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The gaming community and "balance"

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I hadn't even considered balance vs BG series or other IE games - PoE stands on it's own IMHO. But since I did play and enjoy BG I& II, my thoughts:

 

PoE is far better balanced.

 

BG swung between extremes too much - while also giving much less choice to playing how you wanted to play. Translating a 2.5 ed PnP ruleset into cRPG is likely to blame. PoE on the other hand brings the extremes in much further, and many more play styles are viable. This is to be expected, and they've done a great job - from a balance point of view PoE is IMHO more fun as a result.

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To be honest, my own complaints about difficulty are minimal: I'm enjoying the game alot in that regard and plan to experiment with different builds.

 

I'd like shorter loading times though.

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I have to agree with people who like PoE balance more than IE-games balance, with (A)D&D rules you're always on the edge of making fatal mistake and rendering your character unusable, never liked that feeling of walking blindly in obscure mechanics trying to fit meta of this particular game. In PoE it is much harder to make broken character as most of the stats are straitforward(if you read the description)

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I think its great when people give ideas to improve things but at the same time I think alot of people act like they are developers of classic games themselves and could do a better job.

 

I personally think the game is great, not perfect but really well done. No matter what rpg it is, it seems there is always talk about balance issues. What games actually nail balance 100% on day one? Not many! I think it is a good idea to step back and really see what has been done wonderfully on top of the issues you might have with the game. The old IE games are my favorite but even those had a good amount of issues on release. If you really wanted to you could breakdown and find issues in every game ever released.

Edited by kozzy

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I'm one of those people who set limits to their playstyles to make the games more interesting, usually after the first playthrough. I have ~7 challenge runs on different games going on ATM which I occasionally push a bit forward. I've played a few matches of DOTA 2 with mouse-only, teammates weren't really pleased but I had fun. I've not really set any rules for my PoE playthrough (yet) but I'm not even playing the game for the challenge anyway. I'll do it on my second run probably.

 

In my opinion, balance is a thing even in single player games. It's not the same balance as in MMORPGs or PvP games, instead it's mostly about the feeling of progression you get by moving forward in the story. Once I got some spells in PoE, the combat has felt a lot easier. I rarely use my 5th level cipher spells, compared to my 2nd and 3rd level spell usage. While it's not really a problem for me (I can always decide to not use them), it feels a little weird. I don't see much of a difference between my 10 level PC and 6 level PC. It's like playing Skyrim with level scaling. Except Skyrim had a scaling loot as well. With some balancing they could make it a lot more enjoyable for some people. 

 

As some people have pointed out though, Obsidian is already trying to balance the game. It's nearly impossible to balance the game perfectly with short closed beta and fairly small QA team with limited time and funds. As I said, I don't find the balance a problem for me ATM, but there are many flaws that should be dealt with (most of them are pretty deep in the combat system but that's another discussion).

 

In comparison, PoE is a lot more balanced than BG in many ways, at least when looking at the spell selection. BG had a lot of garbage spells and lot more trap builds. You could argue that it's part of the challenge to build your character efficiently (at least I found character building fun).

Edited by Emc2
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I believe with balance there is a sacrifice to be made with class/race individuality.  I don't really see a huge balance issue in pillars of eternity.  In BG series they used D&D 2nd edition.  It was probably the most unbalanced system I ever used, but it was a lot of fun.  The thief class was not useful in combat unless multi classed.  They were a one shot wonder hoping their backstab would hit.  That was the whole point though.  They weren't a combat powerhouse.  They were a thief that steals, hides in shadows, disarms traps, and opens locks.  It's one of the things I miss from that system.  Every choice you made had a huge impact. 

 

Choosing a race as melee that had less then 18+ strength for a melee class made a huge difference.  I wouldn't make a system like D&D 2nd edition (especially the overpowered dual and multi classes), but I find pillars of eternity to be a little lacking in terms of choices you make like being a Orlan making being a fighter difficult (which it doesn't).  I would have liked to see something like Orlan's having -8 strength, +6 dexterity and + 2 perception or something of that nature.  Basically something that would have a major impact. 

 

I also think balancing had too large an impact on attributes.  For instance might increases the damage and fortitude of everyone.  What exactly is might though?  If it refers to a characters strength then it should only impact damage for heavy melee weapons.  How does might impact a characters spell damage?

 

I still love the game and I think it's a better system then what I've seen in games of late, but it definitely sacrificed a lot of uniqueness for the sake of balance IMO.

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I wouldn't make a system like D&D 2nd edition (especially the overpowered dual and multi classes)

 

2nd Edition multiclassing and dual classing (only humans can dual class) were just fine for a PnP tabletop game that had a good DM in charge of everything.  Thiefs were also good to have in the party for the same reason. 

