Jump to content

Suggestion to Tweak the Function for Highlighting Containers and Doors


Recommended Posts

I've made it a habit lately to post stuff only in the BB forums, but I think this question is qualified to be posed to everyone in the PoE forums. :)

(I apologize in advance for the typos to follow, but I'm typing from mobile again.)

 

To summarize, ever since Throne of Bhaal (mid 2001), where the highlight loot/containers/doors function was introduced, I felt that it encourages me to adopt a play style which I regret adopting, but which happens to be the fastest and most convenient and efficient. You know what I'm talking about, because you're all doing it too, come on ;) I mean the practice of "enter an area -> hold the Tab key to scan for valuables, containers, hidden stuff -> rob the place of everything that isn't nailed to the ground -> move to the next area/dungeon level" These cycles are often accompanied by "sell the gathered junk for gp".

 

While this is a rational tactic, I've always felt it breaks immersion, because the player starts to feel more like a high fantasy hoover than a high fantasy hero. Yet the tactic is so profitable to the player, and so addictive, and convenient, and seductive, that I've never resisted using it since Throne of Bhaal, trough my later replays of BGII which didn't initially have that function, then through NWN, all the way to Dragon Age I&II, basically everywhere where I could.

 

Now, PoE, from what I've heared stated numerous times by Josh Sawyer (btw I can hardly stop myself from referencing him and Tim Cain by just first name :) ), is a game that's deliberately aiming to capture the Zeitgeist of the 1990s fantasy RPGs. Does the inclusion of this highlighting feature into PoE (it's in the backer beta) also constitute part of the efforts towards capturing the Zeitgeist? ;) Because the feature was only added in the penultimate IE game, chronologically speaking. My answer is that apparently it was so convenient that they added it in regardless of it not being a key feature of the IE games. Memories of past periods are often idealized, like the way many people imagined the Middle Ages in the mid 1800s I guess ;)

 

Anyway, jokes aside, I am far from the argument that this feature shouldn't be in the game, especially with the cited chronological motive. On the contrary, please, let it be there, I am all for capturing the Zeitgeist, and I am aware that this is achieved by borrowing the best features of the period in question, with precise chronology taking a step back. But Josh Sawyer has also assured us in a few places, that the team would not hesitate to improve on aspects of the IE games which were constraining, not working well, etc. This is what I want to suggest that be done with the highlight feature.

 

My suggestion is that doors and containers only highlight when the key is pressed while a character (currently selected or no) is whithin a reasonably small distance from the door/container. This alteration to the functionality, in my opinion, achieves multiple good effects simultaneously:

1. Prevents the cheesy tactic I described, or at least makes it more tiresome and thus less probable to be employed consistently for a long part of a playthrough. Especially with the Stash present, this feature is ready for much more efficient abuse in PoE than it ever was in the IE games.

2. Prevents the "pixel hunt" done with the mouse pointer which was the usual practice before the advent of the highlight key. Pixel hunt should also not work on containers/doors that are out of range.

3. By highlighing objects only in proximity of part characters, some very authentic role-playing scenarios become possible, such as - you've just cleaned a room in a dungeon and you spread the party around, so that with one key press you can highlight more of the room, but knowing that is way you run the risk of being ambushed while the party is not in formation, or setting of a trap. Making either choice involves a tradeoff.

4. PoE builds on IE games' functionality and makes from what was a feature suggesting abusive behavior, a feature that suggests role-playing opportunities.

5. Provides an incentive for the player to use all the party members together, for a task that isn't combat or related to combat, and this is something happening relatively rarely. I see it as an equivalent to one of the text-based interactions, where the party decides to "[search the room]". You get what I mean, right?

 

I wonder what the developers would say about this, but I'm sure they want to see what the community thinks of it most of all, so I think if the devs' input comes it will be only after many people here have stated their opinions. With this I encourage you to say what you think about my idea - do you agree the highlighting was/is breaking immersion/potentially abusable? Do you think a solution such as what I'm proposing can make the game more interesting? Do you have your own solutions to propose?

