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Should Deadfire be more intuitive?


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I am currently playing Pillars of eternity one, I havent finished it but i am pretty close.

 

My Impression is that I am really enjoying this game and have enjoyed it more the more I play it.

 

Despite that, I do find that it is an extremely difficult game to get in to. The game has 4 different types of defenses, several different types of attacks, plus different effects that can be added to those attacks. You generally Play six different classes at the same time, each of one has abilites, talents, Spells, skills that need to a be adressed each time you level up. Many of  which are modified by attributes, Armor, Weapons, Buffs and debuff spells, potions, food, resting bonuses . some of which are time related, some of which  stack, some of which dont.

 

Weapons themselves, are separated according not only to type of damage, but also to speed, capacity to interrupt, range, added habilites and effects. Some of them even add spells. Every time I am thinking of changing weapons I have to take a calculator, and even then I dont know if I missed something and if I perhaps should simply have enchanted my previous weapon.

 

I guess most of you get my point. Only currently, that I am finishing the game, kind of understand most of the systems. I Think most games should be a bit easier to get in to.

 

My Ideas to solve this problem is that Pillars of eternity should slow the rate in which it grants new abilities and Spells,  should include a rating system for weapons and equipment that allows player to make fast desitions as to which weapon to choose, and should limit more severly the abilites and talents available to each to class.

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That complexity is one of the features that makes PoE fun for me. Deadfire doesn't need to be more complicated, but I'd be disappointed if it were less so.

 

even then I dont know if I missed something and if I perhaps should simply have enchanted my previous weapon.

 

You're almost certainly missing several factors, or assuming certain weapon properties work in ways that they don't since they rarely work in the way you'd think they do. For example +20% attack speed doesn't make you attack 20% faster, and +50% crit damage doesn't make your crits do 50% more damage, and there are many more counter intuitive things like that.

 

But the thing is you don't need to know which weapons the most damage. Most the time, early in the game you'll pick a weapon focus so you'll only be using weapons from that group. Then as you find new weapons in that group it will usually be fairly clear whether they're an upgrade, and if it's not clear then it probably won't make much difference anyway so you might as well go with whichever looks nicer.

 

Now perhaps you're the sort of person who absolutely needs to optimise, and know how everything works. If that's the case then I'd recommend heading over the the strategy subforum of the PoE1 forums because, like I said, the way mechanics work in PoE1 are fairly counter intuitive and you're likely never going to work them out yourself without digging around in the source code and doing in game experiments. But if you're not this sort of person then I'd urge you to let go and not worry since it really doesn't matter.

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If that is what you mean by intuitive, then a thousand times no. I'd rather have expanded "help" features that have detailed explanations on how the math works. My problem with PoE is mostly that there's so many important details that are never mentioned anywhere. For example, how am I supposed to judge the importance of say perception vs another stat if I don't even know how accuracy affects attack rolls? I do now ofcourse, but coming from a D&D background I thought that 1% + hit per point in perception is an awful return, but turns out that due to the way it affects criticals, perception quickly becomes the most important stat in the game for any hostile action.

 

Another even greater offender is the Keep you get, I still haven't found anywhere exactly how turns are calculated, which leads to serious problems considering the expenses from hirelings are tied to the simulated in-game time isntead of these turns while your revenue is directly tied to these turns. Two things should be done for this; firstly, both expenses and revenue should be tied to same time units, either both operate around turns or both operate around the simulated game-time. I strongly dislike band-aid solutions like the experience gain + time mechanism in Tyranny, which is also incredibly unintuitive and never properly explained anywhere. Secondly, the game should tell the player exactly how things are calculated; how prestige is turned into revenue, how does security affect banditry and the general idea on how it influences events, including the detailed math ofc.

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I strongly dislike band-aid solutions like the experience gain

I actually like the leveling up system in Tyranny, you level up in the weapons you use, spells, and how you use your character narratively (choice & consequence, dialogue). Made a lot of sense to me.

 

​Would I want Deadfire to be? Hm, maybe actually... I don't really know how to discuss it either because, well, it makes so much sense. My Barbarian hits monster once, Barbarian becomes more experienced at fighting, the monster hits Barbarian, Barbarian gets experience in pain.

Edited by Osvir
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If you'd take away the complexity it wouldn't be POE anymore.

 

And besides, Deadfire already made concessions contributing to the game being more "intuitive" by reducing the party size to 5 or making combat (by default) run at a slower pace, for example.

Edited by desel
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... but turns out that due to the way it affects criticals, perception quickly becomes the most important stat in the game for any hostile action.

