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I don't think that just altering the XP curve is enough to fix the front-loaded difficulty of PotD and Pillars in general.

 

There's a severe mob balancing issue in this game in the way that later enemies have not enough accuracy to even hit a decently equipped tank. This will not be fixed by just altering the XP gained throughout the game.

 

On hard, accuracy values seem to vary between different types of mobs by +/- 30. And for some weird reason, the mobs with the highest accuracy ratings appear very early in the game. This creates the weird effect that the game is incredibly hard on PotD around Gilded Vale, where most of the high-accuracy enemies are and then it becomes almost laughable.

 

 

I hope Obsidian will not give in to the naysayers and will buff enemies of Act 2 and Act 3 all across the board.

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In reply to atheo...

I assume you haven't read the earlier discussions then. My issue was reaching the last boss on path at level 9 with very few memorable fights, over experience just compounds the difficulty problems, there are several others which have been well documented. People are suggesting ways to overcome the game getting too easy too quickly and increase the number of tactically fun fights (there are already some really good ones when done at the correct level), and experience tweaking is one of those suggestions, but a random mod to reduce experience is a decent idea but would be a pretty crude way to do it and theres more to look at in my opinion.

Path was sold as a nod to people who like things brutal, so I hardly think expectations for it to actually BE brutal are ' silly'. Anyway no point derailing the topic further.

 

whats a good place to stop leveling? im currently level 5... do u think the end boss would be doable?

Well the end boss is such a jump in difficulty compared to most other fights, I'd be impressed if you managed at level 5!

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The real problem actually is encounter design, not xp. 

 

But I would like to see trap/lock xp removed and the bounties xp nerfed a bit. What I don't want is having to completely 95% of OPTIONAL content to reach max level like some people are suggesting. 

 

Also keep in mind, the expansion will be part of the main game and most likely the level cap will be raised. 

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For reference:

 

The last time I played BG1 (along with TOSC) I used an XP cap remover.

 

While I might have missed a few minor things here or there I explored every nook and cranny I could find, completed every quest I could find, and killed all the bad guys I could find.

 

Upon porting my characters into BG2, I used a save game editor to adjust the XP of all of my characters to match that of what they had in my final BG save. Some of my characters gained 1 class level, most gained no levels, and none of my characters gained two class levels.

 

For specific comparison here is the XP I had on my characters in my final BG save that was ported into BG2:

 

TOSC XP Cap without XP cap remover - 161,000 XP

Character (class) - Total XP earned in game (result when porting into BG2 and giving the XP earned without the cap):

Main Character (fighter, mage, cleric) - 207,707 (69,236/class) (+1 fighter level, +1 mage level, + 1 cleric level)
Imoen (thief) - 205,612 (not enough XP to level)
Dynaheir (mage)- 201,504 (not enough XP to level)
Minsc (ranger) - 204,374 (not enough XP to level)
Jahiera (fighter, druid) - 207,638 (103,819/class) (not enough XP to level fighter, +1 druid level)
Khalid (fighter) - 207,707 (not XP enough to level)

 

This is what I would expect of PoE. BG1 character progression was designed and balanced well. Currently PoE progression happens far too quickly.

 

Obsidian should be aiming to do at least as well as what Black Isle did in regards to character progression, hopefully better. As of patch 1.03 they're missing the mark in a big way.

 

For all those folks who think the progression is fine. Sure, that's what easy mode is for. Normal should be scaling better, and Hard (the best equivalent of BG's normal) should be scaling at least as good as BG1.

Edited by Valsuelm
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I hope that harder encounters isnt going to boil down to "Enemies instantly charm/dominate 4 of your 6 guys at the start of every encounter" in future titles.

Edited by Nerdwing
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The real problem actually is encounter design, not xp. 

 

But I would like to see trap/lock xp removed and the bounties xp nerfed a bit. What I don't want is having to completely 95% of OPTIONAL content to reach max level like some people are suggesting. 

 

Also keep in mind, the expansion will be part of the main game and most likely the level cap will be raised. 

 

Yup. Lock/trap xp, while insignificant in the grander scheme of things, is still completely unnecessary and should be removed. And bounty xp needs to be toned waay down. No one's posting this information so it's hard to tell, but I'd bet that the difference between the people who say "yeah, I did most of the sidequests and didn't hit the cap til the middle of act 3" and the people who say "I hit the cap in the middle of act 2 obsidian nerf xp pls" boils down to one main thing: bounties.

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Do bounties reward significantly more XP than quests?

 

I agree about the lock and trap XP being way too high and unecessary.

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For what it's worth, I haven't done a single bounty.  Not even sure how.  Still the further I go into the game the easier it has become, to the point where there's simply not the slightest challenge any more.  Even in boss fights.

 

The first few character levels were not like that though!

