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Class balance and Class System review for PoE 2


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Patch 3.03 has just been released and I think PoE class system is in pretty good shape.

But first, I have to define what I call a balanced class system for a party single player CRPG.

 

For me, it is a system where each class is able to fill some roles or some combinations of roles without any class being better at it.

(It's more a general principle than a precise definition.)

 

I think PoE 1 mostly fullfills this objective.

3.03 is probably going to be the last balance patch for PoE 1 and I'm pretty satisfied about Obsidian's job, especially because it was their first try with this system. It might not be perfect but it's pretty ok now.

 

Of course, it could be better. I won't dare complaining about PoE 1 anymore, but I'm eager to review the system once again now that PoE 2 has been confirmed.

 

 

For the class System as a whole, I would only point two possible problems :

 

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Vancian Casters (Wizard/Druid/Priest) are very strong

 

It has been said numerous time on this forum : it's hard for other classes to compare with a Vancian spellcaster unlseashing his/her whole spellbook during a boss fight. It might not be as true for trash fights and early game, but I've often found that the raw power of a party is directly correlated with the number of vancian casters in it.

 

My opinion about how PoE 2 should deal with it :

 

I don't think it worths changing completely the class system (maybe because I'm a bit a CRPG "Tory" :- ), but I think PoE 2 should emphasize the true advantages non-vancian classes currently have over vancians :

- Action economy. Casters have few passives. Non-Vancian should have great passive (like twin arrows, carnage, paladin zealous auras, etc... not to mention Immolation which is a "semi-passive") that enable them have multiple effects on the game at the same time or multiplicate their natural abilities.

- Unlimited ressources. High-level Casters have a huge number ressources, but they are still limited. For example, abilities with cooldown instead of per encounter could be a good idea for martial class. (Chanters and Ciphers - and to a lesser extend, monks - already have unlimited ressources.)

 

Giving Spell-like per rest or per encounter abilities to non-casters (ex: echoing shouts) will never truly give them an edge over vancians. They will always be worse at it than spellcasters. That does not mean these abilities are useless, it only means that the true power of non-casters does not come from there, and Obsidian should keep this in mind for their design.

 

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Priest are very hard to replace

 

In my opinion, priest is very hard to replace in a party : https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/82251-the-priest-problem/

That does not mean that you abolutely need a priest, that priest are fun or that everyone should have a priest in his/her party.

 

It just mean that when you don't have one, you'll usually face following problems :

- Dealing with nastey effects, especially Crowd Control efficiently without "Prayer against X" spells.

- Buffing your party, especially accuracy and defense. Crown and Devotion of the faithful are priceless. Once your priest have pumped up your party enough, you'll feel like playing in easy mode.

 

I think the Devs realized it, as they stopped giving priest party buff after level 6. But even after WM, I think the probelm still exists.

Solution is simple : giving the three other support class (Paladin, Druid and Chanter) party buff (or at least single target buff). I think it was partially done in WM, with chanter buff and druid new support support spell s(even if lvl 7 ones are a bit weak or cumbersome).

So, for me, this point is more a reminder.

 

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Now I'm going to present my thoughts class by class, with a short desciption, and a few words about what I like, what I don't like and what I think could be a good evolution of the class for PoE 2.

 

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Fighter

 

Good old fighter has never been the most original class but this version is quite OK.

They're frontliner, close to unkillable by physical attacks, and constant source of damages.

Their damages output are currently a bit under the shadow of Paladin and Chanter's AoE, but they are still a source of reliable single target DPS.

Fighter is the reliable dude, even if he will rarely be the shinest class.

 

What I Like : No special crush.

 

What I don't like : Buffs that gets overriden by priest party-wide versions.

"Take the hit" basically makes you more vulnerable. That's not how tanking is supposed to work.

 

What could be a good evolution : Fighters are champions. They should be stronger against stronger foes. Confident aim and Triggered Immunity already reflect it, but I think it should be emphasized even more, especially on the offensive side. Foe's defense bypass that would work even against unkillable stuff or maybe accuracy raising when attacking repeatly the same target could be good ideas. "Eventually, the hero will win the day."

 

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Monk

 

Monks are basically an alternate version of fighter, less reliable but with more potential. They fill the same role in a party, as frontliner with martial DPS.

I like their original design, even if some can find it counter-intuitive.

Under the right circonstance (which implies being in a difficult battel), they will have awesome single target DPS, recursive Crowd Control and crazy DR.

Never underestimate a monk : I've found them to be among the most dangerous foes (Abbey of the fallen moon is a good exemple).

 

What I like : The very idea of wounds. It's an original ressource and gameplay.

 

What I don't like : Fists doing only Crush damages. It's not that bad as you can use weapons. But there should be a talent or ability (a modal maybe) enabling them to use other damage type (maybe with other bonus effects).

 

What could be agood evolution : Different ways of using the wound mechanic apart spending them (like stacking up for Turning and Iron wheel) or different ways of generating them (some risk&reward stuff).

 

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Barbarian

 

Barbarian is about AoE. High level Chanters and Paladin can do this too, but they won't make such great use of special weapons, especially with Crowd Control effects, and interrupts.

And they have Heart of Fury which is probably the deadliest AoE spike when used well.

They also make surprisingly decent tanks.

 

What I like : Positioning for heart of fury. Playing a Barbarian has never been so tactical.

 

What I don't like : A bit too much spell-like abilities. Barbarian shouldn't try to be weak wizard debuffers.

 

What could be a good evolution : More abilities about interrupts. It has good synergy with barbarian current abilities, and could be another card in their deck for single target fights. I can easily imagine barbarian being so fierce that their combat style disturb their foes. Barbarian current abilities are more about debuff than Hard CC, and I believe Interrupt to be in line with this route.

 

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Paladin

 

Since the beginning of RPG history, paladin has been looking for his own role outside of being a Fighter/Cleric compromise. It is also the case in PoE, and we all remember how weak they were in 1.0. However, they have been buffed since this time.

Best single target healer, a couple of very good passive support, excellent tank, and a few offensive abilities, paladin is a bit a mix of everything. Very solid class overall now.

Still, players on various forums seem to want a bit more martial power, and I wish they had a bit more unique traits.

Their lore in PoE is excellent by the way.

 

What I like : Immolation, Flame of Devotion, Sworn ennemy. That really sounds nothing but paladin.

 

What I don't like : Reinforcing exhortation sounds a bit too much like Priest equivalent. Healing chain is just a 1/encounter lvl ~5 priest spell. If Paladin is supposed to follow the "half-priest" route, could he avoid getting supbar and less varied priest abilities ?

 

What could be a good evolution : More martial powers. That's what players are praying for. PoE 1 paladin is okay, but now it's time to actually smite Evil/Benevolent/Stoic. Paladin should follow the FoD/Sworn ennemy route for PoE 2 (spike DPS martial abilities, and focus on a particular hated target.)

A bit more unique order traits for orders would be awesome too.

 

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Rogue

 

Rogue is meant top single target DPS. And most of the time, they are.

Except that twinned arrow ranger & pet are very close.

Except that shifted druid temporarily more or less equals them.

