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There's no reason companions to have fixed builds


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I don't understand the choice to make named companions (e.g. Aloth) uncustomizable. At any time I can go recruit a blank slate adventurer for a trivial amount of gold. The only difference is that they don't say anything, making my game experience less enjoyable.

 

I've read all kind of nonsense arguments (it's optional, party member builds can't be messed up too bad, "it's about choices") but from a game design perspective it's all nonsense. 

 

To clarify, I'm not making an argument for respeccing. I'm saying that the option to design characters from scratch exists, and this is a gameplay consideration having nothing to do with story telling. Why shouldn't I be able to have both? 

 

 

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Because the character's class and background tie in with their background story -- Durance's story wouldn't make any sense if he wasn't a priest, for example.

 

There is a valid argument to be made for having all companions start at level 1 (but with enough XP to level up immediately to the correct level), but allowing the player to chose a different class / race combination would definitely break the story.

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^

Durance needs to be a priest of Magran

Aloth needs to be an aristocrat elf wizard

Eder needs to be a farmer warrior

 

Their stats are also reflections of their personalities. Giving Aloth huge resolve wouldn't make a lot of sense.

 

While the original Attributes suggested that to be true, it's been established that it's simply not true, from a design perspective. When people complained that the Attributes are lopsided and unbalanced, and that the Attribute spread of the CNPC:s suffered because of it, Obsidian changed the Attribute spreads of the CNPC:s to "better" or more "min/maxed" (or at least attempted to; in at least the case of Edér, the decision was.. odd.. to say the least) without any regard for the personalities of the characters.

 

So I really wish that what you said would be true, but it's unfortunately not.

Edited by Luckmann
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I agree that it's a bit annoying from a gameplay perspective, but it works well in terms of establishing them as individuals with set histories and, presumably, combat experience influencing their level-up decisions.  Which you prioritise is a matter of individual preference; for my part, I'd rather lose a bit in the way of immersion on this because the other option I expect I'll find myself going for - rushing ahead to pick up the people I want and then going back to work through quests more naturally - is even worse in that respect.

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I agree that it's a bit annoying from a gameplay perspective, but it works well in terms of establishing them as individuals with set histories and, presumably, combat experience influencing their level-up decisions.

 

Problem is that that line of reasoning ONLY justifies the initial stat distribution and first couple of levels.  If the level 4 talents (for example) were truly essential to the character's personality, then you wouldn't have a choice over them... not if you got the fellow at level 2, AND not if you let him smoke his pipe at the crossing until you're level 5 from quests.  No plausible justification exists for letting you choose their level 4 talents under one set of your personal circumstances and yet not the other.

 

because the other option I expect I'll find myself going for - rushing ahead to pick up the people I want and then going back to work through quests more naturally - is even worse in that respect.

 

Exactly.  It's even worse for the first playthrough, because character-rushing is somewhat spoilery but not character-rushing increases the difficulty.

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I have no issue with the companion builds; they are what they are, and if they're not completely optimized to your liking then just consider it a challenge to take advantage of their strengths and manage their weaknesses.

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Guest BugsVendor

 

not character-rushing increases the difficulty.

in what way?

 

 

The more levels they get "on their own" the more silly and usless talents they have.

 

Considering the overall difficulty level I don't mind that at all :)

 

I always prefer companions from the game just because they are not mini-max killing machines.

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I don't understand why there needs to be so many trashy talents anyway.

 

That's a whole different issue.

 

I think many people will agree that sometimes when picking a talent there is 20 available and all of them useless.

 

I would prefer less choice but really really good stuff. The kind of stuff you would spend 30 min contemplating on instead of playing.

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When I made my custom priest:

 

Accuracy buff on Holy Radiance

Interdiction

+10 accuracy to two weapons

Weakness on interdiction

+10 accuracy on interdiction

 

....

 

And Durance gets a feat wasted on bears fortitude? What were the devs smoking when they made that choice?

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Maybe they are what they are because the devs are operating under the concept that there are no bad builds and want to show that off for those who might be interested while allowing those who dance to a different drummer to go to the adventurers hall and make their party exactly as they wish - seems like a win win to me - well except that the adventurer builds will only have what personality their makers imagine - seems a fair trade off...

Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

Not all those that wander are lost...

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As other's have already explained; their class is part of their character. An integral one at that. Want Durance to be something other than a priest of the fiery whore? Write a new story for him that reflects that. 

 

But they're discussing builds, not classes. Also, this isn't entirely true; Edér was conceptually a rogue for a very long time, and the developers have already made it clear that Attribute distribution has nothing to do with the character personalities.

