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PoE review at RPG Codex by Decado

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Another PoE review from RPG Codex is out, this time by Decado. Thoughts? Personally I prefer this one compared to the previous one by Darth Roxor. Not saying that the old one was garbage, it did make a good number of fair points and observations, but I felt that his conclusions were mostly hyperbole.

 

The current review gives what I feel, more of a fair shake on various game aspects. I would have preferred that he finished the game on PotD as well for a more rounded feel of things. I agree with his observation that spells that affect attributes don't seem very useful compared to spells that inflict direct damage and disabling afflictions (Paralyze, Prone, etc).

 

I don't think the loot needs to be too impressive for the sake of balance though. PoE is largely low-mid level if using DnD adventures/modules as a comparison and looking at the enchanting system, it is evident that the devs intended for higher level enchants to be spaced out evenly and available at later levels. A Monty Haul campaign would certainly disrupt this scheme.

A few added weapons/armor with unique capabilities that no other item has could be nice to spice up the endgame, though.

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Well, there's certainly a lot less vitriol in this one.

 

He didn't go too much into detail about the mechanics though. Still, it's a much better review than what you'd typically find in the internets.


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Why is it that people keep saying that loot is unimpressive? This is a low/mid level adventure, it won't be filled with +5 tapdancing vorpal swords of brutal godkilling. I am surprised that some of the items are as powerful as they are when you find them (cough, obsidian lamp, cough).

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Why is it that people keep saying that loot is unimpressive? This is a low/mid level adventure, it won't be filled with +5 tapdancing vorpal swords of brutal godkilling. I am surprised that some of the items are as powerful as they are when you find them (cough, obsidian lamp, cough).

Indeed. As the to-hit roll is represented by a d100 roll in PoE rather than d20, we can multiply DnD figures by a factor of 5 in general, which would give added Accuracy/to-hit by 5, 10, 15 for +1, +2, +3 3.5e DnD weapons respectively. In PoE we have Fine, Exceptional and Superb adding 4, 8, 12 Accuracy, which is a bit less but fairly close. As compensation, damage from better quality PoE weapons stands at x1.15, x1.30, x1.45, which definitely looks better than DnDs corresponding +1 to +3 weapon damage bonus. Endurance in PoE is also noticeably higher than hps in DnD though so I think it probably works out to about the same in the end.

If people were fine with loot in BG1 being +1s, +2s, ditto for ToEE, another fairly low level module, it stands to reason that weapons in PoE should be generally fine as well. When we get that expansion for PoE and if it features characters at L12-20, then loot comparisons with BG2 would be more apt.

 

As for figurines, I think those are a different issue. They are tremendously powerful, though if you restrict yourself to fewer rests, they'd feel a little less out of place, power-wise. I'm not sure if I'd nerf them too much though, as people who want to solo the game might find it problematic then.

 

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I think the big issue with the loot was that it lacked some of the memorable stuff many IE games had (e.g. Lilarcor) and that you can create so much of the stuff you find yourself through crafting.

Meanwhile most uniques don't seem that much better than a standard "fine" armor or weapon.

Given that you'll also find a lot of fine equipment eventually, it felt a bit like a DnD game were you find a lot of +1 stuff and the best loot is simply a +2.

 

They could have shown a bit more courage and inspiration here and there when designing the uniques.

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The comments to this review is much better than it was to Darth Roxxors. Instead of jacking eachother off, they're all butthurt and jacking eachother angrily off. Much fun. 
The review however was a bit weak, and trapped itself in being defensive, and apologetic. It kinda made it, if not as unbalanced as Darth Roxxors was, atleast too unbalanced to shine.

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This review exists solely to defend the game (actually not kidding), rather than to review it. Therefore it is no surprise that the content of the review is quite weak. As TheisEjsing noted.

 

The Codex has gone soft, pfft.

Nah it's just increasing Infinitron influence :p

Edited by Sensuki

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This review exists solely to defend the game (actually not kidding), rather than to review it. Therefore it is no surprise that the content of the review is quite weak. As TheisEjsing noted. 

If this is true, then I am pretty much amazed by how the Codex works. You get one review for venting butthurt and one review for venting the butthurt of people who are butthurt over the previous review.

Where is the actual review? Will there be any?

Edited by Gorbag
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Probably not  :p

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Another PoE review from RPG Codex is out, this time by Decado. Thoughts?

I think its a perfectly valid review, just as Darth Roxor's was.

 

Personally I prefer this one compared to the previous one by Darth Roxor.

I don't prefer either as they represent the opinion of two different people. Both were relatively reasonably written statements of how the individuals engaged the game and what that engagement meant to them.