Basically, they are only a short head above their competitors, and contrary to them they have a single card in their deck.

Out of Boeroer's Sorcerer's apprentice build taking advantages of Deathblows with scrolls (https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/86156-class-build-the-sorcerers-apprentice-twisted-sneaky-dps-scroll-user/), there is not much more you can do with a Rogue.

Rogues are certainly not bad but they should be given a bit more love.

 

What I like : Sneak attack (and deathblow) is an interesting mechanic. It require a bit of micromanagement, but it is playable.

 

What I don't like : The tricky part of the old CRPG rogue is not so well implemented. Backstab and invisibility are circonstancial and that's ok, but they are also not that much rewarding.

 

What could be a good evolution : More invibility. More deadly tricks. More "Risk&Reward" extra DPS. More dirty things to win against all odds. Rogue is not supposed to be a straightforward DPS.

 

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Ranger

 

Ranger and his/her pet !

Some don't like the pet, but it's what make Ranger an unique class. You have 2 characters for the price of 1, which make them basically the best "summoners".

They also have lots of interesting ranged possibility, especially driving flight, and nice recursive crowd control effects with their stunning shots.

Their single target DPS is close from rogue's due to Twin arrows, and they can do it from distance.

A really reliable and complete martial class.

 

What I like : A specialized ranged class that can be build efficiently for melee : you loose a few ranged tricks, but this build clearly has its use. That a very balanced design in my opinion.

 

What I don't like : Some pets (bear and lion) have lower base attack speed, with no additional bonus (all pets get exactly 1 special, none seems much better to compensate for 33% less DPS). Check this thread. https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/86684-mechanics-the-big-attack-speed-conundrum/

I guess it is not that weel known by casual gamers but lion and bear are actually a bit gimped.

 

What could be a good evolution : More love for arbalests and crossbows. Even more love for gunpowder ! Nothing special, I find this class really fitting in its current design.

 

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Cipher

 

"I'm a new player, I want an awesome class who can cast spells and fight. What do you advise me ?

- Cipher"

 

Cipher is PoE's soul, and they can drink yours by slapping your face.

Everyone loves cipher. Cipher is a success.

Reliable source of DPS, from range or melee, excellent crowd control (probably even better than wizard against single target) and a few endgame abilities that can turn the tides of a battle (defensive mindweb).

Their ressources are limited and they are quite fragile, so they are not even overpowered (well... in 3.03 at least.)

Good job, Obsidian.

 

What I like : Fast mind control. Priceless. It really has an edge over wizard's AoE CC. Mindweb deserves a special mention as a strange but terribly efficient spell.

 

What I don't like : Sometimes useless in Boss Battle. Cipher could get a talent to (slowly) regenerate their focus when they face hard-to-hit foes. Maybe a high level one. Not necessarily a primary source of focus, just a mitigation for when winter comes.

 

What could be a good evolution : Possession. I want to be like Thaos.

 

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Chanter

 

The most ambitious class design in PoE. Two kind of spells, passive and active. And a standard position on the frontline rarely seen for casters.

Chanters have spells with complicated name that you'll have trouble to remember.

So you'll end up using mostly the same ones.

Have you ever tried Dragon Trashed ? If yes, you should know that chanter can be build as the most efficient and convenient AoE damage dealer (I had 2 chanters in my last party. They were my top #1 and #2 killers, )

And that's the problem. They are supposed to be versatile, but their spellbook is so weirdly balanced that you'll end up using Dragon Trashed (and a few others) most of the time

 

Don't get me wrong. Chanter is an awesome idea. It is the first class I played in the game because they looked so cool and fresh.

Their implementation is however a bit lacking, for following reasons :

- Circonstancial spells are ok, but they should have more raw power. What's the point of +10 Def against disengagement, when you'll get +10 Def at next level... The anti-beast song is however excellent.

- Protection spells are not enough straight forward. Take the example of the Invocation against paralysis : what you'll need usually is to have it from the beginning of the fight. Getting it after 15s+ is worthless. So you'll end up using scrolls or priest. Protection chant against mind-control is okayish, but again, for important battle, you'll want immunity.

- Invocation are slow. Less than before brisk limitation, but still. It's a shame you can't use half of your abilities at least 1 per battle... (also because Dragon Trashed will liquify most stuff before this point)

- Their buff are not so good compared to priest one's. (Fire lash chant is quite good)

 

Because of the mere awesomeness of Dragon Trashed (and a few other utilities), chanter is currently a balanced class compared to others. But in my opinion, their abilities need a bit of rework.

 

What I like : Two kind of spells ! Casters with armors ! So many cool spells from body explosion to summons and paralysis cones.

 

What I don't like : Weird protection spells, weak buff compared to spells. Weird ability balance overall.

 

What could be a good evolution : Chanter lacks talent. Chanter rarely casts invocation. How to solve both ? Create a few (high level ?) talents enabling casting invocation a bit more often.

Like a "wutherstrike" generating Phrases with a full attack (tribute pun intended) :-

 

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Priest

 

Extremely versatile caster. Strongest support, strongest buffers, best AoE healer and even strong AoE damage dealer.

It's hard to argue against priest being good.

Maybe even a bit too strong as buffers.

I've complained a lot on priest threat upon balance in this thread, but that does not mean I don't like the class.

Priest ar OK as they are. Maybe just a little too much OK.

 

What I like : The airstrike you get at level 13 : Fire storm. It's unique because it's big.

 

What I don't like : Radiance and Interdiction are just additional "spells". I would have enjoyed other mechanics (passive, modal, aura, etc...).

 

What could be a good evolution : Having a priest of each of the 11 gods (or even "atheist/agnostic priests" to please everyone) would be nice. And a few more deity-specific spells too.

Priest just needs a bit more fluff.

 

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Wizard

 

Wizard are the best AoE controller, crazy AoE damage dealers, "not fair" self buffer.

You can even make them into tanks.

You can do everything with a wizard, maybe not everything at once, but that's their only (little) weakness.

Their memorization mechanic gives them a bit of CRPG traditionalist fluff. I like this.

 

What I like : Summoning Citzal lance. Charge ! Wall of many colors is fun and potent too.

 

What I don't like : No special complaint.

 

What could be a good evolution : Everyone remembers the old "meta-magic" spells like time stop, contingency, spell sequencer. I hope that high level spells could be of this transcending nature, rather than more multi-fireball.

Enabling creation of your own unique spells, even if it's complicated to implement and balance, could be one of the nicest possible feature for a wizard.

 

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Druid

 

Nature is beautiful. Nature is deadly.

That's a good summary for druids in PoE.

 

Druid used to be even better at damage dealing than wizard before WM. Oddly, their level 7 and 8 spells have evolved for more summons, supports and spellswordiness (avenging storm). And except avenging storm, these spells are weird, and not so efficient.

On the opposite, spiritshift has become far stronger. So now, druids are casters who can bash trash with an incredible level of efficiency.

Druids are often said to be the weakest of the 3 vancian casters. Less good than wizard at CC and AoE damages. Less good than priest at support and heal. But Druid are still an excellent compromis with a few tricks of their own, noticeably the deadly Relentless storm, the reason why circling a druid is pointless.

