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Captain Shrek

Dear Obsidian, What really needs to be fixed is not XP...

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....but rather the core design of the game that is associated with the gameplay.

 

I mean encounters and how they are integrated within the story of course! 

 

The real king in a single player game is content. And the content is NOT equivalent to packing dungeons with Giant beetles. Content is all about meaningful sidequests (read, not fedex) that interact with each other and create a story. Hopefully, a different aspect of the same story depending on how you do these quests. Alpha Protocol did it well  so I know you guys can do it! But the best example I know of this is Iron tower's upcoming game Age od Decadence. 

 

I will outline my biggest deal makers just for clarity:

 

1) Sensible encounter design

2) Acknowledgement

 

The first issue is about deciding what do we go to kill. Do I have to kill all the critters lying around? Is the world so infested with monsters that every step I take, I face a magical/dangerous creature?  I am assuming that this idea intrinsically is insensible and only adds frustration and tedium in the game. We only need to fight those things which are IMPORTANT to the plot. Don't get me wrong though. I do not mean that this should somehow bring down the combat to the level of the Torment 2. But if the beta is any measure (rather the only measure we have at the moment)  then the game seems like it is going to be a grind fest. Please avoid that!

 

That is the real problem: TOO MUCH COMBAT and that is a terrible design decision! That made IWDs a chore and NWN/NWN2 a disaster that most players can't replay it despite enjoying the story somewhat!  Learn from their mistakes!  Say no to  the trash mobs!

 

The second issue is acknowledgement. There is an acknowledgement is the game, I must admit. It is the XP given out for ridiculous things. If there was a worse, more insipid form of such a payback, I haven't seen it yet. XP is the lazy man's way of design. Killed some zombies? Here, take some numbers that help you in a totally unrelated way. Maybe you want to increase you skill: SInging with that? What??? Besides several the mechanics related issues that I will not note down here, this is a really bad way to implement a kickback. 

 

This HAS to change. Rather, killing everything should have consequences. There ALWAYS has to be a story! And a good story to boot. That is the real consequence in a game that calls itself an RPG. Personally I am a combat-type guy and I enjoy playing Bloodbowl to TOEE any day. But, if I want to play TOEE then it will most assuredly put me off if I have to kill 1 billion random encounter skeletons/giant battle toads without knowing what caused such an outburst from them and being able to take a quest to switch it off. So give us good reasons to kill things. Doing so for "bestiary" xp is just not good enough. A mass murderer needs to be treated as such, probably being set upon the local EPA/PETA people who are really out to get you. 

 

I think this really needs to be in the game. A PETA group that hunts you down for sport for killing beetles. yeah. 

Edited by Captain Shrek
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"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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Mob density in IWD2 was just fine, and combat in these kind of games is entertaining as long as it is rewarding, and not necessarily (at least not too much) needed for the progress in the game. I know that clearing few consequent caves of trolls in nwn was just overwhelmingly boring, but combat xp system is the best system. Just make it like it was in BG2 (i.e perfectly balanced). Huge part of the game are the abilities, to kill monsters, and items, which makes you kill monsters faster, so it would be irrational to make killing those monsters not rewarding, or brought to second plan. Combat was always a perfect addition to the plot, and personally I would like to test my party in random combat on various occasions, getting a reasonable reward for it. 

 

+ story is not always a good thing. Sometimes, some things are better, if they remain more of a mystery, without explaining everything about it. It forces you to use your imagination. It's ok if it's reasonably balanced troughout the game. Balanced ammount of story, combat, and random, thoughtless encounters is the best solution, I think.

Edited by Gladiuss8@gmail.com
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Captain Shrek: I get your points 100%, and I do agree that this would be very apt in a computer game calling itself RPG. It has very rarely been done. Funnily enough, you do cite NWN2 - and one expansion there had a perfect explanation/motive and reaction to you being a mass murderer - and it happens to be one of my favourite games of all time: MotB.

