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Bored on a Sunday evening, so time for another panel/stream feedback thread

First of all

Thankyou for listening to the community feedback about the last panel. It was *much* better this time. Most of the developers were involved in explaining things about the game and made comments during the gameplay, and seemed more invested in the presentation than sitting there while one person speaks and plays like last time.

Josh did a good job at demonstrating the game and is good at speaking while playing. He maybe played too passively to hide the amount of pausing required in the game, and didn't really show off the active abilities of the classes as much as he could have, but the demo was good for viewing.

Cliaban Rillag looks like an excellent environment and the amount of detail put into it looks sweet. I still think that a higher camera angle would be better suited because characters seem to get lost behind black walls in corridors, and it would be better for combat gameplay, but maybe in the expansion/sequel that could be looked at.

The new Female Aumaua and Male Dwarf pictures are great, MUCH better than the unfortunately not so good ones included in the backer beta (IMO some of those should be removed because they just do not match the art style or quality).

The different armors and items in the game look great, much better 3D models than I was expecting (I've already seen most of them after my item bug pass though) - it's nice to look at a fully equipped party and go man my guys look cool. Dimitri has been doing a great job touching everything up.

I like the change to the stance in the inventory, and I was glad to see a few of the bugs I reported with the inventory had been fixed.

The stronghold interface has been vastly improved and the much whiter parchment looks much better than the wood panels. There looks to be lots of CK2 style content there, although I hope that visitors and such are also visible in the game world as well, but going by the interface it doesn't look like they are. It would be nice if you could (eventually) interact with those elements of the game in person while at the stronghold and do it via the interface if not AT the stronghold.

The Warden's Lodge bounties seem like a good idea and I like that it appears that they use previously explored maps to add some reason in to re-traverse areas. Baldur's Gate 2 used this effectively with several of it's quests - such as the Paladin Stronghold quests sending you to the Umar Hills a few times and things like that. Hopefully those fights on hard are indeed, hard.

There also appeared to be an improvement made to interactables. 

Druid Shapeshifting appeared as if it was finally not terrible.

The game also appeared to run smoother, although that laptop probably has a much more recent CPU than mine. I get FPS lag, long frame times (causing animation glitches) and microstutter. I wonder if all three of those issues have been addressed ?

Now for the critiques ;)

Firstly the save/load screen needs a touch up because the wood panels on them aren't very good for text visibility. Falkon Swiftblade pointed that out in the other thread. I submitted a bug report about it, for posterity.

 

There needs to be a larger delay between combat music ending and wilderness/area music starting to play, the delay is too short currently IMO. There needs to be some breathing room between them.

The slime animation looks like they 'sink' into the floor in some instances.

Looks like the teleporting enemies bug is back (haven't seen it in v435) - a Pwgra teleported on stream.

The hit frame is way too early on Rolling Flame, the ball of flame appeared instantly but Aloth was still casting the spell on stream.

Incantation VO really needs some reverb/echo - like the temp incantation videos shown in an earlier Kickstarter Update and like the Infinity Engine games.

Repetition of the circle on the ground for Consecrated Ground needs to be removed IMO, because it adds to the visual clutter - only the per-unit FX is necessary once the spell has been cast IMO. Visual clarity/combat clutter is still a problem in this game even though it has been improved over time. Removing unnecessary FX will help with that.

I also have the same issue with the VFX for Returning Storm - the circular smoke particle effects need to be removed from the spell, several druid spells have this issue currently where, when they cast a spell it just adds a big puff of smoke on the screen and it makes it difficult to see things.

Trolls didn't look very threatening, looked like they were constantly being interrupted ...

 

I'm disappointed that the combat log has not been changed, because the transparent texture doesn't look very good with the Solid HUD background. If you increase the size of the log, it looks quite bad where it overlaps the UI. The combat log transparency is implemented on the texture side, rather than being programmed to be transparent - which is not good. It would be better if the game made the texture transparent itself so that the transparency could be disabled for those who are going to increase the size of the log (probably most of the people who use the Solid UI). 

There is also a larger issue IMO with the combat pace, that is present in the current build and looks to be in that one too whereby combat is still resolved too quickly due to the very high per-hit damage of the game (doesn't have much to do with action speed). Josh was not playing optimally in the stream, and if he did - all of the encounters would have been resolved MUCH quicker. I think this is a problem that will persist into release. I showed some of my mates the stream today and they both were concerned about the speed and the amount of pausing even without Josh using his per encounters or setting up large alpha strikes. Personally since I play DotA, I can deal with it just fine, but in general the gameplay still flows in a much more disjointed way than the Infinity Engine games did, and just saying "you can use slow mode" is not an answer to the problem, just a bandaid. I think this may be an issue on release for many people, and I think the problem might lie in the percentage of total endurance that per-hit damage represents, among other things. It will be a difficult issue to fix due to a number of factors (DR, % damage increases, how Constitution, Endurance and Health interact with each other), and I think it will be something to re-assess post-release.

