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Chances of revisiting stats in conversations in a patch or sequel?


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The way combat and social stats are linked has been frustrating for me. In Neverwinter Nights 2, I spent many hours and rerolls forming a multiclass build that would get the three conversation skills (Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate) as class skills without wasting any stats or levels on suboptimal combat choices.

 

There have been a lot of threads on things like Resolve being critical in conversations but only useful for tanks and Might being useful for everyone in combat but basically being the Intimidate stat and implying beefy muscles.

 

I guess in a patch, they could realistically modify what Resolve does to make it useful to casters and DPS, because concentration/deflection/will are not enough. In a sequel, they could do a better job of balancing the stats and how they are used socially, or they could separate the two things partially (like 3.5e) or entirely.

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Pillars of Eternity has been designed in such a way that no single character can ever see all the content and have all options available. This is fully intentional and not a part of faulty design. You are not supposed to minmax a character to have as many dialogue options available as possible, nor is there an incentive to as you will never be penalized for not picking specialized dialogue options.

 

While I understand that the system annoys completionists, the way dialogues work in Pillars of Eternity is by far my favorite way of handling things I have ever seen in RPGs, every single stat is used in conversations (albeit not all of them equally) and by picking when do you wish to use them and when you don't, you build reputations to help you make likeminded decisions devoid of stat checks in the future. Dialogue options with stat checks are very rarely more 'powerful' than the ones offered without stat checks, are often only give you more options as opposed to better options.

 

What I'm saying is that you don't realistically need a character with all options in dialogues open, nor are you supposed to create one. Just design a character around a role and then play that role in the game.

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Here is an idea:

 

Add a Speechcraft type of skill (ala Elder Scrolls) only make it so that you gain levels in your Speechcraft based on how many conversations you interact with. In the PoE world it is possible to skip many side quests and tasks (eg, quests for NPC's like Aloth, Durance, Eder, etc). The only incentive right now is for some potential experience points, coin, items, and of course... story. However, if you're not interested in story (or if you've completed a side-story in a previous playthrough) then there is likely no reason to ever engage in more than half the side quests.

 

HOWEVER! If Speechcraft were a skill based on dialogue engagement, then that would be a high incentive to engage in every story/quest possible. It would satisfy the desire for realism wouldn't it? A character who completes the PoE campaign with very little side questing is not going to be as well versed in dialogue/conversation as another character who literally spoke with everyone.

 

This should definitely be a thing :biggrin:

Edited by Zenbane
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You should try Age of Decadence, Sedrefilos.

I tried the demo once; I want to try the game since I heared positive critiques about it.

One thing that concerns me, though, is this: What I got from the reviews is that in AoD you should focus strictly on your class role, meaning you must pick stats and skills that focus on that and you cannot roleplay otherwise. Although it sounds interesting, it also sounds like it limits my plyhtrough too much for my likes. I have to try to see, of course, but this keeps me away from it at the moment.

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Here is an idea:

 

Add a Speechcraft type of skill (ala Elder Scrolls) only make it so that you gain levels in your Speechcraft based on how many conversations you interact with. In the PoE world it is possible to skip many side quests and tasks (eg, quests for NPC's like Aloth, Durance, Eder, etc). The only incentive right now is for some potential experience points, coin, items, and of course... story. However, if you're not interested in story (or if you've completed a side-story in a previous playthrough) then there is likely no reason to ever engage in more than half the side quests.

 

HOWEVER! If Speechcraft were a skill based on dialogue engagement, then that would be a high incentive to engage in every story/quest possible. It would satisfy the desire for realism wouldn't it? A character who completes the PoE campaign with very little side questing is not going to be as well versed in dialogue/conversation as another character who literally spoke with everyone.

 

This should definitely be a thing :biggrin:

Love your idea man. I agree, this should be a thing.

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Pillars of Eternity has been designed in such a way that no single character can ever see all the content and have all options available. This is fully intentional and not a part of faulty design. You are not supposed to minmax a character to have as many dialogue options available as possible, nor is there an incentive to as you will never be penalized for not picking specialized dialogue options.

 

While I understand that the system annoys completionists, the way dialogues work in Pillars of Eternity is by far my favorite way of handling things I have ever seen in RPGs, every single stat is used in conversations (albeit not all of them equally) and by picking when do you wish to use them and when you don't, you build reputations to help you make likeminded decisions devoid of stat checks in the future. Dialogue options with stat checks are very rarely more 'powerful' than the ones offered without stat checks, are often only give you more options as opposed to better options.

 

What I'm saying is that you don't realistically need a character with all options in dialogues open, nor are you supposed to create one. Just design a character around a role and then play that role in the game.

