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Impact of basic attributes on gameplay

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With some reviews mentioning the lack of impact of basic attributes on gameplay and a possible upcoming 1.07 change (making Perception give bonus Accuracy instead of Deflection), I figured this is probably a good a time as any to restart some discussion on it. This includes how everyone generally views the attribute system, whether we would like to see some changes made and if we need those changes now or would they be better suited to an expansion.


PoE is a game that borrows heavily from DnD (from its 6-attribute system to saves to spell progression) so I'll be basing a good number of comparisons below Vs 3.5e DnD (yes I know the current version is 5e, but Josh has brought up mostly 2e and 3e/3.5e in his videos and 3e/3.5e is the version I'm most comfortable/familiar with). I heartily welcome references to other versions to make up for this. 




One common complaint with Might is that besides influencing physical damage, it also represents direct spellcasting damage and healing output, but a lot of conversation options/in-game branched options using Might appear to just reference physical prowess or strength for intimidation. But let's say we put that aside for the moment, and focus on physical damage output.


Strength in DnD gives +1 damage for every 2 points for 1-handed weapons, +1.5 damage for every 2 points for 2-handers, while also providing +1 melee accuracy.


Might in PoE gives +6% damage for every 2 points for any weapon. 6% for a standard average speed 1-hander such as a sword (11-16 base damage) comes out to an increase of about 0.66 - 0.96 (average 0.81) and for a standard 2-hander such as a greatsword (14-20 base damage) comes out to an increase of about 0.84 - 1.2 (average 1.02). 


As magical weapons in DnD give +1, +2, +3 to damage rolls and Fine, Exceptional, Superb give 15%, 30%, 45% increase over base damage (applied to 1-handers, this would be roughly 1.65-2.4 (ave 2.03) for Fine, 3.3-4.8 (ave 4.05) for Exceptional and 4.95-7.2 (ave 6.08) for Superb).


Therefore, while the contributions of Strength and magically enhanced weapons are roughly equal in DnD; Might in PoE, contributes less to damage as compared to Strength and contributes very significantly less as compared to its own weapon quality, aside from the fact that Might has no effect on melee accuracy.


Another worry with the current system is that Might being additive with all other damage modifiers (weapon quality, crit/hit/graze system, sneak attacks, etc), will lose its luster at higher levels in an expansion or sequel. Here, Matt516 suggests making Might multiplicative (a good idea IMHO) which would allow it to keep up with Dexterity in later levels.


Considering all this, its not too surprising that some have pegged attributes in PoE as a little underwhelming. 



1)Bumping Might to +4% damage will make the bonus a little more inline with standard DnD. Probably not a bad thing as hp totals are a little inflated in PoE.


2)Making Might multiplicative will increase its impact considerably as well, improve scaling into later levels and probably do away with the need to increase its % contribution further.





Con in DnD gives +1 to hit dice for every 2 points.


Con in PoE gives +6% Endurance and Health for every 2 points.


Most people wouldn't dump Con on casters back then because DnD Wizzies and Sorcs only came with 1d4 hit dice (average 2.5hp/level) and the Con bonus would pose a VERY significant contribution. A modest 14 Con in DnD for +2hp every level, was not seen as unusual, and almost doubled (80%) expected hps every level. A modest 14 Con in PoE only gives +12% Endurance which is not terribly important in the larger scheme of things, considering you start off with a good deal more Endurance and gain more per level as compared to hp progression in DnD.


Its no wonder that people like to use Con as dump stat or at least never increase it beyond 10. I am NOT however suggesting we follow the DnD version as an old complaint about it was that low level DnD characters were often too fragile. A compromise in some manner between the two, would probably be nice IMHO. 



1)To discourage min-maxing and stat dumping, have increasingly severe penalties for values below 10, say -3% for 9, -6% for 8, -9% for 7 and so on. With this system, a Con of 3 would yield 16% of normal (Con 10) Endurance/Health, and a probable candidate to be 1-shotted as should be the case, if you go with traditional interpretations. Admittedly, its not as new player friendly as compared to the current system though (a flat 3% shift per stat).





The equivalent Dex in DnD is a completely different stat with no bearing on Attack Speed so it'd be a bit like comparing apples and oranges here. I'm quite glad with Dex in PoE taking the current bonuses and that the bonus speeds up all major phases (attack animation frames/recovery frames/reload frames). DPS classes will certainly find it a needed stat. 


That being said, it's supposed to be 3% increase in Attack Speed per point in Dexterity as per description, but upon closer scrutiny of attack frames (data and conclusion generously shared by Daemonjax here), 2.25% appears to fit the data better. So depending on what was actually intended by the devs, it might need a few tweaks.


In a good number of other games, Dex is also sometimes linked to accuracy/to-hit and/or dodging attacks but it might be a little too much to tie another strong bonus to an already useful stat here, unless its contribution is pretty minor. 





