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[...] but being able to rest at the Stronghold from any map sounds at best cheesy to me.  Any map?  No travel time involved?  No penalty?

Any map of the stronghold, not any map in general.

 

Sorry, I guess I am a bit dense today.  Any map of the Stronghold?  What does that mean?

 

 

When you click rest in any of the maps that Stronghold consists, meaning country yard, Brighthollow down- and upstairs, throne room, prison, library and barracks, and shops, church, and warden lodge, you can decide to take rest bonuses that you previously got only in second floor of Brighthollow.

 

Thanks for the reply  but I do not see the point.  Seems silly to me but to each their own as the old woman said as she killed the troll.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Inexperienced players rely on overlevelling content to beat it. Removing that option really impacts their game play.

 

Okay, that makes sense. Maybe a compromise is in order then? Maybe doing 3/4 of all optional content will allow you to reach the max level?

 

 

More to the point, the whole experience issue is generic to open world games. If Chapter 2 isn't scaled to character level and runs from 4 to 9 you'll always be able to either get frustrated or to trivialize things.

 

That's not really relevant as I'm speaking in broad strokes. If I had to do everything to hit the cap before Act III, then complaining about hitting the cap before Act III would have been pointless. Like I said, though, I still had over half of the endless paths to do, had at least four bounties left, and had all of Act III ahead when my full party hit the cap. Does this not seem like a bit of an imbalance to you?


"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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Inexperienced players in my opinion should be playing on easy.  As you get better you have the option to increase difficulty to normal or hard.  I am in favor of supporting and helping new comers.  We were all noobies at one time.

 

I did some modding of Oblivion and I  know how the leveling system worked.  Roughly = or- two levels for common enemies maybe a = four for bosses.  The there was a cap on NPCs of at most 25 sometimes lower.  Once you reached level 25 you could dance through the game unless you modded it.  Is that what is wanted for PoE?  I am no combat master and usually play on normal but Oblivion I had to push up to hard until I  was able to add a couple of mods that made the game more challenging, fun and interesting.

 

Edit: I am trying very hard to understand this.  There are those who feel leveling up is too easy.  I tend to agree with that.  I expected it to be harder after the first three or four levels.  There are those who think the game is too hard for new players.  If you have never played this type of game that is probably true.  There is a learning curve.  

 

There are in-game options if you need help, there are gameplay guides and I am sure experienced players on the forum would be willing to help anyone needing help. 

Edited by Nakia

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Huh? I'm not sure that you understood what I was getting at. I'm not a power gamer.

 

"Oh I'm definitely a "completionist," whether there's loot or XP to be had or not. I didn't leave a single stone unturned after reaching the cap in PoE, and the lack of additional XP didn't make it more boring for me at all."

 

Sorry, you're a bit above just being a completionist.

 

Oh, okay. But, I think power gamer is someone who squeezes every possible advantage out of the game such as optimized min-maxing, etc. I don't really explore everything so that I can get more powerful (if I did that, then I would have just stopped exploring after hitting the level cap).

 

 

Yeah, I understand the argument, and that it's syntactically consistent. What I'm saying is that a random player will not either play all the additional side-quests, or otherwise no optional side-quests at all. So while your argument is logical as it is presented, the presumption that only completionists will play side-quests is obviously not correct.

 

I know that not only completionists will do side quests. I was talking specifically about people that didn't do them, not saying that nobody did them except for completionists.

 

 

In other words, if you really, really have to rake the entire game for xp, and feel that the game is pointless when you hit the level-cap more than one fight before the last boss - then that's your personal problem.

 

 

I don't really try to rake the game for XP, but rather content. I definitely don't feel the game is pointless after you hit the cap... I just thought I saw a problem with the rate of progression and I wanted to propose a potential solution.

 

 

 Because there's no way to tweak for this without making the payoff too small for players who pick some side-quests once in a while. In addition, you eventually make the side-quests too difficult to complete for people who don't overlevel. And therefore remove the purpose of side-quests in the town-areas: "I'm not entirely comfortable with my questing party or the background lore yet, so I'll look a bit around, and try to figure it out before I travel to the next major quest".

