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well, that's my whole point, I think BG had terrible combat, so I'm trying to figure out why people like it more. not taking encounter design into account 

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I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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For me, it's the basic problem of length and complexity. Most of BG's complexities (THAC0, AC, saving throws, resistances, etc. with probably the one exception of spell/ability effects), was stuff that happened behind the scenes: the actual combat system was pretty basic outside of a couple, maybe a few dozen battles throughout the game (think bosses, dragons, powerful spellcasters, etc.), and combat was usually pretty quick and deadly. In Pillars of Eternity, it feels like every single battle, down to the last kobold (or whatever the heck they called them: I can't remember, but there was a pretty equivalent creature) is overly complicated and lengthy. People complain about "trash" fights in BG2, but holy cow, give me these so-called trash fights if it means avoiding the repetitive monotony of PoE where I go through the same stupid encounter with the same stupid type of creature over and over and over, and it's just as complicated and long and tedious as it was the first time. As a huge BG/2 and PST fan, I really, really tried to like Pillars...Steam says I put 63 hours into it...but the more I played it, the more I hated it.

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OK, lets compare BG, PST, PoE and tyranny:

 

BG2 was my first game of those. In the beginning I know nothing about DnD, but I somehow managed to finish the game on normal. (str for fighters, dex for thiefs, int for mages, take the weapon with the biggest numbers and prepare some healing, damage, buff and debuff spells). Later when I looked more closely at the system, I found out that it is completely obstuse and unbalanced (some stats should be as high as possible, others as low as possible; So my sword+2 actually reduces my thaco by 2? Is thaco a word and can you eat it? I speak this thing like the mexican food.) Also in the beginning fighters can hit things and take a hit while mages cast a spell and then they are useless and they die when an enemy looks at them. Later fighters can still do nothing but hitting things with a sword while mages become an immortal force of destruction. Each class had several dump stats and the summit of this is the sorcerer whose power depends on nothing but his level.

 

PST was the best game ever regarding setting, characters and story. But combat and balancing was terrible. Companions were mostly locked in their equipment, so most items you found were only good for TNO, but only if you had specialized him on this item. Combat difficulty seems random (in my last playthrough the hardest fight was in curst, where I had to save a girl from soldiers while bosses where very easy.) The game also wants you to be a mage with high wisdom and int. The first time I did not know this so I stayed a fighter with str, dex and con (good for fighters in DnD) so I missed many quests and dialogue (still managed to finish the game and liked it a lot).

 

I think PoE has the best class, stat and combat system ever. Class balance is also much better than in most other games. My main problem in the game are tons of trash enemies and encounter design was often not good so I got bored from doing the same stuff again and again.

 

Tyranny has a very good setting and I like that the game tries to focus on stories and choices (opposed to fighting lots of trash mops on a large map and call it exploration). But combat is very simplified and the skill system makes you cpmpletely OP fast (take a huge 2hweapon, buff yourself and spam AoE spells like crazy).

 

summary: Give me a game with the stat and combat system of PoE (without hitting max level after half of the game), setting, story and chars as complex as PST, the possibility to finish the main game in several different paths (tyranny) and the encounter design of IWD. If this game is as big as BG1+2+expansions, then I am happy and busy for the next year :p

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I'm probably very much in the minority here, but I, for one, don't miss vancian magic one bit.  Mana based systems and cooldown based systems both have their downsides, but removing the need (and temptation) to spam resting after every battle or two is a giant plus in my book.  This got less horrible in the days of NWN with things such as priests auto-healing and rememorizing healing spells on rest, but it was still a time waster.  Back in the days of the Gold Box games...  having to camp, select each and every spell to memorize manually every time, having your clerics manually cast healing spells, then having them rememorize spells, then rest again...  ugh, that's the main reason I'll probably never play Gold Box games again.  I tried playing Champions of Krynn a few months back and just couldn't deal with the tedium.  It was mindunmbingly awful.

 

I know it's taboo to say around these parts, but I've kind of grown to like cooldown-based systems.  I know that makes me a traitor and I should probably keep it quiet lest I be burned at the stake as a heretic to RPG tradition, but there it is, it's out in the open now.  

