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Please, No Lockpick or Trap-Disarm XP!

Trap and Lockpick XP Poll  

116 members have voted

  1. 1. Should picking locks and disarming traps--both Mechanics skill checks--award experience points, even though no other XP pools are strictly bound to a specific skill?

    • Yes
      56
    • No
      60


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"I've greatly enjoyed Wasteland 2.  Yeah, I don't like the way everything grants XP, but that's what the game does.  I'd hope that, whatever happens with PoE, folks will fairly evaluate the game based on how fun it is, regardless of how hard they fought for any particular position.  I'll even just pretend romances aren't part of the game if Obsidz makes a long and elaborate romance line.

 

Anyhow, while I like the game, trap XP is a perfect example of working the system.  Now, aside from the fact that what's in the chest or what's behind the door virtually always makes the XP from picking the lock completely irrelevant and is plenty reward in and of itself, and disarming the trap on such locks prevents wounding the characters and possibly destroying the contents, which makes it a no brainer to do and I'd do it without *any* XP, there are areas in the game with a lot of traps.  Many many traps.  Now, disarming any particular trap might be beneficial.  So, since you would gladly walk over the trap and take the damage if they didn't reward you with XP for disarming it, they must grant XP.  Even worse, there are times when, from a role playing perspective, you might want to leave some of those traps.  For example, if there's an area to which you've gained access, from a story perspective, you might want to leave a healthy number of traps in place to dissuade other folks from trying to access the same area.  ...But even worse than that, there are times when you can actually take advantage of the traps.  For example, you're fighting frogs or wolves or whatnot and you can draw them through the mine field to attack you.  It actually works pretty well.  Shoot them full of holes while they run at you and watch them get blown up trying to close.  However, since the mobs aren't all that hard, at least on Ranger level, and you can be pretty damned proficient at explosives, you get more benefit from those traps.  It doesn't make me hate the game, but it does show how the design encourages the player to act in a counter-intuitive manner.

 

As much as I don't want kill XP, and that's a lot, I find trap/lock XP outright insulting."

 

EDIT:  Technically, it's a quote, so I still needed the quotation marks.

Edited by Cantousent

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As I like xp overall, and voted yes to all in that other poll, I had to stay true to form and vote yes. I do agree, though, that it's very weird to include lock pick and trap disarm xp out of all things, when encounter xp, or even convo xp, sneak xp, crafting xp and kill xp, would have been more logical - since these much better reflect what the game is about. I know the devs at one time said that they don't want to reward "body count". Perhaps I'm daft, but isn't those bestiary xp a body count if there ever was one? And since when did chest count and spring mechanism count outweigh body count in a CRPG? :p

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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Arent there lock picks in the game?

These don't bypass the Mechanics skill check, if I understand correctly. And what about traps?

 

 

TBH, I don't know what picks do. I assumed they added some amount of (+) to whatever check is used to pick a lock thus lessening the Mechanics skill "requirement". Traps would still be a problem though.

 

 

As far as I know, that is correct. Conceptionally it's really just the same as lockpicks in DnD.

 

I'd vote in the poll but I'm busy clearing out an enormous minefield in Wasteland 2 for EXP.

 

That's the reason why I voted 'no'. Also it contributed to me stop caring about wasteland 2 and stop playing it.

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I'm not opposed to it, but it really depends on what the game-devs want for the overall experience. Wasteland 2 gives XP for pretty much everything, your character could fart and it'd give XP. I think that's fine because in WL2 there's such an abundance of stuff to get XP from (whether the act of using the skills a million times is actually *fun* is another discussion...), whereas I don't quite get this feeling from PoE.

 

Overall, I think I'd prefer it if they keep the "objective based" XP they were going with from the start, but chop up the XP as much as they can for smaller mini-goals where indeed unlocking a certain door, talking down a person, sneaking past something, whatever, could yield XP if it's accomplishing a particular goal.

 

But, like I said, I'm not really opposed to the idea of unlocking giving XP period. But if that's the case, then there will probably be other areas also that needs "boosting" in terms of XP, various skill usage situations and so forth. I don't want to be in a place where, as others have pointed out, I feel the need to unlock stuff just to milk the game's XP.


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Hopefully, someone can post this philosophy and see how lock/trap xp goes against it. I'm genuinely curious about this.

 

Only thing that comes to mind, and I'm paraphrasing here, but they've said the game will have "The epic scope of Baldur's Gate, The tactical combat of Icewind Dale and the thematically rich storytelling of Planescape: Torment".

