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The gaming community and "balance"

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Well, if the devs hard-coded everything then modding is going to be a nightmare imo. I don't think any decompiler will give you line for line accuracy on the source code either, so it's going to be a real chore if OE doesn't plan on releasing some form of documentation to assist.

Just following best software development practices would make modding easier overall, specifically placing values in external files and making references in the code vs hard-coding.

 

Personally, I spend enough time attempting to modify poorly documented, poorly implemented software at work to be bothered to come home and repeat the process.

 

Regarding balance

 

I don't think pointing out that, in games made 15 years ago, certain strategies trivialized the game and it was up to the player to restrict himself to avoiding them is a good argument. The idea should be to correct the mistakes of the past, especially when one of the selling points of the title is to provide the player with meaningful choices such that optimal choices would not be the best choice by a wide margin. 

Edited by View619

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Well, the way I see it, single player experience is easier to balance and should be balanced in order to provide the best game experience for everyone. Game balance isn't necessarily MMORPG style, where classes are balanced against each other. In single player, classes and the whole game needs to be balanced in such a way, that no matter what class you choose, you don't end up feeling like you chose the "wrong" class because it's weak, or feeling like there should be another harder difficulty than the current hardest one.

In both of those cases, imbalance hurts the experience.

 

As a personal example, I deleted my old Cipher save and started a fresh game, because well, I felt the spell Mind Blades trivialized a lot of fights for me. By the time I realized they weren't supposed to be easy fights, I stopped using that spell altogether, but it still felt like I need a decent challenge with a fresh start in a balanced game. I also think Monk wound system need an overhaul, because I still haven't figured out a build that makes sense RP wise, and is decent enough to soak damage decently and use wounds in fights. On the monk case, it being my favorite D&D / RPG class, I opened a separate topic about it. A lot of people disagreed, but I strongly stand behind my opinion and think that system is bad. That's to be expected though, as balance is mostly a matter of perspective and playstyle, which is the main point of this wall of text :)

 

My main point is, as I've stated at the start of this, that balance is a personal thing and differs quite a bit between players, even more so when it's a single player game. Nonetheless, having a class so weak that it can't finish the game on it's hardest difficulty is bad, no one wants that. All in all, I think this is a wonderful game. I'm really happy with the devs, and it is really the "Baldur's Gate 3" I've been waiting for all these years. It could still use some work and balance, but that's just my personal view on things :)

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Look over the achievements; they amount to setting arbitrary limits on what you can do, and the only difference between them and house rules is that they're sanctioned.  What else is a solo run in a game designed for a party of six other than "depriving yourself of an element of the game". 

 

Achievements aren't all part of core gameplay, many of them are meant only for the most skilled (or at least dedicated) players.

 

Now there are some areas where I think balance is appropriate - for example, if one spell at a given level is overwhelmingly better than all of the others, or some are so weak that no one uses them, then you're losing actual choice. But campaigning to have, say, entire classes crippled because they're "too powerful" in a single player game?  What that really amounts to is some players who want to dictate the game experience of other people, and that's rarely going to end well.

 

So you're for devs balancing things you want balanced, but complain about them balancing other things? How dare you try to DICTATE spells for other players!? And who are the devs to dictate these things for us either? Clearly there should be no damage numbers for anything in the game, and we should just have to input those ourselves whenever we find a new spell/weapon/whatever. It's not like it's the devs job or something to figure that **** out.

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This thread and those like them are hilarious. Yes, some people do get carried away with the idea of balance however I see most complaints to be perfectly valid. Here are some reasons:

 

1) Class/race/spell imbalance was not a design decision. In fact Obsidian's goal was to eliminate bad choices from the game (in terms of class/attribute/spell selection) so imbalance can be seen as bugs.

 

2) Obsidian have already released once patch that addressed balance concerns, so why complain when the community highlight other issues? The developer has already shown they are amenable to balance changes.