 

However, there's room for the mass-murderous heroes as well, both in PnP and CRPGs. I have played such games, and they are immensely fun - if they have a good enough story, and that they can explain reasonably convincingly, why these waves of various baddies assault my party, that is. In fact, BG 1-2, NWN2 OC + Storm of Zehir, are also some of my favourite games too. Why? Because I grown accustomed to them being very much games first and foremost, with tiny xp rewards, loot, build development - which in the other form of RPG-ing are treated as taboo, almost, since these things have nothing to do with playing a role. In fact, having a whole party is also regarded with scepticism, since you can only be IC when playing but one role at a time. To me, this kind of "murder spree in order to save the world"-games hearken back to Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, which essentially did just that, obviously without any arcade-like points floating around above their heads while doing it, and no mechanics with numbers visible, but still that's the spirit I draw some extra fun out of the happy number and system box that is in fact what most CRPGs are. Still, there are computer games out there with very little combat, and a huge emphasis on the roles of play, and the convo options you pick, and I really like them as well. Surely, there are room for both kinds of games, and then plenty of hybrids in between?

 

As for PoE specifically: From what we've read in the updates and seen in the BB, it's more or less right on in being a spiritual successor to the BG series. It's very combat-heavy, hero-being-a-legit-mass-murderer, and it's all about builds and characters that are optimized for combat. It's story and choices are important too, but not that much if you compare this to what the player does most mechanics/UI-wise in game. Well, there is indeed sneaking, but it won't always be possible, and it doesn't change any of the other facts that make PoE a very combat-heavy CRPG.

 

In short, as long as they trash mobs make sense contextually (ethologically or socio-culturally in that setting), I'm fine with such mobs, well, provided that combat is fun enough and offer plenty of solutions to each encounter.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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This Backer Beta is created only to test some mechanics. There is very little content like story, quests, ect.

 

But even if the hole game will be like eastern map, I would not say it's bad. After all, to reach dungeon you can either cut your way through the beetles or take a southern path along the river and have no encounters along your way. To reach the ogre you have kill 4 spiders, two outside and two inside the cave. Is it too much? I don't think so.

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True for the southern path. But then why are the crystal spiders in the cave? Is there a reason why the ogre spends its time surrounded by them? I mean. come on! That critter is probably the most dangerous thing in the beta. Why would you live along side it?  

 

The problem is, that in the game, the dungeon delving is practically dissociated from the story. That was the second point. About the acknowledgement. There is almost none.That, such encounters have really no reason to exist, except to lengthen the game. 

 

 

Captain Shrek: I get your points 100%, and I do agree that this would be very apt in a computer game calling itself RPG. It has very rarely been done. Funnily enough, you do cite NWN2 - and one expansion there had a perfect explanation/motive and reaction to you being a mass murderer - and it happens to be one of my favourite games of all time: MotB.

 

However, there's room for the mass-murderous heroes as well, both in PnP and CRPGs. I have played such games, and they are immensely fun - if they have a good enough story, and that they can explain reasonably convincingly, why these waves of various baddies assault my party, that is. In fact, BG 1-2, NWN2 OC + Storm of Zehir, are also some of my favourite games too. Why? Because I grown accustomed to them being very much games first and foremost, with tiny xp rewards, loot, build development - which in the other form of RPG-ing are treated as taboo, almost, since these things have nothing to do with playing a role. In fact, having a whole party is also regarded with scepticism, since you can only be IC when playing but one role at a time. To me, this kind of "murder spree in order to save the world"-games hearken back to Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, which essentially did just that, obviously without any arcade-like points floating around above their heads while doing it, and no mechanics with numbers visible, but still that's the spirit I draw some extra fun out of the happy number and system box that is in fact what most CRPGs are. Still, there are computer games out there with very little combat, and a huge emphasis on the roles of play, and the convo options you pick, and I really like them as well. Surely, there are room for both kinds of games, and then plenty of hybrids in between?