 

Not when you realise that the bonus damage from crits is additive with other damage bonuses (including the damage bonus from things like "exceptional" weapons), not multiplicative. By the late game, when you're wielding superb weapons and have various talents and abilities that add percentage damage crits become much less important.

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I really get and share your cirticism. While PoE is by its very nature a deep tactical game many of its systems are imo overloaded and needlessly obtuse. I miss the good old simple dice rolls of D&D. 

 

You miss the good old days of simple, intuitive AD&D?

 

 

Yeah, at least iits dice-rolling core. I'm very convinced that the concept of dice rolls is much easier to get than randomized percentage values. And it's much easier and faster to calculate in a range that goes from 1 to 6 than in a range that goes from 1 to 100... ;)

Edited by LordCrash
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Yeah, at least iits dice-rolling core. I'm very convinced that the concept of dice rolls is much easier to get than randomized percentage values. 

 

How is there any difference between the game giving you a randomized percentage value, and the game "rolling" a pair of d10s to generate a number between 1 and 100?

 

And it's much easier and faster to calculate in a range that goes from 1 to 6 than in a range that goes from 1 to 100...  ;)

 

 

I really don't see how that's true. Determining hit chances in PoE is as simple 50% - Defender's Defence% + Attacker's Accuracy%. Most people can add two digit numbers without any real difficulty.

 

Meanwhile a percentile system gives much more precision. In a system based around d6s each increment is about 16%, which is incredibly coarse. I can't represent a 60% chance of something in a d6 system, I have to either have it be a 50% chance or a 67% chance.

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Yeah, at least iits dice-rolling core. I'm very convinced that the concept of dice rolls is much easier to get than randomized percentage values.

 

How is there any difference between the game giving you a randomized percentage value, and the game "rolling" a pair of d10s to generate a number between 1 and 100?

 

Yes, and a pretty big one at that. Rolling dices is imo way more vivid and at the same time less mathematical.

 

I really don't see how that's true. Determining hit chances in PoE is as simple 50% - Defender's Defence% + Attacker's Accuracy%. Most people can add two digit numbers without any real difficulty.

It's not only a question of difficulty. As I stated above, dices are both more vivid and less mathematical. I know that many CRPG fans are "nerds" with a special love for numbers and maths (which is the basis of every RPG system of course) but not everybody has this love for numbers and calculations. It's hard to explain that to somebody for whom it is indeed intuitive to do various calculations pretty much all the time anyway. But for some people, maths and calculations are more a necessary evil than something that they love and perform on an intuitive level. Don't get me wrong, I have a master degree in business and engineering myself and calculating two digit numbers isn't a big trouble for me personally. But it's still less comfortable and less intuitive for me to be forced to calculate at all than just comparing two (or more) simple dice rolls.

 

Meanwhile a percentile system gives much more precision. In a system based around d6s each increment is about 16%, which is incredibly coarse. I can't represent a 60% chance of something in a d6 system, I have to either have it be a 50% chance or a 67% chance.

That's a blessing, not an curse. This precision you like is also the precision which is imo too obtuse and needlessly complex. I don't think that you need such a fine-grained system to make a good tactical combat system. Edited by LordCrash
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Many of the complexities of PoE are things that the Infinity Engine games had too but hid from you, so people just felt their way through them without really understanding, which was good enough. Raise your hand if you ever switched to a weapon in Baldur's Gate with crushing or slashing damage based on your enemy's armor type. Raise your hand if you ever used Malison to reduce an enemy's saving throws outside of maybe a high stakes boss battle.

Edited by Infinitron
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Yes, and a pretty big one at that. Rolling dices is imo way more vivid and at the same time less mathematical.

That... Didn't make any sense whatsoever. Have you ever played a board game calculating with actual percentile, i. e. 1-99? Dice are a terrible tool for that. Especially fun are the arguments about which die was representing tens... Edited by Fenixp
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Yes, and a pretty big one at that. Rolling dices is imo way more vivid and at the same time less mathematical.

That... Didn't make any sense whatsoever. Have you ever played a board game calculating with actual percentile, i. e. 1-99? Dice are a terrible tool for that. Especially fun are the arguments about which die was representing tens...

 

6 is better than 5 and 4 is better than 2. I don't know how it can be hard to understand why this is much simpler than calculating in two digit numbers.

 

And no, I never played such a board game but I agree that the idea to transform dice rolls in actual percentils sounds kind of stupid

 

 

Many of the complexities of PoE are things that the Infinity Engine games had too but hid from you, so people just felt their way through them without really understanding, which was good enough.

This. That's why I said that AD&D was way more intuitive on a BASIC level. For people who wanted to dive deep into the system, understanding the precise results of every skill, spell and action that wasn't really the case (relatively compared to PoE).

