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TMZuk

Crafting, companions and why I am slightly disappointed.

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So, the game sort of fizzled out for me, sometime during act 2.

 

Oh, I am certain I'll pick it up again, but right now, I am on a break.

 

There's a number of details in the game, that are disappointing. Most of them can be overlooked or ignored, e.g. the horrible load-times, the boring run-your-own-castle simulation and the fact that you can't buff up before a fight.

 

But, there are two things that are really preventing me from enjoying the game the way I enjoyed and still enjoy BG and BG2. And that is crafting and companions.

 

So why don't I like crafting and why not just ignore it? Well. That was my plan. Just ignore it. I've never liked crafting. The very idea of a warrior or a paladin or what have we, who is also a miner/herbalist/smelter/blacksmith/weapon-smith, have always irritated me no end, and struck me as silly and contrived. However, the way it's implemented in PoE makes it very hard to ignore.

 

Do any of you remember the ~first~ magical weapon you found in BG? Mine was Silke's +1 quarterstaff. I spend an eternity - no pun intended - figuring out whether to have my own character use it, or give it to Jaheira. In PoE, you put some stuff on a sword, and there you go. So exciting. It makes the treasure you find boring and meaningless. Worse, it makes money equally pointless.

 

Back to BG. Do any of you remember the treasure at the bottom of the Naskel Mines? The first really large treasure with several items and lots of money. Where I am now in PoE's Act 2, my character have got an absurd amount of money, enchanted weapons all around  and nothing to spend the accumulated wealth on. Crafting! How I hate it!

 

And on to companions. I mentioned Jaheira from BG. Bossy, irritating, meddling and utterly unforgettable. Her husband Khalid, the stuttering fighter. Viconia the evil drow. Imoen. Minsc. Dynaheir. Edwin. Xan the depressed mage. Xzar. Shar Teel. Well, Obsidian, I am sorry, but IMO you have created a dull, un-engaging and forgettable lot in comparison.

 

PoE is not a bad game. Better than most of the travesties that goes under the name RPG today. But, it doesn't hold a candle to BG or BG2 either. And, IMO, crafting and boring companions must carry a lot of the blame.

Edited by TMZuk
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You get just as filthy rich in BG as in POE. I'd hoped it'd do better, but alas, it remains a stupid flaw in almost every RPG ever.

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Do any of you remember the ~first~ magical weapon you found in BG? Mine was Silke's +1 quarterstaff. I spend an eternity - no pun intended - figuring out whether to have my own character use it, or give it to Jaheira. In PoE, you put some stuff on a sword, and there you go. 

That's because you weren't very familiar with mechanics. Now things like THAC0 are a no-brainer for you and now you'd spent on that staff less than a minute. Our previous experience leaves an imprint on  our future; I doubt that there'll ever be better BG than BG(2). 

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You get just as filthy rich in BG as in POE. I'd hoped it'd do better, but alas, it remains a stupid flaw in almost every RPG ever.

I don't disagree with that. but in BG and BG2 there was cool stuff to buy. And you didn't get rich that quick. Just getting money together to get some suits of plate for your fighters took time and effort.

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Do any of you remember the ~first~ magical weapon you found in BG? Mine was Silke's +1 quarterstaff. I spend an eternity - no pun intended - figuring out whether to have my own character use it, or give it to Jaheira. In PoE, you put some stuff on a sword, and there you go. 

That's because you weren't very familiar with mechanics. Now things like THAC0 are a no-brainer for you and now you'd spent on that staff less than a minute. Our previous experience leaves an imprint on  our future; I doubt that there'll ever be better BG than BG(2). 

 

I was very familiar with the mechanics. I've played a lot of Ad&D. It was the fact that an enchanted weapon was a rarity and hard to come by, that made it interesting.

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Here are my personal thoughts on this topic.

Companions first.  I enjoy the companions in PoE and their quests.    They aren't as good as the ones in BG II but that was a sequel.  Practice makes better.  So hopefully they will improve in the future.

 

Crafting and enchanting.  I love crafting and enchanting in games.  In PoE you need someone with the mechanic skill.  You only get six points to put to skills when you level up so you need to use them wisely.  Crafting and enchanting can be done any where if you have the mechanic skill, the ingredients and the cps.  For enchanting it is best to start with an item that already has an upgrade or enchantment on it.

 

Could crafting and enchanting in PoE be improved?  Definitely, it is over simplified and boring.

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So why don't I like crafting and why not just ignore it? Well. That was my plan. Just ignore it. I've never liked crafting. The very idea of a warrior or a paladin or what have we, who is also a miner/herbalist/smelter/blacksmith/weapon-smith, have always irritated me no end, and struck me as silly and contrived. However, the way it's implemented in PoE makes it very hard to ignore.