 

3) Some people may whine that players feel entitled - perhaps they are, but if they are a kickstarter then I feel it is justified. You and many others did not pay for this game years in advance just based upon the promises of the developer. If you haven't already, please go back and read all of their kickstarter backer posts and watch the commentary videos. The ideas sounded fantastic, and the expectation was set high. If one of the classes they discussed in the kickstarter stage turns out to be broken or weak (monk, ranger etc.) then I feel backers have the right to say something.

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No well-designed game should require self-policing.

Quite the opposite. No well-designed game should have to nanny players. Freedom of player choice is preferable in my books.

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We're not talking about "freedom of player choice" here though. We're talking about easy exploits. The freedom to use an exploit that drastically changes the difficulty is a pretty shabby kind of freedom IMO.

 

I've played the BG's both with and without rest-spamming, and it's vastly more enjoyable without rest-spamming. I'm kind of mad at the rest mechanic actually because since rest-spamming is so obvious it took me a long time to move beyond it and find a more enjoyable way to play. If resting hadn't been so broken to start with, I wouldn't have made that long and unenjoyable detour.

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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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"we love the modding community but we want our initial desing to be experienced by the players first. O' well because of the comlex desin... bla bla bla "

:wowey:


Kana - "Sorry. It seems I'm not very good at raising spirits." Kana winces. "That was unintentional."

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I don't think pointing out that, in games made 15 years ago, certain strategies trivialized the game and it was up to the player to restrict himself to avoiding them is a good argument. The idea should be to correct the mistakes of the past, especially when one of the selling points of the title is to provide the player with meaningful choices such that optimal choices would not be the best choice by a wide margin. 

You are missing the point. The "imbalance" of the games from 15 years ago was not a mistake, it was, in most instances, something deliberately created to make the games more fun. People loved those old games -- if not for them, PoE would never even exist in the first place. Let me give you an example of what I mean:

 

Finding one of the more powerful, named items in BG2: Holy moly, this thing is awesome!

Finding one of the more powerful, named items in PoE: *Compare to inventory of relevant party members* Looks like this is marginally better than what I was using before.

 

It's not the same feeling at all and the BG2 one is much better, though to be fair, the issue is not specific to PoE. It's the same in practically every MMO (if they have named items in the first place), NWN, DA:O and most other games I can think of.

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We're not talking about "freedom of player choice" here though. We're talking about easy exploits. The freedom to use an exploit that drastically changes the difficulty is a pretty shabby kind of freedom IMO.

 

I've played the BG's both with and without rest-spamming, and it's vastly more enjoyable without rest-spamming. I'm kind of mad at the rest mechanic actually because since rest-spamming is so obvious it took me a long time to move beyond it and find a more enjoyable way to play. If resting hadn't been so broken to start with, I wouldn't have made that long and unenjoyable detour.

If there's an exploit, and it's no fun to exploit it, why would anyone use it? The devs don't need to do anything because player freedom to make their own fun ensures it remains fun. Likewise if someone *has* to use an over or under-powered character for their own fun, they can do so as well. Taking the choice away from the player doesn't fit in with the spirit of PoE where we can set up games to be the most fun for ourselves.

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Hear, hear.

I could NEVER understand such complaints. Ever since I started playing PoE I decided certain house rules for myself, such as no slicken, no min maxing etc. And I play PotD and Expert Mode. When I played BG I got really annoyed by Haste. I was casting it every damn battle, and so at some point I stopped using it at all. My last BG Trilogy playthrough  I had a party of me, Gnome Illusionist, Jan Jansen, Tiax (through a mod which made him playable), Quayle (also a mod which makes it possible to choose him or Aerie) and Mazzi plus Korgan. Was it difficult? Yes. Could I easily make a more efficient party? Obviously. Was it fun? Hell yeah (considering that it was on Insane difficulty with half a dozen of mods making the game more difficult, like Sword Coast Stratagems)

And now in PoE, I made a custom char who is dwarf sharpshooter. He is wearing a cool wide-brimmed hat and he shoots people with a rifle. Is it an optimal character? Nope. But I like him.

I guess I am just a RPer at heart is all.

Edited by Noin
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In regards to there not being any über items in PoE like in BG2... BG2 was a much higher-level adventure than BG1 or PoE.  BG1 you started out level 1 and max'd out around 7 or 8 and I think the best magic items were +1 or +2 range.

