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Betabackers: Are racial bonuses important?


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Heya, nonbacker here. Was wondering, just as the title says, how much weight does the racial bonuses carry from a "powergaming" perspective? And how much of factor is choice of race overall?

That has always been somewhat of a nitpick for me in both the IE and NWN games, that race factored in way too much  in the game mechanics. In Baldurs Gate race restricts class choices and a -1 in strength can be limiting for a fighter. NWN did away with the class restrictions but ended up giving humans more skillpoints and feats, introduced "small stature" for halflings and gnomes, etc.

Yes, I don't HAVE to optimize my build and just choose to go with I find exciting from a thematic perspective. But I dislike making that choice, nevertheless.

What is your experience, from playing the beta?

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I find them to be fairly irrelevant. For most stats, 1 point difference is roughly 3%. The racial abilities provide greater distinction, but are not really mechanically significant so far as I have noticed. That being said, I prefer the bonuses of Hearth Orlans over just about everything else.

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Races need to be balanced a bit currently, I think. Hearth Orlans (extra crit), Wood Elves (distant advantage) and the Aumauas with the stun/ko resist have some decent racial special passive bonuses. The other races dont have as attractive bonuses.

 

Still, at least there isnt racially restricted classes, massive shorty saving saving throws, or any of that nonsense from 2E DnD.

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Heya, nonbacker here. Was wondering, just as the title says, how much weight does the racial bonuses carry from a "powergaming" perspective? And how much of factor is choice of race overall?

 

That has always been somewhat of a nitpick for me in both the IE and NWN games, that race factored in way too much  in the game mechanics. In Baldurs Gate race restricts class choices and a -1 in strength can be limiting for a fighter. NWN did away with the class restrictions but ended up giving humans more skillpoints and feats, introduced "small stature" for halflings and gnomes, etc.

 

Yes, I don't HAVE to optimize my build and just choose to go with I find exciting from a thematic perspective. But I dislike making that choice, nevertheless.

 

What is your experience, from playing the beta?

 

That's not really a question anyone can answer, based on what you are saying and asking.

 

From a objective standpoint, they don't actually matter that much. They matter if you really want to Pump or Dump something, and if they keep the changes to the stats that was in Sawyer's recent Live Stream, Intelligence is the penultimate Caster Stat bar none, but overall, they aren't *that* important. It largely depends on what or how you want to do something. Personally, favouring Paladins, I enjoyed the freedom in v392, and I hate how I'll probably end up having to go all out on Intelligence rather than pumping Resolve (from a roleplaying persepctive, I want high Resolve, but the mechanics, from the Stream Version, forces me into Intelligence), but as of v392, the currently released Backer Beta, there's a fair degree of freedom in most stats, except Perception being incredibly overpowered from a powergaming standpoint.

 

But I digress.

 

My point that I was going to make was that it's impossible to say, because since you seem to be asking somewhat from a powergaming standpoint, it really depends on how much of a powergamer you are. And if you truly want to min-max, of course race is going to matter a lot.

 

Mechanically, the difference isn't huge in v392 (except for the overvaluing of Accuracy, which is granted by Perception) but if you are the type that wants to pinch that last drop out of the system to get the best of the best of your given concept, then yeah, it's going to matter exactly as much as you want it to.

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Racial bonuses mean little to nothing.  The only one I think that has any real powergaming merit is the Hearth Orlan bonus to crit and even it is fairly minor.  Classes are not restricted by race and races don't get bonus stats.  Stat bonuses are actually a side effect of your "nationality" and they only add they don't take away so you can always redistribute them as you want regardless.

 

In other words race has very very little impact at all.  If you are a die hard power gamer you will pick based on some hokey racial bonus, but die hard power gamers will always justify a thematically bad or nonsensical choice for even the most inane and near pointless bonuses.

Edited by Karkarov
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I played on Hard with Moon Godlike recently and his racial bonus was used often (healing aura), usually it activated 2/3 times per encounter with strong enemies (like adra beetles). I think that usually is hard to see racial abilities working if they have no graphical manifestation. And they are not powerful at all, maybe it makes them 'useless' or it looks like they have no impact on combat.

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Uhh are you kidding guys.