 

Okay, I guess the side quests would be more difficult for people who find the game more challenging, especially if they started rewarding less XP. That's a valid criticism.

 

 

And blowing that part of the game up shouldn't be worth it to placate a specific concern like this. But luckily for you, Obsidian has a great track-record of doing exactly these kinds of tweaks for fans, so you may yet be fortunate - at the cost of everyone else (who paid the bill for the game, and don't scream their heads off about their entitlement on the internet all day like complete fools with too much time on their hands).

 

I don't get this at all. Are you saying that you paid the bill for the game and I did not? Are you saying that I'm screaming my head off about entitlement? Not really sure where you're getting that from.

 

 

I mean, try to imagine how you'd program an algorithm that does what you're asking for here. We're going to put in a scale for xp for side-quests that drops off around... 1/4th of the way? Because then we're going to assume that if you've completed the sidequests up to that point, you're likely going to end up doing everything. So at a specific amount of quests completed, we're flagging "completionist" in the character card, and dropping off the subsequent rewards - in expectation that the "needed" amount of xp for this player to get to max level is lower than for other characters. And so achieving supreme perfection for the level-cap timing towards the end of the game, no matter what else it might affect.

 

And you'd have to do that for no other reason than that these specific players /feel/ that hitting the level cap at a particular point is more significant than actually completing quests, getting the optimal gear, and so on. And you're also going to have to balance for the fact that these "completionists" will only ever have a party made up of the original character party, and will never switch out or make new characters along the way.

 

I don't see what would be so difficult about slowing down XP progression after a certain level or simply toning down the XP rewards in side quests (it seems the former would be less offensive to you). I certainly never wanted to suggest that Obsidian should tailor the game or XP progression to people who do all the content like me. I took the fact that I do more than most into consideration in everything I said.

 

 

Simple! It's done in a real hurry, with magic, and I can't possibly think of any other parts of the game that could do with that attention at all! Off the top of my head, really, couldn't name... 100 other specific examples. Not at all. So I say, screw the game for all other people - random casual players as well as the more experienced and less methodical gamers - than the super-completionists, to placate a very, very insistent claim someone makes on the internet.

 

Because what could possibly go wrong with just "doing what fans want"? Really, you would clearly have to be a genius, or a huge pessimist(!) of some sort to see any problems with implementing this suggestion.

 

That being said, though - I apologize for being so crass. But this kind of thing is what we've been seeing around here for almost a year now. Before Obsidian has someone actually collect this invaluable feedback "from fans", and have someone implement it in the game, believing that it will hardly affect anything at all. So the practical joke at my expense, in several different meanings of the term, is wearing a bit thin.

 

I never said anything about disregarding other peoples' playstyles, and I never suggested that my idea was perfect or that Obsidian would be foolish not to listen to me. I was just trying to suggest a potential solution to a potential problem.


"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

-Protagonist, Baldur's Gate

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Would some one please explain to me what a "completionist" is?  It does not  seem to be in the dictionary so I assume it is a word coined in Internet or game play usage.

Since no one for whatever reason answered your question yet, I'll try:

I believe "completionist" means player who explored every single area there is, killed every single enemy he was able to find, took and completed every single quest/task. Read every single book/piece of lore too, but that one is kinda irrelevant to current discussion. Here you go :)

 

If that is the meaning then I am a completionist.  I like to explore, I like doing the side quests, so what is wrong with that?  I also like having quests I can't do for some reason or quests that have different options.  Choices that matter in the game are important to me.  I don't want to join every faction, be able to do every single quest in the game the first playthrough.  So what am I?

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that at all. The problem is however that when not every gamer is like that, it becomes tricky, though not impossible for the dev's to make the game enjoyable for everyone.