 

So yeah, nothing that precludes locks or traps giving XP.

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No, no, no, NO

 

Haven't Obsidian learned from Baldur's Gate II or their own Knights of the Old Republic II that adding XP to picking locks or disarming mines/traps is one of the WORST possible XP benefits to give.

Just look up that Telos minefield and you can see what's wrong right away.

 

Have demolition skill? = FREE LEVELUP (what the? That's a trap?)

Don't have demolition skill = Too bad for you.

 

Anyone thinking "darn, that's a trap"... nope, just about the XP. Thanks to the horrid game decision of adding XP to doing so.

 

An even worse example would be Deus Ex (which PoE should base itself on!) and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where the XP to hacking made getting a key detremental. If that doesn't make you scratch your head and say "what?" nothing will.

 

All in all, adding this would be heavily detrimental to roleplaying, would make seemingly "better" options (finding the key, or pressing a disarm button for example) worse since you miss out the experience of doing it the "worse alternative" way. That just doesn't make sense. And should under no circumstances be a repeat error of past mistakes.

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I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Quote from J.E.Sawyer (full post), emphasis added:

 

Adding in minor bestiary, exploration, lock, and trap XP rewards to increase the regularity of XP rewards across the game. 

 

That part in italics seems misguided, for a very simple reason: Disarming traps and picking locks is a Mechanics skill check. Therefore, reaping all XP rewards will require a Mechanics-focused character in your party. None of the other sources of XP require specific skill focus.

Personally I couldn't care less about the fact that some XP sources require a certain skill but with adding XP for traps and locks, any justification for not giving XP for combat is out of the window.

 

Using a tool to open a lock gets you experience, using a tool to kill an enemy does not? Yeah, right.

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This thread is so biased that i want to pick yes just to be annoying though i too don't really approve of unlock/disarm trap xp.

 

You don't have to worry it seem that the majority of players don't want it, so no need to control the mass by sneaky polls...

I shared my own opinion, which is indeed biased :)

You do realize that when you have a biased opinion and create a biased poll it also completely invalidates any results your poll has right?

 

Personally, I don't care if it is in game or not.  It isn't that big a deal to me as I think anyone who isn't an idiot will have at least one high mechanics character to begin with.  I do agree with Matt's points from the previous page though.  It seems counter to the basic XP philosophy of the game.

Edited by Karkarov
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You do realize that when you have a biased opinion and create a biased poll it also completely invalidates any results your poll has right?

If I could still edit the post, I'd reword the question to sound more neutral. But this is a forum, not a closed ballot--I'm certainly allowed to post my vote and explanations for it. If anything, I did my cause a disservice because people like to troll-vote just to piss off a slanted OP :)

 

Furthermore, it would be ridiculous for me to think this is any kind of representative sample (even if the wording were unbiased). It is a means of prompting discussion and nothing more. By no means do I intend it to be statistically valid.

 

...I think anyone who isn't an idiot will have at least one high mechanics character to begin with.

That's a little insulting to anyone who wants to experiment with not having a mechanic. Maybe they don't want to dedicate a slot to a character whose main utility is dealing with traps, unlocking locks--and now, grabbing bonus XP. A character for whom they mindlessly click the [+] next to Mechanics whenever they level up, because it'd be crazy not to.

 

It's easy enough to forgo the other four skills, or distribute their points in a more balanced fashion--because those skills won't be tied to hard-gated XP pools. With trap and lock XP in place, skipping Mechanics becomes even more punishing than it already is--making players less likely to try braving a dungeon without it. I think Obsidian wants players to build parties without feeling railroaded into specific choices. That's why, for example, they are against dump stats.

 

Is this a huge deal? No. Will I play the game, regardless? Of course. But the same could be said for any number of design decisions that we discuss on this forum.

Edited by PrimeHydra

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I'd vote in the poll but I'm busy clearing out an enormous minefield in Wasteland 2 for EXP.

LOL - I just did that last night! My Demolitions expert grabbed about 500 XP in one area just on disarming mines. I can certainly see why many people are against this.

 

But honestly, there have been so many arguments about the way XP are/could be/should be given out in PoE that I'm beginning to not care anymore. In the end, it comes down to: are you the type of player that's going to farm every last XP no matter what, or are you just going to play the game and enjoy it as you go without worrying that you may have missed 5 or 6 XP in the last area?