BG2 you started out (I think) level 7? and max'd out at level 30-40? And you are battling out dragons, demons and demigods and visiting other planes of existence, etc. I don't think it would be "correct" to walk around with a Vorpal Sword or Robe of Vecna at level 8 in PoE.

Edited by darqleo
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Some people seek external rewards over internal rewards (and the other way around too ofc).  I think those that want exploits removed (rest spamming, forex) want the external reward of having accomplishments in a game to be recognized by the community (on some level).  The presence of exploits do (sort of) remove a lot of the "bragging rights" in beating a game.

 

I'm more internally motivated, so I have no problem "gimping" myself if it means making a game more fun (self imposed ironman mode, or playing solo, or w/e) and couldn't care less if someone else somewhere was abusing the crap out of a broken mechanic in a game.  But I can see how it can bother other people.

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Some people seek external rewards over internal rewards (and the other way around too ofc).  I think those that want exploits removed (rest spamming, forex) want the external reward of having accomplishments in a game to be recognized by the community (on some level).  The presence of exploits do (sort of) remove a lot of the "bragging rights" in beating a game.

 

I'm more internally motivated, so I have no problem "gimping" myself if it means making a game more fun (self imposed ironman mode, or playing solo, or w/e) and couldn't care less if someone else somewhere was abusing the crap out of a broken mechanic in a game.  But I can see how it can bother other people.

 

It's not really about player inability to restrict themselves from using exploits, imo. It's about taking an intelligent approach to the game without the intention to exploit (such as establishing a defensive front line), but then realizing that you'll have to limit your approach so that the enemies have an opportunity to fight back. It's less about "bragging rights" and more about finding enough difficulty in the base game to not require gimping yourself with self-imposed challenges like solo, low level runs, etc.

 

That is specifically for difficulty balancing. Regarding class balancing, I think most classes are fine with the exception of the Monk whose wound mechanic is not working as advertised. Regarding item balancing, I think the lack of stand-out loot is due to the way that crafting works; you are allowed to make useful magical items without needing to worry about what you find. 

Edited by View619
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PoE will be a monster to tune correctly. The soft-counter approach coupled with "no bad builds" turns PoE in to a highly complex multi-variable calculus problem where only one thing can be determined at a time. That they also upped the complexity of some aspects since this game doesn't need to be coordinated by a DM makes it all the more difficult. It's too bad modding is so prohibitive for this game. That was about the only hope of it being solved.

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 I was just wondering how we have all got so tied up in balance, especially on single player games.

 

 

Because balance is fun. Balance leads you to wanna explore and try different methods and different ways to beat the game and approach battles, because there's room for improvement. If you've got a method that works reliably (too reliably), then you use that method in your desire to be as effective and strong as possible. On the opposite end, if a method sucks balls, then it's not used and that's effectively "phantom content" in the sense that it's content that may as well not be there. The developers and the player both have interests in all content being as viable as possible because if it's not, then the game quickly becomes repetitive and lots of effort the devs put into various (inferior) methods and skills is all but moot.

 

 

  Without balance, motivation to explore new options? It tanks. Personally one of my motivators with trying new things is seeing which character could kick the other's ass in a fight based on their drastically different strengths and weaknesses. If one is a clear winner, then I lack motivation to bother exploring the characteristics of the second character since it's so clear who won. In this way, balance is a huge asset to replay value, which is again a cornerstone of RPG game design.

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"The Courier was the worst of all of them. The worst by far. When he died the first time, he must have met the devil, and then killed him."

 

 

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Just thought I'd share some thoughts I've had lurking these forums since game release.

 

I see all these posts about balance whether it's about classes, difficulty or abilities. I was just wondering how we have all got so tied up in balance, especially on single player games.

Because when you make a game you want it to be masterfully designed. All games recently in this genre have had a lot of balance tweaks after release and a few are still working on final balances. IMO each one can point to the game had to ship and it didn't have 6 months of QA for balance. To think it isn't important is somewhat a slap in the face of gaming, be it cards, table top, sports etc. You want proper balance. This game will follow the same path as recent games in this genre has, why? Because it can use it.

