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@Sensuki & Other Vets - Request for latest impressions


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Hey all,

 

  So a week out from release and I'm keen to get some impressions of the more dedicated community members regarding how BB and the game in general is shaping up for release. I played the first BB when it was initially released and while the story and visuals far exceeded my expectations, combat, logging, inventory and the general UI was... a steaming pile of excrement less than impressive.

 

  As such I'd be keen to hear your latest impressions of the final BB that is now available. Does it live up to your expectations? Are we still concerned that there's too much left to implement prior to release? How is combat? balance? the UI? visuals? inventory management?

 

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Koth.

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A few thoughts:

 

The game is pretty fun and if your pc isn't crap you should be able to run at least decent. 

 

Combat isn't too great, but it's not bad either. A solid meh.

 

Making character builds is really entertaining. I like it so much I'm actually tempted not to recruit the in-game companions! I'll probably recruit like 3 of them and hire the others from the Adventurers Hall.

 

The game's writing is good so... The story will be cool.

 

The environment is pretty and that makes me happy. :)

 

So in summary:

 

Things are shaping up well.

"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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It's great I only play on PoD so I've no idea about the difficulty at the easier levels, but at PoD at least the combat is challenging but not impossible.

Most things seem to work at this stage the biggest issues I have are some of the mechanics aren't explained as clearly as I'd like so it can take a bit of experimentation to work out exactly how or why things work.

 

From the writing standpoint there has never been any doubt based on what we've seen the in the Beta. With the latest Beta the music is excellent as well.

Personally I'm happy with the UI, visuals, inventory and combat.

 

As it stands I'd be happy to play the main game assuming it's no more buggy than the Beta.

 

There are still plenty of bugs left but most of them are minor or edge cases which are less problematic, if you don't go searching for them you probably won't notice most of them.

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Bb480 is by far the most solid and enjoyable of versions. It's not perfect, there are some mechanics than can be refined, and exploits do exist, but I find a lot of the criticism is simply "Well it's not like that in IE games". Most of my criticism are mostly related to racial-bonuses and polish, rather than something fundamentally broken to the point of awfulness. The rest is mostly balancing issue which will probably be given a good solid pass in the next few weeks, and in the first few patches. UI is not perfect, but certainly acceptable and more than decent. I suspect this is something that will get polished with patches.

 

For what it's worth, I'm playing PoE like I would play any IE games, and I'm not running into any exploits or any game-breakers, and I'm having a lot of fun. Sure, I could exploit things, but they'd require me to play against style. I'm also not particularly enjoying the Ranger/Chanter/Cypher classes, but that's probably just me. I'm having tons of fun with Barbarian/Fighter/Paladin/Wizard/Rogue/Priest party. Have yet to give Druids and Monks a try though. I suspect I'll enjoy druids (which I normally hate) and detest monks.

 

Edit: Playing on Normal/Hard.

Edited by Headbomb
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Why isn't it the 26th already?

 

As far as my impression goes: Balance issues are rampant, but they aren't as big as they were initially and most of the "god" tier abilities are weaker now. Most bugs are minor. There are still a ton of consitency issues with ability and talent descriptions, and it is very opaque in what stacks and what doesn't (ie: can't use cautious attack with the defender modal fighters have, but you can use it with any of the aura modals a paladin has, and it is not clear why these two modals have different rules).

 

Gameplay-wise, I like it a lot. I am not the kind of person who enjoys setting up and taking advantage of every tactic I can to get a win in most fights. I set up a traveling formation and then just move forward constantly. If you are the tactical type, who positions your party in stealth and then trigger a fight with an attack spell... you might find it underwhelming since that combo allows you to tailor the battlefield. But I have lots of tense moments and skin of the teeth encounters that make it really enjoyable to just barely snag a win, and if I come across a hard fight then I would actually have to utilize those tactics.

 

I've only put in 100 hours into the beta, but after those 100 I am still excited for the launch of the game, and anticipate playing it at the highest difficulty level.

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thank bester, everyone has got a chance to take a sneak peek at the high-level abilities and come up with a solid plan for the party progression. The game has improved thousandfold since the first BB release and just as everyone, I'm waiting for the final release.

I see the dreams so marvelously sad

 

The creeks of land so solid and encrusted

 

Where wave and tide against the shore is busted

 

While chanting by the moonlit twilight's bed

 

trees (of Twin Elms) could use more of Magran's touch © Durance

 

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This game feels like it will be rock solid on release. There is alot of information that hasn't been leaked to the general press that has trickled into these forums, rpgcodex, somethingawful, etc that gives even more cause for excitement.

 

 

Quick impressions:

1. The combat is fantastic. When I first started looking at this game, the combat felt ok. By v364, it was good. It is GREAT now. Some folks will not agree (particularly if they wanted the epic level mage battle stuff from IE or if they hate engagement) but I love this system. There is alot of stuff you can do to control the battlefield, weaken enemies (and then exploit those weaknesses, etc) and they have made sure to strengthen enemy ai. Alot of the criticisms folks (myself included) had about the encounter design have been addressed in this latest version. The more you play it and get to understand how to weaken enemies (ie, reducing thier reflex or will or whatever with one ability) and then exploit that (with an ability that checks against that weakened save), the better the system feels.