And honnestly, I'm fond of their lore, esthetic and... bashing abilities.

 

What I like : Venombloom. Storm spells. Bugs. Stoning. Spells for the 4 seasons.

All these spells sounds so druidic, and they are efficient and original at the same time !

 

What I don't like : Level 7 spells : why so much hate ? Why Nature's bounty has to be so complicated tu use, why not just a direct buff ?

And random summon are really annoying to use (this one is also applicable to lvl 2, 4, 6 blights).

 

What could be a good evolution : More support spells, especially buff, to avoid priest being too necessary in a party. Spellswords spell like avenging stom with original mechanics are fun too.

 

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(As a final note, I would personally appreciate more kits, more "multiclass" options, more specialization etc... but I think it's another debate and there have been other threads about this like this one :

https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/84232-multiclassing-ideas/

So I won't discuss it here.)

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Awesome post.

 

BTW, I think one of the problems with Chanters is that they rarely do much other than stand there buffing or doing damage passively.

 

As a variation of your "wutherstrike", I think it would be interesting if chanters in Poe2 could choose between Brisk Recitation or a hypothetical hability I am calling "Cadence of Blows", which removed a small amount of (non-linger) remaining duration from their cuurrent chant every time the Chanter hits a foe.

 

I mean, it gives more variety, makes DEX less of a dump stat and unlike ciphers, it works against strong targets too. Sounds nice.

 

ps: everyone, feel free to ignore my rambling above. It is just sonething that has been on my head for a while.

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I'd like PoE2 to take the big leap and drop all Vancian casters. There is just no way to balance them when you can rest as you want. If you limit rest too much you force people to rest every chance they get. If you don't limit rest people can use every spell every fight and trivialize everything. It does not add strategic resource management it merely checks to see what level of drudgery you are willing to endure in order to have limitless power.

 

PoE was limited by being beholden to Backers who wanted Baldurs Gate and god mode Gandalph. The next game does not have to follow the same balance trap as all games with Vancian casters have.

 

Chanters and Ciphers use unique resources based on time and damage dealt with the time aspect of Chanters further affected by the benefit received from the chants being used, low level chants getting faster phrases. Both of these can be balanced for encounters easily. If Ciphers are getting too much or too little focus that can be adjusted with a tweak of a few integers.

 

Maybe have Wizards (or whatever they will be called) generate something like focus which fuels their spells by casting spells or by casting combinations of spells. cast grease and then set it ablaze, cast water and then freeze it into ice, cast water and then electrify it.

 

Druids could generate focus by shapeshifting. The more damage they do the more in tune with nature they are and the more they can unleash.

 

I'm not sure, but then I'm not a game designer. Turn JE Sawyer loose on this without having his hands tied behind his back with needing Vancian casters to satisfy backers and we'll all be impressed. He did a great job with Monks, Ciphers and Chanters, lets give him a chance with replacing the Vancian casters.

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I agree that the whole per encounter / per rest distinction is probably the biggest issue to address. As is, having to rest is indeed too low a cost for it, and easily paid. This applies primarily to the casters of course, but applies to per rest abilities and items generally. One obvious and I think promising direction to take it in would be to turn it into a cool-down system. Rather than regenerating after rest abilities and items would regenerate after a set amount of time; as in active playing time, not in-game time, so it would incur a genuine cost.

 

A big advantage would be that it is a general system that applies not just to the caster but to everything, and it gives a great deal of flexibility in terms of balancing because you can change the cooldown durations and number of uses before cooldown in a graded manner. It would also make sense to change the per encounter abilities into short term (within encounter) cooldown abilities as well. This would also address the issue of such abilities scaling more nicely with very long encounters.

 

I also agree that it is time to innovate more in class design in this sense, and that PoE2 would be a very good time to do it. I would be much interested in tapping into new ways of converting resources into abilities (like the Chanters, Ciphers and Monks do now), especially the Priest class seems thematically a very viable class to do something with in this regard, but I would also like them to use something like a cooldown system to build on the more classical design of time and limited availability as a resource. With a basic cooldown system in place, it would obviously also become possible to have different ways in which it is affect for different classes / ability types. The cooldown needn't be a constant value, for Wizards we might for example have that it is affected by the number of spells recently cast; eg. unleashing a whole barrage of spells in a single combat leaves the Wizard so exhausted that it will longer to regenerate any of them than had he just cast a spell or two. Items, stats, etc. could also be made to affect cooldown duration in a meaningful way.

 

A further step might be to have a class (the Wizard itself, or maybe a new one) do away with specific more directly use a more explicit mana-like resource that replenishes over time like a cooldown, doing away with the fixed number of available spells per level altogether. More powerful spells would obviously cost more (preferably non-linearly), and it might be interesting to actually be able to cast every spell at different levels of power and associated mana cost , perhaps simply doing away with the whole spell-level altogether. That is, you could cast a tiny fireball with small damage and small radius but very little cost, up to giant conflagration of flame that fills the whole screen but largely drains your mana resource. This would give the Wizard(-type character) a lot of strategic flexibility, and would also remove the issue of getting stuck with low-level spells that get useless later in the game. Would also be nice to be able to cast all (or maybe just some) spells basically for free at a lowest power level, around the level of a regular auto-attack (maybe just make it possible to tie specific spells as auto-attack to an implement; better implements/enchantments would then boost the spell effect cast through it), this would give them something to contribute to combat without draining their mana resource.

 

With regard to multi-classing and such, I do hope they stay away from that (and dual-classing even more so). It's a nightmare to balance properly and it rather takes away from the uniqueness of the individual classes. And given that there is already plenty of room for all sorts of different builds within classes, it doesn't seem that necessary anyway. I would definitely like to see more kits and class specializations (especially specialist mages), but then they should be genuine kits. Not just having different kits give access to some unique talents and a stat boost or something, but restrictions and penalties as well. If my character is a wizard specializing as a pyromancer, he should be very good at setting things on fire in new and interesting ways but this should come at the cost of not being as good in other wizardly areas; that, in a general sense, is what specialization does, after all. This would give them much more flavour, and makes it a genuine choice between choosing a specialist kit or opting for a generalist wizard (or whatever) instead. I'd also like to see in particular some fighter kits or specialization paths relating to weapon styles; they are the pure martial class after all, so it would be nice to be able to specialize them in dual wielding or two-handed weapons (or specific types of weapon) significantly beyond what other classes can do. 

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I agree that the whole per encounter / per rest distinction is probably the biggest issue to address. As is, having to rest is indeed too low a cost for it, and easily paid. This applies primarily to the casters of course, but applies to per rest abilities and items generally. One obvious and I think promising direction to take it in would be to turn it into a cool-down system. Rather than regenerating after rest abilities and items would regenerate after a set amount of time; as in active playing time, not in-game time, so it would incur a genuine cost.

 

A big advantage would be that it is a general system that applies not just to the caster but to everything, and it gives a great deal of flexibility in terms of balancing because you can change the cooldown durations and number of uses before cooldown in a graded manner. It would also make sense to change the per encounter abilities into short term (within encounter) cooldown abilities as well. This would also address the issue of such abilities scaling more nicely with very long encounters.