Edited by Prime-Mover

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It is simply impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time.  This is why I  think being able to mod a game is important.    It means that players can choose what they want.  Talented modders have enhanced games for years now including the BG games.

 

I hope OE eventually makes modding tools available.  We already have a few knowledgeable people making enhancements.  Those may or may not be to my taste but I applaud those modders for what they are doing.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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^The thing is that you can always tweak the game so it will allow players to play the game the way they want to. Within the rules you establish. And avoid tweaking to lock out different ways to play.

 

But what we have with this game are a number of tweaks that narrow down the scope of the ruleset, one after the other.

 

Mods as well work within the rules set out by the game. Most popular Skyrim mods change resources in the game, adjust progress rates, or adjust variables, some scripts you can separate out, that sort of thing. And you don't in fact see many mods that simplify the ruleset, remove classes, and make the entire game more linear. And even if that was possible to do, that the source was exposed to that degree, that mod would perhaps not be very popular?

 

 I was just trying to suggest a potential solution to a potential problem.

 

Wasn't that hard, was it. Thank you. Just describe the situation you run into more carefully the next time, and how you imagine your personal experience, from your point of view, would be better. Everyone wins. Given that the Obsidian community team knew how to sit down the right way on a toilet, I mean.


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@ nipsen, I think you are over simplifying.  How do you reconcile those who like the current engagement system with those who do not like  it?  There is a thread saying that certain things should be removed from the game, things I like and would be upset if they were removed.  Given enough time and money the game could be improved and I am hoping the expansion will address some of these.  There is also the problem of overloading the game to the point that only people with higher end computers can play it comfortably.

 

PoE already has options for customizing your game.  You can decide how much hand holding you want.    

 

Mods do have restrictions but one I added that was popular did change the combat.  The TES games can also be tweaked through the config file.   There are quite a few mods that tweak the gameplay.  This why I like being able to mod a game, a single player game specifically, it gives the game player choices without affecting the game play of other players.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Sure. But take the engagement system as an example. Right now, it only exists on paper. You don't have to think about it, it doesn't really make a difference in combat, and even if you pick all the perks and max out whatever class stat controls the interrupt frequency, you're talking about the difference between two and four potential simultaneous strikes. Halfway into the game, and I haven't seen more than one instance where I got two interrupts on any character in the same "turn".

 

Would it have made much difference to keep it in the game now? Absolutely none. Would people who wanted to ignore the mechanic completely have been able to play the game in the way they are, if the system was implemented as it was intended initially? Definitely. It would have acted similarly to what is currently there, and in the same way as in BG2 after the d&d "interrupt" convention.

 

And if people had dealt with this in a clever way, they would have talked to the devs through whatever channel was there, and asked about the specifics of the mechanic - and would have been able to mod the stat that at the time controlled the engagement mechanic (perception) - put it to "99" for all characters, and had a d&d convention interrupt mechanic.

 

Instead, we've had someone run around with a hacksaw trying to trim the uneven edges, and ended up with removing significant parts of the ruleset - to placate people who, for whatever reason, despise the engagement mechanic. That is to say, the same concept that got all kinds of positive feedback when it was first presented. The idea of actually using fighters in the way you conceptually is supposed to do it in d&d, but really can't because of how cumbersome the mechanic is, seemed to be a good idea. Having fighters level up and become increasingly dangerous to trigger abilities around also seemed to be a brilliant idea, that would fit in all kinds of neat ways with how that class was supposed to be played. 

 

And yet - it's apparently evil and must be purged. Because reasons.

 

Even though, as said - you could have potentially modded this to specification with a simple tweak, for those very special people this would appeal to. 

 

Instead - everyone has to play the game now with the engagement mechanic tweaked to act identically to d&d ruleset convention, instead of just acting largely like it in practice.

 

I'm just making the point that 1. it wasn't necessary. 2. the tweaks have limited the game in a way that forces everyone to play the game in a specific way. And 3. it's now definitely not possible to mod the game back with a simple tweak.