 

2. The character system is one of the best I have ever seen in a crpg. There are still some issues. Con and Resolve could use some love and rangers feel a bit meh to me. However, on the whole, there is a surprising amount of build variety and viable stat arrays per class. Hopefully, the expansion brings even more abilities and talents.

 

3. The world design is top notch. PoE's world feels believable and engrossing. In game systems support this immersion. (The journal, the evolving character bio, etc).

 

4.The graphics are great. The portraits, character models, backgrounds, enemy models, etc etc etc are great. I am especially pleased with the armor/weapon design. I am so happy they didn't pull a D:OS and go with WoW graphics. This game feels and looks paradoxically gritty and fantastical. 

 

I can say more but, you get the idea. This thing was worth the wait.

Edited by Shevek
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I still don't think the combat is very tactical, pacing is off and there are issues with per-hit damage relative to unit endurance and health, but this is the best build regarding combat feel. Mixed builds are a bit lackluster.

 

A lot of the above posters probably prefer combat that is stacked on the strategy side - I don't. I played the IE games like an RTS, I play RTS games and I play DotA, and the the AI/System/Creature design do not illicit enough reactions from the player in combat IMO (unless you make mistakes). It's pretty smooth sailing with alpha striking and encounter strategy, and that makes me sad because that was the opposite of what Josh talked about during the Kickstarter. Nevertheless - it's more involving than Baldur's Gate 1, and it's something they can work on for expansions/sequels.

 

The best thing about the game is making different builds for different characters (I said this weeks ago, and was not surprised when Josh said in the Codex interview that he also thinks that's the most fun thing too). Simply because of the sheer number of combinations to pick from (6 races, 11 classes, stacks of abilities, talents and items) - you can go nuts and it's fun experimenting to see what is creme de la creme and what's not so good.

 

I will fight for more build variety whether it be through balancing options, or tuning systems - but I think even though the current situation is pretty good it could be a lot better.

 

As others have said, there are balance issues and some of the classes are not very good at the moment, but that's to be expected for a new system. D&D had the advantage of being a tried and tested system, whereas Josh had to make this one for PE. These are essentially the 1st edition rules.

 

I really hate engagement - but the IE mod removes it, and I think I helped make it a better mechanic for everyone else at least by exposing the problems with it along the way.

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I still don't think the combat is very tactical, pacing is off and there are issues with per-hit damage relative to unit endurance and health, but this is the best build regarding combat feel. Mixed builds are a bit lackluster.

 

A lot of the above posters probably prefer combat that is stacked on the strategy side - I don't. I played the IE games like an RTS, I play RTS games and I play DotA, and the the AI/System/Creature design do not illicit enough reactions from the player in combat IMO (unless you make mistakes). It's pretty smooth sailing with alpha striking and encounter strategy, and that makes me sad because that was the opposite of what Josh talked about during the Kickstarter. Nevertheless - it's more involving than Baldur's Gate 1, and it's something they can work on for expansions/sequels.

 

The best thing about the game is making different builds for different characters (I said this weeks ago, and was not surprised when Josh said in the Codex interview that he also thinks that's the most fun thing too). Simply because of the sheer number of combinations to pick from (6 races, 11 classes, stacks of abilities, talents and items) - you can go nuts and it's fun experimenting to see what is creme de la creme and what's not so good.

 

I will fight for more build variety whether it be through balancing options, or tuning systems - but I think even though the current situation is pretty good it could be a lot better.

 

As others have said, there are balance issues and some of the classes are not very good at the moment, but that's to be expected for a new system. D&D had the advantage of being a tried and tested system, whereas Josh had to make this one for PE. These are essentially the 1st edition rules.

 

I really hate engagement - but the IE mod removes it, and I think I helped make it a better mechanic for everyone else at least by exposing the problems with it along the way.

Are you confident, given your experience over the last few builds, that the modding capability is robust enough so that you (and others) will be able to flavor the mechanics to taste?

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We might, but I am not a very good programmer - Bester has been implementing all of my ideas. He may lose interest eventually, and it might take me a long time to learn myself, or find someone else to help me.

 

The main problems are with AI and missing systems, those are a probably a bit beyond scope. I'd rather focus on campaigning to get stuff to support that into the expansion/sequel.

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I was one of those that attempted in NWN to use the Red Dragon Disciple class to squeeze out the max possible stats for my PC

 

I wanted to come as as close to breaking the game as was legitimately allowed

 

I am not a fan of excessive balance...testing the outlier paths can be a great deal of fun

 

I hope POE gives that opportunity

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I still don't think the combat is very tactical, pacing is off and there are issues with per-hit damage relative to unit endurance and health, but this is the best build regarding combat feel. Mixed builds are a bit lackluster.

Yeah, I've got the "pull then tank 'n' spank" formula for success on PotD and Hard mode down just fine these days, but unfortunately, my play style on those modes degenerates into just that: a formula. Hard and PotD are by no means impossible, but they feature larger packs and/or more enemies that happily camp out at the far end of the RNG outputs, which heightens the importance of specialists and marginalizes those "mixed builds" Sensuki mentioned. That's a bit unfortunate since I tend to doubt that all of the pre-generated companions are going to be impeccably min-maxed specialists.