 

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I'm not sure I would like per Rest to be removed.
 
Partly because I'm conservative and I don't specially wish a game I like to be completely changed for PoE2.
Partly because changing it would require lots of Time & Effort & Cost from the devs. Time & Effort & Cost that they could use for other purposes, like providing more content.
I also like having per tier spell, so caster don't have a single pool of ressource. That helps casting diverse spells. 
And I like having to manage spells as a (semi-)finite ressources, as for consumables.
 
 
Apart for a few abilities, per Rest problem is mostly about vancian casters being very strong when abusing rest.
So I would compensate by letting martial class access game-changing unique features. 
And I would introduce cooldown for all martial class. And that would be quite ok, at least for me.
 
 
But that's just me, and changing the whole per rest system could also be the way to go  :devil:
 
 
By the way, if Cooldown were introduced (which would be nice anyway), I would make Resolve slightly decrease cooldowns (currently this stat is a bit supbar).
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I think that, in terms of the whole per rest argument, things like the Stalwart Village encounter in WM part I did a good job - you literally couldn't rest, and so to an extent had to think carefully. While it might be nice to increase the cost of resting, peppering the narrative with these kind of encounters would also help.

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I'm a fan of the current implementation, albeit I'd prefer less Vancian-styled casters purely so that people who do not enjoy the system have more choice, and eliminate per rest abilities for all other classes. Making rests more limited than the current soft limit could easily lead to dead man walking situations, which are incredibly frustrating and can ruin playtrough.

 

Oh, and as far as I'm concerned, eliminating cooldowns entirely would be the way to go. What a lazy approach to balance.

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I'm going to go by class, like you did.  Great post by the way:

 

Fighter:

I think this class is mostly fine where it stands.  I could see an evolution where they started learning special strikes they would automatically use after so many hits, but that's unnecessary.

 

Monk:

It's worth pointing out that while fists do crush damage, they enchant faster than you can get similar weapons without metagaming and do a **** ton of damage.  If you meet a crush immune enemy, just switch to a different weapon set.

 

I wish they had an option to go back to the wound system as originally conceived.  

 

Also, they should add a couple feats for unarmored monks.  It is trope, but it never feels viable on PotD; these feats would of course have an opportunity cost and reward of increased speed.

 

Barbarian:

Great take on Barbarian.  I would add that their low accuracy is a little too punishing on higher difficulties; maybe carnage as a modal that activates with other modals.

 

Also, it seems bizarre that they're strongly encouraged by mechanics to build high health pools, but then fighters are the one with constant endurance.  Maybe they could do an ability that gives them endurance regen if they have low armor (thus also affirming trope).

 

Finally, I would love to see them put in Baldur's Gate uncontrollable rages as an optional power.  Not only does it fit trope, but it's a great mechanic that has ties to real life.

 

Paladin:

I'm very happy with paladins as they are.  Maybe a special move at higher levels per each paladin order.  Imagine Bleakwalkers getting an execution ability, or Wayfarers getting a passive healing aura.  I want to see more Paladin orders in the story (also, why weren't Crucible Knights a paladin order?).

 

Rogue:  

In my tons of playthroughs I've never enjoyed the Rogue, so my knowledge is limited.  Too risky, special abilities aren't that great.  I would add some more evasion type abilities.

 

Ranger:

It seems silly to play a non-bow ranger after WM came out.  The gunpowder abilities suck in comparison to Twin Arrows.

 

Cipher:

Great take on Cipher.  Some levels seem less useful than others, but all in all a great class.

 

Chanter:

The chanter is a strange class, and it feels like people love it or hate it.  I would like to see Chanters get the ability to have two active buffs generated at the same time, even with shorter duration or less power.  I haven't played since they rebalanced the summons.  I do not think chanters lack power though.  Even without the dragon thrashed there are tons of good buffs.

 

I would like to see the song mechanic slightly reworked so that it makes sense as an actual song, maybe requiring various lyrics as part of the refrain, and requiring variations in the chant.  Right now it's not uncommon to have chanters just chanting the dragon slashed over again.

 

Priest:

I mostly agree, especially about the increased abilities and priests of all the gods.  Hylean priests could get bird swarm.

 

Wizard:

Wizards are about where they should be; slightly OP, but not enough to be necessary for each party.  I appreciate their build variety.

 

Druids:

Druids are pretty great, but they need some more high level burst spells.  I would also love to see a swarm summon: imagine summoning 14 xaurips into a boss fight.

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I don't really see how you can deal with this (which I don't really think is much of a problem in PoE to be honest, Chanters and Ciphers are right up there with the Vancians, IMO slightly below wizards and priests but slightly above druids):

 

Vancian Casters (Wizard/Druid/Priest) are very strong

 

It has been said numerous time on this forum : it's hard for other classes to compare with a Vancian spellcaster unlseashing his/her whole spellbook during a boss fight. It might not be as true for trash fights and early game, but I've often found that the raw power of a party is directly correlated with the number of vancian casters in it.

 

while also doing this:

 

 

What could be a good evolution : Everyone remembers the old "meta-magic" spells like time stop, contingency, spell sequencer. I hope that high level spells could be of this transcending nature, rather than more multi-fireball.

 

Yeah. I remember those spells. I remember how stupidly overpowered they were and how mages and sorcerers were on a completely different playing field than other classes toward the end of BG2 and through ToB.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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With regard to multi-classing and such, I do hope they stay away from that (and dual-classing even more so).

Josh Sawyer has actually said multiple times that they were going to try and design a multi-classing system for PoE 2. No idea what his starting principles could be.

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I don't really see how you can deal with this (which I don't really think is much of a problem in PoE to be honest, Chanters and Ciphers are right up there with the Vancians, IMO slightly below wizards and priests but slightly above druids):

 

Vancian Casters (Wizard/Druid/Priest) are very strong

 

It has been said numerous time on this forum : it's hard for other classes to compare with a Vancian spellcaster unlseashing his/her whole spellbook during a boss fight. It might not be as true for trash fights and early game, but I've often found that the raw power of a party is directly correlated with the number of vancian casters in it.

 

while also doing this:

 

 

What could be a good evolution : Everyone remembers the old "meta-magic" spells like time stop, contingency, spell sequencer. I hope that high level spells could be of this transcending nature, rather than more multi-fireball.

 

Yeah. I remember those spells. I remember how stupidly overpowered they were and how mages and sorcerers were on a completely different playing field than other classes toward the end of BG2 and through ToB.

 

You may be right about that.

Is is a bit contradictory, my nostlagia about meta-spells in BG2 is cotradictory with my obsession for balance.

 

Maybe by limitating it to the entire tier 10 ? (based on the assumption max level would be 20) 

Thus it would be somehow balanced by the fact that wizard won't get any other ulimate abilities.

 

Anyway, it would be really hard to balance, I agree.

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I hate hate hate Vancian spellcasting on rest. Doing it on a per-encounter basis with a lower total number of spells is fine. There's just no way to balance per-rest Vancian spellcasters in a boss fight without making them trash in other encounters, and power for inconvenience (which is how Vancian spellcasting interacts with resting) is just awful design and always has been. Nostalgia shouldn't be sufficient justification for keeping mechanics like this.