Edited by Gairnulf
  • Like 2

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I hate about having to manually search around is that it usually doesn't come with much of an actual in-game cost. What I mean is, if the time it took you to search a room, as opposed to just hitting the highlight toggle and seeing everything in the room actually meant that some enemy gets into better position, or some other time-sensitive thing occurs, it would be a bit more meaningful. But, as it stands, other than allowing you to sort of enjoy the pseudo-simulation of active searching.

 

In a PnP game, something like searching a room in a detailed fashion actually mattered, because you weren't ever sure what would happen during that time. Maybe some bandits return from patrolling/pilfering, to catch you off-guard while you're all rummaging through stuff in a room. Or maybe it gets dark, making it more dangerous for you to travel back to town from wherever you are, etc.

 

But, in most cRPGs, it's basically just a slight simulation of having to search, with practically no other significance whatsoever.

 

So, *shrug*. I think highlight is a good tool, and should always show you the containers and such that are obvious to your characters' perceptive abilities. Maybe some kind of more-thorough searching could be put in, via scripted interactions or something.

  • Like 1

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me reaching the PnP experience, meaning the kind of uncertainty in a game that can only be provided by other real, thinking people around you is the ultimate achievement,

 

But don't you feel it gets too gamey, having this scan feature on, after you've just been a having the most classic rpg experience?

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

It does, in a way. But... at the same time, you're hovering above a party of characters that you're controlling. So, forcing you, the player, to manually search for things isn't really in-line with that same roleplaying experience. In a PnP game, you pretty much control your character first-hand. So, unless you specifically look thoroughly through that pile of trinkets in the corner, your character isn't really going to find something in the midst of it. However, if you walked into a room that had any kind of decent lighting, your character would immediately know that, 100ft away, in the corner, was a barrel, or a chest, etc. You wouldn't have to walk close to it, then search.

 

Basically, if it would be something the DM would reveal to you in the room's general description, then I see no problem with highlighting it. The highlighting is KIND of like the DM telling you "there's a rusty chest in the corner," without you explicitly searching the corner to see if there's something in it. But, because of the cRPG perspective, simply not-revealing that, or requiring the player to search for it, kind of makes no sense, and/or comes with unintentional side effects.

 

So... *shrug*. I don't mind the highlight function, for things that are readily visible to your characters (even if they're technically beyond sight range... if we were dealing with threat visibility, here, I'd be worried about that). But I do think that any kind of in-depth searching should require extra effort/choice on the player's part. And it shouldn't just be something you can walk around, spamming, that covers a 20-foot radius at a time, because that's not what you do in the underlying PnP experience. Simply because there were consequences for doing so. Maybe thoroughly searching an area causes you to make lots of noise, and attracts baddies? Who knows. Time-sensitivity is the best thing, but it's hard to put in that level of it in a cRPG.

  • Like 1

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for a toggle for the Z-key function. However, I'm getting old. CRPGs take lots of time as it is, and pixel hunting ain't that fun anymore (Try Grimrock and see for yourselves).

Also, it's something of a tradition in a number of CRPGs I adore, so I will definitely use it. When I played through WL2, I had that key pre-programmed on my mouse, and it certainly helped, but only to a degree. There were still tonnes of stuff that remained pretty much hidden (I had to rotate the cam, since it was 3D). Even without rotation, you can hide stuff while still having the Z-function up and running. Let's just say that there a re a few easter egg items/caches in BG1 and BG2 that get highlighted, but they are almost pixel-sized when lit up, so they are very hard to spot anyways. That's enough item hunting excitement for me, but I do respect people who want to go more hardcore than I do. :)

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

personally, i'd prefer to have a key for turning on/off the highlighting option, then if it's on, press another key ('TAB' ?) to show all hidden containers.

 

And do you think this would change anything in how you use the function? Personally, I'd still submit the temptation and keep the function available. 