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"Reasonable", to be honest, was not the word that came immediately to mind for the earlier rant. :D


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To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

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YMMV, I think a visceral negative reaction is just as valid as a visceral positive response.  Reviews that express either reaction would therefore be reasonable and expected.

 

Don't get me wrong, I liked PoE, but I think its valid to hate it as well, and valid to express that opinion.  Did I agree with everything that Darth Roxxor found wrong with PoE?  No.  But that didn't mean that his point of view was devoid of insight or not worth considering.

 

There seems to be a whole lot of attempts to mitigate negative reviews by declaring them invalid for varying reasons (one doesn't have to look any further than the people who dismissed Sensuki's complaints by saying he was mad that Obsidian didn't listen to him and hire him and other nonsense).  The bottom line is that a negative review is of no more validity than a positive; they are expressions of personal engagement that - written well enough - may allow the reader to understand where they may stand on the game without having played it.  Darth Roxxor's negative review actually made me consider a few things and - to my benefit - knowing how certain parts of the system worked was better for me to subsequently appreciate it for what it was being forewarned than I might have been without the review. 

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It's not negative reviews per se.

It's that excessive ranting and hyperbole weakens the argument.

If you have something to say, do it in a reasonable way. There's no need to throw insults around or descend into "really, this is the worst thing EVVAH!!!" No, it's not, obviously, and why should I take anything you say seriously after that?

Just letting off steam, is quite valid. We all need it from time to time. But I wouldn't expect people to call that a reasonable contribution. ;)


Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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I didn't think Roxxor's review resulted in insults (its been a few weeks, so my memory may have slid it from mind); and hyperbole is used in a lot of positive reviews ("really, this is the best thing EVVAH!!!") as well as negative and really isn't a sign of unreasonableness.

 

Unreasonableness in a review is when Roger Ebert used a paragraph or two of a film review to talk about the films IMDB page rather than the film itself.

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Why is it that people keep saying that loot is unimpressive? This is a low/mid level adventure, it won't be filled with +5 tapdancing vorpal swords of brutal godkilling. I am surprised that some of the items are as powerful as they are when you find them (cough, obsidian lamp, cough).

 

That's not an itemization issue, though. I don't think anyone has called for more powerful items, just meaningfully diverse ones. I think the enchanting system greatly undermines the itemization, and makes everything feel lackluster. Items are a lot less special when you can do the same thing.

 

For example, imagine if any of the iconic weapons in the IE games could be easily replicated with enchanting. Wouldn't be so iconic anymore, would they?

 

I think that enchanting should've been harder, and offered general, key-but-weak upgrades applicable to almost all items, and the vast majority of items found being much more unique. I also think that the Normal/Fine/Exceptional/Superb should be a function of creation, not just enchantments slapped on in a linear upgrade-style(s). It further undermines itemization and the feeling of a lot of things you can find.

 

"Oh, I found X. Looks nice, but.. eh, it's really just a Sabre with enchantments Y and Z, and I can't even use enchanting on it because those enchants it already has locks it out. Eh. Vendor it."

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Why is it that people keep saying that loot is unimpressive? This is a low/mid level adventure, it won't be filled with +5 tapdancing vorpal swords of brutal godkilling. I am surprised that some of the items are as powerful as they are when you find them (cough, obsidian lamp, cough).

Indeed. As the to-hit roll is represented by a d100 roll in PoE rather than d20, we can multiply DnD figures by a factor of 5 in general, which would give added Accuracy/to-hit by 5, 10, 15 for +1, +2, +3 3.5e DnD weapons respectively. In PoE we have Fine, Exceptional and Superb adding 4, 8, 12 Accuracy, which is a bit less but fairly close. As compensation, damage from better quality PoE weapons stands at x1.15, x1.30, x1.45, which definitely looks better than DnDs corresponding +1 to +3 weapon damage bonus. Endurance in PoE is also noticeably higher than hps in DnD though so I think it probably works out to about the same in the end.

If people were fine with loot in BG1 being +1s, +2s, ditto for ToEE, another fairly low level module, it stands to reason that weapons in PoE should be generally fine as well. When we get that expansion for PoE and if it features characters at L12-20, then loot comparisons with BG2 would be more apt.

I think both of you are missing the point. It's not that there is an overall lack of magic items -- I think they're slightly weaker than the IE equivalents, but quite similar. It's that there is a lack of unique, powerful items or, as the review says, items that make a noticeable difference. For example, in Baldur's Gate (the original) there's a Ring of Wizardry that can be found at level 1 which doubles an arcane caster's number of level 1 spells. That's huge. At level 2 (this is in my most recent playthrough, I suspect you can find them earlier), I found a pair of Gauntlets of Dexterity which set DEX to 18. If you give them to a character which does not already have a high DEX (e.g. Jaheira), in PoE parlance, the effects are +20 to Deflection and +10 to Ranged Accuracy both of which stack with absolutely everything. PoE doesn't have anything that powerful even at level 12.