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It's easy enough to forgo the other four skills, or distribute their points in a more balanced fashion

 

But is it? I have a feeling this game is going to shake out like Wasteland 2 in that it's going to be all or nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving Wasteland 2 (hell, I can't seem to stop playing it, even when I should be doing other things), but it suffers from the same thing that most other games with skill checks suffer from: as you get to higher levels, the skill checks get more and more difficult, so if you don't keep maxing the skill, it becomes useless as the game progresses. I can't really see PoE being any different.

 

So that again begs the question: is it really going to be feasible or effective to evenly distribute the skills as opposed to maxing them?

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So that again begs the question: is it really going to be feasible or effective to evenly distribute the skills as opposed to maxing them?

I wish it could be. But even if we go with the assumption that each character should max a skill, this makes it more desirable to always have a "mechanic". Getting through the game without a specialist in any of the other skills, sounds a lot less painful. I can easily see a party without an Athlete or a Loremaster; but no Mechanics? Now we not only get stung by traps and locked out of chests, we miss experience points. Isn't this skill desirable enough without that last bit?

 

You raise an excellent point, though, one that deserves its own thread: What's the point of multiple skill points, or even of getting the choice to dump points into different skills, if maxing out is the only viable path?  There are a number of solutions to this, such as limiting the number of points you can put into any given skill per level (e.g., two out of the five--or whatever the number is--skill points awarded when leveling). With six character slots and only five skills, though, not maxing one skill per toon seems pointless.

 

I would love to see a system where well-rounded characters have their own appeal. Multi-classing in the D&D-based IE games was really interesting because it let you do more things with any one character--at the cost of not doing them as well as a specialist.

 

They did say there will be more character progression options in the next patch. Let's see what develops!

Edited by PrimeHydra

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I wish it could be. But even if we go with the assumption that each character should max a skill, this makes it more desirable to always have a "mechanic". Getting through the game without a specialist in any of the other skills, sounds a lot less painful. I can easily see a party without an Athlete or a Loremaster; but no Mechanics? Now we not only get stung by traps and locked out of chests, we miss experience pools. Isn't this skill desirable enough without that last bit?

 

You raise an excellent point, though, one that deserves its own thread: What's the point of multiple skill points, or even of getting the choice to dump points into different skills, if maxing out is the only viable path?  There are a number of solutions to this, such as limiting the number of points you can put into any given skill per level (e.g., two out of the five--or whatever the number is--skill points awarded when leveling).

 

I would love to see a system where well-rounded characters have appeal. Multi-classing in the D&D-based IE games was really interesting because it let you do a greater variety of things with one character--at the price of not doing them as well as the specialists.

 

You're assuming the player won't get XP for using, say, Lore in convos or certain situations. If we do, then doesn't that argument apply to Lore as well? (i.e. that Lore is more desirable).

 

Problem with limiting the number of points per level is twofold (and maybe more):

 

1) this means no high level skill checks unless the intent is to make the player come back again later when at a higher level or once again the checks are so high (compared to the player's possible skill level at that point) that you have to max the skill (to the point the restrictions allow) anyway to be able to pass. Or the skill checks are so trivially easy that they're inconsequential.

 

2) you'll have a whole contingent of players complaining they can't make a specialist character and are forced to build their character a different way than they want to because they're either forced to dump points into a skill they don't want or they end up not spending them and are getting a pool of 'useless' skill points.

 

I think the better - although not ideal - solution is similar to Wasteland 2 in that you can attempt a skill check with lower skill values, but there's an increasingly large chance of failure (and critical failure) if your skill level is below the target threshold. But this does, of course, 'promote' save-scumming. But I think at some point the devs have to stop worrying about how the players are going to bypass certain challenges and stop worrying about 'degenerative' game play if it's something the player has to consciously choose to participate in.

I mean, the way I see it: XP for traps and locks? I don't care. Does that mean that some players will max out Mechanics and then disarm every trap and search out every lock just to get every last possible XP? Yes, it does. Who cares? It's a single player game and they're choosing to play it how they want. Same with save-scumming. Same with XP for kills. It's the player's choice to do that.

 

Meh, like I said I'm getting so sick of the angst surrounding XP awards in this game that I'm starting to not really give a crap how they decide to do it.

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You're assuming the player won't get XP for using, say, Lore in convos or certain situations. If we do, then doesn't that argument apply to Lore as well? (i.e. that Lore is more desirable).

There aren't multiple ways to pick locks or disarm traps, though. (You can find the key, but there goes your XP). Most skill checks in scripted conversations that are part of quest objectives, are not the not the only way to achieve the objective. You can usually choose "[Attack] That's enough out of you!" and kill them.