 

I'm all for a toggle for the Z-key function. However, I'm getting old. CRPGs take lots of time as it is, and pixel hunting ain't that fun anymore (Try Grimrock and see for yourselves).

Also, it's something of a tradition in a number of CRPGs I adore, so I will definitely use it. When I played through WL2, I had that key pre-programmed on my mouse, and it certainly helped, but only to a degree. There were still tonnes of stuff that remained pretty much hidden (I had to rotate the cam, since it was 3D). Even without rotation, you can hide stuff while still having the Z-function up and running. Let's just say that there a re a few easter egg items/caches in BG1 and BG2 that get highlighted, but they are almost pixel-sized when lit up, so they are very hard to spot anyways. That's enough item hunting excitement for me, but I do respect people who want to go more hardcore than I do. :)

 

Having hidden caches that are very small is a solution I'd go with, but what this achieve is make the container harder to see for the player. My goal is to restrict the player from being certain he has discovered all containers with the press of a key. I want leave him/her in some doubt, like "Ok, I gave this area enough time, and there's nothing more to find, I think".

 

I'm against this solution. I prefer how it was in the Infinity Engine games and I prefer a brighter blue. The one they're using is too dark IMO.

 

And it never bothered you, never felt like it's unnaturally easy to loot areas? You are against the solution, but would you agree this is something that would be nice to be addressed, or there is no problem for you?

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

personally, i'd prefer to have a key for turning on/off the highlighting option, then if it's on, press another key ('TAB' ?) to show all hidden containers.

 

And do you think this would change anything in how you use the function? Personally, I'd still submit the temptation and keep the function available. 

sorry there, mental lapse from my side. I was thinking IE / TAB with its multi functions. If it's a key solely for highlighting, you're right of course that you wouldn't need a separate key for the option. I do like your suggestion, but i'm not sure how many players would want it after the BG2 TAB experience, perhaps your idea could/would be turned on/off in the options menu?

Edited by 4ward
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

personally, i'd prefer to have a key for turning on/off the highlighting option, then if it's on, press another key ('TAB' ?) to show all hidden containers.

 

And do you think this would change anything in how you use the function? Personally, I'd still submit the temptation and keep the function available. 

sorry there, mental lapse from my side. I was thinking IE / TAB with its multi functions. If it's a key solely for highlighting, you're right of course that you wouldn't need a separate key for the option. I do like your suggestion, but i'm not sure how many players would want it after the BG2 TAB experience, perhaps your idea could/would be turned on/off in the options menu?

 

That would be nice, an extra difficulty toggle feature, like the Trial of Iron mode :) Or they could just include it into Trial of Iron. It seems like a masochist's mode anyway ;) Especially if your (only available) savegame becomes corrupted due to some bug while the game is still in its early versions.

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for the highlight key.

As I see it, there are two things to weight against each other: the annoyance and waste of time of searching each screen for containers versus the reward for finding said containers. Since in general most containers have nothing interesting, it seems heavily stacked in favor of the highlight key. And while it may feel too gamey, PoE is a game. I'm happy to sacrifice realism or 'feel' for quality-of-life features like this one.

As for having two kinds of containers, a generic that highlights and a hidden that don't, I'm not a fan either. Hidden containers are only hidden until you find them. In each subsequent playthrough you already know where they are, and they're just free bonuses from then on (BG's hidden rings and Ankheg armor are perfect examples of that).

Link to post
Share on other sites

And it never bothered you, never felt like it's unnaturally easy to loot areas? You are against the solution, but would you agree this is something that would be nice to be addressed, or there is no problem for you?

Nope. It was perfectly fine in BG2.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to sacrifice realism or 'feel' for quality-of-life features like this one.

It's not even realism, though. It's not like, realistically, your character could spot anything at all hidden in the entire room, simply by utilizing a floating mouse-cursor that some deity-like entity (who was ultimately controlling the character) moved about the room until things were revealed, but only to that entity.