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I hate hate hate Vancian spellcasting on rest. Doing it on a per-encounter basis with a lower total number of spells is fine. There's just no way to balance per-rest Vancian spellcasters in a boss fight without making them trash in other encounters, and power for inconvenience (which is how Vancian spellcasting interacts with resting) is just awful design and always has been. Nostalgia shouldn't be sufficient justification for keeping mechanics like this.

 

This point would deserve its own thread.

We should create a poll about that.

 

What about simply replacing 4 per rest by 1 per encounter for example ?

By keeping the talent giving 1 extra spell (now per encounter) for low level tier, I guess it would be close from ok.

(maybe adjusting the required level for these talents would be necessary too)

 

Another solution would be to make it an option like expert mode. Not sure the Devs could afford balancing encounter for both systems, so it would require one of the option to be the "official one".

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Hmm, just one per encounter would rather undermine the flexibility of the classes, I think. Ultimately it would probably be better to move all casting into the same framework of spells powered by some quantified resource, like Chanters, Ciphers and Monks already have. This gives a nice streamlined design overall, and offers lot of options to have different classes accumulate their resource in different ways, as well as allowing for more interaction in general; ie. because it is a numeric value rather than 'X per rest', both the number and the accumulation rate can be made to be affected much more easily by other effects. To some extent this is done already with Focus Gain for Ciphers, but there's a lot more that could be done with that. For example, Mages might have Mana as their resource (which for example just accumulates over time during combat), and have eg. a Necromancer specialisation which can more cheaply cast Necromancy-type spells (but pays more for other spells) which gets extra mana everytime he kills an enemy with such a spell. And I also still like the notion of Mages being able to cast the same spell at different power levels, which resource-based casting would also allow, but that's a separate question.

 

More generally though, I do thing the entire per rest and per encounter system needs to be revised, also in relation to Health. Even if the spellcasting is changed, everything else that works per rest is still faced with the issue that resting is essentially too cheap. You'd still get the situation that there is essentially no cost to spamming big bosses with Figurine summons for example. Something like a longer-term cooldown would work better for those types of abilities.

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Hmm, just one per encounter would rather undermine the flexibility of the classes, I think. Ultimately it would probably be better to move all casting into the same framework of spells powered by some quantified resource, like Chanters, Ciphers and Monks already have. This gives a nice streamlined design overall, and offers lot of options to have different classes accumulate their resource in different ways, as well as allowing for more interaction in general; ie. because it is a numeric value rather than 'X per rest', both the number and the accumulation rate can be made to be affected much more easily by other effects. To some extent this is done already with Focus Gain for Ciphers, but there's a lot more that could be done with that. For example, Mages might have Mana as their resource (which for example just accumulates over time during combat), and have eg. a Necromancer specialisation which can more cheaply cast Necromancy-type spells (but pays more for other spells) which gets extra mana everytime he kills an enemy with such a spell. And I also still like the notion of Mages being able to cast the same spell at different power levels, which resource-based casting would also allow, but that's a separate question.

 

More generally though, I do thing the entire per rest and per encounter system needs to be revised, also in relation to Health. Even if the spellcasting is changed, everything else that works per rest is still faced with the issue that resting is essentially too cheap. You'd still get the situation that there is essentially no cost to spamming big bosses with Figurine summons for example. Something like a longer-term cooldown would work better for those types of abilities.

 

I like the current rest system.  For me, it's an an improvement on the IE style that encourages you to go further on limited abilities without being too different, which is all I wanted.

 

However, moving spell casters to the same resource is just not a good idea.  One of the greatest triumphs of the current system is that each class feels and plays differently.  Characters really only have three axes of variation: melee vs. ranged; ability resource management; and effects of abilities (damage, healing, status effects).  If you remove the ability resource management axis, several classes would feel the effect.

 

Fighters vs. Monks:  Their largest effective difference is wounds.

Wizard vs. Cypher:  Their largest difference is focus.  Wizards get confusion mechanics after all.

Chanters vs. paladins:  They both are tanky, aura buffers.  The largest difference is how chanters build and use power.

 

Mana as a solution particularly leaves something to be desired, because in the vast majority of mana systems you either don't use it or you unload the exact same spells at the start of major fights and then potion up.  At least spell levels force characters to go up and down spell levels, reacting more to longer fights.  I believe this even though I do like the idea of some class gaining resources from deaths.

 

If the devs want to improve the game they should capitalize on the past success of unique classes and now focus on making classes more unique. 

  • What if druids had a bunch of powerful spells, but certain spells were empowered based on environment?  That would make them feel like more than also ran mages with a bit of tank.
  • What if barbarians had rages so strong they went neutral and attacked anyone near them, but gained an astonishing +8 to might and con?
  • What if priest spells varied based on deity?  Imagine casting Avatar and getting an AoE flaming burst on guns if you worship magran, or a big stunning hammer with Abydon?
  • What if Chanters had lyrics that worked together, or a bonus for lines that rhymed?
  • What if mage grimoires could only have two slots per level, and mages had to change grimoires (more quickly than now) to use different spells?  Is the opportunity cost of switching grimoires worth the adaptive bonus?  What if in this framework, metamagic ate three memorization slots (the original spell, the metamagic, and the final result)?  Metamagic would still be powerful, but comes at a pretty high cost.
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Hmm, just one per encounter would rather undermine the flexibility of the classes, I think. Ultimately it would probably be better to move all casting into the same framework of spells powered by some quantified resource, like Chanters, Ciphers and Monks already have. This gives a nice streamlined design overall, and offers lot of options to have different classes accumulate their resource in different ways, as well as allowing for more interaction in general; ie. because it is a numeric value rather than 'X per rest', both the number and the accumulation rate can be made to be affected much more easily by other effects. To some extent this is done already with Focus Gain for Ciphers, but there's a lot more that could be done with that. For example, Mages might have Mana as their resource (which for example just accumulates over time during combat), and have eg. a Necromancer specialisation which can more cheaply cast Necromancy-type spells (but pays more for other spells) which gets extra mana everytime he kills an enemy with such a spell. And I also still like the notion of Mages being able to cast the same spell at different power levels, which resource-based casting would also allow, but that's a separate question.

 

More generally though, I do thing the entire per rest and per encounter system needs to be revised, also in relation to Health. Even if the spellcasting is changed, everything else that works per rest is still faced with the issue that resting is essentially too cheap. You'd still get the situation that there is essentially no cost to spamming big bosses with Figurine summons for example. Something like a longer-term cooldown would work better for those types of abilities.

 

I like the current rest system.  For me, it's an an improvement on the IE style that encourages you to go further on limited abilities without being too different, which is all I wanted.

 

However, moving spell casters to the same resource is just not a good idea.  One of the greatest triumphs of the current system is that each class feels and plays differently.  Characters really only have three axes of variation: melee vs. ranged; ability resource management; and effects of abilities (damage, healing, status effects).  If you remove the ability resource management axis, several classes would feel the effect.

 

Fighters vs. Monks:  Their largest effective difference is wounds.

Wizard vs. Cypher:  Their largest difference is focus.  Wizards get confusion mechanics after all.