I had a few other minor ones as well but they're probably not really worth mentioning at this stage. I really hope that there is another backer beta so that I can continue to contribute to reporting bugs leading up until release.

Progress is looking pretty good. With some improvements made to the Cyclopedia entries to better explain the mechanics to new players, better pathfinding, AI and performance, among other things - I think it should be a successful release.
 

Edited by Sensuki
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Adding my own first comment I posted a bit earlier in its own thread:

 

I watched the latest stream from the game's presentation on PAX. I think that was the best presentation so far in terms of what was shown and live commentary by the devs. I'll rewatch it later and probably post more impressions, but something that struck me was that in the item description windows, the item stats were shown before that description text.

 

I can see the functional reasons for the stats being above, but I think if you are going to have a decorated initial, like the description text does, it simply has to be the first letter in this window, otherwise the whole window content looks weird and asymmetrical.

 

The indentation and colored text add further noise to the typography.

 

I won't bring up the "it was the same in the IE games" argument, because it's not as important as the one about the initials. Please revise this, Obsidian!

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There is also a larger issue IMO with the combat pace, that is present in the current build and looks to be in that one too whereby combat is still resolved too quickly due to the very high per-hit damage of the game (doesn't have much to do with action speed).

As I suggested in the mod thread:

... Is it possible to mod in an "obligatory" pause of 1-2 sec right after any character's action has ended during combat? I think this would slow down the overall pace of combat and make it much easier for a new player to tell what's going on and whose will be the next action.

...

I'm disappointed that the combat log has not been changed.

You can add my voice to that. Referencing my thread about the combat log:

What does the Combat Log lack?

 

 

For the time I've been visiting the forums frequently, I haven't seen many opinions on the Combat Log being stated, but those I've seen have always been negative. I myself also find the Combat Log difficult to read, and thought I should look into what makes it inferior to the one used in Baldur's Gate II, which is my usual point of reference.

 

So, like I did with the item description window, let's see both versions side by side (attached pictures). To keep this post as short as possible (it still got very long in the end), just assume that everything I've written in a declarative way is an opinion, so where it says "you should do that" read "I think you this would result in better experience for the majority of players". This includes my notes on colors - I am aware color preferences are a proverbially subjective thing. Just take these as my opinions on the question, and see how you feel about it yourself in case you hadn't given it thought by now. I'll try to offer motivation for most of my suggestions.

 

1. Padding for the whole box should be decreased. Text should start a little more to the left and top, and the rows should reach the bottom. Shaded edges at the top and bottom of the log window should be removed.

Motivation: More optimal use of screen space.

 

2. Line height and font size should both be reduced by a couple of pixels.

Motivation: More optimal use of screen space.

 

3. Characters' names' colors should move to a more pastel gamma instead of directly copying the color values of "major clothing", which I think is the source currently. Colors which are too close to the Combat Log's background color should be overridden in the Combat Log, and lighter versions should be used in the Combat Log. The color for hit/miss/graze messages can remain the light green which it is currently, but again, it should move to a more lighter, "pastel" gamma.

Motivation: 

Currently the contrast is either too sharp or barely existing. The best example is the row "Conan hits Wood Beetle...", where you have dark color which barely contrasts against the background, immediately followed by a light and saturated green. This causes eyestrain and gives the player "the worst of both worlds": the dark-red/brown seems too dark, and the green seems like it drills into your eyes. Additionally, check out how the most colorful part in BGII's combat log are the characters' names. This is done for a reason: makes it easier for the viewer's eyes to jump from action to action. This is why I think the green in PoE whould have to become more muted if it even is to stay green. How about something like #d2ded2 if you want to keep the green? In any case, I think the main body of text (which is the hit/graze/miss information) shouldn't be more prominent by the characters' names, and this should be achieved by toning down the color of this text, which consists the majority of text in the Combat Log, and certainly not by additional "spicing up" of the characters' names' colors.

 

4. Players should be given an option to display detailed information about To Hit rolls inside the Combat Log, not just as a tooltip.

Motivation: 

First, I consider the tooltip approach inconvenient for many reasons, the two most prominent being: 1) it covers other rows of the combat log; 2) It requires the player to move his mouse, aim and point at a row, which is an additional action required by the user in order to be able to see information which he/she considers important. If this remains the only means to access this information, it is slowly discouraging the user from using the function. Before you ask - yes, people are that lazy original.gif , and this is why we have UI designers, to provide for lazy people and predict where a lazy person would expect elements to be, and how elements would function. Otherwise we would have the software engineers do the UI designs.

