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A bit of a disappointment but at the same time a great RPG

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I've been playing PoE for some time now and I'd like to post my thoughts, so others may offer their opinion.

 

The first thing I noticed, is that "magic" in general is very dispappointing. For someone who played "Dungeon Master" in the 80's and later "Eye of the Beholder" series and other RPG games, the PoE really makes me feel like the makers of the game dislike magic or for some reason decided to "down play" magic in this game a bit too much. That was my greatest disappointment.

 

Next, I realized that no matter how great are my battles, no matter how many hours I spend over and over the same battle to finish it in the coolest way possible, I get no XP at the end of it. Which is rather sad and the game looses something of its essense.

 

Note that I'm playing with the latest patched version and the game has been around for quite a while. You'd expect that most bugs would have been ironed out. Still, the game is rather buggy, it crashed a couple of times, some moster descriptions come up with "??" instead of real numeric values and there are lots of graphics issues (like the robe a character is wearing, stays "floating" when the character is prone, or doesn't stick to his back on large persons, etc).

 

Anyway, ignoring the complete and utter destruction of proper magic in the game and the bugs, the game plays (with a non-magic character of course) like a true RPG game. Great improvement in character interaction, lots of interesting features like the documenting of the journal with the quests and side-quests.

 

I also like a challenge and PoE allows me to play in Hard mode, which is ideal for me. I tried the Path of the Damned, which offered an even greater challenge, but I got quite disappointed with the lack of XP, so it really made no sense to continue in this mode, so I switched to Hard.

 

Anyway, overall I like the game, but if I was aware of the lack of proper magic, then I would never have gotten it. Total deal-breaker.

 

I'd appreciate what others think..

 

Thank you.

 

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What's your idea of "proper magic" and how is PoE failing under that aspect?

 

(I've never played Eye of the Beholder.)


"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

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"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

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Interesting question. Historically speaking, based on works by AD&D and mythical writers, magic has always been more powerful (or overkill) and more impressive (its magical after all) than mundane real life.

 

In previous RPG games (pen & paper, or computer games), magic was balanced with a weak physical trait of the magic user, especially in low class levels. We can see such an example from the AD&D pen & paper version of Dragonlance and the character Raistlin, who is a total “basket case” for about most of his life, up until his magic becomes powerful.

 

In computer games, magic plays a vital role in the graphical effects that immerse and impress the player.

 

Unfortunately, PoE fails in this aspect. It fails to impress because magic is too limited and uninteresting, there are not enough magic user variations, the characters are not powerful enough in later levels and the spells are quite unremarkable for what we call “magic”. I believe, that they should have been “magical”, like in other games (Baldurs Gate and/or Neverwinter Nights for example).

 

The balance (or unbalance) in PoE falls mostly to meele users.

Edited by what_else!
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The ?? is not a bug, it's because you haven't filled out the bestiary entry yet.

 

I know I haven't filled it yet, but the "??" makes the game look like its broken or buggy. We usualy see this in broken javascript websites for example. Idealy a dash "-" or an empty page with a warning text would have been more communicative.

 

The "??" makes me think of bored/overworked developers, I'm sure a designer would prefer something more elegant,  no offense to the developers :)

Edited by what_else!

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You do get reward for defeating large groups of enemies, they're either protecting a valuable weapon or they're part of a questline that you get XP for finishing. The reason why you don't get XP for killing is:

a) It makes the game easier to balance. It's just easier in general and there's no need for metagaming in which you calculate whether you'll get more XP from peaceful or violent solution - both will give you the same amount.

b) You aren't forced to play the game in a specific way. My friend did a solo rogue run in which he avoided vast majority of enemies - if the game rewarded you XP for kills, he'd be severely punished for his playstyle.

 

As for magic, while it might not look magnificent, it's extremely potent. Sure, destruction spells are weaker than in other RPGs, but support spells will routinely turn many battles from being tough as nails into a complete cakewalk.

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Fenixp,

 

I understand the reasoning to make the life of developers easier, but I do believe such a decision has a negative effect overal.

 

Mainly because RPG games are actually based heavily on experience points and one way to get them is by the overkill slaughter of anything alive and/or dead (and anything in between). This is important to understand because a high level character implies that he has been adventuring to reach his XP status, instead of just talking around the game. XP during battle is like an award!

 

Your friend who avoided fights, should not be able to reach a similar high level by skimming around the edges of the game. At least as per traditional rules.

 

As a result, you end up with a fighter of high level who hasn't really done much fighting? I think it is unreasonable.

 

Anyway, just my opinion. I do appreciate that PoE tries to do some things in a different way.