 

I encourage everyone who tries this game to ask themselves a simple question: Does knowing that you could be playing at a higher difficulty level feel like something is eating at your very soul? If no, then I encourage you to set the game to Normal and leave it there. At that range, high end enemies are few enough in number that you can more comfortably get away with wild and crazy ideas like putting plate armor and a 2 handed weapon on the same dude or withdrawing a character from the front line without first blowing a spell or two for the privilege. I'd really emphasize the fact that the Backer Beta on Normal isn't Diablo 3 Normal mode easy--it is in fact possible to get characters knocked out by wild animals without first falling asleep at your keyboard.

Edited by Whipstitch
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At that range, high end enemies are few enough in number that you can more comfortably get away with wild and crazy ideas like putting plate armor and a 2 handed weapon on the same dude 

 

That is perfectly viable; even on hard and Path of the Damned.

"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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That is perfectly viable; even on hard and Path of the Damned.

I said "more comfortably" for a reason, since I am talking about relative power rather than strictly viable vs impossible. Mixed builds don't really shine at anything in PotD, whereas on Normal and sometimes Hard (depending on build) it's a bit easier for characters who exhibit a more balanced mix of offense and defense to occasionally be the MVP of "trash mob" fights where you're holding back on your use of daily abilities. Basically, the results gap between optimal play and reasonably good play gets more exaggerated the higher up you go in difficulty, and at the extreme end in PotD I find the rewards for running heavily armored but modest deflection characters to be pretty lackluster.

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Sure you can. It's especially simple if you already know the mechanics and bestiary well enough to think in terms of attacking specific saves or build "niche" parties that nevertheless have considerable synergy (like an all-ranged burst damage party, for example) or at least have other, more generically powerful builds that punch above their weight class carrying the rest of the group. There's a lot of stuff that can mitigate having weak links in a chain. One of those is selecting Normal mode, and I recommend it to everyone who isn't neck deep in the Backer Beta.

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Can't say I pay too much attention to Bestiary numbers or DR types either - overall they don't impact the experience that much other than when something sticks out like a sore thumb - eg. Elder Bear Accuracy or Stone Beetle slash DR

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Naw, you dont need to know alot of arcane beastiary numbers to make an effective party. Its just crpg experience and thinking about party creation as opposed to just character creation.

CRPG experience often consists of some pretty specialized knowledge. As far as build synergy is concerned, I certainly know what you mean, I just take less rosy view of who I think will end up achieving that goal. After all, this game doesn't even feature things like Diablo style talent trees that let you know what abilities you can personally choose from in future levels, so even simple within-this-one-character build synergy is something of a chore. For many first time players I suspect that a lot will ride on how well Obsidian has designed the default companions. And ultimately, my goal with my earlier post isn't to paint Hard mode as some kind of failure and travesty, but to tout "Normal" mode as an interesting option in its own right.

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The only thing left of concern to me are bugs, and balance to a lesser degree.

 

Combat is fun if you don't take it too seriously. There can be frustrating parts of it due to bugs (abilities not working correctly- stuff like that), but I mostly have fun with it.

 

I truly enjoy character creation. Assuming it'll work the way I'm hoping it does, I plan to create a bunch of custom characters to hang around my Stronghold and occasionally take with me (otherwise they'll be having their own adventures). 

 

Everything looks great, tho. Most of the more egregious visual effects have been toned down and I'm very pleased with where the game is at overall. It looks and feels like an IE game to me. I think there is more than enough cause to get very excited for the full release.

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. And ultimately, my goal with my earlier post isn't to paint Hard mode as some kind of failure and travesty, but to tout "Normal" mode as an interesting option in its own right.

 

Is it though?  At this point I doubt it very much, since multiple videos have showcased Josh sleepwalking (and not using abilities) through 'Hard' mode with completely indifferent character builds.  While keeping most of his attention on talking to an audience. 

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. And ultimately, my goal with my earlier post isn't to paint Hard mode as some kind of failure and travesty, but to tout "Normal" mode as an interesting option in its own right.

 

Is it though?  At this point I doubt it very much, since multiple videos have showcased Josh sleepwalking (and not using abilities) through 'Hard' mode with completely indifferent character builds.  While keeping most of his attention on talking to an audience. 

 

 

He uses parties that are over-leveled for the areas he runs through during demos, iirc.

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. And ultimately, my goal with my earlier post isn't to paint Hard mode as some kind of failure and travesty, but to tout "Normal" mode as an interesting option in its own right.

 

Is it though?  At this point I doubt it very much, since multiple videos have showcased Josh sleepwalking (and not using abilities) through 'Hard' mode with completely indifferent character builds.  While keeping most of his attention on talking to an audience. 

 

 

He uses parties that are over-leveled for the areas he runs through during demos, iirc.

 

 

This. I don't think I've seen all streams/interviews, but in at least two he's been overleveled by several levels in the areas he's been, afaik.

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