 

Second, the former being said, I'm all for players who have disabled the option of seeing To Hit rolls in their log still have access to the tooltips, so please don't remove the tooltips...

 

...(Third) but the option to display To Hit rolls within the feed of the Combat Log must be included, not only because it's less effort for a player who is interested in every To Hit roll, but also because of a side-effect it has. This side-effect is that this option arranges the typography graphically on the screen, making it much easier for the player to reach the line he/she needs and then stay on that line.

 

Notice how I've enabled the showing of To Hit rolls in the BGII screenshot and how every "row" is actually two rows: one is the To Hit roll, and another for the effect. For the brain this is the same as having a thicker line which contains two thinner lines within itself. I think it's the work of genius. original.gif Notice how the words "Hit" and "Miss" are easy to discern because they are in the end of lines, and they stick out because of the colon surrounded by spaces? Hell, just by looking at this I think "they really did make better games back in the day!". This leads me to suggestion 5.

 

5. Economize horizontal space by revising the length of strings outputted in the Combat Log. The Combat Log should be a log, a feed, not a narrative. What I mean: compare the lines

 

"BB Wizard grazes Wood Beetle for 2 piercing damage"

with

"Kagain did 9 damage to Ogre Mage".

 

Not only is the latter shorter, but I find it's also syntactically easier to comprehend, a simpler sentence, to put it simply original.gif Do use as simple sentences as possible in the Combat Log. If you want to attach the information about the graze/hit, you are either already doing this in the tooltip (for players who have "Show To Hit rolls" disabled), or you have already shown it on the previous line (for those who have that option enabled). If you want to give the information for the type of damage (shock, pierce, slash, crush), you can give it with the first letter in brackets after the number. So this example would look something like this for me:

"BB Wizard- Attack Roll 26 + (36 - 31 = 5) = 31 : Graze"

"BB Wizard did 2(p) damage to Wood Beetle"

 

Potentially after "Wood Beetle" you could the calculation for that 2 damage in such a way: : (10.8 - 3.5) - 9% = 6.7(p)

 

If you need any more arguments about why this is the better approach, look again at the two compared screenshots: notice how there is a relatively straight line between character names and their actions in the BGII example, and how jagged the same lines is in the PoE example. I don't know if the designer who made the Combat Log has ever played IE games, but take it from me: jagged vertical lines in combat logs are a bad thing original.gif And I haven't selected these examples manipulatively, PoE's combat log will always look more disorganized than BGII's, for the reasons I pointed out, and also because the strings "grazes", "interrupted", "hits", "critically hits" have wildly varying lengths between them, and they are what follows immediately after the characters' names, preceding and messing up other strings which are mostly of uniform length. Remove those words from the log, or put them at the back, and the log immediately becomes easier to read.

 

6. Another advantage - by using this method, you should be able to reduce the instances in which Combat Log actions wrap to a second line. This happens too often for my liking right now, and the result is that it makes text harder to follow.

 

7. Please take some time to experiment with a different and more suitable font for the Combat Log. Take a lesson from BGII again: see how their font has less serifs, is thicker (that's important), and how the size of small letters is closer to the size of big letters. This is also part of what makes it more readable. Take a look at my example in 5. I made it bold for the same reason.

 

8. I don't think indentation is needed in the Message Log or in the Combat Log when a long message wraps to a new line. It only makes it more complicated for me, and contributes to even more wrapping to new lines because every line after the first is additionally shorter, in the already too short (by default) combat log.

 

This is all I can think of for now. I'm very happy to know that QA people from Obsidian are scanning the forum, thank you for this, it motivates me, and I hope others to contribute and generally attempt to help you make a better game, which is really the point of the whole backer beta. original.gif

 

 

Edited by Gairnulf

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Yeah I agree about that bit. I think it is something they could improve post-release ... I find it very strange that stuff like that just uses an interface rather than being an actual NPC in the area with content :S

I think I understand what Anthony Davis meant when he said the Stronghold felt underwhelming now.

 

The good thing about the BG2 Strongholds were the quests and content. Some was better than others - Five Flagons, Fighter Stronghold and maybe the Planar Sphere were probably the best ones. I'll be disappointed if there isn't quest content other than the Warden's Lodge.

Edited by Sensuki
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Arrival in planar sphere was a teleport mage that talks with you not a random name that gives a +2 to a number. What is this ****....

Even NWn2 had people actually arrive and talk to you.

If this is the best they could come up with I would rather they used the time to make wizards better and give us ai scripts and nice drawings of equipment when examining.

 

I was expecting a better version of NwN2 stonghold.. how did OE think this **** would fly?