 

As for PoE specifically: From what we've read in the updates and seen in the BB, it's more or less right on in being a spiritual successor to the BG series. It's very combat-heavy, hero-being-a-legit-mass-murderer, and it's all about builds and characters that are optimized for combat. It's story and choices are important too, but not that much if you compare this to what the player does most mechanics/UI-wise in game. Well, there is indeed sneaking, but it won't always be possible, and it doesn't change any of the other facts that make PoE a very combat-heavy CRPG.

 

In short, as long as they trash mobs make sense contextually (ethologically or socio-culturally in that setting), I'm fine with such mobs, well, provided that combat is fun enough and offer plenty of solutions to each encounter.

 

 

Hi Indira. 

 

Just a question: Have you played Age of Decadence?

Edited by Captain Shrek
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"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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No, I haven't. Enlighten me. Is it the Holy Grail of CRPGs?

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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No, I haven't. Enlighten me. Is it the Holy Grail od CRPGs?

 

 

I don't know about Holy grails :p and talking about them is just a controversy inducing thing. But none the less it has some amazing features: 

 

1) The combat is actually tactically challenging. The real challenge is making the RNG work for you. If you know what you are getting into and you actually prepare for it, then 8/10 times you win. If you just barge into a battle you probably will lose. In fact, most of the times Combat is a bad idea, sensible right?

2) It is a VERY combat heavy game and despite that, they have managed to make all the encounters sensible. That was something I found very remarkable. 

3) The game is very Consequence heavy. As a single player RPG, you never get to see the whole story at once. But still you get a piece of it that makes sense according to your background. Which was a refreshing change from most other games *hint* *hint* that simply do not acknowledge that game mechanics interacts with the story in a meaningful way. 

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"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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Captain Shrek: You have me intrigued right there. I will definitely check it out. :)


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Captain Shrek: You have me intrigued right there. I will definitely check it out. :)

Just a small warning. The game is unforgivingly hard and you need some patience to get into it :p. Enjoy! 


"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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AoD looks absolutely brilliant! It went straight onto my wishlist. I will most likely wait until the game is finished, but graphics, the RPG ambitions, the replayability, the systems, the setting, everything, seems to be brilliant. Thx for the heads up, CS! :)

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Good points but from where I'm at, taken a bit too far. 

First off, the IWD's. I really enjoyed the combat density and design of IWD 1. IWD 2 not so much; there were too many trash mobs there, and too many of them were more or less identical. More goblins, then more orcs, then more barbarians, etc. That you lump them together suggests that we have rather different ideas about where the ideal should lie. 

 

Moreover, the combat density in the BB isn't too far off IMO. Dyrford Crossing seems a bit crowded, but other than that, it feels about right, and the mobs are remarkably diverse too -- it's not beetles after beetles after beetles after beetles; it's lions and spiders and beetles and wraiths and cultists and so on.

 

So I agree with your general principle — too much combat and too many trash mobs is bad — but not the specific claims, i.e. that IWD 1 or the BB have too much of them.

 

The rest of it just sounded like more butthurt over XP, so I won't address that. 

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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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IWD 1 was probably much better yeah. About "butthurt" concerning XP: I don't even think XP is a relevant thing. So may be the butthurt is within you. 


"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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Hm. Why even bring XP up then, if it's not relevant?

 

I re-read your post and you appear to be arguing there that P:E should get rid of XP altogether. I find that confusing (and also unreasonable).


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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Hm. Why even bring XP up then, if it's not relevant?

 

I re-read your post and you appear to be arguing there that P:E should get rid of XP altogether. I find that confusing (and also unreasonable).

 

I am not saying that. I am just confused that this irrelevant issue has so much relevance that the devs actually decided to change it. Also, there is nothing unreasonable about an XP-less system. Darklands did it, so did Elder scrolls. The former is a game that this one supposedly (lol) takes inspiration from. 