 

Thank you for explaining it so well. I can certainly appreciate that.

 

What I can't appreciate so much is having my combat abilities dictate my social abilities in a way that doesn't make a lot of sense (Might and Resolve).

 

I think the biggest problem is Resolve's narrow combat focus (Deflection the only real reason to take it) and broad social use (being persuasive, mental intimidation, and lying). One or both of those could change, but the second could only realistically be done in a new game.

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Resolve is very important to tanks. You could try playing a tank, or perhaps a tank/dps hybrid.

 

I don't disagree with your analysis. I think originally the attributes weren't supposed be too linked to your combat abilities. Okay that's wrong, but what I mean is originally it was supposed to be possible every class to make good use of every stat. As such it should have been possible to pick your stats based off how you envisioned your character's personality being and not be penalised for doing so. Of course it didn't quite work out this way.

 

I doubt anything will be changed in PoE since it would involve tweaking every dialogue in the game which is a lot of work. Let's hope the system in PoE2 is more flexible.

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There have been a lot of threads on things like Resolve being critical in conversations but only useful for tanks and Might being useful for everyone in combat but basically being the Intimidate stat and implying beefy muscles.

Resolve gives you marginally better conversation options in PoE but it is far from critical.  It's vastly less important than the social skills were in NWN2, which were themselves vastly less important than the intelligence or wisdom scores you selected in Planescape: Torment. 

 

I do agree with the broader point about how PoE links combat bonuses to social prowess, however.  I personally think it would have been better to even out the conversational utility of the six stats, so that no single one of them would be a conversational "easy button".  An alternative would be to toughen the game's stat checks but allow any party member to meet them, rather than requiring five party members to stand inexplicably mute while the protagonist struggles to pass a resolve check (after sometimes having already made an interjection or two into the conversation).   

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Pillars stat check design also leads to some unmitigated disasters with character types.

 

A Barbarian - the least likely candidate- will be able to make those high INT checks easily. As for Resolve, fuhgeddaboudit; Life on the tundra is EASY.

A High might, low Int wizard is perfectly valid as a build- what are we to make of this character? He read the same books as the other wizards, but can't remember them?   And he got big muscles from lifting those books? 

I don't necessarily condemn POE, but it's failings are often closer to the surface than I'd like. 

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Magran's fire casts light in Dark Places...

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I think the theory was that the attributes were not meant to align with their D&D counterparts. I can sort of accept it with Might, where it's supposed to be some sort of generic power, although the Might conversation options do tend to read like the standard "I have big muscles and lots of scars, do what I say" rather than "I am emitting an aura of general powerfulness, do what I say". With Intellect it's harder because it really does feel like a standard intelligence attribute.

 

That said, there's no real reason Barbarians in Eora, or indeed Barbarians in other fantasy settings, can't be intelligent. What I do find a bit difficult is the idea that a min-maxed buffed up barbarian can hit the ground with such force that every enemy within 3.3m is hit.

 

On a tangent I have to ask Parasol_Syndicate, I like your avatar image :)

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I'm certainly not saying don't play against type. There should be smart, and dumb barbarians, just as there should be smart and dumb monks.

What POE does wrong is suggest an effective barbarian SHOULD be smart, which is so counterintuitive I can't even.

 

And many thanks. It was too good not to use.  :fdevil:

Edited by Parasol_Syndicate

Magran's fire casts light in Dark Places...

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Oh I agree. Intellect is the attribute that bothers me most here for the reasons I mention above: it's too closely related to traditional D&D stats. I think even renaming it to something like "Spirit" would solve many of my issues surrounding it, since then a low Spirit mage could still be intelligent and a high spirit barbarian could be dumb.

 

In fact I've always hated Intelligence being a stat in RPGs for this very reason.

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Oh I agree. Intellect is the attribute that bothers me most here for the reasons I mention above: it's too closely related to traditional D&D stats. I think even renaming it to something like "Spirit" would solve many of my issues surrounding it, since then a low Spirit mage could still be intelligent and a high spirit barbarian could be dumb.

 

In fact I've always hated Intelligence being a stat in RPGs for this very reason.

I think you guys are overlooking something.  Namely that your power in the world of Eternity is based on your strength of your soul or spirit.  A person who has massive might, is not necessarily physically muscular.  A person with high intelligence has not always spent a lot of their life studying.  A persona who has great resolve isn't going to always be some wilderness survival expert.  I agree the stats still need some tweaking to meet Obsidian's original goals of every stat being viable for every class, but I will say that having a high resolve wizard does not actually bork that character or make them unplayable.  It is purely the min maxers pushing a load of crap on the forums that lead people to believe that.