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but you can limit the possibilities for resting, and have the best of both worlds :D

Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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you guys keep bringing up combat, but wasn't BG even worse in that respect? your fighters, rangers and rogues didn't have anything to do during combat, you would just pick a target for them to auto-attack (ok, positioning was somewhat important). at least now you can trigger an ability once per encounter (to be honest, I think making all abilities "once per rest" would solve a lot of issues) so not only your mages have something to do.

 

on the other hand, maybe that's why you don't like it? because in BG you only had to manage your priest and wizard spells, basically, so there was less busywork in combat, less micromanagement. 

 

I do like the way wizard and priest spells are handled in BG a lot more than in any other RTWP game I've played. it was always kind of fun to figure out which spells I wanted to be memorized between rests. I miss that feeling with PoE 

The problem with Tyranny isn't real time with pause or that you have to micro your melee fighters. The problem is that 85% of the encounters in the game play out in the same way. I like almost everything else about the game, but the combat isn't comparable to the IE games.

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It's got nothing to do with 'less micromanagement'. Tyranny has no 'management'. You are like the dog that plays candy crush. For the most part you sit there and just press the buttons, then you press them again when they turn on. There are secondary causes to this; for example, from what I've seen so far (only some of Act 2), Tyranny has very few ways to modify enemy defences and boost yours selectively, and enemy variety is desperately poor, such that you lose the tactical targeting of specific defences that was key to playing POE tactically (which was only sort of required in POTD to begin with). It is also compounded by the spellcasting system, which is a very cool idea I'd like to see Obsidian take forward, but it has the effect here of flattening the kinds of modifiers your spells are going to have. 

 

So you sit there and there is no reason to save your fire bolt for a different enemy, there's no reason to not cast it because chances are it's better to cast it now and have the cooldown come back ASAP. Occasionally you'll save your accuracy-buffed spell for a more difficult enemy in the crowd. So pew, pew, wait, pew, wait, pew, hell I'm surprised you can't just put the entire party on AI and go have tea because all you need is to cycle through the active abilities. 

 

Microing four characters is actually more boring than a no-magic party in BG, because IE's underlying system and the way it gets represented in gameplay is more punchy, intuitive and favouring meaningful strategic intervention than POE/Tyranny's. (For example, even positioning is messy because Tyranny has the 'bobbly' colliding models typical of 3D era isometric RPGs compounded by huge characters much larger than POE's in collision terms.) POE worked hard to present its own set of synergistic effects and situations, presenting the player with opportunities; you could understand how to target an enemy's fortitude defence then exploit it, how to set them up for a flanking rogue, etc. In Tyranny you have some vestiges of that, e.g. KIS pounding on prone enemies, but mostly, meaningful synergy is limited to the combo abilities or to the general principle of debuffing an enemy someone else is attacking in some way. 

 

(When you say you miss the feeling of trying to figure out what spells to memorise, that was a clearly presented strategic choice where it was always easy to understand what the choice you were making was, and how that translates into your success. Such choices are almost totally absent in Tyranny, except at the level of not putting in an important spell in your slot (an impoverished version of the Vancian choice) or, um, picking the wrong talent at level up?)

 

Perhaps it will change late game when you have the full complement of sigils and abilities, but as a simpler game with 4 party members, less skills/abilities, etc. it needed a system that's going to present you with some modicum of choice even when you have 3-4 abilities only. Right now the trend is you just pop more shiny buttons in your button belt and spam. 

Edited by Tigranes
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Has anyone had weapons disappear? I equipped the Dauntless in one of Barik's weapon slots and now it's gone, yet I can still see its artifact ability on his skill list in combat. Same happened to Verse's artifact bow (though I reverted to a previous save that still has it, but no such luck for the Dauntless) and one of KiS's hammer (no big deal), so I know it's happened to multiple weapons. Weird.

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The names, jesus christ. Maybe it's a stylistic affinity thing? I thought people complaining about Duc and Fampyr were ridiculous given their clear historical and linguistic sense, but do I need to have read more American cartoons or are Graven Ashe and Bleden Mark the most idiotic 8-year old names possible? Might as well have named Tunon "Grimm Jack" and Nerat "Madd Fella". 