 

Problem with limiting the number of points per level is twofold (and maybe more):
 
1) this means no high level skill checks unless the intent is to make the player come back again later when at a higher level or once again the checks are so high (compared to the player's possible skill level at that point) that you have to max the skill (to the point the restrictions allow) anyway to be able to pass. Or the skill checks are so trivially easy that they're inconsequential.
 
2) you'll have a whole contingent of players complaining they can't make a specialist character and are forced to build their character a different way than they want to because they're either forced to dump points into a skill they don't want or they end up not spending them and are getting a pool of 'useless' skill points.
 

 

This is true, which is why I conceded that such a system wouldn't work well with six characters and only five skills. If there were many more skills, there'd be (some) incentive to branch out, because you could get at least some of the skill checks for some of the skills.  But none of this really negates the need for unbiased skill selection in the first place. That can be achieved without regard to specializing or diversifying.

 

I think the better - although not ideal - solution is similar to Wasteland 2 in that you can attempt a skill check with lower skill values, but there's an increasingly large chance of failure (and critical failure) if your skill level is below the target threshold. But this does, of course, 'promote' save-scumming. But I think at some point the devs have to stop worrying about how the players are going to bypass certain challenges and stop worrying about 'degenerative' game play if it's something the player has to consciously choose to participate in.
I mean, the way I see it: XP for traps and locks? I don't care. Does that mean that some players will max out Mechanics and then disarm every trap and search out every lock just to get every last possible XP? Yes, it does. Who cares? It's a single player game and they're choosing to play it how they want. Same with save-scumming. Same with XP for kills. It's the player's choice to do that.
 
Meh, like I said I'm getting so sick of the angst surrounding XP awards in this game that I'm starting to not really give a crap how they decide to do it.

 

 

I guess I just don't see why we need XP for traps and locks. Most of the arguments for it state "I like it and I don't care if it's exploitable or creates a skill bias". OK. But why isn't disarming the trap or picking the lock reward enough? You get safe passage and/or loot. Do you really need to gain experience, too?

 

It echoes the combat XP argument in a lot of ways ("that's their choice so leave their XP alone"). The difference is, traps and locks are not nearly as common as enemies. Incentivizing them even more than they already are makes no sense, because a) you're not constantly encountering them, b) getting past them is a significant reward in itself and c) there is only one way to gain their XP--Mechanics.

 

As for throwing up your hands about the issue, there is still plenty of time until release. Expect people to debate it for a while. I joined the conversation well after the Kickstarter campaign, so maybe I'm less burnt out on it.

Edited by PrimeHydra
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Hopefully, someone can post this philosophy and see how lock/trap xp goes against it. I'm genuinely curious about this.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61543-are-you-for-or-against-gaining-experience-points-only-for-completing-objectives/?p=1242415

 

I was really hoping someone else would post a link.  There are other things, but this is from over two years ago.  Note that the salient point regards gaming the system, which I would take to include lock/trap XP.  I'm sure someone could make the disingenuous (well... let's just call it intellectually dishonest since that's what it really is) argument that he's only talking about kill XP.  The fact is, "[g]ameplay degeneration occurs when a player engages in gameplay not because they enjoy that gameplay but because the game's mechanics put the player at a disadvantage for not taking advantage of it[.]" clearly describes a system where you go out of your way to disarm traps because the system incentivizes you to do so even in situations where you would benefit from leaving the trap in place.  It clearly describes a system where you are better off *not* finding a key before you find the locked chest because you actually get an additional award for picking the lock.  lol They should just put in an option for every chest and door saying, "would you like to pick the lock for experience or just use the key that you found on the body of a tough enemy who yielded you no XP when you killed him?"

 

Kill XP is bad because opportunities to kill will be ubiquitous.  ...But I actually have more sympathy for kill XP.  Sure, even with mine fields galore, it's doubtful that traps/locks XP will be unbalancing, so I guess the advocates have a point.  On the other hand, if the argument is that it won't yield too terribly much XP, why worry if you don't get it?  If it's significant enough for advocates to evoke strong feelings, then it is potentially unbalancing.  ...And my gut instinct is that there are fewer people clamoring for lock/trap XP than kill, so why cater to that crowd rather than the kill XP crowd?  Because the XP probably won't be significant enough to worry about, so, while it makes even less sense than kill XP, it creates less of a nuisance for the design team, so just give it as a way to shut up a minority so small it isn't even causing much of a ruckus anyhow.  All of this leads me personally to believe that the design team itself has internal debates regarding the issue.