 

I dunno, maybe if I was 13 and wanted to feel "uber" and blast everything to bits without trying, I'd dig it.  But I'm not, and I don't.  I want challenge and risk and barely surviving dangerous places by the skin of my teeth.  I want to have to pull out all the stops when the going gets hard.  But the going is getting easier and easier.

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Hmm, it could be a case where the devs didn't have enough time to properly tune Acts 2 and 3. The final stretch could have been focused on squashing bugs and not difficulty balance, which would be a good reason as to why mid to late game mobs scale so poorly overall.

 

Many teams seem to have this problem when deadlines are looming. Early to mid-game is great, then you just become gods walking among mortals; at least it fits with POE lore!

Edited by View619

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Is PoTD difficult in later levels (Act 2 and onwards)? I'm considering to restart my game after patch 1.04 hits. I wonder if Josh will address this difficulty issue we all are concerned about. I want the game to be a challenge, not a snore fest through fights.


Calibrating...

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Is PoTD difficult in later levels (Act 2 and onwards)? I'm considering to restart my game after patch 1.04 hits. I wonder if Josh will address this difficulty issue we all are concerned about. I want the game to be a challenge, not a snore fest through fights.

 

PotD has a reversed difficulty curve: it's punishingly hard at the beginning, then gets progressively easier once you reach level 4/5 with all your characters.

 

The reason for that is that the accuracy ratings of enemies in act 2 and act 3 are heavily undertuned. If enemies can't hit your tank, the game is no challenge, except where enemies circumvent the tanking mechanics (Shadows).

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It's obvious stuff like the decreasing accuracy of enemies, the hugely inflated XP rewards and the impervious tanks that make me think tuning the game won't be very hard at all. Just a couple of sweeping changes should improve things drastically.

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It's obvious stuff like the decreasing accuracy of enemies, the hugely inflated XP rewards and the impervious tanks that make me think tuning the game won't be very hard at all. Just a couple of sweeping changes should improve things drastically.

 

Let's just hope Obsidian is aware of this. No dev responded to this thread yet, so we can't tell for sure.

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i gotta completly agree with the too easy side.

 

in the beginning the game was freaking hard and i loved it.

 

ie, i went into the catacombs in the beginning as soon as i was able to, and i got my ass kicked by shadows and shades. it was awesome. i had to regually track back to the inn and finally recruited/crafted my own npc companion to help me out. and even so it was increceble hard to push through that dungeon. everything had to be planned, i had to lure out single enemys and disengage from some fights wich had gone terrible wrong. the same goes for raedrics castle, sneaking through the temple area was really fun and the boss battle was more than intense.

 

but as soon as got to defiance bay this changed. the battles become more boring and i was able to win most fights without using any abilitys/spells that were not "per encounter".

if the battle seemed to go out of hand a couple of well placed spells would annilate any enemys. i literally rushed throught heritage hill without the need to camp or even reload a single savegame.

 

but i dont think it has only to to with beeing overleveled... (which is clearly the case btw) it has also to do with enemy AI and enemy skills.

 

i think the catacombs in the first "village" were so amazing because of the shadows ability to teleport behind my tanks defense line and engage my mage/ranged npc's. that coupled with the new (and amazing) engagment system made those fight really good and intense.

 

maybe the AI should utilize spells like sleep/paralize etc to incapacitate tanks and then move on to target your ranged companions, forcing u to retreat or react or whatever...

 

 

but as it is... the fights are getting more redundant by the hour. i've gotten to the "drake" area right now, and its gotten a bit more interessting with the fact that i cant aggro all of them at once without beeing massacred... but well... lets see how long that will last.

 

 

Let's just hope Obsidian is aware of this. No dev responded to this thread yet, so we can't tell for sure.

yes, i do hope so, too.

Edited by RedNoak

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"maybe the AI should utilize spells like sleep/paralize etc to incapacitate tanks and then move on to target your ranged companions, forcing u to retreat or react or whatever..."

 

There's also the Will-O-Wisps that charm your tank and then attack your backline.

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There's also the Will-O-Wisps that charm your tank and then attack your backline.

 

Which, again, is a lowlevel enemy. Act 1 is mostly fine. It's the mid- and lategame that is the problem.

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It's obvious stuff like the decreasing accuracy of enemies, the hugely inflated XP rewards and the impervious tanks that make me think tuning the game won't be very hard at all. Just a couple of sweeping changes should improve things drastically.

 

Agreed.  I think there are actually many nice improvements to this system compared to the BGII combat system.  I like the endurance/health mechanic, the limited resting, and so on.  The underpinnings are good, probably better than they were in the IE games.  But as you say, invulnerable tanks and constantly decreasing difficulty as you progress through the game don't make for fun play, so if some of that can get ironed out, we'll be in good shape.  Hopefully they can make the mid/late parts of the game harder without making the first parts utterly impossible.

