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The weak points: crafting, stronghold, stealth

crafting stealth stronghold criticism

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6 replies to this topic

#1
PrimeJunta

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First off, just to make it clear: I love P:E. It's a fantastic game. It's the cRPG I've had the most fun with since the Golden Age, no question, and stands proudly among the games that inspired it. 10/10 GOTY and all that commotion.

There are three mechanical systems in it however that I thought were weak enough to detract from the experience, and I hope Obsidian addresses these in the expansion and sequels: crafting, the stronghold, and stealth.

Stealth needs a complete overhaul in my opinion. It is way overpowered. Being able to sneak with even 0 points in it means you always get the drop on your enemies. With detection circles rather than sight cones there's no real gameplay involved in it, beyond switching it on and off, and with the possibility of double-speed, there's no disincentive to exploring maps stealthed.

I believe it would be a lot more fun if:

  1. It is individual, not party.
  2. Characters with 0 ranks in stealth cannot sneak. (Or, rather, they can try, but there's no advantage to it.)
  3. Higher ranks do not change the detection radius, but only the time at which detection trips.
  4. Detection is based on a cone + circle rather than a circle. Different types of enemies could have different size cones and circles; oozes for exmaple could have circles only.
  5. Rogues get a per-encounter special ability that lets them re-stealth in combat, to replace Shadowing Beyond.
  6. Casters get Invisibility spells with the same effect.

My problem with the crafting mechanics is that it's too easy. It takes much of the interest out of itemization, and it feels wrong to be able to apply enchantments while dungeon-delving. I've just started Witcher 3, and it has a much more interesting crafting system, and it's more interesting because it's more restrictive.

I believe the following changes would make crafting more enjoyable:

  1. Require a recipe and an NPC specialist to craft. These specialists could be stronghold hirelings also.
  2. Remove the "Fine/Exceptional/Superb" property from "enchantments." Instead, make it a base property of the item, and make it determine the number of enchantment slots the item has. However, also make it possible to craft fine/exceptional/superb items from scratch.
  3. Have different NPC specialists have different skill levels (maybe only one legendary swordsmith can craft Superb swords?) know different crafting recipes, and also let us discover recipes as we adventure.

As to the stronghold... as it currently stands, it just feels tacked-on and superficial. Sending Kana on a Major Adventure to get 10% XP and a Medium Magic Item just feels dumb. A bit of writing would've gone a long way to fix that -- a descriptive title and a short paragraph. There aren't an unlimited number of these adventures available anyway as the Turn clock is based on quests which are a finite resource. The same applies to most everything else in it: the mechanics themselves are serviceable-enough, but there's just no flesh around those bones. Ideally, all those stronghold events -- the Major Adventures and visiting dignitaries -- need to be grounded in the main narrative. So:

  1. Flesh out stronghold events with better descriptions. No more Minor Adventures!
  2. Ground them in the narrative.
  3. Stage events relevant to the narrative in the stronghold maps. As it is, there really was no motivation to visit at all; even the Brighthollow bonuses were anaemic compared to inn bonuses.

I realize that this -- more so than the others even -- is very much a resource issue. However, as it is, the game would IMO have been better off without the stronghold altogether.


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#2
Poddmeister

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First off, just to make it clear: I love P:E. It's a fantastic game. It's the cRPG I've had the most fun with since the Golden Age, no question, and stands proudly among the games that inspired it. 10/10 GOTY and all that commotion.

There are three mechanical systems in it however that I thought were weak enough to detract from the experience, and I hope Obsidian addresses these in the expansion and sequels: crafting, the stronghold, and stealth.

Stealth needs a complete overhaul in my opinion. It is way overpowered. Being able to sneak with even 0 points in it means you always get the drop on your enemies. With detection circles rather than sight cones there's no real gameplay involved in it, beyond switching it on and off, and with the possibility of double-speed, there's no disincentive to exploring maps stealthed.

I believe it would be a lot more fun if:

  1. It is individual, not party.
  2. Characters with 0 ranks in stealth cannot sneak. (Or, rather, they can try, but there's no advantage to it.)
  3. Higher ranks do not change the detection radius, but only the time at which detection trips.
  4. Detection is based on a cone + circle rather than a circle. Different types of enemies could have different size cones and circles; oozes for exmaple could have circles only.
  5. Rogues get a per-encounter special ability that lets them re-stealth in combat, to replace Shadowing Beyond.
  6. Casters get Invisibility spells with the same effect.

My problem with the crafting mechanics is that it's too easy. It takes much of the interest out of itemization, and it feels wrong to be able to apply enchantments while dungeon-delving. I've just started Witcher 3, and it has a much more interesting crafting system, and it's more interesting because it's more restrictive.

I believe the following changes would make crafting more enjoyable:

  1. Require a recipe and an NPC specialist to craft. These specialists could be stronghold hirelings also.
  2. Remove the "Fine/Exceptional/Superb" property from "enchantments." Instead, make it a base property of the item, and make it determine the number of enchantment slots the item has. However, also make it possible to craft fine/exceptional/superb items from scratch.
  3. Have different NPC specialists have different skill levels (maybe only one legendary swordsmith can craft Superb swords?) know different crafting recipes, and also let us discover recipes as we adventure.