Chanters vs. paladins:  They both are tanky, aura buffers.  The largest difference is how chanters build and use power.

 

Mana as a solution particularly leaves something to be desired, because in the vast majority of mana systems you either don't use it or you unload the exact same spells at the start of major fights and then potion up.  At least spell levels force characters to go up and down spell levels, reacting more to longer fights.  I believe this even though I do like the idea of some class gaining resources from deaths.

 

If the devs want to improve the game they should capitalize on the past success of unique classes and now focus on making classes more unique. 

  •  

 

 

I partially agree with both of you.

 

I agree that limitating each spell level would really limit the versatility of the caster class is true. This means no combo between spells of the same level.

However, I would not COMPLETELY limit versatility as they would be still able to choose from any spells of the tier which is a lot ore versatile than any of the martial class.

 

I'm far less enthusiastic about having a common pool of ressources, because having ressources per tier is what cause qualitative difference between Vancians and Cipher/Chanter/Monk. I like Vancian to have a kind of "drawback". 

I don't want a game like Diablo 3 where all classes are supposed to have unique ressources, but all ressources ends up sounding more or less the same.

And honnestly, mana have been seen a thousand times in other games.

 

Eventually, I don't want the devs to spend too much time in changing Vancians ressource management, because it would require work on their whole spell list to fir their new ressource. It almost mean restarting class design from scratch.

That's why I was suggesting 4 per Rest -> 1 per encounter. Otherwise, I don't see Obsidian risking a change. However, I can see it's not an ideal solution. 

 

 

 

  • What if druids had a bunch of powerful spells, but certain spells were empowered based on environment?  That would make them feel like more than also ran mages with a bit of tank.
  • What if barbarians had rages so strong they went neutral and attacked anyone near them, but gained an astonishing +8 to might and con?
  • What if priest spells varied based on deity?  Imagine casting Avatar and getting an AoE flaming burst on guns if you worship magran, or a big stunning hammer with Abydon?
  • What if Chanters had lyrics that worked together, or a bonus for lines that rhymed?
  • What if mage grimoires could only have two slots per level, and mages had to change grimoires (more quickly than now) to use different spells?  Is the opportunity cost of switching grimoires worth the adaptive bonus?  What if in this framework, metamagic ate three memorization slots (the original spell, the metamagic, and the final result)?  Metamagic would still be powerful, but comes at a pretty high cost.

 

 

 

I liked this list of ideas. My own comments :

 

- Druid : this one I don't like. I remember how annoying Stormspell where in BG2, when you had to cast them outside and most of the game was inside dungeons. Howver, a few spell like this would be OK. I would prefer spells taking advantages or more generic stuff like wall-bouncing ones.

 

- Barbarian : why not. It wouldn't fit my own playstyle, but why not. It won't be easy to balance by the way.

 

- Priest : I agree so much that it was the improvement suggestion in my original list  :devil:

 

- Chanter : I love the idea of bonus linked to how you chain your phrases. For example, there could be a talent called crescendo that gives bonus phrases when chaining phrases of increasing levels. Not sure for rhyme, because either the combo would be too strong, or its absence too weak, but it could be an idea to scale low level phrases. 

 

- Wizard : A bit harsh, but I understand your point. I have never switched a grimoire in my 5 runs, and I rarely changed my list between battles.

Edited by Elric Galad
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They are making a new game, though. Obviously it is going to build strongly on PoE 1 but it shouldn't be a glorified expansion pack; them having to expend considerable time on class design shouldn't be an argument against it. Besides, switching to one per encounter would still require them to completely rebalance the spells as well. For example, in such a system there would be no incentive not to open every smaller encounter with a barrage from highest level spells down to lowest wipe them out, I don't think that would be desirable. Ciphers and Chanters are naturally balanced against this because they need to acquire enough resource to use their (highest level) spells, and can't just let rip in a continuous stream of spells either because their resource runs out. 

 

Obviously, a mage resource doesn't have to be called 'mana', I just had to call it something. But if well-designed I don't think there should be any risk of different resources feeling interchangeable. I never played the Diablo games, but I imagine the reason they felt interchangeable is that they were mechanically mostly the same? I mean, if they were as distinct from each as Wounds/Chants/Focus in PoE you shouldn't have that problem; if hypothetical mage/priest/druid resources are mechanically different, that should work fine. By the same token, I would argue that the 'per rest' vs 'per resource' isn't by itself necessary for distinctiveness. Ciphers/Chanters/Monks are different from the 'per rest' casters in that respect, but they are also distinct from each other (whereas Mages/Priests/Druids aren't nearly as much, and mostly by their spells rather than by mechanical differences). It should be no problem to maintain that distinctiveness if Mages/Priests/Druids are switched to 'per resource' as well (and maybe make those three internally more distinct from each other in the process). 

 

Anyway, it might well be that they stick to 'per rest', but then they really would need to come up with a good way to increase the drawback of that. I'm not sure that they can, in part just inherently because of the binary nature of resting and in part because resting is cheap which is difficult to change (bringing back fatigue from travel time could help some, but that's far from ideal either). It's ultimately a remnant from the olden days when you had a GM to make it work, but it just never really translated well to cRPG. 

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They are making a new game, though. Obviously it is going to build strongly on PoE 1 but it shouldn't be a glorified expansion pack; them having to expend considerable time on class design shouldn't be an argument against it. Besides, switching to one per encounter would still require them to completely rebalance the spells as well. For example, in such a system there would be no incentive not to open every smaller encounter with a barrage from highest level spells down to lowest wipe them out, I don't think that would be desirable. Ciphers and Chanters are naturally balanced against this because they need to acquire enough resource to use their (highest level) spells, and can't just let rip in a continuous stream of spells either because their resource runs out. 

 

Obviously, a mage resource doesn't have to be called 'mana', I just had to call it something. But if well-designed I don't think there should be any risk of different resources feeling interchangeable. I never played the Diablo games, but I imagine the reason they felt interchangeable is that they were mechanically mostly the same? I mean, if they were as distinct from each as Wounds/Chants/Focus in PoE you shouldn't have that problem; if hypothetical mage/priest/druid resources are mechanically different, that should work fine. By the same token, I would argue that the 'per rest' vs 'per resource' isn't by itself necessary for distinctiveness. Ciphers/Chanters/Monks are different from the 'per rest' casters in that respect, but they are also distinct from each other (whereas Mages/Priests/Druids aren't nearly as much, and mostly by their spells rather than by mechanical differences). It should be no problem to maintain that distinctiveness if Mages/Priests/Druids are switched to 'per resource' as well (and maybe make those three internally more distinct from each other in the process). 

 

Anyway, it might well be that they stick to 'per rest', but then they really would need to come up with a good way to increase the drawback of that. I'm not sure that they can, in part just inherently because of the binary nature of resting and in part because resting is cheap which is difficult to change (bringing back fatigue from travel time could help some, but that's far from ideal either). It's ultimately a remnant from the olden days when you had a GM to make it work, but it just never really translated well to cRPG. 

 

Yes, in Diablo 3, the ressource mechanics were mostly the same.