 

Maybe they are what they are because the devs are operating under the concept that there are no bad builds and want to show that off for those who might be interested while allowing those who dance to a different drummer to go to the adventurers hall and make their party exactly as they wish - seems like a win win to me - well except that the adventurer builds will only have what personality their makers imagine - seems a fair trade off...

 

But that's patently false under the current system. I think you are correct, however, in that the developers were operating under that assumption all the way up until release, at which point they noticed that hey, wait, maybe the backer beta testers weren't lying, maybe there's really some issues with the Attribute system, I mean, suddenly there's a wave of people complaining about attribute distribution of the CNPC:s, what do we do? Do we fix the Attributes? Naw, let's just change the CNPC Attributes into something better that isn't objectively terrible.

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I agree that it's a bit annoying from a gameplay perspective, but it works well in terms of establishing them as individuals with set histories and, presumably, combat experience influencing their level-up decisions.

 

Problem is that that line of reasoning ONLY justifies the initial stat distribution and first couple of levels.  If the level 4 talents (for example) were truly essential to the character's personality, then you wouldn't have a choice over them... not if you got the fellow at level 2, AND not if you let him smoke his pipe at the crossing until you're level 5 from quests.  No plausible justification exists for letting you choose their level 4 talents under one set of your personal circumstances and yet not the other.

 

It IS plausible. The companions are affected by YOUR choices you make so they level up the way you skill them. But if you dont meet them, or meet them later they are not affected by your choices thus they go their own way.

 

It is a ROLEPLAYING game. If you want to min/max go play WoW etc. Durances Stats make TOTALLY sense.

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I don't understand why there needs to be so many trashy talents anyway.

 

That's a whole different issue.

 

I think many people will agree that sometimes when picking a talent there is 20 available and all of them useless.

 

I would prefer less choice but really really good stuff. The kind of stuff you would spend 30 min contemplating on instead of playing.

 

 

I kind of wish that there were 2-3 more skills in the mix.  OTOH, doing so would have required additional programming and design to incorporate them into the game.  For example, a diplomacy skill might be useful, but it would also require its inclusion into a lot of the dialog trees to make it worthwhile. 

 

As for the talents, part of me wishes that they'd be split up somehow and that you'd get to pick from those different lists.  That is, you might be alble to pick one from a weapons/class ability list and pick one from a more general talent list.    Obviously not at every level-up, but often enough to be useful.  It seems like it'd be a way to allow/get players to pick some of those general talents without feeling that they're having to give up picking from the more useful talents.

 

Just a thought.

 

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The only real terrible build choice (ignoring attributes) I found was the npc druid's talent choice of having an additional 1st level spell.

 

That doesn't seem as bad as Pallegine (and maybe some others) picking Field Triage.  I won't say that FT is entirely useless, but at the same time, when it's likely that you have a Priest in your party, FT seems like a really wasted talent pick when there are so many others that should be more useful, like weapons/combat related talents or class-specific talents.  Oh well.

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^

Durance needs to be a priest of Magran

Aloth needs to be an aristocrat elf wizard

Eder needs to be a farmer warrior

 

Their stats are also reflections of their personalities. Giving Aloth huge resolve wouldn't make a lot of sense.

 

While the original Attributes suggested that to be true, it's been established that it's simply not true, from a design perspective. When people complained that the Attributes are lopsided and unbalanced, and that the Attribute spread of the CNPC:s suffered because of it, Obsidian changed the Attribute spreads of the CNPC:s to "better" or more "min/maxed" (or at least attempted to; in at least the case of Edér, the decision was.. odd.. to say the least) without any regard for the personalities of the characters.

 

So I really wish that what you said would be true, but it's unfortunately not.

 

 

Luckmann, I have a hard time not seeing that stats shouldn't be reflected in an NPC's personality.  Oh, mind you, I doubt that a difference of a single point in a stat either way probably matters that greatly to an NPC's basic personality.  Also, it would seem that the more mental stats, i.e. intelligence, perception, and resolve, would be more important to a character's personality than the more physical stats.  Not that the physical stats would be UN-important, just a little less important.

 

For example, a high INT character should have a distinctly different personality from a low INT one.  Ditto for Resolve.  OTOH, if you looked at two characters having the same INT, PER, and RES, but with different mixes of MGT, CON, and DEX, one might be able to argue that the two characters might have fairly similar personalities.  Maybe not, but possibly.

 

 

 

Regardless, I don't buy into the OP's opinion on this.   NPC's need to have their stats and class choice be a reasonable reflection of their personality.  The idea that you could have an NPC with an already fixed background story which almost certainly reflects certain facts about said character and then just let players build that character from scratch seems entirely unreasonable to me. 