 

Do any of you remember the ~first~ magical weapon you found in BG? Mine was Silke's +1 quarterstaff. I spend an eternity - no pun intended - figuring out whether to have my own character use it, or give it to Jaheira. In PoE, you put some stuff on a sword, and there you go. So exciting. It makes the treasure you find boring and meaningless. Worse, it makes money equally pointless.

 

I agree with TMZuk that crafting is too easy and makes the treasure you find boring. How to fix it?

 

First, I would look at having the PCs discover; via a lore or crafting skill check, tome, or trading knowledge with a wizard, how to perform a specific enchantment. Enchantments do not appear in the enchantment list until they are unlocked. This would make enchantments more valued

  • Example: You must find a tome about the Spirit Slaying enchantment to unlock this enchantment and have it appear in the list of Slaying enchantments.
  • Example: Burn Proofed requires Lore 8 stat OR the discovery of a Recipe Tome to be unlocked.

Second, I would look at adding a new skill: Crafting. Enchanting armor or weapons requires a specified Crafting skill level.

 

You can make a PC highly skilled in crafting, but this would come at the cost of forgoing other skill stats for this character. For players that forsake crafting, discovering magical weapons or raising the cash to purchase them would become more important.

 

Which is more important - Athletics, Crafting, Lore, Mechanics, Stealth or Survival?

 

Skill: Crafting allows characters of sufficient skill to enchant armor and weapons. Higher levels of crafting allow for more powerful enchantments, if they have been unlocked.

Skill: Mechanics allows characters to open locks, find & disable traps, place traps, activate and disable machines

Edited by EdwinP
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You get just as filthy rich in BG as in POE. I'd hoped it'd do better, but alas, it remains a stupid flaw in almost every RPG ever.

I don't disagree with that. but in BG and BG2 there was cool stuff to buy. And you didn't get rich that quick. Just getting money together to get some suits of plate for your fighters took time and effort.

 

 

I mean, I agree with you that itemisation should be better. Encounter design & itemisation are the two things where POE really dropped the ball. I've played BG at least once a year since release, though, and I know that (1) after the first few levels, where you got to scramble to buy what you want (just like in POE), you're swimming in money; (2) Pre-TOTSC BG actually didn't have a lot of exciting unique items at all. Varscona was a big deal, for instance, but that's about the only longsword, and there were 1 or zero uniques for some item types. 

 

Where BG did better, and got better as the series went on, was making uniques more interesting than standard magical weapons, something diluted by the way POE's crafting interfaces with itemisation as a whole. There's nothing inherently wrong with the crafting and it certainly lets you fine-tune your characters, but far too much of the crafting overlaps with the items. 

 

There are still wonderful non-craftable properties and items; e.g. Sura's Plate (Retaliation) is a gamechanger, as is Gaun's Flail (life leech). And more will come in the expansion pack. But I do think that they should have disallowed Fine/Exception/Superb enchants for crafting, or at least make them much rarer - Vithrack's Brain should be much harder to acquire. This would make many of the existing items stand out. 

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I can't say anything on BG2, as I never played it, but PoE is not worse than BG (played the main campaign w/i the last two years). The characters had extreme traits sure, but most felt like something stripped from a stereotype/regurgitated old trope, and the characterization was simple and shallow.  There was hardly anything to them.  Even when it comes to content, which I feel PoE could have had more of in companions and other things, it's a ton more than BG.

 

I think this is forgivable, as Bioware's first game, and the world was very cool and felt weirdly grounded, but the characters were bland and barely there beyond their mechanics.  What it had was amazing for it's time, but that was up to 20 years ago.  I'm easy to please when it comes to NPC's I give a **** about, and I didn't care about those guys.

 

 

I liked that this game gave roughly even attention to all the companions.  No one was completely ignored, with one really fleshed out guy - which unfortunately happened in New Vegas.  I liked each companion, their conflicts were fun looking into and dealing with, I liked their unique points of view, the way they were affected by the world and vice versa.  It was really good and interesting writing.  It had Obsidian's excellent level of detail about the world and the characters in them, so that it didn't feel like they lived in a vacuum.

I think all pull from known tropes, but they felt like their own thing. They felt more complicated that a cut-out. They were awesomely integrated into conversation, scripted events, etc.  I think that was the most consistent flow of casual, in the background dialog I've seen.  Especially nice touch was the few times when a companion would react to what another said while the protagonist spoke to a stranger or whatnot.  It'd be cool if they could expand that to the stranger reacting to the companion(s).

 

.

 

I will say that, at times, it would feel  more impersonal than expected - even with personal matters.  I don't know if the writing was too dry, or why else that vibe might come off.  I wouldn't want to push the writer's to do cheesy emotional scenes to "fix" that, though.  That makes a different sort of alienation.

