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Musings on smart barbarians (INT and Carnage)


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Overall I think the attribute and class system in Pillars is pretty good at this point. There are a few things that bother me a bit though. One example is the way INT is so crucial for barbarians.

 

Without Carnage, a barbarian is just a kind of a sucky, fragile fighter. Both Accuracy and defences are worse, the only advantage is the x6 health multiplier. Fighters even have comparable self-heals. And if you want Carnage to work, you need INT. If you want to capitalise on it, you need to max INT.

 

So, unlike most other combat classes, there just aren't that many ways to build a barbarian. Max INT, pump MIG, put the rest into to DEX and PER to taste, and don't dump CON so low you'll keel over right away. Then play it has a human fireball.

 

I'm thinking that Carnage shouldn't actually be affected by INT at all. If anything, it should be affected by weapon choice -- bigger weapons (which hit less often) have a larger radius. (Not necessarily weapon reach though, otherwise Tall Grass would be the only reasonable weapon choice for barbs, what with the Prone on Crit and all.)

 

INT would still be highly beneficial as it would determine the duration of Frenzy, Savage Defiance, and others, but it wouldn't be the must-have it is now. It would become possible to dump it and put the points into attack or defence instead, that sort of thing.

 

Thoughts?

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I'm thinking that Carnage shouldn't actually be affected by INT at all. If anything, it should be affected by weapon choice -- bigger weapons (which hit less often) have a larger radius. (Not necessarily weapon reach though, otherwise Tall Grass would be the only reasonable weapon choice for barbs, what with the Prone on Crit and all.)

 

While I believe there should be no mandatory or useless stats for any class, tying carnage to big weapons isn't the way to do it, in my opinion, as it would force barbarians into two-handers.

 

Ideally, if carnage were to be de-coupled from INT, it would be better to link it to levels or to make its range stay constant, perhaps with Talents or class abilities that make it bigger.

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While I believe there should be no mandatory or useless stats for any class, tying carnage to big weapons isn't the way to do it, in my opinion, as it would force barbarians into two-handers.

True, there is that. It would probably require something like a special barbarian talent that lets them hit even faster (or harder) with fast weapons.

 

Ideally, if carnage were to be de-coupled from INT, it would be better to link it to levels or to make its range stay constant, perhaps with Talents or class abilities that make it bigger.

Yep, that would work as well.

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I find it a rather charming quirk of the system.

 

I wouldn't want carnage or frenzy changed to not depend on Intelligence. I like for bonuses/penalties from attributes to consistent, if Int says it increases durations and AoEs then it should affect all durations and AoEs.

I like it how it is right now, Carnage depending on INT.

You say INT would stay important, so you're not gonna dump it, what benefit would there be in ahving it depend on weapon size?

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Int isn''t really more crucial for barbarians than it is for Priests or Wizards though. I'd say actually a bit less than it is for Priests. As a priest most the things you do are area & duration based, while barbarian abilities are area (x)or duration based.

 

I don't feel it's fair to say there aren't different ways to build barbarians. Going for on-hit effects or interrupts (high Dex and Perception) or damage (Might) certainly affects how  you choose your attributes.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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Int isn''t really more crucial for barbarians than it is for Priests or Wizards though. I'd say actually a bit less than it is for Priests. As a priest most the things you do are area & duration based, while barbarian abilities are area (x)or duration based.

That's true, but priests and wizards are kinda expected to be intelligent, and they have a much bigger palette of abilities (=spells) to choose from.

 

But in any case, if you don't feel there's a problem, then I can hardly argue with that, can I now?

Edited by PrimeJunta

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I like it how it is right now, Carnage depending on INT.

You say INT would stay important, so you're not gonna dump it, what benefit would there be in ahving it depend on weapon size?

It would still be beneficial, just not vital. Right now a low-INT barbarian just isn't much good: he's just a second-rate fighter. With that change, you could put the points elsewhere, pick your talents and abiltiies accordingly, and it would still be pretty good, just different.

 

Moving it to weapon size would be more intuitive, as bigger weapons do reach further, and would put it somewhere. An alternative would be to make the AoE fixed of course.

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I like the overall system design but the problem is one shared by Paladins -- Barbarians need ALL their stats at high levels and thus can't specialize effectively. 

 

A weapon size modifier for Carnage AoE might help. I wouldn't suggest eliminating Int's benefit to carnage but it might not be horrible to base the Carnage AoE base value on the weapon size, perhaps with larger areas for two-handed and reach weapons.

 

EDIT vvv ok, I think we're arguing semantics. By "specialize effectively" I meant what you seem to mean by "unable to minmax." vvvv

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy
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I like the overall system design but the problem is one shared by Paladins -- Barbarians need ALL their stats at high levels and thus can't specialize effectively.

That is not true. They are harder to minmax, but can be effective and don't need all of their stats at high levels.

 

A traditional damage dealer Barb needs INT, MIG and PER.

 

One who wants more damage, but plans to hit only disabled foes needs INT, MIG and DEX.