 

I will say that following my logic, one could make a not unreasonable argument that players could get to pick the NPC's skills, talents, etc. from scratch, since those are probably much less linked to the fixed backstory of the character.   Still, I'm not sure that every player would want to stop and do an NPC's skill/talent build from scratch the moment they let them into the party.  Some might forget to do so or not even realize that they needed to do so.

 

A better way to deal with it might be to have the NPC's skills/talents fixed as they are now, but allow the player to rebuild an NPC's skill/talent once per NPC.  Or possibly at their first level-up while they're in your party.

 

Still, it seems an unnecessary complication to me.  Also, NPC's are designed by the game's "dungeon master" whether it's in a pencil and paper environment or a cRPG.  And in the case of a cRPG, the DM is the developers.  And maybe the players should accept that and worry about their PC, and leave the NPC's to the game's DM's (the devs).

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^

Durance needs to be a priest of Magran

Aloth needs to be an aristocrat elf wizard

Eder needs to be a farmer warrior

 

Their stats are also reflections of their personalities. Giving Aloth huge resolve wouldn't make a lot of sense.

 

While the original Attributes suggested that to be true, it's been established that it's simply not true, from a design perspective. When people complained that the Attributes are lopsided and unbalanced, and that the Attribute spread of the CNPC:s suffered because of it, Obsidian changed the Attribute spreads of the CNPC:s to "better" or more "min/maxed" (or at least attempted to; in at least the case of Edér, the decision was.. odd.. to say the least) without any regard for the personalities of the characters.

 

So I really wish that what you said would be true, but it's unfortunately not.

 

 

Luckmann, I have a hard time not seeing that stats shouldn't be reflected in an NPC's personality.  Oh, mind you, I doubt that a difference of a single point in a stat either way probably matters that greatly to an NPC's basic personality.  Also, it would seem that the more mental stats, i.e. intelligence, perception, and resolve, would be more important to a character's personality than the more physical stats.  Not that the physical stats would be UN-important, just a little less important.

 

For example, a high INT character should have a distinctly different personality from a low INT one.  Ditto for Resolve.  OTOH, if you looked at two characters having the same INT, PER, and RES, but with different mixes of MGT, CON, and DEX, one might be able to argue that the two characters might have fairly similar personalities.  Maybe not, but possibly.

 

 

 

Regardless, I don't buy into the OP's opinion on this.   NPC's need to have their stats and class choice be a reasonable reflection of their personality.  The idea that you could have an NPC with an already fixed background story which almost certainly reflects certain facts about said character and then just let players build that character from scratch seems entirely unreasonable to me. 

 

I will say that following my logic, one could make a not unreasonable argument that players could get to pick the NPC's skills, talents, etc. from scratch, since those are probably much less linked to the fixed backstory of the character.   Still, I'm not sure that every player would want to stop and do an NPC's skill/talent build from scratch the moment they let them into the party.  Some might forget to do so or not even realize that they needed to do so.

 

A better way to deal with it might be to have the NPC's skills/talents fixed as they are now, but allow the player to rebuild an NPC's skill/talent once per NPC.  Or possibly at their first level-up while they're in your party.

 

Still, it seems an unnecessary complication to me.  Also, NPC's are designed by the game's "dungeon master" whether it's in a pencil and paper environment or a cRPG.  And in the case of a cRPG, the DM is the developers.  And maybe the players should accept that and worry about their PC, and leave the NPC's to the game's DM's (the devs).

 

 

I am not disagreeing with you at all. I think that you are entirely correct - for example, Aloth shouldn't have high Resolve, Perceptive characters should have a high Perception, etc, etc. I completely agree with that.

 

I'm saying that this is not true in Pillars of Eternity, by the developer's choice, as I explained. I think it's crazy to change the character's Attributes because the attributes they got saddled with were bad, instead of fixing the issue of those attributes being dead weight for certain classes.

 

They had a great opportunity to show "You can do well with any setup, they just play differently, look at Aloth, he's a wizard with high Perception, high Intellect but low Resolve" or "Check out Durance, he's a tough firebrand of a priest that can weather the storm, when another priest could be a bookish sort straight out of a convent".

 

They decided not to do that, and instead the Attributes are very lopsided and they chose to compromise the attributes as indicatives of character personality instead, to compensate for that; it's why Aloth lost Perception, because Perception was completely dead weight for him, and it's why Durance got Intellect, a must-have consolidated caster attribute, despite him probably being the furthest away from an intellectual in the entire CNPC collection.

 

And that's why the OP:s argument has a quite strong merit to it, because Obsidian themselves have already settled that character attributes have nothing to do with the actual character of the characters. I do not agree with that approach, but in the context of the game and the implied design philosophy, there's no reason not to leave the CNPC:s as a virtual tabula rasa.

Edited by Luckmann
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