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The problem with powerful magic is that characters that don't have access to it, will be underwhelming. People already complain about pure damage dealers and how they are unbalanced comparing them to a late game spell caster(and they are right). So making magic more powerful would have consequence on class diversity. I have to agree that magic is not breathtaking so far but if there were to be implemented more powerful spells with "epic" outcomes then the spellcaster should be equally of "epic" skill and of course really powerful magic should take it's toll on both the spellcaster and the world itself... something which I really doubt we'll see, perhaps we might in POE 2(there is to hope). Overall I believe it's a matter of balance and as the good old saying goes... "with great power comes great responsibility..." that of a God I presume and even though our fictional characters are powerful they can hardly be considered gods even by PoE standards of a God.

 

Combinations of spells triggering different effects might be interesting something similar to the magica system or higher level spells having a random factor incorporated in the model might make magic more interesting but  I really don't think the game engine will ever go on that direction... that would not be PoE any more.

 

Overall spell casters and magic are "decent" they are not breathtaking but still maybe if they include some kind of "metamagic feat" allowing the player to intervene at an extent on how his spells might affect the world might make it a bit more interesting... and it wouldn't take away from the overall spirit of Poe to begin with.

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I understand the reasoning to make the life of developers easier, but I do believe such a decision has a negative effect overal.

 

Mainly because RPG games are actually based heavily on experience points and one way to get them is by the overkill slaughter of anything alive and/or dead (and anything in between). This is important to understand because a high level character implies that he has been adventuring to reach his XP status, instead of just talking around the game. XP during battle is like an award!

Thing is... There's no practical benefit. Developers will have complete control over how much XP you can gain at any given point anyway so that's not much of an argument, the XP is just more difficult to distribute. And yes, XP during battle is like an award, which is precisely the problem - you should not be awarded for doing the same thing over and over again. You should get equal amounts of experience for talking/sneaking/fighting your way trough problems to keep your players making up creative ways trough the game as opposed to thinking "That's another fight I have to win" or "I can now make peace with these creatures but I won't 'cause I won't gain as much XP."

 

Your friend who avoided fights, should not be able to reach a similar high level by skimming around the edges of the game.

Why? What's wrong with a game giving players more ways to approach it? The way I see it, a big thing that makes RPGs my favourite genre is how they allow you to approach problems using various solutions, and that they're all valid.

 

As a result, you end up with a fighter of high level who hasn't really done much fighting? I think it is unreasonable.

That's the inherent issue with any RPG containing distributable experience points. Even if you fight every single encounter in the game, when you use a sword to win all of them, the character who uses the sword and has never held a gun in his life can become an expert gunslinger anyway. The only way to solve this is to replace XP rewards with a system which increases skills by using them - which is not the way Obsidian decided to take, so that point is moot anyway.

 

Additionally, no, you won't end up with a fighter who has not done too much fighting - you will end up with an assassin or saboteur who's both good at fighting and stealth. Why shouldn't skillful infiltration be rewarded just as much as skillful murder?

 

Edit: Now that I think about it, there's a quest in which you can come up with a peaceful solution in regards to certain faction by avoiding all the opposition. The game rewards you for not killing there. If you got XP rewards for killing, the way that would have gone would be: Sneak around enemies, talk to the 'boss' person, get praised for not killing anyone, get XP. After that happens, go and kill everybody to get more XP. That was the efficient way to play a lot of oldschool RPGs and that's also what Pillars is trying to avoid in order for people who actually want to roleplay to not get punished for ... Well, roleplaying.

Edited by Fenixp
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Vorad and Infinitron,

 

Shouldn't magic be "epic"? I believe thats what magic is all about.

 

Take for example the character of Elminster of the Forgotten Realms, a true Arch Mage of epic proportions, who really makes a difference and defines what magic is all about. In games like PoE, we loose that luster.

 

I think we define "blanace" in a different way, because the overpower of magic IS balance. A lame magic is truly something unbalanced.

 

How many times, in pen and paper games, have you gone against an evil mage (living or undead) in his high tower of magic? Lots of times. So in PoE you suggest that we change that to... an evil ranger living in his evil treehouse?

 

It just doesn't cut it.

 

Magic has lost its magic :disguise:

Edited by what_else!
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Theurgist,

 

Because one does not exclude the other. I believe both characters (players) should have the freedom of choice to work their way throughout the game by doing one or the other or both methods (killing or infiltrating).

 

What I'm proposing, is to allow someone to do BOTH and get a higher reward for spending the time to work his way across the game in such depth.