As to the stronghold... as it currently stands, it just feels tacked-on and superficial. Sending Kana on a Major Adventure to get 10% XP and a Medium Magic Item just feels dumb. A bit of writing would've gone a long way to fix that -- a descriptive title and a short paragraph. There aren't an unlimited number of these adventures available anyway as the Turn clock is based on quests which are a finite resource. The same applies to most everything else in it: the mechanics themselves are serviceable-enough, but there's just no flesh around those bones. Ideally, all those stronghold events -- the Major Adventures and visiting dignitaries -- need to be grounded in the main narrative. So:

  1. Flesh out stronghold events with better descriptions. No more Minor Adventures!
  2. Ground them in the narrative.
  3. Stage events relevant to the narrative in the stronghold maps. As it is, there really was no motivation to visit at all; even the Brighthollow bonuses were anaemic compared to inn bonuses.

I realize that this -- more so than the others even -- is very much a resource issue. However, as it is, the game would IMO have been better off without the stronghold altogether.

I really think that the OP sums up most of my thoughts regarding the game:

 

Wonderful game with a few features that could have been so much better!



#3
LuccA

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Great suggestions! Specially for the stealth system and the stronghold. 

 

The cone + circle detection area is to differentiate sneaking from behind, right? It's a simple measure and it would open more gameplay options to approaching encounters.

 

As for the crafting specialist and recipe, I think that's borrowing too much from The Witcher. The devs already pointed that the unrestricted system is to make crafting more usable and convenient. 

I agree that there should be some kind of restriction though, maybe linked with survival and lore skills (is there any?)


Edited by LuccA, 31 May 2015 - 05:59 AM.


#4
redneckdevil

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Excellent read, I agree with pretty much all ur ideas especially the adventure ones. I think this was the only area that da:I did better with telling u what the adventure is and what happened and having didn't options due to who u send. IMHO the implementing of these ideas would greatly improve this already fantastic game. The adventure paths I don't really seeing all that difficult to implement due to just changing and adding text to the already dialogue we already get.

Edited by redneckdevil, 31 May 2015 - 06:25 AM.


#5
EdwinP

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I agree that crafting is too easy. Here are a few suggestions to improve this:

-1. Make crafting a separate skill. You can also hire NPCS to craft items for you. (Athletics, Crafting, Lore, Mechanics, Stealth, Survival)
-2. Enchantments have a crafting skill level requirement. Now it's level based, crafting skill level would be more applicable.
-3. Allow higher lore levels to discover / reveal /unlock new enchantments. I.e. Spirit slaying enchantment requires at least Lore level 5.
-4. Allow players to discover new enchantments/recipes in books or unlock them by learning new spells.
-5. Add side quests that unlock new enchantments/recipes
-6. Consider new craft-related talents.

-7. As the OP suggested for stealth, characters with zero (0) skill in crafting cannot enchant items.

Edited by EdwinP, 31 May 2015 - 01:29 PM.


#6
Krajzen

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Some nice suggestions around here.

 

About stealth...

 

Uhm how to ask about that... Am I stupid or are traps useless? My Aloth is my team's mechanic and he has tons of traps from disarming them so I try to use them frequently and the results are miserable :D I completely don't understant why only one trap is allowed at once. Individually they suck so much I can hardly see breaking balance with them. It should be my decision to 'waste' few traps at once, next to each other.

 

 

As for stronghold:

- automatic missions are horrible

- I still don't get how income and bandit activity are calculated

- I travel through the world for many weeks and so far almost nothing happened in my stronghold

- stronghold overall is awesome concept but it needs a bit more content.

 

Some random ideas for stronghold:

 

- A feast room where I can gather all companions and eat, drink and talk with them (or even hire minstrels lol)

 

- This suggestion could, in fact, include drinking games and random events associated with hangover, when companions are found in random places of the Caed Nua, with each of them having something... fascinating to say during and after the feast

 

- I especially wanna hear Grieving Mother in this context!

 

- I am horribly afraid to hear Durance in this context.

 

- On the other hand maybe alcohol turns him into delicate, romantic man who loves all life and hugh kittens.

 

- As for less exciting content for stronghold:

 

*Bestiary, when I can hold captured species of beasts and poke them in the eye

*Or even engage in some hunting games with them

*Arena where I can hire men and beasts to 'simulated' customized battles (such as 'let's throw 37 xaurips at my team and see what happens'), this would serve either pure entertainment or some unique prizes, not infinite exp/money farming

*Astronomic observatory with some awesome stuff going on here

*More conversations with that cute trone woman 

*An ability to buy/copy books into library. Basically a place to put all collected books without cluttering inventory + also a place to buy them if you overlooked them in previously explored locations. I am still irritated I got all but one parts of 'history of Dyrwood'.

*A garden with no other purpose than seeding already known plants here and arranging them in cute patterns

*A minizoo where can I put all pets 'collected' during the journey - I feel bad if I sell them away but I travel with my pet drake all time, sorry dogs cats and piglets... Yeah minizoo where they can roam freely would be nice

*Some kind of forge where EXCEPTIONAL weaponry and armors can be created



#7
anameforobsidian

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I absolutely agree with PJ's original post.  

 

Although, I'd like to point out that all of them pretty much require the creation of more content, and it seemed like Obsidian was struggling to get in all the content the game already has.  I feel like the game would rival BG1 if it had double the exploration areas and a slower leveling curve.







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