 

What I find is people fall in love with something and don't want change. For example there is a mod to set the balance changes back to original, which a few were grossly over-powered, over-powered means I have 7 skills, but why not always just use this special one here.

 

I also feel most if not all are coming out easy, because time is short and they have to make sure people can beat it, slap some easy reasonable #'s, play it through, can do? Yes. Ship. So most balancing is not only between skills but to add a bit more difficulty. There are 4 difficulty settings, they should be what they say they are instead of 3 easy and one hard. This game is going to be 10 years old some day and you want the hardest settings hard when you're on your 10th play-through with optimal builds.

Edited by Horrorscope

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Successful games can be played by different people with different styles and motivations.  The basic issue with many "balance" arguments is that one persons "exploit" is another persons "cool strategy", frequently one employed in a completely different context.  So a strong ability or spell may make it possible, for example, to run though with an unorthodox party design that is otherwise unviable.

 

There is a big element in the balance arguments about people being judgmental about the playstyle of others.  I see references - unironic ones - to "rest spam abuse", and they crack me up.  You have a game with limited resources.  You restore them with resting.  Those are the rules.   You can choose other designs altogether: limiting abilities with cooldowns and omitting rest altogether; having all resources regenerate out of battle, and so on.  Is there some "proper" frequency for resting, and people who do it more often are inferior players?

 

Nope.  In my view the real challenge is always in the linchpin encounters.  How often you rest when going through routine matters is just a function of how picky you want to be in playing and your tolerance for downtime. 

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Loosely, modern internets and distribution system allows for a lot more feedback and patching. Less lump it or leave it business. I'd note that in BG all of the classes at least had *something* unique (like, Bards getting the fastest level up for a spellcaster, hence a lot of damage) and filled slightly different roles to each other and used different equipment so a lot of the balance was enforced by item restrictions.

While I half agree with you, imagine there's two classes called the Protagonist and the Mook. The protagonist has the best of every single thing in the game with no drawbacks. The Mook is the opposite. All the other characters in the game are beautifully arrayed, interesting and balanced. The presence of the Mook and the Protagonist has no impact at all on the other classes or gameplay without them BUT they would, I think, make the game worse by their inclusion. The other classes aren't going to be as fun to experiment with because they can't do anything better than the Protagonist and the Mook is a redundance for the amusement of achievement showoffs.

(cf. Alpha Protocol which was kinda buggered by having the pistol be astonishingly powerful and options like the SMGs being ridiculously naff - I mean, I don't get those people who play a spy game and don't want to use pistols but I understand why they were mad to find out the game didn't support the options they took very well)

Personally I think the game balance is OK, with a few areas for tweaking. Some classes are easier to enjoy than others but that's fine.

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Speaking for myself, in a single player game it's not about me building a class X and a class Y, fighting them against each other and expecting each to win 50% of the time, it's about the choices being valid. This goes beyond just paper balance of the classes, but the way encounters and the game is designed. The following examples and discussions are speaking of a generic case to help explain what I'm trying to get it,  and are not a specific critic of PoE.  Take something like backstabbing, if I want to build a character for that moment of awesome backstab I want it to pay off if the game is letting me build that character. If the class design makes backstab underwhelming, the underlying mechanics make it almost possible to use, or 95% of the game's enemies are immune to backstab then I feel like I've been the victim of a bait and switch (talking about what the game was offering, not that I was monetarily cheated by the game designers).  It's a very subjective thing to balance consider you can take something like backstab which tends towards moment of awesome reward and make it feel as valid as a sword and board's high defense and slow and steady damage. It's gotta be difficult to make both choices feel valid when they pay off in very different ways. You even get the difficulty the getting disparate paths paying off within a single class such as a control wizard versus a nuker wizard.

 

Now issues of validity can be related to, and exacerbated by, issues of difficulty but aren't always the same. If it's more difficult to successfully make a backstabbing rogue pay off that's fine, it just needs to be counterbalanced by a more rewarding payoff (be it mechanical, thematic, role-playing, or so on) versus a choice that has a lower but more consistent payoff.

