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Lord Wafflebum

Thoughts from a casual gamer

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Without a doubt, moving shouldn't be a trap choice. I can go hunt down quotes to be absolutely sure, but I'm fairly certain the initial presentation of engagement gave the idea that "disengagement" entailed more than mere movement. It was all "if you move outside of an engagement circle, you get hit." If the circle's ALWAYS going to be so small that you can't even move anywhere without taking a hit, then what's the point in even having circles and ranges? Might as well just forego all that code and have "if you move, you get AoO'd."

 

I'm in favor of the idea of engagement, but it definitely needs to be changed from the way it's currently implemented.

 

They changed it from that to how it is now. If you're engaged, don't move. If you're ranged, also don't move unless you have to, because there's a recovery penalty for it. Better off just standing there and taking it.

 

Nice to see nipsen still following me around, hahah. Forever mad.

 

One can also play D&D, RTS, DotA 2 and even FPS games, not everyone here only plays RPGs with bad combat.

Edited by Sensuki

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So if there's no AI scripts.. do party members auto-fight in the style of your choosing then? Or do you need to give them orders based on the situation of the encounter? Do rangers behave automatically like rangers? Do mages behave automatically like mages? and so on?

..the way the combat was intended to play out is that you're moving in range, using an ability or two to fit the situation, respond to a change, and then the combat would resolve. Pausing once between each comma or so.

 

If you've been to the ruins and the encounters with three-four cultists at a time, you would get to see the entire range of tactical choices the game would give you. There's no encounter here, other than the bugged archers or the boss-fights, that would last longer than one engagement setup. Or - in any fight here, you attack this or that character first, you take the fighter off to the other target, you place the priest with the club closer to the enemy archer and hit a prayer, you throw some magic to weaken the flanked target, or throw a knockdown on the character you're swarming. And that's basically that. The most complex and the longest fight in the beta is over.

 

The question you have to ask yourself is how deep into the catacombs you think you can go before getting exhausted, running out of spells, or too wounded to continue. How "long is the adventure day" was was described there, very well. Changing your party make-up, as well as your playing style, would have real impact.

 

And that is when the gameplay is fun, when it's not really a chore. When things you do have meaning and actual impact on what you do in the game. That may very well have been the goal as well, I guess.

 

There are two points worth making here, I think.

1. The entire game, until the next dialogue, consists of placing your characters well. And using their abilities once in a while to tilt the situation in your favor. Choosing a difficult route, or exploring an area is a tactical decision that you make if you can evaluate well how strong your party is.

 

So.. without that part of the game, the combat might as well be replaced with an auto-resolving text prompt. A solution to "the problem" that Obsidian apparently is well on their way to actually picking.

 

2. The initial barrier to get into the game - specially at the level the beta starts - is incredibly high. It's higher than the beginning of Icewind Dale 2 by far, and you're expected to figure out most of the mechanics - completely unknown mechanics - without the help of a manual. And few of the popups describing what the stats do are there, and the ones that are give you very few hints to what they help with. There are still mechanics in the game that are unknown, complicating things further.

 

You're completely blind, and it's a very tall order to understand what is going on - even for people who think they should breeze through the game after having aced BGII on every difficulty, with a one-handed elf deliberately limited to level 10 for the entire playthrough, and so on.

 

And the final game won't have that initial problem. It will start at an earlier level, you will get fewer abilities and party members, it will be slower, it will not be inviting defeat by stone-beetle if you don't get off all the knock-downs in order, and so on.

 

--------

 

In the same way - while the mechanics in the current game-builds admittedly are pretty damned boring and linear, and really do force players to serial pause in order to spam the abilities to compensate for the "war of attrition" setup most of the fights somehow got - a lot of feedback (now, just as when the beta started) is grounded in assumptions about different games than PoE, about the earlier IE games, and how they worked. People expect certain things to work, and will attempt to make those situations happen.

 

And when those setups fail, the first assumption is that such and such system doesn't work, it doesn't have the right difficulty, the encounters are weird, the AI doesn't work, etc. And while the current build of PoE admittedly doesn't have a system that is very satisfying - actually enjoying the combat in the beta requires a great deal from the players before they start to see how the game is intended to be played.