My point is that there aren't that many ways of managing ressources without having some of them relying on obscure mechanics, or having some of them slightly redundant (But I have to admit having the same ressource management system for druid and priest, and even wizard, wouldn't hurt at all. This is currently the case with per rest system.)

 

But I may lack imagination.

There's still no cooldown in PoE, which is a very important way of managing ressources that has not been used yet.

 

Anyway, the hard part in all that it is hard to balance easy and hard encounter.

 

The key point is : how to implement a system where you keep your strongest abilities for the hardest battle ?

"Per rest" system was the way it was done on tabletop games, but how to convert it properly for a CRPG ?

 

Ironically, consumables work here because they are a really "limited" ressources.

Edited by Elric Galad
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Without going I to every class and giving my opinion on changes I would prefer I will just stick to what I think is a couple of stand out issues.

 

1. The wizards spells as they gain levels are quite dull and boring, also not very powerful. Maybe the devs didn't want them becoming to over powered and they did this on purpose but man it sucks having a big heap of useless high level spells. That's why I think priests are so well liked, most of there spells can actually be used in many different circumstances.

 

2. The game really does need more interesting and in depth content, similar to bg2.

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Without going I to every class and giving my opinion on changes I would prefer I will just stick to what I think is a couple of stand out issues.

 

1. The wizards spells as they gain levels are quite dull and boring, also not very powerful. Maybe the devs didn't want them becoming to over powered and they did this on purpose but man it sucks having a big heap of useless high level spells. That's why I think priests are so well liked, most of there spells can actually be used in many different circumstances.

 

2. The game really does need more interesting and in depth content, similar to bg2.

 

1.  You've repeated this opinion again and again, but the idea that wizards aren't powerful is just not true.  Not only do wizards have amazing build variety, they have many spells that completely alter the battlefield.  The control that Slicken, Confusion, Gaze of the Adragan, and Wall of Colors grant are virtually unparalleled by other classes.  That's before build specific spells like Combusting Wounds or Citzal's spells.  They're not quadratic like BG2 wizards, but they are a top tier class.

 

2.  Sure.  I'll be honest, no sidequest (besides the whole WM line) was as good as the skinner murders.  However, BG2 is one of the best games ever made; PE starting out with merely engaging and varied is pretty good.

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I’m now convinced that per Rest abilities, especially spells, should be reworked.

 

I understand that it was almost impossible to perform such a change DURING PoE1 (due to players potential discontent/surprise). But I think it would be reasonable to change this for PoE2.

 

The 2 major arguments in favor are the following :

 

- Per Rest abilities are not very fun.

Obsidian knows it. Apart for spells, WM I&II have introduced an “impressive” total of 1 per rest ability (revive pet)…

 

- 3/4 per rest spell + 1 mastery per tier is overpowered if resting a lot.

Based on the assumption that PoE 2 would enable reaching char lvl 20 and spell progression would be linear, that means 39 spells per rest from tier 1 to 10 and 6 mastery per encounter from tier 1 to 6.

These are virtually unlimited resource when resting before each encounter.

 

 

Therefore, I wanted to suggest a change. In addition to the 2 problems quoted above, I wanted to keep the “spell tier” resources separated because I wished that Druid/Wizard/Priest to be significantly different from Cipher and Chanter (and monk).

 

 

My suggestion is :

  • Each spell tier should be switched to 1/encounter (that you get on odd levels)
  • Instead of spell mastery, the “vancians” would get a  second per encounter use of the spell tier (starting from a 2nd tier 1 per encounter use at lvl 9).
  • Other “per rest” abilities should be reworked too.

(I already told something similar above, sorry for repeating, but I wished to analyze it a bit more deeply.)

 

At lvl 20, that would be :

- 2 spells per encounter on tier 1 to 6

- 1 spell per encounter on tier 7 to 10

It means 16 spells per encounter, which is a lot, but shouldn’t be that much higher than a martial class final number of activated abilities.

 

Then, I listed the Pros and Cons of such a change :

 

------------------------------------------------

 

Pros (with arguments) :

 

----

 

+ This is a simple change for the Devs

 

Simple changes are most likely to happen.

Simple changes require less effort that could be used on other contents.

Simple change have less risk to “destroy the game” or brake it durably.

Simple changes don’t betray too much the original game, but this is a “Pro” only for a guy like me with a high nostalgia factor. So this is not really a valid reason, I admit.

 

----

 

+ Easier balance between classes

 

Martial classes often get per encounter ability with a couple of uses.

If vancians spell tier were per encounter, they would be much more similar to Martial’s active abilities, except that the said spell tier could be used in various way instead of a single way.

 

Leaving apart Cipher, Chanter and Monk and comparing classes with no resource pool if vancians spell tier were per encounter, the differences between casters and martials would be the following :

- Casters would still be more versatile due to their spellbook.

- Martials would still have better base stats.

- Martial would still have a starting passive which is usually better than caster’s signature starting ability (Arcane assault vs Carnage...)

- Martial would still be better at action economy, as casters have zero passive except talents. Even a greater choice of activated ability won’t completely make up for this : martial character are able to pile up their advantages, meanwhile casters need time to pile them up.

 

Eventually, as the above advantages and drawbacks above more or less compensate, the following principles could be deduced from the above when it comes to balance :

As both spell and activated abilities of the same level would be usable “around 1/encounter”, they should have a comparable raw power.

=> “1 activate ability ~1 spell” (Fundamental Approximation of Balance)

 

Of course, it is an approximation, as long as it is “not too false”, balance would be easier.

 

Furthermore, , it would also make multiclass design (if any) slightly easier for the designers as spells and abilities would be easier to “exchange” (multiclass design would probably be far more complex than this, but it would certainly help).

 

----

 

+ This solution keeps most of caster’s versatility.

 

A caster would anyway have access to around 40 abilities at the start of a fight, so I think they could be said to be still versatile…

 

----

 

+ This solution saves Ciphers / Chanters / (monk) specificity about “common pool” and infinite resource.

 

That is the major reason behind my suggestion. Otherwise, there would be risk that Wizard with a mana pool would look a bit too much like Cipher…

 

Ciphers and Chanters can select less spell when they level up.

But Cipher and Chanters can use freely powers, phrases and invocations from any tier.

So Ciphers and Chanters would have less possibilities at the start of the fight, but would keep an upside : their ability to focus on one precise ability.

With the proposed change, I think that all 5 five caster classes would have a similar level of versatility overall.

 

In addition, Ciphers and Chanters (and Monks) would still be the only classes with infinite resources.

On the other hand, casters would still be able to chain cast their spells… at least as long as they have resources.

 

----

 

Cons (with counter arguments :- ) :

 

----

 

- This solution reduces casters versatility compared to current status or common mana pool, as each spell could be cast only once (or twice).

 

The reason why I think a “Mana Pool” of common resources would not be a good choice for PoE :

- “Mana pool” is annoyingly common in other games. I wish PoE to be a bit different.