 

Personally, I miss that simple basic level. It enabled people with only little interest in maths and complex RPG systems to have a lot of fun with the combat in BG2 and other IE games. The system covered a broader audience, not only the typical numbers-loving nerds. ;)

Edited by LordCrash
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6 is better than 5 and 4 is better than 2. I don't know how it can be hard to understand why this is much simpler than calculation in two digit numbers. Whether the game does additional calculations in the background is of little to no importance for me.

Ah, you were still talking about 6-sided. 'Cause JerekKruger was referring to 2 10 sided.

Anyway, I see no reason why should we stick to 6 sides of a dice on PC. The percentile calculations was the smallest issue PoE had and it at least provided it with pretty great scalability. I mean sure, counting from 1 to 6 is simpler than counting from 1 to 100, but I might as well make an argument that the simplest solution is to just stick to '1' for everything - no need for counting whatsoever then.

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6 is better than 5 and 4 is better than 2. I don't know how it can be hard to understand why this is much simpler than calculation in two digit numbers. Whether the game does additional calculations in the background is of little to no importance for me.

Ah, you were still talking about 6-sided. 'Cause JerekKruger was referring to 2 10 sided.

Anyway, I see no reason why should we stick to 6 sides of a dice on PC. The percentile calculations was the smallest issue PoE had and it at least provided it with pretty great scalability. I mean sure, counting from 1 to 6 is simpler than counting from 1 to 100, but I might as well make an argument that the simplest solution is to just stick to '1' for everything - no need for counting whatsoever then.

 

Come on, that's a "kill it with fire" argument. ;)

 

And you miss the point that throwing dices is more vidid (even with a ten sided dice or with throwing two 6-sided dices), simply because you have a physical expression for it and a picture of a dice in your mind. I know it's hard to explain it to people for whom calculation probabilities is "intuitive" but for many people it's not. Throwing a dice is much more intuitive (even if you only do so in your mind) for them than calculation numbers only based on abstract rules. That the percentile calculations were no big issue for you personally doesn't necessarily mean that it was the same for everybody else.

Edited by LordCrash
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Yes, and a pretty big one at that. Rolling dices is imo way more vivid and at the same time less mathematical.

 

But the only way in which "dice" were being "rolled" in Baldur's Gate was that the combat log read "dice roll =". There was no visual dice being rolled, and ultimately the "dice roll" started off it's life as a random float between 0 and 1 that ended up being scaled and rounded to be a random integer between 1 and 6.

 

It's not only a question of difficulty. As I stated above, dices are both more vivid and less mathematical. I know that many CRPG fans are "nerds" with a special love for numbers and maths (which is the basis of every RPG system of course) but not everybody has this love for numbers and calculations. It's hard to explain that to somebody for whom it is indeed intuitive to do various calculations pretty much all the time anyway. But for some people, maths and calculations are more a necessary evil than something that they love and perform on an intuitive level. Don't get me wrong, I have a master degree in business and engineering myself and calculating two digit numbers isn't a big trouble for me personally. But it's still less comfortable and less intuitive for me to be forced to calculate at all than just comparing two (or more) simple dice rolls.

 

Again though, how was the way dice rolls were represented in BG in any way vivid?

 

I totally agree that some people are put off by maths and calculations, but I suspect said people are put off just as much by calculations done on dice as they are by calculations done with percentages. I suspect those people will ignore the details of the combat log, being happy with the "Steve hit Barry for 7 damage" and not worrying about the details of what Steve rolled to achieve that. In fact, the joy of CRPGs for some people in almost certainly that they don't need to worry about any of the calculations because a computer does it all for them.

 

That's a blessing, not an curse. This precision you like is also the precision which is imo too obtuse and needlessly complex. I don't think that you need such a fine-grained system to make a good tactical combat system.

 

 

 

I guess we simply disagree on this.

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I thought there was much that could have been presented in a clearer way in PoE. I still don't have a very good understanding how attack speed multipliers work, for example. Seems to me some bonuses there are additive, some multiplicative, some don't stack at all and nothing in the game really tells me which is which. This is definitely something that they should work on. At least I'd like an option that lets me see a clear and detailed breakdown of the math from base value to what's going to be the end result, especially when choosing new abilities on level up. More detailed information in general would be good. No vague language when describing abilities (what does 'low endurance' mean for the Death Godlike's racial ability?). Whenever you need to have someone in the community doing experiments to find out how an ability really works mechanically, the developers have messed up. In this sense, they could make the game quite a bit more intuitive.

