a fighter only ability into a singular weapon should they want to.

I have the feeling they are saving that kind of thing for the expansion. After all, right now characters can get only so many levels.

I would be a really happy camper if such warrior only, single weapon further specialization unlocked a new warrior-only bonus/use (of the kind of hatchet gives deflection, stiletto bypasses dt), a different one for each weapon. Although it would probably be a lot of work.

Edited by frapillo80
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Well AD&D, my hallowed reference point for a good IE game had this:

 

You could spec by 3rd level if you wanted.

 

Baldur's Gate 2 expanded that into grandmastery etc. But the fact remained that by level 5 (when you got 2 attacks per round if specialized) most fighters were keen to select their weapon identity.

 

I don't really empathize with the "loot" and "aww it limited me" arguments. After all its a designers' objective to create equally compelling endgame weapons for every little class they made. 

Edited by AlperTheCaglar
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Every single counter argument you used actually supports the fact that bundling specialization helps metagame/looting/gearz and not the storytelling aspect.

 

(a) If you're going to make that claim, I'm going to need you to break that down for me, point-by-point, because I don't follow you.

(b) That's why 2/3 of my post is devoted to the fact that real life masters used many different weapons, depending on the opponent and situation, right?

 

 

The fact that you're being frustrated for being limited to a weapon when you could have specced the top tier magical loot or flail of ages or such, just demonstrates your powergaming ideal.

 

When I was eleven, I was frustrated that I was effectively penalized for making a decision that felt right for my character. Grouping weapons helps to avoid that, by ensuring that no matter which group you choose, there's probably something of value to you (and, in the meantime, appeals to fighting nerds like me by maintaining consistency with reality).

 

To whit: If a fighter chooses anything other than Large Swords in BG1, they chose wrong, and would always be inferior to a fighter who chose Large Swords - even though the options were presented to players as if they were all equally viable. A paladin in BG2 who didn't take greatsword proficiency? Too bad, no Carsomyr, you chose wrong. And heaven help the player who wanted to use a katana but didn't want to break into a completely random building to get the Celestial Fury. Being penalized for a lack of metagame knowledge is not fun.

 

But alright I'll bite. There are bound to be metagamers as backers such as yourself always trying to find the leet weaponz.

 

That's not the point. If I were just interested in finding and using the best weapons, I would just do that. I want to be able to make character creation choices without having to feel like I made wrong choices - because this is a game, not an exam.

 

I feel like I need to introduce you to the Stormwind Fallacy. The tl;dr version is that powergaming and roleplaying are not fundamentally at odds - when they are, it's the result of bad game design. I'm absolutely a powergamer, but what you'll find many powergamers want is not the "optimal choice," but a framework in which many choices are optimal. This is the guiding philosophy behind a lot of PoE, from the attributes which benefit every character to the classes which try to be roughly balanced against each other. It shows Sawyer's background in tabletop RPGs, a background that I share, and thus have a huge appreciation for.

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But it can be balanced so easily.

 

Why are you limiting the right decision for the hypothetical argument that "weapon diversity may penalize us for that". That's why we trust Obsidian regarding this project.

 

Even if you spec with a short sword, 

 

a) they must provide a benefit of the short sword in mechanics (better accuracy, faster speed, etc.)

b) they must design or develop enough possible short sword drops, unique and mundane, to guarantee the demand for that specific build

 

I'm absolutely sure they'll achieve both.

 

But why are you limiting the entire scope of the weapon mechanics or options just on the assumption that "it might feel like I made the wrong choice at some point". Surely you can feel the same way about class choices, ability choices, attribute choices, etc.

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You keep (possibly inadvertently?) interchanging "mastered" with "specialized in." Just because someone is proficient (merely as opposed to unproficient) with several weapons does not mean they are masters of those weapons. It makes perfect sense that someone with weapons training would be trained with various weapons of a given theme. MAYBE not 6, but, still...

 

That, and you could always have "master" level talents on top of this group proficiency system. So, I think you're onto something. I just don't think it's "having some amount of skill greater than zero, with a handful of different weapons, is crazy/weird/nonsensical."

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Specialization means mastery in a given single weapon, that's been its definition from AD&D to 5th Ed.

 

Proficiency on the other hand means basic knowledge of that weapon.

 

In 2nd Edition AD&D, which to me was the finest balance between roleplaying and combat of the entire D&D franchise, if you spent a single proficiency point, you become proficient (no penalties), two proficiency points and you become specialized (bonuses to damage and no of attacks/round).

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I think the old DragonQuest PnP game had weapon skills right: different weapons could have different levels of mastery. You could achieve a greater mastery with a rapier, say, than you could with a club.

 

Perhaps having a matrix style of specialization might help: specialize in both social categories and in weapon style. You need to have both to achieve the highest degree of specialization.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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With all due respect, just because "specialization" happened to mean "mastery" in D&D does not mean that's now what the word means.

 

Besides, whatever stuff's called doesn't change the fact that, mechanically, it makes sense to have some training in a variety of weapons, then actually master one (or more, perhaps) of those weapons.

 

If they called it "penguins" and "biscuits," I'd tell them how silly the names were, but I wouldn't decide their mechanics make no sense.

 

Put simply: I don't think the existence of weapon mastery requires that the mechanical bonus to a group of thematically-similar weapons be shucked from the game.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't read everything bit I guess the main.

Personnaly, I enjoyed BG2 specialisation to get your very own favourite kind of weapon.