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For example, in Baldur's Gate (the original) there's a Ring of Wizardry that can be found at level 1 which doubles an arcane caster's number of level 1 spells. That's huge. At level 2 (this is in my most recent playthrough, I suspect you can find them earlier), I found a pair of Gauntlets of Dexterity which set DEX to 18. If you give them to a character which does not already have a high DEX (e.g. Jaheira), in PoE parlance, the effects are +20 to Deflection and +10 to Ranged Accuracy both of which stack with absolutely everything. PoE doesn't have anything that powerful even at level 12.

 

 

The examples you're giving are too huge for my liking. They're gamechangers and that's not something I desire in that kind of game. I'm pretty comfortable with the loot as it is. I wasn't when I started playing the game, but then I realized, you can be pretty well equipped by the end of the game. There are quite a number of very useful unique items that can be further enchanted to something really special.

 

And I don't have a problem with enchanting either, since even if I have money to burn I have to hunt for the right ingrendients to get to the powerful enchantments. Fine and first level atribute buffs are pretty easy, but they just eat up slots. OK, you can replace fine with something more meaningful, but once you've burned an attribute buff, it sticks on the item.

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I think both of you are missing the point. It's not that there is an overall lack of magic items -- I think they're slightly weaker than the IE equivalents, but quite similar. It's that there is a lack of unique, powerful items or, as the review says, items that make a noticeable difference. For example, in Baldur's Gate (the original) there's a Ring of Wizardry that can be found at level 1 which doubles an arcane caster's number of level 1 spells. That's huge. At level 2 (this is in my most recent playthrough, I suspect you can find them earlier), I found a pair of Gauntlets of Dexterity which set DEX to 18. If you give them to a character which does not already have a high DEX (e.g. Jaheira), in PoE parlance, the effects are +20 to Deflection and +10 to Ranged Accuracy both of which stack with absolutely everything. PoE doesn't have anything that powerful even at level 12.

 

Well I did say that a few additional unique items at the endgame stage would provide flavor. I'm not sure if adding unique and powerful items at L1 or an early stage of the game would serve balance well. So yea, I'm generally quite satisfied with current itemization. 
 
As for the Ring of Wizardry, you can pick up a fairly similar ring that gives you additional spells as well in PoE. Ring of the Selonan (+2 L1 spells, +2 L3 spells) is a fixed drop in Pearlwood Bluff. Admittedly you won't be getting there at L1. L7-8 is likely and doable though, which is where I think a ring of such power should be placed. Of course if you're willing to shell out some cash, you can also get Telda's Ring (+2 L2 spells, +1 L4 spells) from a vendor in Defiance Bay. Its fine that DnD gives out these rings sooner, but I don't think it necessary for PoE to adhere to DnD itemization patterns that slavishly. 
Ditto for items/spells which set Dex or Str to a certain figure (Strength of One comes to mind, when you mentioned the Gauntlets of Dexterity, which had the potential to be pretty imbalancing with a particular party setup). 
 
Once again I'd like to reiterate that I do feel a few more uniques with a distinct bonus/buff or even a malus would add some color to itemization but generally I don't see it as a big issue, nor do I think it should be done much at low levels as I would prefer not to upset the balance for earlier battles.

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I've read the Roxxor review and I disagree with most of what he said and I do think that his review is - as mentioned by Leferd - very vitriol upto the point that it comes across as unprofessional and unreasonable. I mostly disagree with him when it comes to the writing, I actually really enjoyed the writing. Also, to call BG 1 a mediocre version of BG 2 is just plain dumb and shortsighted. It was a different game with different strengths and weaknesses. I personally enjoyed BG 1 more than I did BG 2. The combat isn't as straightforward as he makes it out to be, but he does make some good points about difficulty scaling and disgengament mechanic. While I do agree that IWD had some of the best cRPG combat in any game I've played, it's rather ironic to complain about the effectiveness of tanks in this game if you enjoy IWD its combat. While I'd also love for the disengagement mechanic to be removed and for ranged mobs to maybe attack my party more randomly, I don't think I've ever played a game with tanks as effective as those in IWD.

 

Some fair points he made :

 

  • The disengagement mechanic combined with blocking party members and bad pathing, makes combat too static and often predictable. Don't think anyone would be sad to see it go.
  • The exploration is not as good as it was in BG1 for example. Still, I think it's a lot less absent then he claims.
  • Loading times are weirdly long

EDIT : Also, the fact that some weapons are better than others is because that the DR mechanic is a bit too strong and all present.