The other problem was, as said, not enough content.  I feel like some characters would have benefited from more content unrelated to their issues in direct conversation, or more build-up.  Durance felt really well-paced, but Eder and Aloth's quests felt like they were supposed to have more text/writing discussing or delving into it (though I liked Aloth's general character arc, including pace).

 

Grieving Mother felt like it happened near all at once, despite the fact that she's extremely evasive, deceptive, and mistrusting.  There wasn't much or any convo with her beyond the things she wouldn't discuss.  Pallegina felt like she could've had more there, somehow.  Kana was pretty good, I think.  Hiravias felt like he should've had more general content and a bit more on his quest - but the quest was enjoyable.

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I'm sorry but I'll have to disagree with you (OP).

 

 

Enchanted items still are uncommon and exciting to find. I felt the vibe when I got 'Drake's Bell' for instance. And crafting ? Whoah, I can make my fav blade even better !

 

As for wealth, you can get insanely rich in BG. Only problem you have to store items on containers (you don't own) and waste hours of play-time travel back and forth stores. I remember every time I get 70+ thousand gold and nowhere to spend them, I stop collecting anything enemies drop or loot places.

 

PoE companions, why they *are* memorable: Sagani the commited dwarf and huntress extraordinaire, Eder the wise-cracker, secretly devoted to the fallen deity, Aloth of split identities, Hiravias the blunt, Grieving Mother, shrouded in mystery, Durance and his opinions of his goddess.

 

 

I lov BG, but I (now) realise many aspects of the game are faulty, yet I've come to accept them and make them part of the experience. But in the same time, I don't hold to the past and accept PoE for what it is- that is, not BG copy-cat, but (loosely) based on my fav game.

Edited by constantine
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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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I like BGs companions more, but I guess it is a matter of personal taste.

 

I do agree with OP on items, enchanting and gold. Every new game does this. And none can repeat the sheer joy of having one magical weapon, with a story, or even first plate mail, like in BG.

 

Instead, you have 20000 gold by the time you reach Loading Bay, pretty much everything you find is bland and all of your stuff is MAGICKS, and you can make better or similar weapons to those you find. So, exploring and trading becomes pointless. You gather everything without looking, you dump 150 items to a random trader, you spend your meaningless money on another meaningless feature that is stronghold. And still, by the end of the game you are able to buy half of Valian republics.

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So, the game sort of fizzled out for me, sometime during act 2.

 

Oh, I am certain I'll pick it up again, but right now, I am on a break.

 

There's a number of details in the game, that are disappointing. Most of them can be overlooked or ignored, e.g. the horrible load-times, the boring run-your-own-castle simulation and the fact that you can't buff up before a fight.

 

But, there are two things that are really preventing me from enjoying the game the way I enjoyed and still enjoy BG and BG2. And that is crafting and companions.

 

So why don't I like crafting and why not just ignore it? Well. That was my plan. Just ignore it. I've never liked crafting. The very idea of a warrior or a paladin or what have we, who is also a miner/herbalist/smelter/blacksmith/weapon-smith, have always irritated me no end, and struck me as silly and contrived. However, the way it's implemented in PoE makes it very hard to ignore.

 

Do any of you remember the ~first~ magical weapon you found in BG? Mine was Silke's +1 quarterstaff. I spend an eternity - no pun intended - figuring out whether to have my own character use it, or give it to Jaheira. In PoE, you put some stuff on a sword, and there you go. So exciting. It makes the treasure you find boring and meaningless. Worse, it makes money equally pointless.

 

Back to BG. Do any of you remember the treasure at the bottom of the Naskel Mines? The first really large treasure with several items and lots of money. Where I am now in PoE's Act 2, my character have got an absurd amount of money, enchanted weapons all around  and nothing to spend the accumulated wealth on. Crafting! How I hate it!

 

And on to companions. I mentioned Jaheira from BG. Bossy, irritating, meddling and utterly unforgettable. Her husband Khalid, the stuttering fighter. Viconia the evil drow. Imoen. Minsc. Dynaheir. Edwin. Xan the depressed mage. Xzar. Shar Teel. Well, Obsidian, I am sorry, but IMO you have created a dull, un-engaging and forgettable lot in comparison.

 

PoE is not a bad game. Better than most of the travesties that goes under the name RPG today. But, it doesn't hold a candle to BG or BG2 either. And, IMO, crafting and boring companions must carry a lot of the blame.