 

Don't punish those players for the sake of balance.

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Pillars magic does have its problems (specifically, it lacks the depth and complexity IE game magic had at higher levels), but lack of power isn't it. If you think Pillars casters are underpowered (compared to the IE games), you're playing them wrong.

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Vorad and Infinitron,

 

Shouldn't magic be "epic"? I believe thats what magic is all about.

 

Take for example the character of Elminster of the Forgotten Realms, a true Arch Mage of epic proportions, who really makes a difference and defines what magic is all about. In games like PoE, we loose that luster.

 

I think we define "blanace" in a different way, because the overpower of magic IS balance. A lame magic is truly something unbalanced.

 

How many times, in pen and paper games, have you gone against an evil mage (living or undead) in his high tower of magic? Lots of times. So in PoE you suggest that we change that to... an evil ranger living in his evil treehouse?

 

It just doesn't cut it.

 

Magic has lots its magic :disguise:

You keep going back to D&D/Forgotten Realms examples. You need to wrap your mind around the fact that PoE isn't D&D based. There's nothing wrong with magic not being 'epic'. In fact, it's probably a far better thing that it isn't. Otherwise, what would be the point of playing anything other than a caster? Even though PoE takes its inspiration from - and is a nod to -  the old IE games, at least Obs tried to shake things up a bit with the game.

 

As for your point: As a result, you end up with a fighter of high level who hasn't really done much fighting? I think it is unreasonable, if you end up in this situation, you're not playing a Fighter. You're playing a sneak/assassin/thief. Why would you choose to avoid fights if you're playing a Fighter?

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Theurgist,

That's not a name, it's a title. Hi, I'm Fenixp, pleased to meet you original.gif

 

Because one does not exclude the other. I believe both characters (players) should have the freedom of choice to work their way throughout the game by doing one or the other or both methods (killing or infiltrating).

 

What I'm proposing, is to allow someone to do BOTH and get a higher reward for spending the time to work his way across the game in such depth.

 

Don't punish those players for the sake of balance.

But logically, one does exclude the other. There's several points I have to counter your argument, so let's go trough them all. I also love lists:

a) RPG. Role-playing game. Going with one approach and sticking to it is playing a role and you should be rewarded for it. You should get the same reward for playing a consistent, sneaky rogue as you do for playing a schizophrenic lunatic who first sneaks past obstacles and then kills them.

b) By rewarding killing, you don't give player freedom to go trough the game by infiltrating. If I infiltrated my way trough Baldur's Gate, I would quite simply not be able to defeat the final boss. You lock players to kill as much as possible, you take choice away from them.

c) 'Balance' exists to allow players to have fun. As you go trough the game, it's both increasingly more challenging to sneak past obstacles as it is to kill them. (that's the idea anyway) If you give players twice as much power for doing both, the game will become extremely boring very quickly. If you add a third reward for talking, it'll become even more ridiculous.

d) XP exists as an incentive to play the game as it was intended by the developers. If developers want players to find ways around killing, rewarding it makes no sense. If developers want to reward roleplaying, which is a big deal for Obsidian, they will reward doing that, not killing. If you want a game which focuses on minmaxing and battling your way trough dungeons, Pillars of Eternity is not it.

e) You punish players by not giving them something they would have gotten otherwise. By rewarding talking your way trough an issue and then rewarding them again for killing everything, you would punish players for roleplaying and doing anything else but that. However, when you don't reward players for doing all of those things, you don't punish them - they won't lose anything in case of both talking trough a problem and then killing everything, they just won't gain anything either (which is described as lack of incentive as opposed to punishment)

Edited by Fenixp
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Mate there is not a single word on my post where I claimed that magic should not be "epic". What I said is that if magic becomes powerfull this will result in players loosing interest in other classes(and that's bad for a game) and most importantly powerfull magic as I said earlier must take it's toll on the caster and the world alike so feel free to implement it but you must pay for it and I believe that's one of the "epic" aspects of magic to begin with after all nothing comes for free.

 

Magic can be "epic" however "epic" magic cannot in my opinion be available to any spellcaster exactly because it's supposed to be so epic. So while the lore of magic can be enriched and should be enriched in PoE by a lot no really a lot, magic practitioners on the other hand which consists of the average player character should be kept at a medium leash with a promise of some epicness in the very high end of the spectrum... Again if you read my previous post carefully you'll realize what I truly mean I even suggested a few ways to make magic more interesting and a bit close to how I felt about it in the dnd system, some metamagic feats or perhaps spell interactions would be interesting and might add some flavor because quite frankly to me as well, after having played wizard as main several times... magic the way it's implemented so far is a bit boring if not a bit wow-ish or dota-ish in an obviously bad way but again this is not a trivial matter and after all the devs got to do what is best for the overall gaming experience there is always a compromise to be made.