 

In other words, the overall point is that you likely could have modded the game in a limited way and gotten that behaviour, given that people had allied themselves with the devs.. for example by not calling for the project designer's head on a plate, that sort of thing. And it's usually not doable to mod a game the other way around. Adding a completely new ruleset is not a "modding task". Changing specific small snippets of code that typically are exposed, but not documented, is.

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 nipsen, I was merely using the combat system of an example of how people are reacting.  Another example is the Stronghold which is optional.  You can ignore it if you wish.  It is handy for storing extra companions but you can do that without upgrading the stronghold.  I know because I have done just that.  People complain about things as if what they were complaining about broke the game.  Most of what I have seen is what I call nitpicking and can easily be ignored.  Don't like the enchanting system ignore it don't do it.  

 

If the devs try to please everyone they will end up pleasing no one. In fact you explanation of the combat system I think proves my point.

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Would some one please explain to me what a "completionist" is?  It does not  seem to be in the dictionary so I assume it is a word coined in Internet or game play usage.  

 

I'm guessing it's a portmanteau of completion and completist.

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Would some one please explain to me what a "completionist" is?  It does not  seem to be in the dictionary so I assume it is a word coined in Internet or game play usage.  

 

I'm guessing it's a portmanteau of completion and completist.

 

A completist is a collector who attempts to collect an example of every item in a particular field.  So it would seem to me the word is redundant as we all ready have a perfectly good word.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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 I heard someone from Bioware might be coming.

*Backhand slap*

Don't even joke about something like that!  *Grabs archangel's lapels and pulls him face to face*  I came here to escape them and their BSN!  I won't go back I tells ya, and I won't let them turn this into another BSN!  I'll blow us all up I will!  I swear it!

 

*Suddenly the ground starts to rumble, and off in the distance can be heard chanting.  You can make out some of it as "Tali! Tali! Tali!"  from the Talimancer contingent, but you can hear other chants too, equally blood curdling chants*

 

Oh god, it's too late, they heard you!  *Pulls out detonator* I had prayed this day would never come...

 

*Someone suddenly bursts in*

 

Bioware Fan: "Can I romance Durance????!!!!!"

 

*Flintlock Jazz pushes the button*

 

Narrator: "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."

 

 

 

 

Ugh. This is so inaccurate and offensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one from the BSN would want to romance Durance.

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Well I'm also like this. I hated a fact in Skyrim, for example, that I simply could join any faction with a single character witout restrictions. Restritions is what makes decisions matter but lore decisions towards immersion, not a hand holding you for every quest or not even being able to just kill anyone and accept consequences. Morrowind did it right.

 

 

You mean the game where you could at the same time be the leader of two opposing religions, the army, the mages guild, the thieves guild and god knows what else? Hell, if you are the leader of the temple some of the things in the main quest make absolutly no sense (the temple ordinators attacking  you while you are still the leader of their religion).

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A completist is a collector who attempts to collect an example of every item in a particular field.  So it would seem to me the word is redundant as we all ready have a perfectly good word.

 

Oh I know. But you were asking and I was giving an answer where the word completionist may come from. It's an assumption on my part of course. I have no problem people using the word completionist even if the word doesn't exist in an official dictionary. I know what they mean.

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 nipsen, I was merely using the combat system of an example of how people are reacting.  Another example is the Stronghold which is optional.  You can ignore it if you wish.  It is handy for storing extra companions but you can do that without upgrading the stronghold.  I know because I have done just that.  People complain about things as if what they were complaining about broke the game.  Most of what I have seen is what I call nitpicking and can easily be ignored.  Don't like the enchanting system ignore it don't do it.  

 

If the devs try to please everyone they will end up pleasing no one. In fact you explanation of the combat system I think proves my point.

...because the combat system is optional, extra content?