 

You've already got a system in place for your character to have limited capabilities that you, the player, cannot leapfrog over. If your character has crap Intellect, then, no matter how clever you are, you cannot cause him to produce some huge, clever dialogue response in order to solve some problem. So, likewise, if your character has crap Perception (or whatever you want to affect it), then he should be incapable of detecting subtle, hidden things, no matter how many times you dance your mouse cursor over them.

 

So, again, if they want to put in some sort of thorough searching mechanic, then that would be cool. But, it shouldn't be up to the player to literally search for hidden things, beyond having your party actually go see what's down this branch of the cave as opposed to just ignoring that entire corridor.

 

It makes no sense, in the context of the entire RPG system, to force the player to rely on his own perceptive abilities to detect some tiny "hidden" trinket on the ground 5 feet away from the character. Your character would pretty easily be able to spot that, just by glancing in that direction, but, to the player, it's one little tiny pixel that MIGHT be a slightly different shade of color from the dirt around it.

 

Don't get me wrong... finding hidden objects on the screen can be fun. I'm not saying that's just dumb to enjoy that at all. It's just silly, in the context of an RPG in which your character's ratings determine all the other outcomes.

  • Like 2

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

i wouldn’t mind having two different types of containers. Normal containers (shaped as such like chests, tables …) be highlighted on TAB as in BG2 while entrances to secret passages or hidden compartments (not shaped as your typical containers) become visible only if a party member with a high lore skill would be standing near to it. There, the lore skill suddenly gains on importance! The amount of secret compartments would have to be high to make it count. A low lore skill would not only prevent hidden compartments become visible but also the mouse cursor would not change so no access to it. So you need a high lore skill + you also need to explore in detail..

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for the highlight key.

As I see it, there are two things to weight against each other: the annoyance and waste of time of searching each screen for containers versus the reward for finding said containers. Since in general most containers have nothing interesting, it seems heavily stacked in favor of the highlight key. And while it may feel too gamey, PoE is a game. I'm happy to sacrifice realism or 'feel' for quality-of-life features like this one.

As for having two kinds of containers, a generic that highlights and a hidden that don't, I'm not a fan either. Hidden containers are only hidden until you find them. In each subsequent playthrough you already know where they are, and they're just free bonuses from then on (BG's hidden rings and Ankheg armor are perfect examples of that).

I didn't suggest two types of containers.

 

 

I'm happy to sacrifice realism or 'feel' for quality-of-life features like this one.

It's not even realism, though. It's not like, realistically, your character could spot anything at all hidden in the entire room, simply by utilizing a floating mouse-cursor that some deity-like entity (who was ultimately controlling the character) moved about the room until things were revealed, but only to that entity.You've already got a system in place for your character to have limited capabilities that you, the player, cannot leapfrog over. If your character has crap Intellect, then, no matter how clever you are, you cannot cause him to produce some huge, clever dialogue response in order to solve some problem. So, likewise, if your character has crap Perception (or whatever you want to affect it), then he should be incapable of detecting subtle, hidden things, no matter how many times you dance your mouse cursor over them.So, again, if they want to put in some sort of thorough searching mechanic, then that would be cool. But, it shouldn't be up to the player to literally search for hidden things, beyond having your party actually go see what's down this branch of the cave as opposed to just ignoring that entire corridor.It makes no sense, in the context of the entire RPG system, to force the player to rely on his own perceptive abilities to detect some tiny "hidden" trinket on the ground 5 feet away from the character. Your character would pretty easily be able to spot that, just by glancing in that direction, but, to the player, it's one little tiny pixel that MIGHT be a slightly different shade of color from the dirt around it.Don't get me wrong... finding hidden objects on the screen can be fun. I'm not saying that's just dumb to enjoy that at all. It's just silly, in the context of an RPG in which your character's ratings determine all the other outcomes.
 