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Because one does not exclude the other. I believe both characters (players) should have the freedom of choice to work their way throughout the game by doing one or the other or both methods (killing or infiltrating).

Nothing's stopping you from doing that.

 

What I'm proposing, is to allow someone to do BOTH and get a higher reward for spending the time to work his way across the game in such depth.

Why?


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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The first thing I noticed, is that "magic" in general is very dispappointing. For someone who played "Dungeon Master" in the 80's and later "Eye of the Beholder" series and other RPG games, the PoE really makes me feel like the makers of the game dislike magic or for some reason decided to "down play" magic in this game a bit too much. That was my greatest disappointment.

 

 

I've also played those games, and other similar Dungeon Crawler RPG's: Shadow of Yserbius, Stonekeep, Legend of Grimrock. Not all of these games give magic a huge edge; Stonekeep and Grimrock come to mind, where Magic is a great compliment to the game but it is "downplayed" and can easily be ignored.

 

Other non-dungeon crawler games that are popular have taken the same approach, such as the Wizardry series - in particular, Wizardry 8. Where magic is critical to help deal with buffs/debuffs and negating bad ailments. But again, it can be ignored and you can still be successful.

 

RPGs like DM where Magic is overly critical to success tend to tip the balance in a way that doesn't seem to have a place in modern RPG's. The idea of "use magic or your gimp" isn't really accepted anymore, so magic works best as a utility in many RPG's, where only the highest level spells can wreak havok. Did you ever play the first Diablo game? It was all fair n balanced up until the mage acquired a "Staff of the Apocalypse" after which players wondered why the other two classes exist in the first place lol

 

Typically if you want magic heavy gaming, you have to seek out a game that specifically delivers that as its niche.

Edited by Zenbane

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Had to comment just to say magic is not that great in Eye of the Beholder, with the last boss of EOB2 at least being literally immune to all forms. High level magic was "cool" though, I'll give you that :).

 

Grimrock is about your sidestepping skills really as are all of those games. Still amazing like...

Edited by ComplyOrDie

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Had to comment just to say magic is not that great in Eye of the Beholder, with the last boss of EOB2 at least being literally immune to all forms. High level magic was "cool" though, I'll give you that :).

 

Grimrock is about your sidestepping skills really as are all of those games. Still amazing like...

 

True! Anything that combines real-time combat with a 'grid' is doomed to promote "sidestepping" as a primary combat tactic. The game design has to go out of its way to include elements to limit that, which we do not see very often. Speaking of - and a shameless plug - I attempt to do that in a Grimrock 2 Mod I created recently, free download for anyone who owns that game: www.Mystrock.com

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This is my second full run and I'm forced to play fairly slowly, but I've still only about 35% or 40% into the game as I see it.  I don't know for sure.  Anyhow, I just got to some sort of seige that clearly part of the xpac.  lol  I've managed to knock off a couple of groups of baddies, but these guys are real brutes and are tossing around spells to which I have no access.  Let me tell you, I can't convince my bruises and broken bones that magic sucks in this game.  I might be playing my other folks wrong (although I seem to do pretty well in the battles so far), but Aloth is probably the most effective character in my party.  He certainly has the highest damage output.  When he's not knocking someone prone, slowing them down, or otherwise vexing them generally, he's hurling aoe grenades at the bad guys or bringing down fire or lightning.

 

I'm enjoying this game so much right now, I'm not even finished with my hard run and I'm already planning my Path of the Damned run.  Ironically, I recently purchased eye of the beholder as part of a multi-pack and I still think they did a great job with the game.  A little clunky by today's standards, but I'll get to it eventually and play it again.

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I have to say I found mages to easily be some of the most effective characters in the game.  Even without getting into the stacking status effect game (which is critical and they excel at), slicken and fan of flames are extremely effective at the first level.  Fireball and Wall of Flame aren't as ubiquitous, but they're still pretty useful blunt damage dealers.  And Kalakoth's minor blights is a pretty common damage dealer.  That's with the fact that wands are pretty good by themselves.

 

Some of the higher level spells were gamebreaking last time I used them (adragan).  And they do have unmatched access to status effects, to the point that some spells like Fetid Caress make enemies weak against repeated applications of the same spells.  

 

But the Wizard is best when stacking effects so you're consistently getting hits and crits instead of grazes, which makes the whole party much, much stronger.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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