Load times haven't been an issue for me since the last patch. Castle sim is woefully undercooked. Lack of prebuffing is a design choice, which makes sense for the game. Tbh, Baldur 1's Gate's magical weapons were almost invariably just matters of flat bonuses rather than interesting choices. Crafting in PoE is expensive and actually a pretty good money sink. BG didn't really have much for you to spend your money on (Taerom's stuff, High Hedge stuff, loads of stupidly overpowered wands), even if it was better at giving you a notion of scarcity at the very beginning.

 

I stay tight-belted in PoE longer than I would in BG 1, probably because I'm constantly crafting, making scrolls and potions, dumping money on a few stronghold upgrades, buying up Figurines, food and decent magic items. Admittedly that's going to fall apart whatever you do by act 3 if you're fighting a lot of people with expensive armour and guns but that's fine by me.

 

While companions fall down to a matter of taste, I kind of think a lot of the appeal of BG1's companions is that they were drawn so broad and didn't have a lot to do. PoE's aren't really as strong as PS:T's companions, which are probably the best in any game ever, but I think they're a good bunch.

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I like BGs companions more, but I guess it is a matter of personal taste.

 

I do agree with OP on items, enchanting and gold. Every new game does this. And none can repeat the sheer joy of having one magical weapon, with a story, or even first plate mail, like in BG.

 

Instead, you have 20000 gold by the time you reach Loading Bay, pretty much everything you find is bland and all of your stuff is MAGICKS, and you can make better or similar weapons to those you find. So, exploring and trading becomes pointless. You gather everything without looking, you dump 150 items to a random trader, you spend your meaningless money on another meaningless feature that is stronghold. And still, by the end of the game you are able to buy half of Valian republics.

QFT.

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I actually prefer PoE's companions over BG's, even BG2's, although I'd certainly welcome more banter (who wouldn't?). I'll take an Edér or Durance over a Minsc or Jaheira any day.

 

I will agree that I likely won't remember any of the PoE loot, whereas with BG2 I can just keep naming them (Celestial Fury still stands as my favorite RPG weapon ever). I don't feel like enchanting is the problem however. On the contrary, being able to upgrade weapons to Fine/Exceptional/Superb allows you to prevent your favorite weapons from becoming underpowered. I liked much of the non-enchantable properties, but felt that none of the unique items had any combination of those that made them memorable (as with the aforementioned Celestial Fury, whose combination of lightning damage and stun just screamed coolness).

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I like BGs companions more, but I guess it is a matter of personal taste.

 

I do agree with OP on items, enchanting and gold. Every new game does this. And none can repeat the sheer joy of having one magical weapon, with a story, or even first plate mail, like in BG.

 

Instead, you have 20000 gold by the time you reach Loading Bay, pretty much everything you find is bland and all of your stuff is MAGICKS, and you can make better or similar weapons to those you find. So, exploring and trading becomes pointless. You gather everything without looking, you dump 150 items to a random trader, you spend your meaningless money on another meaningless feature that is stronghold. And still, by the end of the game you are able to buy half of Valian republics.

 

Looting has become awful in almost every modern cRPG lately. Like we need a "sugar boost" every 30 seconds to enjoy a game.

 

So many threads about "balancing" in any board you care to look at. But the problem is simple IMO, too much loot/crafting and uber gear leave games impossible to balance, and why work your tactics when really you just need better gear to steamroll a game ?

 

Crafting / enchanting should be skills in PoE. Consider encumbrance and players will tire quickly carrying around Xort spears. But my hopes are pretty low, modern players like their sugar boost too much !

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Yeah, there are reasonable arguments in favor of WYSIWYG loot and hand-waving inventory management with the Stash, but, in combination, they make the game economy even more broken than usual. 

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I like Tumbleweed's suggestion that 1) crafting / enchanting should be a separate skill and 2) the party should be affect by encumbrance.

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Looting has become awful in almost every modern cRPG lately. Like we need a "sugar boost" every 30 seconds to enjoy a game.

 

 

 

So many threads about "balancing" in any board you care to look at. But the problem is simple IMO, too much loot/crafting and uber gear leave games impossible to balance, and why work your tactics when really you just need better gear to steamroll a game ?

 

Crafting / enchanting should be skills in PoE. Consider encumbrance and players will tire quickly carrying around Xort spears. But my hopes are pretty low, modern players like their sugar boost too much !

 

 

The amount of loot you get in PoE only works because of the party stash - and I can't decide whether to love or hate that thing. On one hand, it breaks immersion because, well, things don't just travel along with you magically, not even in a fantasy world; on the other hand, you might also say that it helps immersion, because in a real world, you wouldn't just let valuable stuff lying on the ground, you'd go talk to a merchant or something to pick the stuff up for a cut.

 

I guess what I'm wishing for are some mechanics that would make looting an actual gameplay element.

Edited by JPNotADragon

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