Hearth Orlan Minor Threat goes off sooo often - absolutely the best racial ability hands down. The others are all garbage IMO (and should be tweaked).

 

edit: whoops I thought this was about abilities not racial attribute mods.

 

In the previous versions I preferred Hearth Orlans. In the next patch it won't be as skewed (Aumaua and Dwarves look nice) but I'm not sure about the accuracy removal.

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Uhh are you kidding guys.

Hearth Orlan Minor Threat goes off sooo often - absolutely the best racial ability hands down. The others are all garbage IMO (and should be tweaked).

 

edit: whoops I thought this was about abilities not racial attribute mods.

 

In the previous versions I preferred Hearth Orlans. In the next patch it won't be as skewed (Aumaua and Dwarves look nice) but I'm not sure about the accuracy removal.

 

Yeah, just to be clear here, I was only talking about attributes, not specifically racial abilities. Racial abilities are probably subject to a lot of tweaking and which is the best will depend somewhat on what class you are and so on.

 

I'm not so sure about the removal of Accuracy either, but I'm more concerned about Intelligence now being a very clear Pump-or-Dump stat, the most obvious be-all-end-all for casters, while still useful for many others.

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Uhh are you kidding guys.

Hearth Orlan Minor Threat goes off sooo often - absolutely the best racial ability hands down. The others are all garbage IMO (and should be tweaked).

 

edit: whoops I thought this was about abilities not racial attribute mods.

 

In the previous versions I preferred Hearth Orlans. In the next patch it won't be as skewed (Aumaua and Dwarves look nice) but I'm not sure about the accuracy removal.

I was actually wondering about abilities AND attribute mods, clumsy phrasing on my part, so your post was actually on topic. :)

 

While it's teeeeny bit of a bummer to see the mention of some races (Hearth Orlans) above others in the thread, I'm relieved that at least it isn't the Generic Humans this time around. ;) The "adaptable" thing that humans often get tagged as in fantasy settings, which always seems to translate into something wildly preferable in the game mechanics (D&D, Shadowrun Returns, DAI...)

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Uhh are you kidding guys.

Hearth Orlan Minor Threat goes off sooo often - absolutely the best racial ability hands down. The others are all garbage IMO (and should be tweaked).

 

edit: whoops I thought this was about abilities not racial attribute mods.

 

In the previous versions I preferred Hearth Orlans. In the next patch it won't be as skewed (Aumaua and Dwarves look nice) but I'm not sure about the accuracy removal.

I was actually wondering about abilities AND attribute mods, clumsy phrasing on my part, so your post was actually on topic. original.gif

 

While it's teeeeny bit of a bummer to see the mention of some races (Hearth Orlans) above others in the thread, I'm relieved that at least it isn't the Generic Humans this time around. wink.png The "adaptable" thing that humans often get tagged as in fantasy settings, which always seems to translate into something wildly preferable in the game mechanics (D&D, Shadowrun Returns, DAI...)

 

The only sad thing is that while all the various species get different Racial Abilities depending on the race, all humans get the same bonuses across the board, no matter the race. Which is just lazy rubbish, to be honest, especially when the humans clearly have very distinct cultures and ethnicities.
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Cultures do get different bonuses.

 

Are you of the persuasion who believes black people are great at athletics but not so great at maths?

 

"Black people" do not constitute a homogeneous population by any stretch, but who is good at what in a fantasy universe has absolutely zero bearing on reality. Having a Thyrtan getting ability X and a Natlan ability Y, or Calbandra better at Z than the other two, is in no way different than Glamfellen elves being resistant to burn and freeze damage, while Sceltrfolc elves gains a bonus to Accuracy, Deflection and Reflexes.

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bet if they gave Ocean Folk a bonus in Athletics and Survival and a penalty in Lore and Mechanics, you'd find out plenty quick just how much bearing it has on reality.

 

Buuut, they already have the culture bonuses, so I honestly don't understand what you're complaining about. Or are you saying that Meadow Folk Aedyr should get different bonuses than Savannah Folk Aedyr? If so, what for?

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bet if they gave Ocean Folk a bonus in Athletics and Survival and a penalty in Lore and Mechanics, you'd find out plenty quick just how much bearing it has on reality.

So you're saying that game design should be held hostage by vagrant tumblrites?