 

If making the game more intuitive means making it less complex, less granular (for example going away from the 1-100 random number roll that the game is based on... it does exactly the same thing as a d20 does in DnD but allows for a lot more fine tuning and is, I find, actually easier to deal with in your head), less deep, I'm against it. I don't think it's a problem if a new RPG system has a bit of a learning curve (it's not that it can't be understood to a reasonable degree within an hour or two if you're paying attention) and requires some time to master it. It's more rewarding this way.

Edited by mumbogumshoe
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That complexity is one of the features that makes PoE fun for me. Deadfire doesn't need to be more complicated, but I'd be disappointed if it were less so.

Very strong agree from me :)
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6 is better than 5 and 4 is better than 2. I don't know how it can be hard to understand why this is much simpler than calculating in two digit numbers.

 

93 is better than 82 is better than 51 is better than 17...

 

Even if people struggle to add or subtract a pair of two-digit numbers, I doubt there is anyone playing PoE who can't immediately compared two two-digit numbers and tell you which is larger.

 

And no, I never played such a board game but I agree that the idea to transform dice rolls in actual percentils sounds kind of stupid

 

 

There are several tabletop RPGs that make use of percentiles. It's really quite simple to do, all you need is to own two, different coloured, d10s and you're done (you don't even need this to be honest, but if all your d10s are the same colour you will probably need to roll the two separately).

 

This. That's why I said that AD&D was way more intuitive on a BASIC level. For people who wanted to dive deep into the system, understanding the precise results of every skill, spell and action that wasn't really the case (relatively compared to PoE).

 

Personally, I miss that simple basic level. It enabled people with only little interest in maths and complex RPG systems to have a lot of fun with the combat in BG2 and other IE games. The system covered a broader audience, not only the typical numbers-loving nerds.  ;)

 

 

You do realise you can play PoE without ever looking at the combat log, and without ever understanding any of the mechanics that go on behind the scenes. All you need to know is that accuracy increases hit chance and an enemy's defence reduces hit chance.

 

Before someone pipes up "oh but PoE has four different defences and that makes it complicated" let's remember that BG had five different saves, and that D&D 3/3.5 had three save (that basically match the 3 non-deflection defences of PoE). Perhaps AD&D's save system is simpler than PoE's defence system because no one ever had the patience to understand it so everyone ignored it and hoped for the best.

 

I strongly believe that claims that AD&D is simpler or more intuitive to understand is based strongly on the familiarity of those making the argument. You've simply forgotten how unintuitive learning AD&D was.

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I thought there was much that could have been presented in a clearer way in PoE. I still don't have a very good understanding how attack speed multipliers work, for example. Seems to me some bonuses there are additive, some multiplicative, some don't stack at all and nothing in the game really tells me which is which. This is definitely something that they should work on. At least I'd like an option that lets me see a clear and detailed breakdown of the math from base value to what's going to be the end result, especially when choosing new abilities on level up. More detailed information in general would be good. No vague language when describing abilities (what does 'low endurance' mean for the Death Godlike's racial ability?). Whenever you need to have someone in the community doing experiments to find out how an ability really works mechanically, the developers have messed up. In this sense, they could make the game quite a bit more intuitive.

 

This I agree with wholeheartedly.

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I think the more vague descriptions in the game ("low endurance") make the game more immersive and 'real'.  I want my character to be described in words, not just set of equations.

That's a big part of the role-playing experience.  Of course there could always be tab on the pause menu that gives more detailed descriptions, but I hate when the actual game is bogged down with the nitty-gritty math stuff (this coming from someone with a degree in mathematics.)

I think of my wizard's intellect in terms of her mental abilities and intellectual prowess, not as a multiplier that increases her area-of-effect.

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You've simply forgotten how unintuitive learning AD&D was.

I never really learnt AD&D which is actually exactly my point. ;)

 

I had a ton of fun with BG2 without ever learning its deeper system. I had a much harder time with PoE although I played it 14 years later with much more experience and learning on the way. It's just my personal experience I share with you, you don't have to agree with me, naturally.

 

 

Edit: A well explained system doesn't automatically make an intuitive system. An intuitive system is one that is "working" for you without the need of fully understanding its concepts. The intuitive mind and the rational mind are two different parts of the human brain...

Edited by LordCrash
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Strong no to streamlining the systems. Pillars systems aresomewhat complex (by modern standards), but the complexity is there for a reason. Learning to make use of them is a huge part of the fun, and central to the experience. The reason for being for the Pillars franchise is to be something different from Dragon Age: Inquisition.

 

That said, the UI could use some work. For example, it's sometimes difficult to figure out which bonuses or penalties stack, or don't, and why, for example, and that could be indicated more clearly. 

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