 

Most would be satisfied with saying either "hmm, there is something here, I'm guessing this could be interesting", or simply accepting that it's ok to not understand much of what is going on with the mechanics. But some would not be.

 

This was the problem we had at the beginning here. Most of the categorical feedback came from people who went in blind, didn't adjust, and read themselves even blinder than they were on numbers and stats. Instead of - and this would have given you a better chance of success - simply assuming more abstract things about how you would expect a fighter to behave, and just made some random guesses about what the spells would do. I.e., "I'm engaging this guy with the greatsword with my fighter, because that makes sense! This guy has massive armor, so let's try to pierce it with.. frosty spike point lance of ICE STABBING PENETRATION, and hit him with that pointy thing in the secondary slot, and arrows perhaps! And look, the other guy's CRUSHING RESISTANCE blinks red! Hit it with the hammer! This spider moves really fast - slow and hobble! YAY for SUPER PLAYER EMPOWERMENT FANTASY!!".

 

You'd get a lot further into the game by making assumptions like that, than to go with: "My tried and true Gilgamesh formation with potion spam from BG2, undefeated in over 300 playthroughs, DID NOT WORK! RAGE!".

 

But you won't have to go in blind in the full game with an as high barrier as in the beta. And it is, like explained a few times before, a crying shame that Obsidian has taken the feedback from here - the very badly rationalized excuses people have for outright failing at the game - and tried to make the game play in a different way. Apparently intending to somehow simplify the mechanics in the game so that any random player should be able to start the game in the middle, with a full party, blind, with completely unknown rules and no introduction to anything -- and then be able to ace the game on the first attempt.

 

If people really want that, then - good for you - because that's what the game currently seems to be an inexpertly made stab at. Still -- I really do not think it was necessary to put the threshold that low. Considering you don't normally start a game, and PoE would be no exception... blind, without any introduction, with unknown spells, with a fresh system, utterly obscure and unexplained rules, and so on.

 

Though opinions seem to differ wildly on that point.

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So yeah, the fisticuffs element of this..  Loved Obsidian's past work; was stoked enough to Kickstart and hop in the backer beta. The combat, builds back, immediately throat punched the joy out of the whole affair. Maybe this comes across as posting in Supreme Jerk mode (Indifferent Jerk at this point would be more accurate). During a recent build I gave it a true go. I got better; the fun didn't increase. Even when you crush some face it just feels like dumb luck. Can't see myself bothering to download what I've paid for at release. Hope the guys can turns this around. Truly do. When PoE trots onto the review circuit the combat will be panned hard. Maybe something learned from this. It will take a lot for me (and I'm sure others) to have the same level of enthusiasm over another game from this stable.

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So if there's no AI scripts.. do party members auto-fight in the style of your choosing then? Or do you need to give them orders based on the situation of the encounter? Do rangers behave automatically like rangers? Do mages behave automatically like mages? and so on?

 

2. The initial barrier to get into the game - specially at the level the beta starts - is incredibly high. It's higher than the beginning of Icewind Dale 2 by far, and you're expected to figure out most of the mechanics - completely unknown mechanics - without the help of a manual. And few of the popups describing what the stats do are there, and the ones that are give you very few hints to what they help with. There are still mechanics in the game that are unknown, complicating things further.

 

(I am only quoting that bit but I did read your entire post)

 

This is what I brought up in one of first posts in this thread and I have to totally agree that this is most of the problem. The main reason I feel confused is that I have no context for my party's combat experiences. There was no preamble to give me a context or even an idea of how I should be looking at things. 

 

Essentially what they are getting is feedback on "initial impressions" because they have not properly introduced the area/situation of the game the party finds itself in. I'm not talking about a story setup but instead a beta tester introduction of what things matter and how a tester should be looking at the game.

 

A different part of the game, earlier on, would be much better for "initial impressions" but we don't have that. What I think was needed is a 3 act mini-game. A short few very early character/party quest lines and combat experiences then the act finishes and some beta tester text to introduce the next act is given. The game moves through to basically what we have now, mid-game, and the player tests that. Then the act ends and the final act, late game, happens.

 

Would have changed a lot of the feedback methinks...

 

Without context, most intent and purpose is lost.