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No well-designed game should require self-policing.

 

Here's the thing though: You can tell someone that if they don't want to break the game, then simply stay away from anything that's too OP, but I don't think a player should ever have to make that choice in the first place. I think any instance where a player has to either deprive themselves of an element of the game, or to trivialize content is an instance where the game designers have done something wrong. In an ideal game, a player should always be able to make use of any the game's mechanics and optimize their characters while always being reasonably challenged, and while it may not be possible to achieve that 100% of the time, I think it's for that reason that balance is very important even in single player games. 

 

 

This is the crux of the issue.

 

I'm not an anally optimal player when I'm actually playing PoE. I role play. I have a hell of a lot of fun doing whatever I want. I use Sagani because I think she's an awesome character even though Rangers kinda suck. I have a fun time.... but then again, I'm not all that challenged. I can afford to use bows and put everyone in armor and not block doors constantly and not minmax my stats because the game isn't all that Hard even on Hard. Which is a bit of a shame, because I'd like to have to think a little bit more about how to succeed in encounters. And even in this somewhat more casual run, I'm having to limit myself to keep the game from becoming stupid easy. I'm avoiding bounties. I'm not using figurines. Etc. Because if I did, the game would just become boring because there would be no challenge whatsoever.

 

And from a game design standpoint, if there are exploitable mechanics or content in your game that players have to intentionally avoid taking advantage of in order to have any semblance of challenge (such as bounty XP, OP Estoc, figurines, etc) - your game design is flawed. The lead designer of PoE, Josh Sawyer, recognizes this. That's why he implemented systems to remove infamous exploits from the IE games, such as rest spamming and ludicrous pre-buffing (when the enemies couldn't do the same). And people may disagree on whether those solutions worked as intended (I think they worked out quite well, myself), but the point is that Josh Sawyer agrees that when a game's mechanics lead players who want to play the game well to do the same (often nonsensical from an ingame perspective, such as sleeping every 2 hours) things over and over again... that game's design is flawed.

 

No game is perfect. But the ideal is that the player has meaningful choices to make when faced with ingame challenges - not a handful of OP strategies that trivialize all content that they need to avoid if they want to be challenged in the least. PoE fails in that respect, in some ways. Which is why we provide feedback - to make the game better.

Edited by Matt516
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we played bg.  we posted on the boards for totsc and bg2 as well as other ie games.  balance were no less common back then as it is today. in iwd, the developers took steps to nerf the power o' ranged weapons.  the ferelan ranger kit were dumped from bg2 'cause it were too weak.  bg2 developers severe tuned down grandmastery benefits for bg2. oh, and ask josh how his kit suggestions for iwd2 were received... is a funny story.  heck, josh tried to get the monte cook ranger in iwd2 because mr. cook's version were better balanced than the original 3e ranger... which caused a p00p storm o' geekly proportions.

 

ye goode olde days nonsense is... nonsense.  don't forget that many o' us were there in those days.  Gromnir were there.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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we played bg.  we posted on the boards for totsc and bg2 as well as other ie games.  balance were no less common back then as it is today. in iwd, the developers took steps to nerf the power o' ranged weapons.  the ferelan ranger kit were dumped from bg2 'cause it were too weak.  bg2 developers severe tuned down grandmastery benefits for bg2. oh, and ask josh how his kit suggestions for iwd2 were received... is a funny story.  heck, josh tried to get the monte cook ranger in iwd2 because mr. cook's version were better balanced than the original 3e ranger... which caused a p00p storm o' geekly proportions.

 

ye goode olde days nonsense is... nonsense.  don't forget that many o' us were there in those days.  Gromnir were there.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

As per usual, I understand about half of what you said and think it's all great. :p

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we played bg.  we posted on the boards for totsc and bg2 as well as other ie games.  balance were no less common back then as it is today. in iwd, the developers took steps to nerf the power o' ranged weapons.  the ferelan ranger kit were dumped from bg2 'cause it were too weak.  bg2 developers severe tuned down grandmastery benefits for bg2. oh, and ask josh how his kit suggestions for iwd2 were received... is a funny story.  heck, josh tried to get the monte cook ranger in iwd2 because mr. cook's version were better balanced than the original 3e ranger... which caused a p00p storm o' geekly proportions.