 

I guess it would be analogous if they had the stronghold in the game, you spent a lot of time with it, and built it really high, with moats and crocodiles and bits of knight-armor for a hedge. But someone hates the idea of the Stronghold, so Obsidian cuts it out of the game, after they've implemented it, so an insane guy on the internet won't be angry. You suggest the guy should simply not go to the Stronghold, but sadly, the idea of Stronghold is evil! He must go there, and it's got to go from the game or it's terrible! There is no argument to be had, and the paths to the stronghold in the game will be cut out. And in fact the devs delete it from their master branch permanently. But the devs accept this solution, because they know you, unlike the Stronghold hating guy, won't actually stalk them and kill them if they do something you don't like. They've got your money already, and you're too lazy to pester them all day, so let's just go with the crazy guy who spams multiple forums all day with the same message, while answering his own messages.

 

Actually, it's even worse - it's like they replaced the stronghold with a permanent backpack you have to carry around with you all the time. Except it doesn't function as a stronghold any longer. So it's worse than having an optional stronghold, it doesn't serve any of the stronghold features, and it's an eyesore and it's dead weight.

 

Anyway - in this case, with the engagement mechanic, it really was possible to please everyone. And then the ruleset was essentially destroyed, to narrow down the target audience as much as possible, down to the fans of the entire "99% chance for interrupt mod" folks.

 

And I can't mod that out of the game. It's not doable. Even if I got a little bit on the way there, it's not going to be possible for me to balance back the entire game, reverse the way the variables work (in practice I'd just be adding attacks, making the character more powerful), or randomly undo scripts that I don't have access to, while recompiling code on the low level for individual routines for code-snippets that may or may not be related. It's not technically possible to do it, even if you invested the kind of effort that would involve a team the size of Obsidian, 4 million dollars, and two years.

 

It'd be easier to simply start over. Because I don't sit on the toolchain. Someone does, but sadly - they're apparently not the kind of people you go to when you need something technical done.

 

So do you perhaps grasp a tiny little bit of my frustration with the idea that Sensuki and Matt will have their forced Might-build/no accuracy/perception is evil idiocy modded permanently into the game, when I can't mod it out again? (Or even more fantastically, that Sensuki likely would have been able to mod it in with extremely little effort and a little help from the devs? Hell, the devs could have implemented it with a switch in the menu!) Or understand both my technical and non-technical disappointment when Obsidian would actually commit to making permanent and limiting changes like this? It's so dumb to do it that it's just baffling that an experienced dev would do it. I mean, who in their right mind - without any development experience - would do something like this?

 

And the argument that was made - you're wrong there as well. The argument that was made was, from the very beginning, that making these changes were in order to increase the popularity of the game. It wasn't to make it popular with a specific audience - it was insisted, over and over again, that stupidly limiting the game so it would be less dynamic, and more like Diablo3, or whatever -- would make it more popular. There was no attempt to placate "both sides" here. The argument itself that was adopted was: if you limit the game, if you limit the design and make it simplistic and stupid --- then more people will love the game. If you disagree you're insane and should be dismissed, there is no 77k kickstarter backer audience for more thoughtful games out there: everyone wants WoW and D3, because those haven't been made before.

 

That was the argument, and as we can all see: destroying the game made it super-popular, and all the "negative feedback" on the internet from irate crazies suddenly became fawning admiration... right? Right? I mean, you can all read these on twitter right now: "I got Obsidian to ruin the game to my specification, and I love Obsidian for doing that! Exactly what I wanted! Thank you Josh Sawyer, bestest game-designer ever". See, like, 5 million of these every day. #thankyousawyer is trending, like five days a week.

 

Or maybe that's not actually happening, and what Obsidian really did was ruin the game so 5 guys on a forum on the internet who doesn't know how to program, who doesn't know how to play rpgs, could feel important about themselves for once in their life. But hey - brilliant way to ruin a company and spend 4 million dollars if you ask me. So mission accomplished.

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He ran away with the 1 million dollar he was supposed to put in voice acting and more feats.

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Actually my example of the Stronghold is not a good one.  It was a stretch goal and so OE is legally required to provide it.  I wouldn't stalk them or threaten to kill them but I could sue them if they took it out.