Edited by light487

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You just wait POE well get better its got a ways to go. But however im afread that POE along side all infinty enghien games are created with moslty the hard core gamers in mind. But we are all hoping that POE is more casule freadly this time around....we hope

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I think that's the part where I'm supposed to make a tactical decision of whether there may be an actual risk that I need the ability for or not. I can spam it at the beginning and get the fighter done sooner, but if it doesn't work I may be in trouble. Or I may hold on to it, and use it if I need to or spam it when I'm already winning to mitigate some health loss, which may be suboptimal in the long run.

It's not immediately clear to me what's the best course to take in general, and that is probably a good thing from a tactical point of view.

 

I asked my questions because I'm curious about your reasons, and I still am.

 

Bold underline emphasis. And this is where the whole point comes down to. If you use those spells/abilities earlier in the encounter because it's not immediately clear that you should save them for later for a hypothetical retreat, then you could open yourself up to problems later in the encounter as you have very limited or probably no way of retreating for a character. And you're okay with this on the EASY setting. After all this is the thread from a casual gamer.

 

 

It's not like I think it should be necessary to do this for every encounter in every difficulty setting. I think for playing optimally it should work like this across all difficulties with the difference that on easy, for most fights except bosses, the risk assessment should be straight forward and the penalty for playing suboptimal should not be very high. That doesn't mean that you can't play more/less effective on easy, however.

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It's always immediately clear what tactical choice to make, but then again I played in one of the top two CoD4 teams in Australia, having to make those decisions every single round of every match and being able to realize when I made a bad one was one of the keys to winning/success - so I've had a lot of practice at that stuff.

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@nipsen 

Well said.

 

I've deviated from my initial post somewhat to admit I was confusing game difficulty with general unfamiliarity. I truly believe it was a misstep on OE's part to not give us whatever initial tutorial level in in the actual game. I know they were trying to avoid spoilers, but typically beginnings of the game are not rife with spoilers. 

 

Based on the feedback I've read from my fellow casual gamers I'm not confident the beta actually tells us anything about how much we'll enjoy the normal progression of the game. I truly want to be able to give feedback from someone who doesn't care enough about the mechanics to study spreadsheets and game code and write borderline thesis papers, but I feel the OE hasn't given me what I need to speak intelligently about game flow impressions. 

 

The only thing I CAN be confident on is that the lore and story laid out so far is fantastic (not that I expected anything less than OE; if nothing else they're expert storytellers) and I really like the Paladin class. Oh, and the game is very aesthetically pleasing to me. I know they have folks that peruse these forums, so all I can hope is that they've read my piece and take me concerns into consideration. I think we forget sometimes these guys are pros, and likely realize when our perceptions of the game are skewed.

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I stopped reading the thread at where it degenerated, but I very much agree with the OP and Sensukis first reply. I've been gone from here for a while since the launch of the beta, but comming back after playing through IWD:EE combat in the current version of PoE just seems a too-fast chaotic mess. If anything it reminds me of Lionheart combat.

Edited by limaxophobiacq

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@nipsen 

Well said.

 

I've deviated from my initial post somewhat to admit I was confusing game difficulty with general unfamiliarity. I truly believe it was a misstep on OE's part to not give us whatever initial tutorial level in in the actual game. I know they were trying to avoid spoilers, but typically beginnings of the game are not rife with spoilers. 

 

Based on the feedback I've read from my fellow casual gamers I'm not confident the beta actually tells us anything about how much we'll enjoy the normal progression of the game. I truly want to be able to give feedback from someone who doesn't care enough about the mechanics to study spreadsheets and game code and write borderline thesis papers, but I feel the OE hasn't given me what I need to speak intelligently about game flow impressions. 

 

The only thing I CAN be confident on is that the lore and story laid out so far is fantastic (not that I expected anything less than OE; if nothing else they're expert storytellers) and I really like the Paladin class. Oh, and the game is very aesthetically pleasing to me. I know they have folks that peruse these forums, so all I can hope is that they've read my piece and take me concerns into consideration. I think we forget sometimes these guys are pros, and likely realize when our perceptions of the game are skewed.