 

i wouldn’t mind having two different types of containers. Normal containers (shaped as such like chests, tables …) be highlighted on TAB as in BG2 while entrances to secret passages or hidden compartments (not shaped as your typical containers) become visible only if a party member with a high lore skill would be standing near to it. There, the lore skill suddenly gains on importance! The amount of secret compartments would have to be high to make it count. A low lore skill would not only prevent hidden compartments become visible but also the mouse cursor would not change so no access to it. So you need a high lore skill + you also need to explore in detail..

Tying the chance to spot a container to some attribute pr a derived stat sounds very cool to me, but I wonder if it isn't too late in the dev cycle for this to be a realistic thing to wish for.

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Running a mouse pointer all over a 2D screen waiting for something to highlight never felt to me like I was searching a room but rather pixel hunting.I also object to item highlight keys though.Maybe have a highly perceptive character actually need to walk into corners of room wherein stuff at a close proximity highlights?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think RPGs could do with more "Uhhh, guys, we probably shouldn't just stand around here in these ruins for too long... we'd best get moving soon" factor. If that were the case, then having to take extra time to actually search things (using some kind of skill) would actually be interesting. For example, in State of Decay (zombie apocalypse setting), you actually have a foraging/rummaging skill (can't remember what it's called), and you even have two relative speeds at which you can search at any given time. If you search slowly, you're much quieter, but it takes a lot longer. If you opt to perform a speedy search, you're much more likely to knock something over and make a very loud noise, which attracts the crap out of nearby zombies. The improvement of your skill increases the chances of you not making any sound, even when searching speedily, AND improves your search times.

 

Now, I'm not saying "that's the solution to every instance of searching in the entirety of a cRPG! *dusts off hands*". But, I'm just trying to point out how interesting searching can be when it's not JUST a delay to the player's gametime.

 

Also, I might've mentioned it before, but I think scripted interactions have a lot of potential utility for searchable/hidden things.

 

But, yeah, as for the highlight toggle, I think it works best basically as a "what can my character easily see right now that I maybe cannot at this floaty, floaty perspective, so far from the ground?" button.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think RPGs could do with more "Uhhh, guys, we probably shouldn't just stand around here in these ruins for too long... we'd best get moving soon" factor. If that were the case, then having to take extra time to actually search things (using some kind of skill) would actually be interesting. For example, in State of Decay (zombie apocalypse setting), you actually have a foraging/rummaging skill (can't remember what it's called), and you even have two relative speeds at which you can search at any given time. If you search slowly, you're much quieter, but it takes a lot longer. If you opt to perform a speedy search, you're much more likely to knock something over and make a very loud noise, which attracts the crap out of nearby zombies. The improvement of your skill increases the chances of you not making any sound, even when searching speedily, AND improves your search times.Now, I'm not saying "that's the solution to every instance of searching in the entirety of a cRPG! *dusts off hands*". But, I'm just trying to point out how interesting searching can be when it's not JUST a delay to the player's gametime.Also, I might've mentioned it before, but I think scripted interactions have a lot of potential utility for searchable/hidden things.But, yeah, as for the highlight toggle, I think it works best basically as a "what can my character easily see right now that I maybe cannot at this floaty, floaty perspective, so far from the ground?" button.

When thinking on this question, I group these solutions as "Introducing a skill that determines how much/what loot the plyer would find", but for me this is really a more veiled variant of another solution - outright randomization of the contents of containers for loot. I can't say how costly this approach would be to implement, but I'm not sure I like it. I can't exactly put my finger on why, but it feels a bit unfair when you have to fight a battle and then the reward is decided by chance.

 

All that is unless the skill check doesn't always return the same kind and the same amount of loot, with no random factors. Then the loot found would only differ in different playthroughs, which sounds fine to me. This however runs the risk of unbalancing the skills, if the rewards for successfull high checks are excessive.

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you don't have to use it for everything. Think of it like lockpicking. There might be some cool loot in a chest in here, or behind a door, but if you don't have good enough lockpicking, you can't get to it. You don't NEED that loot. It's optional stuff.