- The best concept for mana regeneration might have been already used for other class. In PoE, you already generate resources by hitting (Cipher), getting hit (Monk), and waiting (Chanter). Other possibilities might be found, but I fear they would be a bit redundant, or relying on fairly circumstantial mechanics…

- Separate Tier resources force player to use several different spells. It sounds like a restriction but similar designs have proven to be enjoyable in Video Games history. For example, the unability to use constantly the same spell due to cooldown was one of the basis of Guild Wars 1 gameplay (I know it is not strictly the same concept).

 

----

 

- This solution reduces the possibility to combine spells of the same level.

 

Do you like combo between spells ? Then, you will be limited because it would become harder to combine high level ones when they belong to the same tier.

However, with high level spells becoming more quickly per encounter, there is enough room for new builds !

For example, it would be easier to build a wizard relying on a particular summoned weapon. From level 9, he will be able to use the deadly Citzal lance every fight. And before this, he could rely on Concelhaut Staff for the same purpose.

 

Basically, I’m sure people will find another combos with these new constraints.

 

------------------------------------------------

 

A few side notes :

 

----

 

I think Per Rest ability could be left as they are for some items.

Yeah, maintaining per rest uses with items sounds inconsistent when the whole point of my post was to say that per rest abilities should be avoided.

 

But I think it would play the same role as consumables as jokers. Except these would be daily jokers.

As they are available for all classes, this is not the same level of threat for balance between classes.

Plus, you don’t feel committed by an item like you feel about an ability. If you don’t like, you can just change (you have more items than abilities, and you also change between fights).

So I think it’s tolerable this way.

 

----

 

Consumables items or even spells could help refreshing or saving per encounter ability (not only spells) for important battle.

I can see “your next ability won’t consume charge” on a special drug.

 

I can even see wizards getting spells for this (or good old druid’s “wondrous recall”).

For example, a fast cast lvl 7 spell could avoid next spell to use its per encounter charge. So you trade a “Fast Cast + Recovery delay” against the ability to use of a potentially higher level spell once more. Life is made of choices.

That would have the side effect to add some depth to wizard repertoire without the same consequences for balance as a time stop or contingency.

 

----

 

Another option could be to maintain per rest system but introduce a cooldown  to reuse a given tier during an encounter.

(15s, 30s, 60s ? depending on Tier/Caster level ? Modifiable by talents ? or encounter end)

Mastery could be left as they are.

That would completely fix the boss-spell-spamming problem, without leading to trash-encounter-spell-spamming.

 

However, people also want to use their high-tier spell more often.

Look at the recent joy of barbarian players when Heart of Fury was made per encounter !

This option won’t fix this…

 

----

 

It might be interesting to rework a bit non-spell casters abilities at the same time.

I mean the default ones : Arcane Assault, Radiance and Spiritshift, and some of the talent ones : Interdiction, Grimoire slam, etc…

My idea would be to introduce cooldown for various abilities. These non-spell casters abilities should have a cooldown instead of per encounter uses. This would be especially important for early game. But I may develop this idea in another post.

 

------------------------------------------------

 

My next aim would be to create a new thread dedicated to vancian rework with a poll. The poll will present different solutions.

I want to put mine in the poll, but I wish to add ideas from other people too.

 

Currently, I think the proposed answers could be :

·         Keep per rest / per encounter spell system as it is.

·         Switch to a common Mana-like common pool of resources (with possible differences between Druids, Wizards and Priests).

·         Switch to per-encounter spells (1-2 per spell tier).

·         Add a cooldown to each spell tier.

·         Having 2 options among the above configurable as a game option (same as “Expert Mode”).

 

So if you have any suggestions…

Edited by Elric Galad
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Personally I feel that RPG combat / resting / ability / etc mechanics are a bit rock/paper/scissors in the sense that for any conceivable system, there are well reasoned and valid arguments to be made against it.  There's no right answer, but maybe some that are less wrong than others, or at least wrong in different ways.

​I find myself not caring so much about the details, which I trust Obsidian to do well, as the preservation of an aspect of RPGs I feel has teetered on the brink of extinction.  I don't want my unit of consideration to be a fight or even a small group of fights such as between frequent camps.  I want it to be larger in scope.  This happened sometimes in WM: you knew you weren't going to rest or leave the area until you finished it.  This forces you to play more strategically rather than ability spam+rest+repeat.  It encourages (but doesn't require) stealth scouting to see what all you're up against so you can maximize your chances.  It encourages minding environmental cues ("big pile of bones outside this cave?  hmm...."). It makes you carefully consider how to beat any given group with the minimum resource expenditure, so you increase your odds of surviving the remainder of the area.

 

Areas that happened in POE1 were ones I most enjoyed, especially when it was a serious challenge to get through.  So much that I forced myself to play that way even when the game didn't require it.  Even going back to mid 1980's classic RPGs like BT1, it was much more satisfying than single-fight oriented games.  Some of my favorite memories of BT1 were diving further into a dungeon than I knew I should go, and barely making it back to an inn with 1 of my original 6 characters left alive, and that one beat all to hell.  But making it.  Or sometimes, not :biggrin:.

 

I don't want my hand held.  I don't want the game to do the thinking for me and give me frequent chances to rest and heal and get spells and abilities back.  I want adventuring in an area to ​feel    like a serious undertaking, rather than a series of individual encounters met near full strength.  I want to be forced into creativity with the rag-tag set of oddball abilities remaining, so I can scrape by and survive that last fight that looks hopeless on the surface.

​Yes, that all has problems too.  See first paragraph.  But the problems it has are the ones I mind less than I mind the alternatives.

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Well, your whole post gives excellent arguments to defend the per rest system, and I can say that your game experience remembers me some of my own feelings.

 

It's possible that the only thing that needs to be done is adjusting the game so it would sometimes be harder to rest.

 

 

However, there is currently a thread about strongest class on this forum, and no one seems to doubt that Priest, Wizard and Druid are rank #1, #2, #3. So I think there's an issue about it.

 

One of my secondary suggestion above is an Option at the start of the game to choose between several system, as for Expert Mode.

 

I think an option about a per rest or per encounter system would be relatively easy to implement and would preserve the game experience of people like you as well as fixing the balance issue for the ones who care.

 

After reading your post, I think it would be the best solution.

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Actually, those classes are relatively well balanced when used as they were intended to, and additionally, they give player a lot of agency over their game's difficulty which is something I always enjoyed. When you hit a difficulty spike you can't get past or want to take down challenge which is just a notch above your level, per rest classes ensure that all you need is to go trough minor inconvenience in order to achieve that. On the contrary, if you want the game to be more challenging, all you really need to do is to rest less. Naturally, classes without heavy reliance on per rest spells and abilities will give you a lot more balanced experience, but that's kind of the point - it's an RPG, don't expect it to serve you the game experience you want of it, compose your party and play in a way that'll suit you instead.

 

I think an option about a per rest or per encounter system would be relatively easy to implement and would preserve the game experience of people like you as well as fixing the balance issue for the ones who care.

It would be pretty difficult to implement and balance reasonably tho. I still think the best bet would be dropping per rest abilities entirely and only leave per rest spells bound to classes associated with them + add a priest-like support class without per-rest reliance (changing chanter around a bit perhaps?). Suddenly, you have a balanced experience both for people who do and do not enjoy per rest mechanics. Edited by Fenixp
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