I don't think the beta was necessarily intended for casual gamers. I think this is more meant to test the complexity and general systems for those that will dive deep into the game. Easy can always be made easier by a plethora of ways. Not to say they don't want casual gamers feedback at this time...it's just that again...making a balanced *harder* game seems to be the priority in this because as I said earlier...they can always tone it down on lower difficulties quite easily.

 

As you said, I also think that casual gamers will find the experience much less jarring once you play the beginning/tutorial areas. However...easy in this game still may end up being more difficult than what you'd expect compared to easy on games that are released nowadays. Think Nintendo/Sega level of "easy", not Xbox level.

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snip

I don't think the beta was necessarily intended for casual gamers. I think this is more meant to test the complexity and general systems for those that will dive deep into the game. Easy can always be made easier by a plethora of ways. Not to say they don't want casual gamers feedback at this time...it's just that again...making a balanced *harder* game seems to be the priority in this because as I said earlier...they can always tone it down on lower difficulties quite easily.

 

As you said, I also think that casual gamers will find the experience much less jarring once you play the beginning/tutorial areas. However...easy in this game still may end up being more difficult than what you'd expect compared to easy on games that are released nowadays. Think Nintendo/Sega level of "easy", not Xbox level.

 

Agreed that it can be made easier with what I assume is relative ease, but I felt that my feelings on difficulty from a more casual gaming perspective was important. I want this game to be a commercial success for OE so that we see more of it in the years to come, and getting feedback from a casual gaming perspective might help them to make the game more accessible to folks like me.

 

Of course I don't want the tactical spirit of the game to be diluted just to appease the masses as this clearly is not a game meant for the CoD-frenzied masses, but still enjoyable for those of us that grew up with the BG and IWD series. If you read these forums it would be easy to fall under the impression that everyone that played the original IE games are game mechanics purists. That's simply not the case, and I felt my thoughts toward the game were for a decent sized group of people that typically aren't terribly active on the forums. 

 

The summation of my argument essentially was that I thought it was absurd on Easy difficulty I get brutally annihilated by my first out-of-town unavoidable encounter. After this thread I feel more comfortable that the game won't actually have this level of difficulty due to the beta having us under-equipped and a steep learning curve. I am just hoping right now the devs understand that those of us not particularly interested in the nitty gritty of the underlying mechanics are given a little leeway on our builds and the tutorials do a sufficient job of helping us get used to this game before we're thrown in the deep end.

 

That's essentially the culmination of this thread. I know it's a lot to read otherwise.

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It is worth point out that the Twitch stream (http://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive/b/588477048) indicates that a novice player starting from the beginning will not find the game unduly difficult.

If this is the Jesse stream link it is not true. Sawyer gave him advice more than once and had to revive his team once after tpk. Also I am sure that was on easy or normal difficulty.

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It was normal (the stream is split into two parts -- http://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive/b/588467303 is the first part, and the difficulty selection is at 13:07).

 

Sawyer did indeed give advise, but (and with the caveat that I didn't watch the entire stream) it was mostly along the lines of "If I were you, I'd save the game here" and "You should use your abilities" -- pretty basic stuff.  A complete newbie playing BG1 is very likely to die at least once during the prologue, after all (the ambush in the barracks is likely to be fatal, especially if the player missed the combat tutorial).

Edited by MReed
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If this is the Jesse stream link it is not true. Sawyer gave him advice more than once and had to revive his team once after tpk. Also I am sure that was on easy or normal difficulty.

While Sawyer won't personally be advising a new player playing the gold release, I'm fairly certain some manner of tutorial will accompany the game.

 

Screwing up simply because you lack knowledge about the game is not really a testament to the difficulty of 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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I saw in a different thread (I forget which one) Josh said that during their play week they had some newbs they played through the beginning and they didn't have a hard time picking the game up. He also said they were going to make sure they do a better job with feedback and tutorial mechanisms. I'm convinced enough now the full release will be enjoyable for us leisurely players.

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If this is the Jesse stream link it is not true. Sawyer gave him advice more than once and had to revive his team once after tpk. Also I am sure that was on easy or normal difficulty.

While Sawyer won't personally be advising a new player playing the gold release, I'm fairly certain some manner of tutorial will accompany the game.

 

Screwing up simply because you lack knowledge about the game is not really a testament to the difficulty of the game.