 

In a boiled down sense, that's what searching would be. It wouldn't be used to find EVERYTHING, as in "I searched this corpse, but missed the 5 rubies in his pocket, because I'm bad at searching." Or, to be more specific, I guess it would potentially do 2 things:

 

1) Require searching versus not-searching to be an actual tradeoff, and not just "Oh, do I want to wait 10 seconds and get more stuff, or don't I?" Because, if it's ONLY going to detect hidden things based on a skill rating or Perception rating or whathaveyou, then it might as well just be instant, passive, and extend to whatever the screen will show.

2) Detect hidden things in a sort of "you can only find this because you're better at finding hidden things than someone else."

 

For the second one, I think you could make it a little more interactive/puzzley. Just a little. Like, the Difficulty Rating for finding this hidden door switch is way beyond you, unless you have your character discover a clue or two. THEN, you search that area, and you can find it. It would almost function more like a miniquest, and be a lot more discovery-like, instead of just "walk around clicking *search* and get free stuff." *shrug*

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you don't have to use it for everything. Think of it like lockpicking. There might be some cool loot in a chest in here, or behind a door, but if you don't have good enough lockpicking, you can't get to it. You don't NEED that loot. It's optional stuff.

 

In a boiled down sense, that's what searching would be. It wouldn't be used to find EVERYTHING, as in "I searched this corpse, but missed the 5 rubies in his pocket, because I'm bad at searching." Or, to be more specific, I guess it would potentially do 2 things:

 

1) Require searching versus not-searching to be an actual tradeoff, and not just "Oh, do I want to wait 10 seconds and get more stuff, or don't I?" Because, if it's ONLY going to detect hidden things based on a skill rating or Perception rating or whathaveyou, then it might as well just be instant, passive, and extend to whatever the screen will show.

2) Detect hidden things in a sort of "you can only find this because you're better at finding hidden things than someone else."

 

For the second one, I think you could make it a little more interactive/puzzley. Just a little. Like, the Difficulty Rating for finding this hidden door switch is way beyond you, unless you have your character discover a clue or two. THEN, you search that area, and you can find it. It would almost function more like a miniquest, and be a lot more discovery-like, instead of just "walk around clicking *search* and get free stuff." *shrug*

I agree that option 2 is the more fun option to play, and option 1 just replicates the problem, only instead of <tab> you have a skill which you should constantly keep turned on. The miniquest option sounds too complex to be introduced on a grand scale, and it would have to be tailored on a per-area basis, which would be costly, I imagine.

 

I'm leaning towards an option of adding difficulty rating for finding containers containing loot. If your skill is too low, the container doesn't light up for you and you can't see it, or interact with it, and you have no way of knowing if there was a container there, whether or not you are using the highlight button.

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, outside the budget/scope, I fully understand. I tend to try to think of things that would simply be great, then work my way down to what fits the game production's capability. So, at the very least, it should probably just be "gated," like you say. That way, you have the significant choice of how high to raise that skill, with the results being which things you notice/discover and which ones you don't. Instead of the insignificant choice of "Do I shave about an hour off my total playthrough time by not-clicking 'search' in every room, or do I take an extremely minor amount of extra time and just get all the free hidden stuff in the whole game?"

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've made it a habit lately to post stuff only in the BB forums, but I think this question is qualified to be posed to everyone in the PoE forums. :)

(I apologize in advance for the typos to follow, but I'm typing from mobile again.)

 

To summarize, ever since Throne of Bhaal (mid 2001), where the highlight loot/containers/doors function was introduced, I felt that it encourages me to adopt a play style which I regret adopting, but which happens to be the fastest and most convenient and efficient. You know what I'm talking about, because you're all doing it too, come on ;) I mean the practice of "enter an area -> hold the Tab key to scan for valuables, containers, hidden stuff -> rob the place of everything that isn't nailed to the ground -> move to the next area/dungeon level" These cycles are often accompanied by "sell the gathered junk for gp".