 

Interestingly, these games have a better progression system because: 1) It makes more sense 2) It is actually easier to balance by simply selecting how many instances of a particular skill are allowed in a game. This is, of course, under the reasonable assumption that you can't  Jump like an idiot to improve athletics a la Morrowind. 

Edited by Captain Shrek
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"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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I think this really needs to be in the game. A PETA group that hunts you down for sport for killing beetles. yeah. 

Lulz

 

I think having the local druids (or whatever) hunt you down because you wiped out a forest's Bear or Lion population is fine. But in PoE, beetles, spiders and undead aren't 'animals'. They're monsters.

 

Besides, this is a video game - that video gamers play. If you send PETA groups against the player party, all it will accomplish is an increase in trash mob encounters. The party will just kill those PETA groups..... then loot their bodies....then go searching for more PETA groups to kill. Meanwhile, you haven't really enriched the story....or whatever the goal behind this idea is.

Edited by Stun
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thatsthejoke.jpg


"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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So an xtreme Storytymer hates dungeon-crawling. Next.

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sonsofgygax.JPG

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*sigh*

 

I do NOT hate "dungeon crawling". I just like it when the combat mechanics is itself tactical. In PoE it is not. Also, I get no pleasure from repetitive combat. If you do, maybe you should be playing Diablo? Also, there is an entire separate building in PoE that allows us to do that. Those who think that cutting out the trash mobs is a bad idea are welcome to spend hours there satisfying their urges. 

Edited by Captain Shrek

"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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I love Diablo. Your snobbery doesn't really advance your argument, though.

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There is no snobbery. I like Diablo too. I just like to play Diablo when I am playing Diablo. I don't need that in my IE game. It has already spoiled one in the series. 


"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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Age of Decadence looks great, and I'm really anticipating it. I've been following it for years now, and that's the key. AoD has been in development for years. I think I first heard of - and started following - it over 5 years ago. And it had been in development for a number of years before that. So yeah, you can make a 'sensible' RPG if you have a decade. But I think Obsidian is going to do a pretty damned good job on this one as well. Don't let the Beta make you think the game's going to be driven by mindless killing and no story reason to be doing what you're doing. This is a small piece of a larger cloth and does not represent the entire garment at all.

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Adressing the original OP post:

To paraphrase what you are trying to say: "The game has too much combat for the way it is/should be designed/to much combat does not make sense for this game"

 

But it makes perfect sense in the context of the worldsetting and story. If you wanna look at it from the story/world building side of things:

You have a hostile and wild land full of dangerous wildlife, natives that are mighty miffed about their heritage being molested, and general banditry and mercenary groups and an unstable political climate.

You basically got colonial/post-colonial USA, if it was in Australia, and if it happened during Reinassance Italy with all those city-states, with maybe a hint of feudal Japan in there somewhere.

Its the perfect seting for "combat during your travels" to happen. I think Baldurs Gate had either a bit more or only a bit less combat than this per-area and that was justified with the bandit and mercenary groups rampaging about and general D&D hostile wildlife setting (which you only really had to deal with if you strayed from the roads). If it bothers you that much just set it to easy mode and autoatack everything but dont come in here and say that the combat encounter placement doesnt make any sense because theres too many of them.

 

Also, Diablo has a worldwide demon invasion to excuse monsters every two feet. It aint the same.

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Also, I get no pleasure from repetitive combat.

Define repetitive combat.

 

I would argue that a game that offers 11 classes, a leveling system that goes from 1-12, and a vast bestiary would, at the very least, not suffer from such a problem, assuming it manages decent encounter placement and design. It's too early to tell with PoE. The beta is too short for a judgment call on this particular issue.

 

I will say this though. There most definitely is such a thing as too much story. When everything is a drama, and everything is tied to a story, you're not doing it right. You're f*cking up the gameflow/pacing just as much as any storyless dungeon crawler does. There's *got* to be a balance between the two, otherwise you'll just cause players to suffer from either narrative fatigue or combat boredom.

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