 

As for changing things in the game especially after it has been released all I can say to the devs is this:

 

Be careful about changing something simply because someone does not like it.  The chances are you will turn a happy game player into an irate one.

 

One publisher I will not name has annoyed me to the point I will not purchase a game they publish no matter how good my friends say it is.  Sure my purchase won't make a difference but if others get upset and stop buying maybe some day it will.

 

edit:  Every time a dev gives into a demand that only encourages the demanders to come back and demand more.  It is a no win situation.

Edited by Nakia

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Actually my example of the Stronghold is not a good one.  It was a stretch goal and so OE is legally required to provide it.  I wouldn't stalk them or threaten to kill them but I could sue them if they took it out.

 

As for changing things in the game especially after it has been released all I can say to the devs is this:

 

Be careful about changing something simply because someone does not like it.  The chances are you will turn a happy game player into an irate one.

 

One publisher I will not name has annoyed me to the point I will not purchase a game they publish no matter how good my friends say it is.  Sure my purchase won't make a difference but if others get upset and stop buying maybe some day it will.

 

edit:  Every time a dev gives into a demand that only encourages the demanders to come back and demand more.  It is a no win situation.

 

Devs removed something essential to the game, or this is just about that limerick? Wondering if I missed something important.

Edited by View619

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The topic is about Sawyer but like many threads here has wandered around a bit.  


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It was a stretch goal and so OE is legally required to provide it.

No they're not. Morally obligated, maybe, but that's debatable. One could argue that they're equally morally obligated to be honest when they feel they can't do it properly, and must cut it after all.

 

I wouldn't stalk them or threaten to kill them but I could sue them if they took it out.

 

I could sue you for not giving me a sandwich when I logged onto the forums today. I would lose. But I could. A Kickstarter pitch and stretch goals are not legally binding. Even under the strictest interpretations, you are promised some form of vaguely defined product at some point down the road. There's not a snowball's chance in hell to successfully sue for someone failing to fulfil a stretch goal. I think it was Larian that actually straight-up cut things out because they fessed up and said that, nope, we can't do it, sorry.

 

edit:  Every time a dev gives into a demand that only encourages the demanders to come back and demand more.  It is a no win situation.

This. ^ Never negotiate with terrorists. When it comes to the perpetually offended, they will always be offended. There is always another demand, another concession.


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Devs removed something essential to the game, or this is just about that limerick? Wondering if I missed something important.

 

Who cares about two lines in a box somewhere, good grief. They deployed a completely different ruleset very early on. The one Josh presented in the serial posts here and on the kickstarter page. Then someone, somehow, turned a couple of insane complaints about it on the internet into a reason to simplify the ruleset to the point where you don't have very much left of it. What we have now is something that looks and plays pretty much identically to the d&d conventions as they were (hastily) interpreted in BG2. Which of course fits with the idea that Obsidian responded when a set of core fans were threatening to go ballistic over how PoE differed too much from BG2 to be a "true heir"(not my expression) to the Infinity Engine games, as the Kickstarter Pitch apparently said.

 

The thing is that when you press the people who were coming up with fairly specific suggestions, that then made it into the game, they claim they never spoke with anyone at Obsidian - and put everything at the feet of Obsidian Q&A internal testing - and say they also didn't get very much of what they wanted. Then when you press anyone at Obsidian, they say they made all the changes for the fans (which makes sense - why else would they change something that seemed close to final?).

 

So either Obsidian has a Q&A team filled with smug, lying princesses to such a degree that it rivals even the community team at Sony (where they literally invent opinions and push changes to the devs that the devs then believe is real - not joking, or stretching anything here). Or else someone at Obsidian happened to agree a lot with some of the suggestions, maybe even thought they were obligated to make them, and pushed these changes to the design table very early on after the beta launched in September, in the belief that they were doing something absolutely necessary for the game. Or else some sort of combination.