 

The hardest fights I've had have really been a lot of fun, and the first few character levels were a blast too.

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I had to restart several times on hard as I got slaughtered by every Skeleton :(. Until I realised, that I chose the wrong quest order :).

 

My hardest fights till now had not been hard because of the enemys ... but because of the pathfinding :(.

"Go attack this enemy mighty Mr.2Hander" ... Mr.2Hander trys hard to run through the tank :(:(. I had to move the Tank as there was no other way to bring Mr.2Hander into close combat!

 

But the fights on hard are realy a lot harder then on normal ;).

As I finished the game on normal and played until Cad Nue on hard now it's notable more difficult allready. Not "imposible hard" but "harder then normal". Where I could simply auto-attack fight on normal I now have to do some micro-management. And that's all I expect if I change the settings from normal to hard :).

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The issue is really that you get to level 12 too easily and too fast, and the game's encounters are capped at level 9. Couple of boss fights are level 10, and one very optional very specific boss fight is level 12, and that's it.

 

You can't balance a game around a level 9 cap when the party will reach level 12 before reaching the half point of the game's crit path.

 

That has been the single biggest mistake that they've made. If every encounter after Dyrwood village was level 11-12, with appropriately scaling Accuracies and defensive stats everything would have been mostly fine. 

 

But even the Sky Dragon sits at a poor level 10. My party autoattacked it to death without any real need to use spells in PotD difficulty. Honestly, from that point and on I had to force myself to finish the game because I had lost my enjoyment.

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The issue is really that you get to level 12 too easily and too fast, and the game's encounters are capped at level 9. Couple of boss fights are level 10, and one very optional very specific boss fight is level 12, and that's it.

 

You can't balance a game around a level 9 cap when the party will reach level 12 before reaching the half point of the game's crit path.

 

That has been the single biggest mistake that they've made. If every encounter after Dyrwood village was level 11-12, with appropriately scaling Accuracies and defensive stats everything would have been mostly fine. 

 

But even the Sky Dragon sits at a poor level 10. My party autoattacked it to death without any real need to use spells in PotD difficulty. Honestly, from that point and on I had to force myself to finish the game because I had lost my enjoyment.

This is really a huge issue, and I don't want to sound like one of those entitled rejects that keep spouting this, but I honestly do not understand how this made it through playtesting. Didn't anyone play the game from start to finish before release?

 

Dammit, I still sounded like it. Now I feel dirty.

 

Still a fair point, though. The game hands experience out like candy, and runs completely counter to the pre-release claim that most players would not be able to reach the level cap in their first playthrough, and that you really had to push yourself to get to level 12; and that the difference between a completionist playthrough and a casual playthrough would be 2-3 levels (level 9 to 12).

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You won't reach level 12 before reaching the halfway point of the game's crit path unless you're doing a LOT of sidequests. You certainly won't do so if you just stick to the crit path. Could XP be tuned better? Yes. Is it as dire as you're stating it to be? No.

 

Again I'm wondering how many of these lvl 12 at halfway point people have been doing lots of bounties. I want to know how they're getting so ludicrously overleveled, because so far I'm not seeing it.

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You won't reach level 12 before reaching the halfway point of the game's crit path unless you're doing a LOT of sidequests. You certainly won't do so if you just stick to the crit path. Could XP be tuned better? Yes. Is it as dire as you're stating it to be? No.

 

Again I'm wondering how many of these lvl 12 at halfway point people have been doing lots of bounties. I want to know how they're getting so ludicrously overleveled, because so far I'm not seeing it.

Could be the bounties that are throwing things off, could be Lockpicking/Traps for all I know, and it could even be a bug that causes people to gain too much experience. I have no idea, but experience is really messed up, no matter what way you cut it.

 

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that they upped the experience bonus per empty party slot from 5% to 10%. That's a lot of extra experience that you can't even really avoid even if you tried, until you manage to fill up your party.


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I was doing all bounties and side quests and I hit level 12 well before Twin Elms. But what's the alternative, avoiding game content purposely? They don't even need to lower the XP you get, just increase the damn challenge. Could get all those level 9 creatures to be level 12 with appropriate Accuracy and Defence stats and the problem just fixes itself. I don't mind a bit of horizontal progression as long as the combat keeps fun and skills/spells/loot keep relevant.

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You won't reach level 12 before reaching the halfway point of the game's crit path unless you're doing a LOT of sidequests. You certainly won't do so if you just stick to the crit path.

so? i fail to see your point. does it mean, i have to rush through the game activly avoiding sidequest, in oder to be challenged?

 

shouldnt it be the other way around? if a specific area/fight is too hard -> turn back, get more xp through sidequests and then try again.

Edited by RedNoak
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