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This is what went through my head when I read the title of this thread...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As0v-tzU-PY

Edited by FlintlockJazz

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A High might, low Int wizard is perfectly valid as a build- what are we to make of this character?

A very powerful wizard with a ton of talent for wizardy things, but without the mental capacity to fully comprehend effects of his actions or to get the most efficiency out of his powers. A cruel, impulsive and aggressive wizard wielding enough power to make people respect him would be a good fit. Or a simpleton who tries to use powerful magic for what he considers good, to various degrees of success.

 

What POE does wrong is suggest an effective barbarian SHOULD be smart, which is so counterintuitive I can't even.

You can create a dumb barbarian and with the right build he'll probably work well enough. However, naturally, an intelligent warrior will be more effective at being a warrior, especially when he needs to quickly analyze situations featuring multiple adversaries at once, which is what the Barbarian class focuses on. I do believe you need a lot more mental capacity to be able to multitask and fight on numerous fronts than a fighter as fighter would focus more on muscle memory and reflexes to beat his foe (or just sheer endurance). I assume a dumb but powerful barbarian would be a lot more effective at dealing with smaller groups than his smart counterpart, but with more punch so to say.

 

What I can't appreciate so much is having my combat abilities dictate my social abilities in a way that doesn't make a lot of sense (Might and Resolve).

 

I think the biggest problem is Resolve's narrow combat focus (Deflection the only real reason to take it) and broad social use (being persuasive, mental intimidation, and lying). One or both of those could change, but the second could only realistically be done in a new game.

a) Go and ask in the character builds subforum about effective high resolve builds, I'm sure they already made plenty.

b) I think you're making a mistake in thinking about stats as about "Combat stats". They're not combat stats, instead, they're basic physical and psychological makeup of your character, which form both his personality and from which he has derived his 'career' choices. Naturally, he is going to only be able to behave within this makeup - he is just not capable of making resolute and single-minded decisions without high resolve, as he is not able to intimidate people without enough raw power/talent backing him up.

Edited by Fenixp
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I think you guys are overlooking something.  Namely that your power in the world of Eternity is based on your strength of your soul or spirit.  A person who has massive might, is not necessarily physically muscular.  A person with high intelligence has not always spent a lot of their life studying.  A persona who has great resolve isn't going to always be some wilderness survival expert.  I agree the stats still need some tweaking to meet Obsidian's original goals of every stat being viable for every class, but I will say that having a high resolve wizard does not actually bork that character or make them unplayable.  It is purely the min maxers pushing a load of crap on the forums that lead people to believe that.

 

With Might I agree. I can totally accept that a mighty Wizard is one who has more ability to empower their spells with more power. My only criticism is the way Might dialogue options often sound like traditional muscle based intimidation.

 

With Intellect it's just the name that bothers me. Intellect is synonymous with intelligence and I can't untangle the two.

 

In both cases, these are very minor, personal, criticisms and they don't stop me enjoying the game :)

 

As for the min-maxers I also agree with this. My problem with this sort of thing is I have always sat somewhere between being a role-player and a min-maxer. I want a character who fits some role in my head, but I also want to make them as powerful as I can. The latter usually involves me looking up guides where I am told that to do so I absolutely have to minimise X stat or whatever, and the small part of me that is a min-maxer can't quite let that go. I acknowledge that's a personal fault :)

 

lol people trying to rationalize how a wizards work as if there can be a comparison with relity?   :facepalm: It's a fantasy setting, magic works this way, deal with it. "Does the system work?", should be the question. To me, it does.

 

One doesn't need reality to rationalise. You can rationalise using the internal rules of the setting, checking whether it remains internally consistent.

 

That said my problem with intellect isn't one which is particularly rational as I explain above. It's that I can't quite shake my own personal baggage about what the word "intellect" means.

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Resolve does to make it useful to casters and DPS, because concentration/deflection/will are not enough. 

I think this is the point people are missing. It's great that you can't do everything on any particular character build. But there is no good caster builds that involve high resolve. I think that is a fair critique.

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I think this is the point people are missing. It's great that you can't do everything on any particular character build. But there is no good caster builds that involve high resolve. I think that is a fair critique.

 

I dunno, you could probably run a Wizard with high(ish) resolve as a tanky spellsword build, there's a Cipher build in the characters subforum that has decently high resolve and I imagine you could run a melee focused Druid with high resolve. These builds might not be the absolute best (although the Cipher build is definitely very powerful) but they're not going to be awful. In fact I'm not convinced min-maxed stats matter that much: a rogue with Might, Dexterity and Perception in the 14-16 range will obviously not do as much damage as with them all maxed, but they'll still do good damage.

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