 

One who abuses weapons with on-hit/crit effects and interrupts needs INT, DEX and PER.

 

If you intend to get into harm's way, you need CON and can't dump RES too far, but you don't need to pump either if you play carefully.

 

The only mandatory stat is INT, and there are no full dump Stats, unless you use shod-in-faith and have high Might, in which case you don't need RES anymore. This is closer to the original design goal than most classes.

 

The only problem, which is how much INT is needed, could be fixed by making carnage have a fixed distance. I would rather nit base it on weapon size because that limits barbarians to two-handers.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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Int should not determine all AoEs. Carnage is a perfect example of why. I get they were trying to balance the stats to make them all useful.... but Int being the basis for carnage? wtf? That's just plain old dumb. Period. They should try another avenue with carnage. Or possibly combine it into Frenzy as the base Barb skill at creation and make the range level based and give them a new class ability, possibly something totemic.

Edited by Blades of Vanatar

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Int should not determine all AoEs. Carnage is a perfect example of why. I get they were trying to balance the stats to make them all useful.... but Int being the basis for carnage? wtf? That's just plain old dumb. Period.

Now, this I disagree with it. Combat in RPGs is very, very abstracted. When my barbarian strikes three knights with carnage, I don't see it as he hacking throught all three in a single blow as much as positioning and manouvering in a way he makes three strikes agains three foes in a fluid sucession. A stupid warrior wouldn't be able to analyse the battlefield well enough to pull this of without dying.

 

While making INT the most important stat for Barbs feels weird, and I wouldn't oppose decoupling carnage from INT, it isn't "plain old dumb" and I prefer it to having martial classes being all about MIG, DEX and CON.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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Barbs are all might and rage. Intellectual? Nah.....

Not my fault they choose that name for the class. But nothing stops angry people from being intelligent. Plus, if the only reason Barbs hit many foes at once is because they sweep their weapons REALLY wide, then why can't fighters or paladins or just about anyone do it?

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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Barbs are all might and rage. Intellectual? Nah.....

Not my fault they choose that name for the class. But nothing stops angry people from being intelligent. Plus, if the only reason Barbs hit many foes at once is because they sweep their weapons REALLY wide, then why can't fighters or paladins or just about anyone do it?
I wouldnt put "angry people" and barb rage in the same category. Of course fighters get angry as they are trying kill with a sword. A barbs rage is beyond that. Its what splits them apart. Edited by Blades of Vanatar

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Barbs are all might and rage. Intellectual? Nah.....

Not my fault they choose that name for the class. But nothing stops angry people from being intelligent. Plus, if the only reason Barbs hit many foes at once is because they sweep their weapons REALLY wide, then why can't fighters or paladins or just about anyone do it?
I wouldnt put "angey people" and barb rage in the same category. Of coursw fighters get angry as they are trying kill with a sword. A barbs rage is beyond that. Its what splits them apart.
Then the Barbarians must be really disciplined to keep striking with technique and precision against many people while so angry.

 

EDIT: Plus, being angry won't help you hit more people with your sword.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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What? Its neither. Its overwhelming rage.... plus their accuracy isnt top notch so how would it help?

Now I am unsure what you are talking about. In order to hurt foes effectively, or even hit them at all, you need technique and precision. Brute strenght does not cut it if you have neither.

 

And when you want to do so against many foes, you need a lot of finesse to be able to pull it off. You can just jump into the fray swinging your greatsword blindly, but in that case you would most likely either kill yourself or break your own blade against the hard parts of an enemy's armor.

 

And I don't see how blind, stupid rage would let you pull it off with no discipline or technique. Focused anger, however, can help sometimes.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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I wouldnt put "angry people" and barb rage in the same category. Of course fighters get angry as they are trying kill with a sword. A barbs rage is beyond that. Its what splits them apart.

Many fighters of legend aren't reputed to be angry at all though, and getting angry in a fight can be very dangerous.

 

Consider the Ronda Rousey/Holly Holm match-up. From where I'm at, Rousey looked angry, Holm looked cool and collected, and she won rather handily.

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Well, Conan was smart that was why he was able to adapt so easily he was just uneducated, so it actually makes sense that Intelligence is important for them.  Someone who is too dumb isn't going to be able to learn the skills needed to survive nor adapt to changing situations.  And the smartest who can adapt will go to these strange lands for adventure and a better life.

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I have nothing against high-INT barbarians. It's great they're viable and benefit from the high INT.

 

It just doesn't sit right with me that all Pillars barbarians have to be smart. I'd like it to be possible to play a dumb brutish barbarian effectively as well.

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I wouldnt put "angry people" and barb rage in the same category. Of course fighters get angry as they are trying kill with a sword. A barbs rage is beyond that. Its what splits them apart.

Many fighters of legend aren't reputed to be angry at all though, and getting angry in a fight can be very dangerous.

 

Consider the Ronda Rousey/Holly Holm match-up. From where I'm at, Rousey looked angry, Holm looked cool and collected, and she won rather handily.

 

Rousey is a low INT barbarian. :)

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