 

If this is really it for release the stronghold is a -1 to total score. If you cannot do it right better to not do it at all.

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Environments look really cool

Combat music is excellent

Models are nice

 

I'm worried about the stronghold tho, it feels so empy. I hope we'll have lot of characters walking around, both outside and in interiors

Edited by Mazisky
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Looks like the teleporting enemies bug is back (haven't seen it in v435) - a Pwgra teleported on stream.

 

 

I have had enemies teleport in couple times. Usually so that their path is blocked and but when I pause and unpause the game they teleport next to their target. If I remember correctly it is always happened in those tunnels under town that are full of cultists.

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I like the change to the stance in the inventory, and I was glad to see a few of the bugs I reported with the inventory had been fixed.

Seconding this! The stooped stance was bugging me, looks like they're standing up straight(er) now. I mean these people are adventurers, not people who sit hunched over a keyboard all day. (Your daily reminder to fix your posture.)

Fnord.

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Hmmm I don't recall the game appearing to give the people playing it one million dollars cash money.  Clearly need to be fixed.  Looked good otherwise.  Really liked the new gear and items, some of the new weapon and armor models looked particularly nice.  Combat seemed too easy but I suspect the party being used was maybe a little OP?

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Hmmm I don't recall the game appearing to give the people playing it one million dollars cash money.  Clearly need to be fixed.  Looked good otherwise.  Really liked the new gear and items, some of the new weapon and armor models looked particularly nice.  Combat seemed too easy but I suspect the party being used was maybe a little OP?

 

All the character's in the party were in level 7 and they run around maps that you can access on first half of the game and they also played on normal. 

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Someone mentioned it in the other thread I think, but the party selection / action barks are way too frequent.

Hearing 'hmm?' three times in five seconds is fairly annoying, and that's only in a short demo ... imagine 60 hours of 'hmm?' 'aye?' over and over  :banghead:

 

Other than that, looks like it's shaping up nicely. I actually like how the stronghold is looking, unlike most others. Hopefully there is a bit more to it than just bounties and managing the list though.

 

Now we all need to spread the word of this game, so it sells and we can get more like these!

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One thing that they have not implemented in the game is sliders or checkboxes for audio that control the volume levels of different sounds, or the frequency of VO - eg always, seldom, never.

I agree that the default could be turned down, especially since the PC voice sets include such banal responses.

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One thing that they have not implemented in the game is sliders or checkboxes for audio that control the volume levels of different sounds, or the frequency of VO - eg always, seldom, never.

 

I agree that the default could be turned down, especially since the PC voice sets include such banal responses.

Pretty sure that was brought up in that dev meeting video a few weeks ago and they said the sliders were a no go because the functionality simply didn't exist and they would have to code something to make it happen and did not have enough time.

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i dont agree for having to interact with certain characters for the upgrades of the stronghold. i found it unecessarilly tedious in NWN2, so opening a menu and choosing the upgrade is better for me. however i do agree that when merchants or other npcs come around you should be able to interact with them directly instead of through a menu. when that merchant comes to visit, you should be able to just buy the special item from the menu if you want, but you should also be able to meet him and buy or sell more common items just like with any other merchant

Edited by teknoman2
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The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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i dont agree for having to interact with certain characters for the upgrades of the stronghold.

 

No one said that. I was talking about the NPCs that stay there - the ones that grant the prestige and security bonuses or penalties. If those NPCs are not content, that's really lame.

Edited by Sensuki
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The presentation in youtube, so you don't have to deal with twitch:

Yeah, that's really unfortunate about the separated volume sliders. It appears that there are only three categories of sounds right now and to put more sliders in they have to break the sounds into more categories.

 

Regarding the stronghold, I hope these were just some "Tier I" upgrades because they all looked pretty cheap to build in terms of cp value. I was able to gather around 10000 cp just from the BB areas/dungeons and that was before going to Ile a Rhemen I think. I'd be sorry to see that most of the upgrades are a wheeze and can be built relatively quickly. Maybe not quickly, because you can only build one at a time, but that doesn't change anything, only means that before each next upgrade I'll be even richer than I was before and it will matter less and less...

 

The Stronghold visitors seemed fun, but again, I'm not sure the prices aren't too low and turning decisions into no-brainers.

 

For example Gafol the Drunkard (at 25:24) gives you -2 prestige, as much as some of the upgrades that cost in the hundreds of cp, but in only costs 75cp to pay him off and remove the malus. That's too easy.

Edited by Gairnulf
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My biggest disappointment is the stronghold. I am just not interested in doing things with lists. I want to talk to people to do it all, otherwise this feature is worse than NWN2/BG2

Indeed.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, She got the Mercedes Benz

She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends

How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.

Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

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