Here's a couple of counter arguments.
- Strategic layer is not lacking in most standard Vancian setting. Sometimes games cut off resting in certain points. Other times they mob you with random encounters to interrupt your rest. Just because you can break through that by repeatedly pressing the rest until the random encounters go away does not mean you're playing as intended. And PnP DMs just plain don't allow CRPG style fight, fight, nap play.
- Ciphers and chanters are limited in different ways. At mid levels, most random trash fights are over before you build up resources for their most powerful abilities.
- Not using Dragon Breath or Maximized Missile Swarm every fight is a good thing. Fights should vary in scale in both mechanics and narrative. Encouraging players to use their most powerful abilities in every fight leads to lack of tactical variance, which leads to boredom. Vancian systems shine when characters are half out of spells and have to start scrimping.
- Removing Vancian spell-casting is not the right choice or the wrong choice. It's just a design decision.
- Why would they dramatically rework a system that has evolved quite well over several years? Most players haven't even had the chance to see the difference between release and patch 3.0.
- Furthermore, the resources spent to rework a system are not infinite. The time spent reworking and rebalancing the system could be much better spent either adding additional classes or bringing in multiclassing. Multiclassing is one of those things repeatedly mentioned across several sites.
- If Vancian casting were removed, the classes would need to find a new way to differentiate from other classes. One of the things Pillars does very well is make every class feel unique without a huge power gradient.
- There's a reason other classes have daily's too. They work really well at changing the scale of the fight, and let a character shine under a different set of circumstances.
- Finally, quite a few players like it.
That's a whole long list of reasons why it shouldn't be changed. But here's the real problem, the benefits you give for changing it are pretty weak. Basically, they're getting to unload every spell, every fight. You can already do that in Pillars if you put it on one of the modes with unlimited camping supplies.
Let's do it one by one:
1. This just proves the point Loren was making. That either Vancian systems or Camping supplies are too much. In other words, they don't mix nicely and just feel like they're suppressing each other. It also reinforces the notion that most cRPG variants of rest systems are severely lacking compared to the real PnP.
2. But you can still use abilities and not feel hindered on those classes. It doesn't feel restrained, but rather limited. But then again, most fights below PoTD and other difficult fights don't exactly require level 5+ casts. This is where Monk / Cipher etc shine compared to Vancians. Not to mention that due to lack of attribute modifier (say 17 / +3 Int), you lose on spellcasts of lower level and BIG TIME. In previous DnD games, you could've had like 8 casts of level 3- spells. In Pillars, you are always limited to 4-5 + 1 / enc. That combined with camping supplies just feels...odd.
3. I agree but in Pillars it just reinforces backtracking mechanics and those are ALMOST NEVER GOOD mechanics. Even ExtraCredits did an episode on it recently. This point just reinforces point 1.
4. Indeed it is, but if either of choices lead to player dissatisfaction and hence them leaving / abandoning games, then yes, it means it is a wrong choice. Either one can be wrong, but currently it feels like leaving them in would be an ultra conservative, if not wrong outright choice.
5. Because it doesn't work, doesn't make sense and pushes people AWAY from the game, hence making a dent in their profit? Idk, that sounds like a helluva motive.
6. You mentioned multiclassing and balance in the same point. Don't be so silly. Yes, it'd be good, but I'd rather have freedom of NWN + balance of Pillars - Multiclassing(I never even as much as thought of multiclassing...why, just why?). But that's just me.
7. Agreed, but they're very Vancian lite as they are. For example, there are no proper Wizard / Cleric / Druid in Pillars. What we have is a (fancy) Sorceror and regular Favoured Soul and < Sorc / FS like Druid class >. If you're against removing those systems, perhaps reverting the rest system to good ole BG / NWN system?
8. I was never against per rest. Per rests should be powerful and should be reserved for battle changer abilities, not for bread and butter abilities(what casts are to casters).
9. Quite a few people like to get hurt. Quite a few people favour nazism. ...so? What kind of argument is this? I don't understand, sorry.