 

I have not posted on these forums for a long time - ever since Avellone left, in fact - but since you did not bring this issue up on the Codex, I will respond at length here.

 

The naming system of Tyranny most resembles that of Dungeons & Dragons, and it is not a coincidence that you think it also resembles that of American cartoons, and I'll add American comic books, because that's the popular cultural environment from which early Dungeons and Dragons drew.

 

Consider Greyhawk, the first edition Dungeons and Dragons setting and Gygax's brain child. The following is a list of names drawn from Greyhawk's Circle of Eight - the best known mages in the setting:

 

Mordenkainen

Bigby

Otiluke

Drawmij

Tenser

Nystul

Otto

Rary

 

Now examine a similar list from Faerun, the most popular Dungeons and Dragons setting, drawn from the top of my head:

 

Elminster

Khelben Blackstaff

Larloch

Szass Tam

Telamont Tanthul

Halaster Blackcloak

The Simbul

Sammaster

Manshoon

 

No where in either of these lists do we detect a culturally and/or linguistically consistent naming system, or anything that can be attributed to a believable historical context, such as exist in Tolkien's, or even Pillars of Eternity's, world. Instead, names are chosen by a simple rule: because they sound cool. 

 

This is the well known rule followed by most comic books and comic book inspired settings, and comic books were the face of popular nerd culture, as people such as Gygax would have known it, in the 1970s and 80s. It establishes and reinforces the fact that Dungeons and Dragons was always a less serious and more comic book setting than, say, Tolkien's Middle Earth. The creators embraced the entertaining, tongue in cheek nature of their game system through the often ridiculous adventures that they then wrote for it, and the over the top characters that populated their settings. It was a time when inside jokes, silly wit, and bigger than life personalities mattered much more than the need to build historically accurate settings.

 

Looking back, I can't help but think that this comic approach to fantasy helped, rather than hurt, games like Baldur's Gate, and that taking a more historically accurate and/or linguistically consistent path hurt, rather than helped, games like Pillars of Eternity. I am not saying that the market has no room for serious fantasy or historical settings, but developers who are trying to appeal to nostalgia should understand that the success behind Dungeons and Dragons was not very different from the success behind comic books. 

 

Names can be such a small detail, at times, that we often ignore their impact in establishing the feel of a setting and a game. But compare names like Engwithan, Cilant Lis, and Lle a Rhemen to names like Zhentarim, Baldur's Gate, and Candlekeep and it becomes immediately obvious what approach is being taken, and what atmosphere is being established. Many people complained about Pillars of Eternity having a dry setting, of dumping information on the player, of having too many details that were either not necessary or not welcome. But in many ways, their criticism could have begun with the names. For when you start with a name like Cilant Lis or Bîaŵac or Glanfathan, it is almost certain that you will have to information dump the player at some stage, because the name itself tells us nothing about what it is, and because any developer who comes up with such an elaborate system of naming, must have spent so much time on the details, so as to have no choice but to share them.

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You're certainly right about the historical context, and there's a huge amount of naturalisation over time as well. When people hear Blackstaff they don't hear "Black + Staff" anymore, and so nobody complains that Candlekeep is a hackneyed name, we swallow it whole. POE worked against this current and basically made people switch their forks and knives and drink from bowls - and then, once people start feeling like it is weird and unnatural, there's not much persuading them that it is actually a lot more sensible and cool. It's a pity for a history nerd like me, but it's no surprise that most people just thought POE names were stupid in the context of its identity as an IE successor. 

 

I specifically called out American comic books because it feels to me a lot of the visual direction was inspired from there as well - though, again, as someone who doesn't read the stuff, I could be wronger than Trump. In any case, I was at least glad that Tyranny sported a relatively consistent style that was also sufficiently distinct from POE, but even within the kitschy over-the-top milieu, there's still degrees of cringey cheapness. A made-up assortment of random syllables, like Szass Tam or Otiluke, at least is easy to just incorporate and say "fine, that's his name". When Graven Ashe is, you know, a graven character, and Bleden Mark cuts people up, it's just one degree too freaking obvious that it's embarrassing. 