Quite different from Wisdom but I suppose that's the nearest DnD equivalent. More importantly, it appears likely that Perception is going to give +1 Accuracy per point instead of +1 Deflection per point in 1.07. While this will certainly dent the effectiveness of existing tank builds, its not necessarily a bad thing as it shores up a core stat. Accuracy is currently the odd stat where no attribute affects it and is entirely dependent on initial class, the fixed 3 per level increase, talents/abilities and the odd item. Implementing such a core change in a patch is really awkward though and I'm hoping the devs will allow a free attribute respec if the change comes to pass.


Also +1 Accuracy per Perception point is arguably not really that huge. DnD had Str give +1 melee attack bonus (the equivalent of +5 Accuracy in PoE) for every 2 points and Dex for a corresponding ranged attack bonus. Couple that with a faster base attack bonus progression (+1 BAB per level for fighter types (+5 Accuracy equivalent Vs +3 Accuracy/level in PoE)) and at higher levels against weaker opponents, you might want to burn your excess attack bonus using Power Attack for more damage. PoE Accuracy bonuses on the other hand are pretty scanty by comparison. 

Assuming Perception also applies to spell accuracy (looks like it probably will), I expect it'll be pretty sought out by PotD casters as you really want to land every spell you cast. Unlike DnD I haven't seen any cases (AFAIK), where even when the opponent saves, you still deal half damage or at least some minimal damage.


Looking at current tanking companions, Eder starts with Per 12 and Pallegina starts with Per 14 so both will be affected, becoming a little more vulnerable. Currently hitting 130 Deflection or more is certainly quite possible for a L11 Eder, self buffable to 150 for 15secs with Vigorous Defense.

(Base 25, levels 30, Per 15 (base 12 + Lilith's Shawl) 5, Res 15 (base 13 + Serel's Ring) 5, Defender+Wary Defender 15, Weapon and Shield Style 6, Superior Deflection 5, Hatchet 5, Exceptional Large Shield 24, Ring of Deflection 10)

 which is usually enough to tank most mobs effectively. Taking a -5 dip from losing Perception will make things a little more difficult but still quite doable. 





Another stat with fairly different implementation, which makes comparisons difficult. DnD's Int gave bonus spells per level, affected saving throws and even determined the max level of spells you were able to learn. PoE's Int gives increased AoE range (6% per point) and added duration (5% per point). Great for crowd control, debuffing and AoE spells. 





+1 to Deflection for every point in Resolve 


+1 to Armor Class for every 2 points in Dex (DnD), which is roughly equivalent to 5 Deflection as PoE hit rolls are d100 instead of d20.


Again if compared with DnD equivalents, the boost from Resolve to Deflection is fairly modest. One particular difference is DnD does not apply automatic bonuses to AC as you level up, only to base attack bonus (class dependent); whereas in PoE you get bonuses to both Deflection and to Accuracy and these are both a flat 3 per level, regardless of class. However mob types in PoE, even in the later parts (Act III) do not differ very much from the starting ones, so at some point it may feel quite possible to outstrip mob accuracy and take very little damage. The big question for me would be if such an Accuracy/Deflection system will still hold up well at higher levels or will it need a revamp. 



In summary, I do feel certain comparable attributes in PoE do feel a little weaker than their DnD counterparts. On the plus side, its "harder" to make a bad character as differences are smaller but to players accustomed to DnD and expecting builds to vary quite a bit in effectiveness depending on stats, they may prefer an attribute system with more impact.




Finally I'm wondering if people would like to see basic attributes playing more of a role/restriction in other game aspects in terms of:

1)future talent selection (ie Power Attack could only be taken as a feat if you had Str 13) 

2)weapon selection (ie Composite Bows required a certain level of Str to use without penalty)

3)influencing skills (Int influenced skill points per level in DnD, and various attributes contributed to skill checks (ie Dex modifier added to Move Silently checks))



P/S - I also have some thoughts about weighted point buy, uneven scaling and diminishing returns for stats... but I think I've ranted enough for today. Comments, discussion and constructive criticism most welcome.  :)


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1)future talent selection (ie Power Attack could only be taken as a feat if you had Str 13)

2)weapon selection (ie Composite Bows required a certain level of Str to use without penalty)


Which achieves nothing, IMO. Plus you can't increase stats with level in PoE. D&D suffered from its strange idea that everything needs 100500 prerequisites even to the most tamest things (and then turned around and gave things like metamagic and Natural spell almost for free in comparison). I don't think we need that mess here %)

Pillars of Bugothas

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First I disagree that basic attributes don't affect gameplay.  Second I don't see comparing PoE to the IE games as productive.  The IE games were not perfect.   In their time they were new and innovative for computer role playing games.  You can learn from the past but you cannot live in the past.  Computers and their hardware and software have evolved a lot over the last fifteen years.

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying



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