 

I mean, I won't quote any messages I got from Obsidian folks, but it occurs to me that there was a pretty serious discussion at Obsidian about this very quickly after the beta launched. And that the changes were made very consciously by the design folks, at least up to a point. And that not everyone were entirely happy about how this developed.

 

In either case, the flat character creation system in the game now more or less only cosmetically resembles what Josh presented. (While a lot of the details, the horde of feats you're given early on, etc., seems to have been just thrown in there without any planning). And that's a shame, to put it mildly. Because that first ruleset was extremely well made. Basically, the IE games were hamstrung in many ways by the Wizards' license, over the d&d ruleset. Because that ruleset doesn't really fit well with a PC game, even though it's all right for a pnp game. So perhaps a talented developer, without limitations like that, would be able to figure out a better way to do it? Incorporating the kind of game-master expertise they have, and translating that successfully to a video-game? And Obsidian, or Josh Sawyer, I guess, did it.

 

But practically no one got to see that system before it was thrown out.


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@nipsen

The engagement system?

 

How, specifically, is it different? (how was it, how is it now - and how is it a problem?) 

 

(And, no, I'm not really interested in hearing more about your personal beefs and grudges with whoever and whatever. Water, meet bridge..)


This statement is false.

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Yea, I feel as if I'm walking into the middle of a conversation too.

 

In general, expansions don't change rule sets - although new versions can.  So, in practice, people should focus on making existing systems more enjoyable (e.g encounter design and AI, perhaps tweaks) rather than deep rules designs.  Tweaks to engagement are certainly possible.

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@nipsen

The engagement system?

 

How, specifically, is it different? (how was it, how is it now - and how is it a problem?) 

 

(And, no, I'm not really interested in hearing more about your personal beefs and grudges with whoever and whatever. Water, meet bridge..)

Sure. But they're still bastards, just so we're clear on that.

 

The idea Josh.. explained on a youtube vid(? ..maybe was one of the backer updates), was to have a fight where you could place your spellcaster in the rear, the fighters in front, near a choke-point for example, and have the mobs actually need to fight the fighters to avoid serious extra risk.

 

In d&d or most pnp games, this happens and works reasonably well because of the interrupt mechanic. Since if you decide to move past the fighter, you first have to decide to take a gamble (even though the risk isn't really that huge - you have to decide on your own to take that risk, so that alone effectively stops you from disengaging an enemy and moving towards the back of the ranks). And any GM will add things like.. "oh, well, now that your back is turned against the enemy, he's getting a critical on every hit", etc. You don't want to have either players or mobs simply run past the fighters and maul the spellcasters through a formation without penalty.

 

In a video-game, you have an AI that immediately figures out how fake this basic system is - shoot a magic missile at a beetle, and it streams past the fighter and bites your wizard to death, almost invariably. Add behavior that it's supposed to not take risks at all when the health is lower than 50%, for example - and it still will go for the wizard's throat, because one interrupt is so weak. And the only time the AI won't kill the wizard is when you engage the AI with the fighter first, and don't have a routine that insists the beetle should switch targets to what it determines is the biggest threat. Or, you just let it attack the last and nearest attacker since the last few seconds. "Kiting" - it's a thing.

 

So in a real-time context, and in reality also in pnp d&d rules, there's really very little risk involved by running past a formation and killing the archers or the wizards first.

 

And the engagement system was an attempt to get around that. Let the fighters be able to "engage" several nearby enemies, and potentially gain bonuses against them, while creating penalties for the engaged enemies when they move away far enough to disengage. Or, instead of just adding one jab each turn to a nearby enemy that pass by, you might end up with a fighter that strikes a virtually 100% certain critical and injuring attack against an enemy that turn their back on them, or ignore them in combat.

 

So in the first draft, there were variables for an engagement limit, radius (I think), the perks that increase the engagement limit number, and an ability score (perception) that affected the probability of a fighter throwing out an interrupt against the engaged enemies.