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I was really hoping someone else would post a link.  

 

I really did look. Kudos to your superior search skills! :)


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Thanks for the link, Cantousent. That'd pretty much what I was getting at. XP is a design tool. If you're offering XP for something as a designer, it's because you A) want to incentize the player to do the thing and disincentivize not doing the thing or B) allow the player to advance their character. Lock/trap XP doesn't seem necessary when either of these is taken into account. There's already an incentive for opening locks/traps that stand in your way, and incentizising that further only promotes degenerate gameplay. As far as advancement goes, the devs seem to want to advance the player at a certain rate, and that rate can easily be managed with the other sources of XP. Lock/trap XP is just weird, immersion breaking, and unnecessary IMO.

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I won't cry if OE doesn't put it in -- I'm a grown man for god's sake -- but I would be happy to see it included. If it was good enough for the I.E games, god dammit, it's good enough for me! All you whippersnappers can take your trap and lock xp phobias and stick 'em where the sun don't shine... uphill both ways in the snow... and that's how we liked it!

 

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I have no strong preference one way or the other, but I want to re-emphasize the point that Ink Blot made:

 

Other skills will unlock dialog options that will result in XP rewards (over and beyond what is accessible via the "ARGH! Attack!" option).  This may take the form of new quests, extra rewards for completed quests, or simply a straight "Wow, that's an amazing insight, professor!" type choices.  Obviously, quests unlock would only apply to side quests (critical path quests must be un-lockable for parties with any sets of skills), but side quests are likely to make up ~50% of the XP available in the game, so...  In theory, at least, adding trap / lock XP is actually necessary, to ensure that maxing out the mechanics skill offers the same XP rewards as (say) maxing out the Lore skill.

 

It is obvious that there will be many more opportunities for gaining trap / lock XP but one assumes that the rewards per instance will be much lower, so it is possible that a skill that appears in 3 dialogs (awarding 50k XP in total) would be balanced with mechanics -- if the total amount of XP available by unlocking every lock and disarming every trap is 50k.  It seems very unlikely that Obsidian has gone through this level of effort to balancing the addition of trap/lock XP in the game, at least not yet (since it was just introduced), but it isn't impossible... :)

 

Just my two cents.

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MReed: If some subquests are accessed only via dialog skill checks, then it makes sense. Sure enough, Mechanics aren't used in dialog (much) so it would then be a way of bringing Mechanics up to the other skills in terms of XP-unlock potential.

 

I've yet to discover a side quest in the backer beta that was skill-gated, but I'd feel better if you're right and the final game has them. This would increase replay value, too.

Edited by PrimeHydra

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If what you suggest is true, Reed, then why give systemic XP for the *act* of picking a lock?  You don't get XP for the act of a character opening his mouth to say hello.  You have specific checks which reward a success in a specific circumstance.  Once again, as I've often said, I personally (and perhaps others) don't have any problem with any specific skill, playstyle, attribute, or ability granting XP.  I don't even mind having some specific circumstances requiring any specific item off the preceding list.  What I don't want is for the game to systemically grant XP solely for the exercise of anything on the list.  I don't mind having an objective that can only be accomplished through mechanics.  That's never been my issue.  My issue is that granting systemic XP for each incident of mechanics use is a heavy handed way to fix the problem.  If there are specific instances where a dialogue skill grants XP, the solution to the perceived shafting of lock picking or trap disarming isn't to grant tiny bits of XP for each use.  It's to tie equally significant XP rewards to specific mechanics uses in the same way.

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I have no strong preference one way or the other, but I want to re-emphasize the point that Ink Blot made:

 

Other skills will unlock dialog options that will result in XP rewards (over and beyond what is accessible via the "ARGH! Attack!" option).  This may take the form of new quests, extra rewards for completed quests, or simply a straight "Wow, that's an amazing insight, professor!" type choices.  Obviously, quests unlock would only apply to side quests (critical path quests must be un-lockable for parties with any sets of skills), but side quests are likely to make up ~50% of the XP available in the game, so...  In theory, at least, adding trap / lock XP is actually necessary, to ensure that maxing out the mechanics skill offers the same XP rewards as (say) maxing out the Lore skill.

Attributes are the primary tool for resolving dialogue, not skills. And even then they're not necessarily the 'right answer'. The Ogre for example has a couple of attribute/skill checks, but the peaceful solution(s) don't require a check.

Edited by Quetzalcoatl

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