 

Yes it is. I watched people play DAI from start and none of them screwed up anything (even the ones that played it on Nightmare). Edited by archangel979

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I saw in a different thread (I forget which one) Josh said that during their play week they had some newbs they played through the beginning and they didn't have a hard time picking the game up. He also said they were going to make sure they do a better job with feedback and tutorial mechanisms. I'm convinced enough now the full release will be enjoyable for us leisurely players.

I am glad we could allay your concerns.

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This is only more evidence that my thesis that trash mobs should be easy (at least for a mid-level party), and special battles should be difficult. Many casual gamers will rage quit over the very idea that they could actually die to trash mobs at mid-levels.

A thesis that has been proved wrong by Demon's Souls and its sequels.

 

Personally, I always liked games that require some investment, the kind of system you learn how to use by actually playing, not by reading the manual.

DAI for example is a game that is pretty easy to master since there is no subtility to know beside everything that is said in the tutorial, a perfectly tasteless system imo.

Edited by CaptainMace

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This is only more evidence that my thesis that trash mobs should be easy (at least for a mid-level party), and special battles should be difficult. Many casual gamers will rage quit over the very idea that they could actually die to trash mobs at mid-levels.

A thesis that has been proved wrong by Demon's Souls and its sequels.

 

Personally, I always liked games that require some investment, the kind of system you learn how to use by actually playing, not by reading the manual.

DAI for example is a game that is pretty easy to master since there is no subtility to know beside everything that is said in the tutorial, a perfectly tasteless system imo.

 

Demon's Souls is for the more hardcore crowd; casuals quit quickly.


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

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Without going into how good Jesse Cox is at games in general (I have no idea), it is in my opinion always different when you're playing something in front of an "audience". Unless you're doing a stream from the comfort of your living room, on your own time, where you're relaxed etc. Also, since Jesses' mission seems to be goofing off a lot also, well, it kinda skews the experience a bit.

 

Most of us will probably be entirely focused on the game while playing.

Edited by Starwars

Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

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Yes it is. I watched people play DAI from start and none of them screwed up anything (even the ones that played it on Nightmare).

Okay? I'm sure those people had never played real-time RPGs before, too, right? So they had absolutely no knowledge of how the game's mechanics functioned. *nod nod*

 

Good point.


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 don't mean to insult you, but how did you end up backing this game with a high enough amount to play the beta?

The first 60 seconds of the kickstarter introduction show a slideshow of previous titles - Fallout 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 and 2, Planescape Torment, PoEE. All these titles require learning a system and using (or abusing) it as much as you can.

 

I fully expect, yes HOPE, for the combat mechanics to be complex. And MEANINGFUL as well. I fully support a combat system that not only rewards you for learning, but one that punishes you if you refuse to learn.

There's an abundance of easy theme park games being released, across all genres, we don't need more. Dark Souls for PC was a blessing in this regard, but i think its more of an action adventure than an RPG.

 

 

That is why i backed Project Eternity/Pillars of Eternity. It is my one hope outside of roguelikes to see a challenging RPG. Baldur's Gate killed my first mage in the tutorial, and countless more times. Frustration is temporary, satisfaction and achievement at overcoming obstacles is lasting and makes fond memories.

Edited by Boatmurder
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Okay, so I just downloaded and used this today.  I've been waiting for the mac version of this.  Oddly, I did not get an email about that as I have for all other major developments via kickstarter.  Oh well.

 

Got my ass handed to me on a platter during the first melee, which was constantly interrupted and not very straight forward at all.  That led me to this forum, since I consider myself a casual gamer, not really having the inclination or time to be otherwise.

 

That led me to some 'passive party' strategy YouTUbe, which I followed and STILL lost the melee at the bridge.  Badly.  wtf?

 

My first impressions are like many here: it is a graphically pleasant game, but the combat system removes all fun from the game.  Honestly, I am very disappointed and if this does not change, my money will have been a waste.  I don't find this playable and certainly not enjoyable.  This is the game equivalent of Harn back in the table tops days: Lovely maps, but the combat system was so realistic, it took forever to resolve and you would die of infection from the slightest of wounds.  Realistic? yes.  Fun? not really.  But it DID have pretty graphics.

 

I sure hope this is remedied somehow.

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