 

Basically, if you had a fighter with high perception, you could: 1. use a modal ability to increase defense and the engagement limit at the cost of accuracy, and potentially slice and interrupt more ability triggers and spells for nearby enemies. Or 2. increase attack and expose yourself, but focus on fewer enemies. Either would be one click for the ability, and another click for placement - and that was all you needed from the fighter for the rest of the battle, unless something crazy happened.

 

And if you ignored perception as a variable, you were really creating a specialist offensive striker, or a purely defensive character that could take a beating while slowly attacking one target. And you would also lose the ability to interrupt spells, if your attack rate was low enough to not hit the enemy wizard before the spell was cast. Since the interrupts would also have different rules for defense, you might lose bonuses towards knocking out the spell or ability. And touch-spells that normally would only deal out a few attacks before expiring would torch the entire place if you had high perception and fought against ability-triggering classes (rogues, casters, creatures with frequent abilities, etc).

 

So potentially, and I created a few characters like that, you could have a fairly weak attacker (the blind priest with a nasty gnarly stick, for example), but one that would have supernatural "perception", and actually be able to strike the enemy at every single ability trigger, at the worst possible time for the enemy. And since the interrupts would go against bow reloads, all ability triggers, all spells, it was suddenly very risky to do anything at all around this priest. He would still be vulnerable without support against direct damage, and not very strong in a duel - but he would practically always disrupt spells and abilities. And buffed, that character would be all kinds of pain for the enemy - damage resistance and temporary buff to attack, and Eothas would be back in Dyrwood, and so on.

 

In reverse, there were a few mob encounters in the beta that had touch-attacks with poison, or very hard-hitting normal attacks (with low hit-rate). And here comes the Might/Con maxed party (with no res or perception), and every single spell or ability this group triggers is interrupted if there's an attacker nearby - while this doesn't work the other way around. While the beetles mill around the party at will, and maul the wizard, and so on. Instant party-wipe. People cried a lot about that.

 

In the game now, perception doesn't exist in the same way (it's replaced by a different stat altogether), and the engagement limit, the rate for interrupts, etc., is placed in the class variables. So they can't be buffed indirectly - they can't be affected in a very big way at all. So in practice, you just have a semi-reliable way to cause interrupts against enemies, that is fairly high, but not 100%. Or, you have an interrupt chance against the nearby enemies that are actually attacking you, but you can't rely on the modal ability of the fighter to always interrupt the spell-caster, etc. It's still an improvement over just having one interrupt against the nearest spell - interrupts are thrown against abilities and spells, as well as breaking engagement, so more of those are thrown, but they're not as consistent. Against enemies, this punishes the AI a little bit if they move around too much or ignore the frontline, but of course won't stop them at all.

 

Basically, the changes to the AI is likely what makes the fights more predictable and easier.

 

So the engagement system something a few people still dislike a great deal - because it breaks their "cheat the interrupt and push through the frontline" style of play that works so well in the IE games. And the interrupt attacks can't be relied on to interrupt spellcasters, even if they're "engaged" in a fight with the strongest fighter.

 

While most people likely won't notice it's there - you just get a few more attacks once in a while, and the fighter seems pretty strong.

 

So to sum up - on the first draft, it opened up for deeply strategic play with very few clicks. If you could place a fighter in range of the spellcaster, you could still fight with the stronger threat, but disable the wizard. Now, it's a few extra attacks that typically miss when you really need them to hit, for all characters, and specially the non-fighter types. Making the current version of the system pretty pointless in practice if you compare it to for example BG2. While it's doing nothing like what was intended.

 

Of course, this is related to the entire character ability discussion. And the way every character in the game now is essentially a normalized standard version of it's class, with very small variations even when you max out the abilities.

 

Like explained, you could also have modded perception to 100, created a flat engagement limit of 2 (or increased it to infinity and removed ability trigger interrputs), and had virtually the identical behaviour compared to the IE games. Of course, nothing like that happened, and we ended up with an either/or alternative that isn't really worth much.

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