 

ye goode olde days nonsense is... nonsense.  don't forget that many o' us were there in those days.  Gromnir were there.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

As per usual, I understand about half of what you said and think it's all great. :p

 

part o' the problem, beyond our posting style, is that we were speaking o' events long forgotten.  w/o context, our examples is less than illuminating, eh?  

 

perhaps it woulda been better if we specific quoted the genesis post.  dunno.  regardless, we read the silliness 'bout how the mmo era perverted the the eden o' balance free single-player crpg goodness we s'posed enjoyed previous to diablo3 (or some other game) and we couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness o' a fantasy that never were.

 

...

 

probable made more obscure.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Never understimate the power of a game not balanced...

 

Take morrowind for example at the beginning is harsh even a simple bandit can kill you...But is you crawl in pain and end to finish an hard dungeon most likely you will find an artifact on it and later your character can become strong like a god... and that pays when you invest hours and hours of time adventuring and exploring... And when i say an artifact i say a strong powerful magic items... That added to the game a depth some games never can hope to have..

 

When it comes the world balance...i am always skeptical... First of all the heavily balanced games are the most boring to me... Because yes.. i can chose to play a weak class just for the sake of roleplay.. and this is a RPG right?...Is also a challenge take a weak class and finish the campaign with it...but no today we are going to listen cries...

 

Oh my good those druids killed me in a instant this game is so unbalanced!

 

This class is too much stronger this game is so unbalanced!..

 

All this balance and complaint and we end to have the plague most rpg today suffer... Featuring not so much classes and all of them play the same... 

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Just my two cents on the "balance" from the BG games and people's opinions of it [and comparing it to Pillars]...

People are saying the BG games are easy in hindsight, after significant study of the game's contents and mechanics.

I played both 1 and 2 in a casual manner, and I found both pretty difficult. Why?

1) I failed to finish the Flail of the Ages quest for whatever reason (i think this is the correct weapon I'm recalling). Missed a part or something [if I recall, it's a fairly tedious and multi-stepped quest]. As such, I didn't have the best weapons for the end-game and struggled to do high damage later on.
2) I never used traps so I didn't know they were insanely overpowered. [technically my fault for not experimenting with everything available, but I can't imagine that every single person who played the game tested every single thing either]
3) I didn't read the two dozen volumes of text required to understand all the nuances of high-level magic : referring to the different protection spells and spells like Sequencer. So all the end-game mages were really hard to beat.
4) I also did NOT re-roll my PC. She was as good as I could get her and was fairly useful, though still ended up relatively sub-par. This is something I think is underestimated. I can take an educated guess that the average player did not re-roll either; unless their PC was completely worthless, most probably just dealt with it.

My point : After finding out all this info after I played it, I can see how people would say the games are easy; they're the hardcore players who found all the best stuff and strategies.
However, I feel that my experience is probably closer to the "average" player's experience of the game.
While on this forum, it may seem like there were no casual players of the BG games, I can bet you there were and they likely had a decent and/or acceptable challenge level. While I agree Pillars is easier, I get the feeling it is still challenging enough for average players on the Normal setting.

I also understand that the argument is that, regardless of how tedious it was to get the best weapons in BG, the fact that they shouldn't have been that powerful, is a good one; but if you were willing to go through the trouble of getting it, you probably didn't need it to beat the game anyway.

That being said, I'm sure the majority of people who backed and are playing Pillars are the ones who mastered the IE games, so my point may be moot.
Regardless, I wanted to refresh some of you on context and perspective when talking about the BG games when comparing their difficulty to Pillars. I don't think it's as drastic a difference as it is being made out to be. I refer to the median experience of the average player. I will agree when you get to the higher difficulties and more dedicated players on the extremities of the player spectrum, Pillars does start to fray at the edges.

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