 

The irony, of course, is that a lot of British surnames and landmarks were coined in this way - your John Smiths and your Portsmouth - and it's also the case in many other countries, though the names then appear plenty exotic to non-native speakers. So it's not even necessarily that Graven Ashe or Halaster Blackcloak is an improbable technique for nomination, it's just about having a sufficient balance of familiarity and novelty to the target audience. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Combat is garbage, but at least it will forever stand as a good example of why just sticking cooldowns as your primary system is stupid design. You just sit there and mash the shiny buttons when they become shiny, like a dog.

 

I just beat it. Have to agree. Mechanically, it's better than D&D/vancian, but every encounter in the game is literally the same. No, really. Even Archons. The only difference is how much bonus to hit/damage and health mobs have. Casters aren't really too dangerous. No healers. Tanks hit like a truck. Skirmishers/ranged you can pretty much ignore.

 

The design-your-own-spell system is so underused it's almost a criminal offense. Why bother making the most of it toying around with spells when you can just spam stun/prone effects and add DoTs just for the hell of it? The lack of sufficiently different encounters to force you to adjust is the most glaring flaw here. Edict of Stone? **** it, I'll just swap my lightning bolts with rolling boulders. Whatever happened to vampire lairs, thieves' dens, <color> dragons etc?

 

The setting is cool and all, but I don't understand what's the deal with iron. Cast iron is inferior to bronze wrt its properties. Economically, it's more advantageous to outfit your armies with iron gear than bronze, but that's it; otherwise bronze is superior (harder, bends rather than breaks). Why the iron fetish?

 

Uneven pacing, with a strong start, gets weaker as the game nears the ending. Par for the course for Obs games. How much was left on the cutting room floor? The power/edict mechanic is... superfluous.

 

Overall I rate it a perfect 5/7. Tyranny 2 when?

 

edit: cast/wrought iron confusion. I cannot into metallurgy

Edited by 213374U

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Combat has never really been a strong suit for Obz, especially not in their independent titles.

 

But then good combat is so rare in games, espeically outside shooters or beat-em-ups, that I'm pleased if a developer at least manages to make it acceptable.

 

I find combat in RPGs, even most of BG, too often become a sluggish trek that you're just waiting to be over. There were a lot more good battles in BG, but the combat in general was boring imo.

Fortune favors the bald.

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would be easier to take tig serious if he wasn't comparing the tactical combat sophistication and depth o' poe and bg... and finding poe wanting.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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To be honest, the really fun tactical combat was in the new XCOM series, but that's pure TB game, with loads of abilities, limited resources, sometimes time and really cool animations. RTwP will never reach that, it'll be always a poor clone of RTS in terms of combat mechanics. So you either go for full tactical gameplay and TB combat as it gives the most tactical control, or you go full action, but then you'd better go into TPP or FPP mode.

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You mean there was tactical depth in Baldur's Gate? 'Cause there wasn't any in mine. I just watched a bunch of dudes auto-attack and sometimes I cast a spell. Did I get a crappy version of a game again?

Running away from a wolf because your 3 guys couldn't take it in a straight fight while the rogue takes 10 turns to hit it with 3 arrows. All the tactical depth you need right there. :sorcerer:

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loads of abilities, limited resources, sometimes time and really cool animations

Kinda like Pillars of Eternity you mean?

 

There's nothing stopping developers from implementing really cool mechanics into RTwP combat, aside from the fact that such implementation's way more difficult than in turn-based. So... We're stuck with a whole bunch of turn-based games, sadly.

Edited by Fenixp
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Gromnir prefers tb.  our preference does not mislead us regarding the rather obvious conclusion based on all those preference polls and sales figures that gamers in general prefer rtwp.  in spite o' our personal preference, we do not see some kinda inherent tactical weakness o' rtwp.  we like good tb.  bad tb can be soul-numbing.  bad rtwp can be a mindless clickfest.  even so, in all those preference polls, we vote tb.  always a minority.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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