 

While this is a rational tactic, I've always felt it breaks immersion, because the player starts to feel more like a high fantasy hoover than a high fantasy hero. Yet the tactic is so profitable to the player, and so addictive, and convenient, and seductive, that I've never resisted using it since Throne of Bhaal, trough my later replays of BGII which didn't initially have that function, then through NWN, all the way to Dragon Age I&II, basically everywhere where I could.

 

Now, PoE, from what I've heared stated numerous times by Josh Sawyer (btw I can hardly stop myself from referencing him and Tim Cain by just first name :) ), is a game that's deliberately aiming to capture the Zeitgeist of the 1990s fantasy RPGs. Does the inclusion of this highlighting feature into PoE (it's in the backer beta) also constitute part of the efforts towards capturing the Zeitgeist? ;) Because the feature was only added in the penultimate IE game, chronologically speaking. My answer is that apparently it was so convenient that they added it in regardless of it not being a key feature of the IE games. Memories of past periods are often idealized, like the way many people imagined the Middle Ages in the mid 1800s I guess ;)

 

Anyway, jokes aside, I am far from the argument that this feature shouldn't be in the game, especially with the cited chronological motive. On the contrary, please, let it be there, I am all for capturing the Zeitgeist, and I am aware that this is achieved by borrowing the best features of the period in question, with precise chronology taking a step back. But Josh Sawyer has also assured us in a few places, that the team would not hesitate to improve on aspects of the IE games which were constraining, not working well, etc. This is what I want to suggest that be done with the highlight feature.

 

My suggestion is that doors and containers only highlight when the key is pressed while a character (currently selected or no) is whithin a reasonably small distance from the door/container. This alteration to the functionality, in my opinion, achieves multiple good effects simultaneously:

1. Prevents the cheesy tactic I described, or at least makes it more tiresome and thus less probable to be employed consistently for a long part of a playthrough. Especially with the Stash present, this feature is ready for much more efficient abuse in PoE than it ever was in the IE games.

2. Prevents the "pixel hunt" done with the mouse pointer which was the usual practice before the advent of the highlight key. Pixel hunt should also not work on containers/doors that are out of range.

3. By highlighing objects only in proximity of part characters, some very authentic role-playing scenarios become possible, such as - you've just cleaned a room in a dungeon and you spread the party around, so that with one key press you can highlight more of the room, but knowing that is way you run the risk of being ambushed while the party is not in formation, or setting of a trap. Making either choice involves a tradeoff.

4. PoE builds on IE games' functionality and makes from what was a feature suggesting abusive behavior, a feature that suggests role-playing opportunities.

5. Provides an incentive for the player to use all the party members together, for a task that isn't combat or related to combat, and this is something happening relatively rarely. I see it as an equivalent to one of the text-based interactions, where the party decides to "[search the room]". You get what I mean, right?

 

I wonder what the developers would say about this, but I'm sure they want to see what the community thinks of it most of all, so I think if the devs' input comes it will be only after many people here have stated their opinions. With this I encourage you to say what you think about my idea - do you agree the highlighting was/is breaking immersion/potentially abusable? Do you think a solution such as what I'm proposing can make the game more interesting? Do you have your own solutions to propose?

I like your idea lots and, from back in the KS days, I thought PoE would be that kind of game, where exploration would be a part of the game.

 

I was really disappointed to see the first gameplay videos highlighting everything.

Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also fond of the "highlight a given container or no, based on skill/attribute level" option. Saves the physical burden of manually spreading out the party and still leaves some uncertainty, hence replay value.

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I've been playing Planescape: Torment in the past weeks and the lack of highlighting and small hitboxes on containers and corpses are some of the biggest problems for me in the game. Especially with widescreenmod.

 

I personally do not mind if they leave the highlighting as it is but making some containers not accessible/visible if you don't have the required stats/skills might work better both Gameplay and RPG-wise. It is basically a new layer to the whole lockpicking mechanic, this time you just wouldn't always know you are even missing out something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...