BUT for PoE, I would like to try as they actually make (=a general bonus linked to kind of weapon) + one bonus linked on which weapon you usually use.

I mean, in BG you could see which weapon were the more used. It should make sense to add a bonus to your familiar weapon.

It would be a nice compromise between what you choose in your leveling and what is your familiar weapon most used in game.

 

 

And sorry for my English.

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I remember my first Baldur's Gate character. Pumped the hell out of halberds for him. There were... what, two magic halberds in the whole damn game? That was fun.

 

Anyway, thematically grouped weapon specialization is cool. If they want to throw a singular weapon focus talent on top of that then sure, whatever, cool. But let "Gatts" be good with his crossbow and his knives too, yeah?

 

(Oh dammit, trap sprung...)

jcod0.png

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Weapon grouops make a great deal of sense to me, particularly grouped by length/reach, for the broadest categories. I see no problem with that. Ideally, I think, there would be a certain percentage of the warrior's skill that comes from general combat knowledge and general training in a variety of weapons, and then something on top of that that comes from specialisation in various weapons on top of that general knowledge -- or branching out and becoming more proficient in all weapons, if they so chose. I dislike the "idiot savant" type of weapon specialisation. I don't find it realistic, and I think it's more limiting than anything else.

 

Since we are only seeing fairly low levels in this game, I think it's reasonable not to go much at all into specialisation. Style specialisation instead of single weapon specialisation might be interesting, but as it goes, I'm liking what I'm seeing of this so far.

 

More than you'd think (especially since I doubt you're talking about real pikes, which were fifteen feet long and pretty much only used in formation fighting). As any martial artist can tell you, movements between apparently dissimilar weapons bear striking resemblances when you actually practice them, and learning one improves your technique with all others. More crucially, different weapons have different applications, and as such they'd both be taught in one school of combat (this is true even for "specialized" schools that favored particular weapons, like TSKSR or German longsword). Professional soldiers, duelists, and fighting masters did not study single weapons within a discipline, but rather, an entire discipline.

Entirely the point I was going to make. Melee combat, in its most basic and fundamental principles, is actually quite similar all across the board. Clearly, using a bow or a gun is a very different thing than being in melee, but I see no problem with grouping weapons largely by striking range -- in fact, it makes rather more sense to me than many other ways they end up being grouped in games.

 

I find it much stranger if my fighter, being quite excellent with a longsword, picks up a bastard sword and can't figure out how to use it.

 

You keep (possibly inadvertently?) interchanging "mastered" with "specialized in." Just because someone is proficient (merely as opposed to unproficient) with several weapons does not mean they are masters of those weapons. It makes perfect sense that someone with weapons training would be trained with various weapons of a given theme. MAYBE not 6, but, still...

Six makes sense to me. I can think of at least six weapons off the top of my head I'd consider myself proficient with, although some only to the level of being able to pick them up and know what I'm meant to be doing with them (which I consider to be more or less the definition of proficient, here).

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There would be more incentive to diversify your weapon skills if the specialization benefits tended to cancel each other out. For example, if your character has a specialization in short swords and so does your opponent, you should be able to counter your opponent's attacks with equal proficiency. I.e. the specializations should cancel each other out.

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Isn't that effectively how it often works? If, for example, you are getting +2 to attacks from your shortsword specialisation, and your opponent also is, that is cancelling it out. Or did you mean more than that?

 

I'm not sure how difficult it would be to realise, but more interactivity between weapons is something that I'd love to see in a game system some day. Weapon type vs armour type is not infrequently taken into account, and that's great, but I haven't yet seen a case where weapon type vs weapon type is.

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I think an extra weapon specialization for a specific weapon for fighters only would be nice as a talent, but it would be kind of lame if it was just a +2 to hit or something like that, I would much rather it be an added bonus for the weapon type, for instance if a sabre usually gives extra bleeding damage a fighter specializing in sabre could get an extra bonus to deflection with it due to him being better with the guard, or a mace could get an added (lets say 5%) chance to stun, and regular swords or spears could get extra bleeding damage for a specialised fighter. I feel this could really make the fighters kings of combat.

 

keep in mind I have not played the backer beta so I don't know exactly how stuff works but you get the gist.

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^ Indeed.

 

Additional effects do add a lot to weapon choice/improvement. I don't mind simple modifiers to things, but it gets a bit disappointing when EVERYTHING's just modifying the same three factors of your attacks (weapon speed/damage/accuracy). Limiting talents and character customization choices to just modifiers of already-present effects neglects the potential for customization, if you ask me.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I am sympathetic to the points of the OP. I do not generally like grouped specializations, and I do find myself recoiling a bit when forced to choose amongst them in the PoE beta. The way I try and overcome my intuitive and emotional barrier, is that I get to specialize in whatever specific weapon I please, whilst getting many alternatives bundled as a purely additive bonus.

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I actually really like weapon bundling, it gives you more options and what self respecting warrior wouldn't know how to use at least a couple of weapons (hold the blunt end-poke people with the sharp end), I just think that it would be really cool if Fighters got something extra with a single weapon, but if it doesn't happen I wont exactly be sad. In the IE games your warriors would pick a weapon and stick to it all their life(at least for me), and I think bundles are a nice way to improve this since if your Barbarian finds a halberd he can just pick it up and not have a penalty since you spend your game waiting for a holy spear that never arrives.

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