 

Buuut, they already have the culture bonuses, so I honestly don't understand what you're complaining about. Or are you saying that Meadow Folk Aedyr should get different bonuses than Savannah Folk Aedyr? If so, what for?

All subraces except the human subraces have distinct racial abilities. There is no logical reason why humans would be exempt from having unique racials. Pale Elves differ from Wood Elves, Coastal Aumaua differ from Island Aumaua. But humans are all the same, despite displaying a just as high ethnic diversity as any of the other (bar perhaps Orlan, which are quite distinct, and Godlikes, to whom the concept really does not apply in the same way at all).

 

Cultures as a game mechanic is something completely different, and I'm not sure why you're getting them mixed up with the subraces.

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bet if they gave Ocean Folk a bonus in Athletics and Survival and a penalty in Lore and Mechanics, you'd find out plenty quick just how much bearing it has on reality.

So you're saying that game design should be held hostage by vagrant tumblrites?

 

I'm saying that they would be idiots to invite accusations of racism by putting in something like that.

 

Also that I personally would find them distasteful and would not hesitate to point that out.

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bet if they gave Ocean Folk a bonus in Athletics and Survival and a penalty in Lore and Mechanics, you'd find out plenty quick just how much bearing it has on reality.

So you're saying that game design should be held hostage by vagrant tumblrites?

 

I'm saying that they would be idiots to invite accusations of racism by putting in something like that.

 

Also that I personally would find them distasteful and would not hesitate to point that out.

 

If anyone accuses them of racism for that, they shouldn't hesitate to point out that that's retarded on levels unseen and unheard of since the tumblrite that unironically argued for mayonnaise as a gender. It is no stranger than Redguards and Nords getting different bonuses in Skyrim, or Wood Elves and Star Elves in D&D, or.. anything else in fantasy, really.

 

If anyone thinks racial modifiers in fantasy games constitute racism, they need to check their privilege and shoot themselves, isolating themselves from the human gene pool post-haste. And if someone takes such accusations seriously instead of just ridiculing these insane people, they should be invited to join a flying container drop expedition mid-Atlantic.

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@Luckmann I think the subrace bonuses in Elder Scrolls are symptomatic of racism at Bethsoft.

 

Edit: That's a tangent though. I won't pursue it further on this thread.

 

Dear god, PJ, please never have children. You need prescription-level medication and immediate isolation from tumblr for deprogramming. Also, never get into fantasy game design, because you take it way, way, way too serious. It is not real.

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What's with your obsession with Tumblr? The only one I follow with any regularity is Josh's, and despite his admirably progressive political views, he rarely brings them up there. I really like how they're reflected in P:E though -- I think Sagani has to be the first Inuit-inspired major character in a mainstream computer game ever, for example. And a woman to boot. Not to mention the whole colonial thing, Skaen as a vengeful god out to smash the patriarchy, and, of course, having the Ocean Folk representing the leading cultural and technological power.

 

Overall I'm very happy with the way politics of games have been going in recent years. Shadowrun Returns does it exceptionally well too, despite their regrettable anti-Communist bias. We're watching standard racist sci-fi and fantasy tropes die a quiet death. "Gamer culture" will folllow, even if there's going to be some kicking and screaming on the way.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Yeah, disregarding a few noteworthy exceptions, CRPGs did for long suffer from a Tolkien complex, almost. From the late 1990s, and into the 3rd millennia, the writers of several of these games don't hesitate to bring up all sorts of political matters and degenerate power structures. It's nice reading stuff that challenge the norms and that also highlight unfortunate issues in the sociocultural histories on this planet.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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I don't mind certain races being better for certain classes as it represents their tendencies but 2e IE games had it restricted too much with many classes not even being available to different races.

And best way to present these tendencies is through racial bonuses to attributes like in NWN games.

 

It would seem in PoE racial bonuses play an even less important role than in NWN but they added culture and background as well.

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@Luckmann I think the subrace bonuses in Elder Scrolls are symptomatic of racism at Bethsoft.

 

No it isn't. They wanted the different races to play differently; people's game design choices are rarely made with sociological concepts in mind. Those things often affect the plot, but not mechanics. That's my opinion on that. I know you said you wouldn't talk anymore about this on the thread, but I can't help responding to it.

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"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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