1. Vancian systems and the camping supplies don't suppress each other, they work synergistically to challenge the player as they go further into a dungeon run. In Baldur's Gate the Vancian system was suppressed by the rest system. Every ability became per encounter.
2. I can still use abilities in both classes and not feel hindered. If you fight 8 battles and use all your spells plus the memorized one you get 12 casts, more if you take the feat or get a ring of wizardry. You just can't unload 8 casts of the same spell in a fight. If wizards are supposed to be adaptable because of their variety of spells, then let them be adaptable.
3. Backtracking to finish a dungeon is never necessary in Pillars unless you are horrifically underpowered for the dungeon. I almost always run with a druid, wizard, and priest, and only had to backtrack once in my potd playthrough, when I was level 6 going into the White Forge. Rest supplies are liberally placed. Backtracking is basically something you do to yourself. If you're backtracking a lot or resting when most of your characters have top health, then you're playing the game unstrategically and the game is telling you that.
4. And if removing it leads to a less interesting game, then that is a wrong decision too. Hypotheticals can be made to support any point.
5. Or maybe it draws people in because they missed those type of systems and the strategic choices they provide. Do you have data to support any of these points? I don't but I'm not advocating a radical change based on feels.
6. Fine, that was a weak argument. However the fact that there's an opportunity cost to rebalancing 3 class is pretty apparent, and you've yet to justify how the game would be significantly improved by that change.
7. The rest system and the spell casting system work together to make you conserve resources. Are you arguing against having to conserve resources?
8. Memorized spells are available for bread and butter abilities. But more importantly, PE casters aren't wilting flowers when they're not casting. Druids shift, priests get weapon proficiency bonuses, and wizards have non-spell abilities (and can be built effectively based on weapon damage).
9. Eh, it's a weak point. I was trying to say that a major controversial change needs a set of concrete reasons.
But! Rather than get stuck up going back and forth on individual points, and have the whole discussion turn into a vindictive circlejerk, this is how I understand your arguments:
+ Vancian casting is just a way to annoy players by forcing them to turn back.
+ In BGII and NWN basically every ability was per encounter, and this was a good thing.
+ Obsidian doesn't have to do it anymore, so it shouldn't.
Obviously, this kind of exercise leads to strawmen, but I read your argument and Loren's multiple times to try to do you justice. Here's my basic response.
- If you're going to have a strategic limitation, there needs to be a resource that gets permanently or temporarily depleted. Permanently depleted resources are consumables, and Sawyer already said that too many players hoard them for them to be an effective strategic limitation. Temporarily depleted resources need to be recharged some time. If they're recharged after every fight, then there's no strategy to their use. Any other recharge system is going to involve something that looks a lot like backtracking or rest.
- It wasn't a good thing to use the same spells over again, because it lead to a death of tactical diversity. When you have a giant unstoppable cost-free hammer, every problem gets a maximized missile swarm to the face etc.
- Obsidian chose to change the rest , health, and casting system this way, it wasn't blind slavery to nostalgia. They work together to prod players into playing the game smarter without punishing them too hard. If you unload on spells too much, you run out of spells and then camping supplies. If you only save spells for bosses, you run out of health and then camping supplies. If you use both judiciously, you make it to the next set of camping supplies. If not, yes you turn back. The only other option is killing the players. That encourages riding the dice until your bad tactics are successful; lord knows that's how 12 year old me played BGII.
- The most important counter is that Obsidian already gives you the in-game tools to circumvent these mechanics if you can't play this way. 8 out of 11 classes don't use a majority of daily abilities. If you don't like the Vancian classes, there are twice as many to choose from. If you don't like health punishing you, take field triage. And if you hate the current rest system in general, lower the difficulty and you get more (eventually infinite) resting supplies.
Loren, I could get behind changing the availability of rests, although I think it would be hard to do without using checkpoints or encouraging even more backtracking. I think the bigger problem is that a lot of players would hate an even harder game. You know there were frequent complaints that the game was too hard even on easy until story mode appeared. There are surprisingly few complaints that the game is too easy on potd (though they still do and always will crop up). However, I could get behind it if a designer went through and took out half of the camping supplies scattered around the world on potd.