 

2nd edition didn't translate to video games very well -- too much relied on a good DM.

 

3rd edition, on the other hand, was perfectly suited to video games... there's a rule for everything in 3rd edition, in some book somewhere.  And that is the edition that made multiclassing OP (including prestige classes).

Edited by Daemonjax

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I wouldn't make a system like D&D 2nd edition (especially the overpowered dual and multi classes)

 

2nd Edition multiclassing and dual classing (only humans can dual class) were just fine for a PnP tabletop game that had a good DM in charge of everything.  Thiefs were also good to have in the party for the same reason. 

 

2nd edition didn't translate to video games very well -- too much relied on a good DM.

 

3rd edition, on the other hand, was perfectly suited to video games... there's a rule for everything in 3rd edition, in some book somewhere.  And that is the edition that made multiclassing OP (including prestige classes).

 

 

None the less I had more fun playing 2nd edition in the BG series then the 3rd edition in Icewind Dale 2 or Neverwinter Nights. 

 

That is generally the point I was trying to make.  Having balance doesn't necessarily equate to a more enjoyable gaming experience.  At least for me. 

 

The main issue with multi and dual classing in BG was that single classes were useless in most cases.  This was especially true in BG2 with the high level cap.  You could get everything you needed out of a thief in the first 6 to 10 levels.  A fighter/thief or thief/mage was infinitely better.

 

None the less the classes in the game were far more defined.  When you choose a class or focused on an attribute it felt really different.  It was a lot of fun to play around with different dual class combinations despite their being way overpowered.  I would say without the classes, attributes, spells, and items being overpowered not as many people would have enjoyed the game.

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The balance is simply positive. There is little to discuss.

If you just want to follow up with the plot, put the game in easy and move on.

Hard mode must be "hard mode". Path of the Damned should be "Path of the Damned."

 

Initially, the difficulty level has been enjoyable.


At level 8 (hard mode) with a party of 6, I should not even use spells, and hardly anyone dies. Not good, not fun to click like a monkey and go forward.

Edited by mistero1982

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I think the rules of balance are the same in both tabletop and crpgs. The only time it really matters is when one option makes another option completely useless. That's the real problem with quadratic wizards in D&D. Eventually, even skill monkeys become useless as a wizard can just cast "knock" or "fly".  But an over reliance on balance creates situations like 4th edition.

 

I think less games should be made with optimizers in mind though. I would rather focus on tactics with characters than spend time tweeking stats. 


It's good to criticize things you love.

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The things I want "balanced" in a single player game are simply:

Make enemies (through AI, abilities, resistances, etc.) provide a good challenge and

make classes varied and give them a as-wide-as-possible selection of useful abilities/spells - they can be circumstantial, but they should have some obvious and useful application.

 

While I'm enjoying PoE a lot, both points could still use some work, imo.

 

E.g. too many encounters can be won through "block the door with a tank and shoot them from afar".

It would be fun if the enemies would counter that more often. There's plenty of stuff at their disposal, in theory.

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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.

 

I remember being a young lad and playing baldurs gate. Didn't have Internet then or if I did we had 10 hours use of dial up so these issues never arised.

 

We took games as is and did what we could with them. Baldurs gate gave you the DnD rules and we went with it. We "role played" the classes. Their was always classes that were the power houses but we still made other characters because it is a game after all.

 

Maybe we decided to make a stalker sub class where a assassin or fighter/thief was way better. Maybe we made a bard because no one ever does. We tried sub par parties just to see what we could do. On character creation some decided on ability dice roll maximum amount of rolls instead of rolling 100 times for that 95 or higher.

 

Ever since the mmo era began we the players seem to expect game makers to tell us what to do and try to find that " holy trinity" of the game and exploit it.

 

I still remember getting Diablo 3 because I grew up on the first 2 and seeing endless post about class balance and blizzard patching and nerfing certain classes. This blew my mind especially since it was single player/ PvE.

 

I see here people complaining about PotD especially. Why would we expect game makers to change it. Why can't players decide, "hey, I use this spell a lot, maybe I'll shelf it and try another combo".

 

The game makers gave this game a pretty awesome attribute system in my mind where all combinations are viable. Maybe their not ideal, but their viable.

 

Maybe we all need to just step back and enjoy games for what they are and this is in my mind a masterpiece that I can see kids picking up in 20 years like their doing with the old IE games now.

Well said, all of it.

 

What I want to believe is that when gamers talk about balance in a single player game is b/c it hurts to see their fav classes/races fall short in front of others.


Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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