Edited by Ivonbeton
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Quotes, on point:

 

It always made more sense to just keep chipping away, because the penalties were so small as to be meaningless.

This feeling feeds a larger sense that your choices in character design don't do much after you've picked a class. Or to put it another way, class is the most important factor, to a degree that makes all other choices minimally relevant (at best).

 

Attributes feel even less important, if you can believe that.

 

This lack of "oomph" in treasure plagues the whole game, with there often being no meaningful differences between even legendary weapons.

 

But as it stands now, you can fairly easily breeze through the game without worrying too much about what weapon you're holding, and that's a shame.

 

I rarely used consumables, but again this might be because I played the game on "Normal." By the end of things I had a trunkload of unused ingredients, mostly because I felt no great need to do anything with them.

 

The distinction between per-rest and per-encounter abilities mirrors the health/endurance mechanic in that you should be balancing your use of less-powerful per-encounter abilities against the more-powerful per-rest abilities. At least, this is how it supposed to work in theory but, aside from spells, I rarely wound up in a situation where I wanted to use a per-rest ability but couldn't. And in fact, it seems like per-encounter abilities are always going to be a better bet than per-rest ones, if you have to choose, because it all comes down to combat, and combat is won in the short term.

 

The two fights against Raedric, and the two dragons in the Paths of Od Nua, are examples of tough encounters that will really test your mettle; on the other hand, fights against the game's main antagonist organization are frequently underwhelming, if not completely cheesy. And sometimes the game is guilty of simply throwing enemies at you in a way that feels lazy.

 

RPG veterans will likely find the main story a bit flavorless.

 

This all pretty much sums it up for me.  Not inspiring, with little to really compel me to do it again (because of the combat, lack of real significant differentiation in creating and playing characters, kinda boring). 

 

Additionally, I know that Game of Thrones is all the rage, but I don't want a setting where everyone is suffering, and everything sucks for everyone.  Where everyone is tense, and every area has foreboding.  That was the beauty of the BGs.  In BG 1, there was an imminent threat growing, and there were bandits, and some increasing chaos, but it wasn't DEPRESSING.  Everyone's children weren't dying, mad kings weren't hanging half of their population from trees in the center of town, there weren't riots in the streets with people getting assassinated right and left.  It didn't FEEL oppressive.  Hell, even in Spellhold, while there was danger, you could help the prisoners rise up against their oppressor, manipulator and torturer.  The Underdark was rightfully scary, but even there, there could be found some redeeming moments. 

 

I don't need a game that is trying to depress me by being "gritty" and "real".  What I want is to have certain areas feel tense, dangerous, or scary, and others to feel "normal".  For there to be places where people are HAPPY, not where everyone is worried about war, or politics, or being killed by zombies, or starving to death, or whatever.  Surprisingly, no review I have read has touched upon this aspect of POE, which is one I really dislike, among many. 

 

Since completing my first and likely only playthrough of POE, what have I done?  Replayed BG and BG2.  Replayed Arcanum.  Re-installed and started to replay ME 1-3.  Why?  Because, to me, those are all more pleasant game play experiences, for a variety of reasons.  This was not a spiritual successor to the IE games, in my opinion.  It was just a "fantasy adventure" with a full party, with isometric 2d.  It doesn't have the spirit of those games, and it definitely doesn't have the companions of those games. 

 

Do I want someone endlessly speaking in riddles about depressing crap? (Durance, Grieving Mother)  Do I want someone almost endlessly complaining about how hard it is to be "god-touched"? (Palegina)  Hell, Viconia was a Drow forced to live on the surface.  The things she said, even when complaining, were frequently interesting.  Just disappointed.

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Some fair points he made :

  • The disengagement mechanic combined with blocking party members and bad pathing, makes combat too static and often predictable. Don't think anyone would be sad to see it go.

 

As long as the Something Awful and badgame forums support the mechanic (which they do) it will not be removed. Those are Sawyer's home forums and the mechanic was designed for their preferences.

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I think both reviews were rather easy on the story, which I consider to be the weakest point of the game.

 

(Still miles above anything Bioware put out since Jade Empire, but that's irrelevant.)

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I agree, that's why I never finished it.

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I think both reviews were rather easy on the story, which I consider to be the weakest point of the game.

 

(Still miles above anything Bioware put out since Jade Empire, but that's irrelevant.)

 

Being better than Bioware when it comes to storylines and storytelling is a bit like writing a better love story than Twilight.

 

I mean, yeah, sure, but like you said, irrelevant.

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