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Will Obsidian be doing anything about the absolutely retarded amount of stun/prone/etc spam?


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Playing through Pillars 1 again on PotD and I'd apparently forgotten about just how retarded the amount of stun or other hard control spam there is in this game.  Phantoms that stun on hit, every hit.  Returning Storm and Relentless Storm that stack with each other, do high damage in an AOE, and stun on every hit.  Wizards can paralyze for a long duration at low level with high accuracy, Chill Fog blinds and damages in a massive AOE at level 1.

 

It's kind of insane.  I don't know how anyone that plays tabletop games consistently could possibly have thought this was a good idea - "save or suck" is one of the most enduring problems in tabletop RPG design, and it's like they tried to maximize that problem in Pillars.  Maybe it's just a PotD thing, when monsters have enough HP and stats that they don't just fall over when the player farts in their general direction.

 

Regardless, has Obsidian said anything about this?  I recall reading that they admitted that Phantoms were a mistake, or at least that they appeared too early in the game... but the stun-happy Phantoms are just a symptom of a larger problem.  Do we know if they'll be focusing on addressing that problem for Pillars 2, or can we expect it to also be a game with awful gameplay balance like Pillars 1 and Tyranny?

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This is a quote from Josh in answer to "if you had to guess; what % of spells and talents are porting straight over vs new/significant reworks?"

 

 

Hmm. I'd say maybe 50/50, but I think we'll have to see how some of our ideas pan out. We have our new Inspiration set to counter Afflictions and a lot of personal and group buffs have been reworked to support Inspirations instead of straight stat buffs. E.g. a barbarian's Frenzy places the Fit and Strong Inspirations on them. These grant appropriate Con and Mig bonuses, but they also serve as counters to (and can be countered by) Sickened and Weakened Afflictions.

 
The way our Penetration and Armor Rating system works allows us to make cleaner distinctions between high pen attacks and heavy damage attacks that shifts how we stat out some spells. Because of our new Concentration/Interrupt system and re-targeting mechanic, we're also experimenting with longer cast times for big effect attacks, e.g. Fireballs that are long-cast (and are vulnerable to being interrupted/lost) but do significantly more damage.
 
There are other changes that are more subtle: changing Minoletta's Minor Missiles over to a no-roll (and thus, no Crit/Miss) attack with good pen and modest damage. Allowing some attacks to upgrade their Affliction on a Crit or downgrade to a lesser Affliction on a Graze (most attacks do not have a Graze range/effect anymore). Narrowing the focus of some attacks, e.g. making Whisper of Treason cause a Charm effect on kith but a Confusion effect on non-kith. Stuff like that. Things that change the mechanics but (hopefully) keep the spirit of the effect.
 
Oh, and modals were heavily reworked. You no longer pick any weapon-based modal talents (like Rapid Shot) as talents. You automatically gain access a modals when you gain proficiency (a separate currency) in a weapon and have that weapon equipped. E.g. if you gain proficiency in hunting bows, you can activate Rapid Shot whenever you have one equipped. If you are proficient in estocs, you can activate Vulnerable Attack whenever you have one equipped. On the class side of things, most of the modal abilities are purchased as linked abilities. E.g. paladins gain all zealous auras as one package and you can switch between them as you need to.

 

So there is some rework of afflictions

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The point is that in combat there are save or suck situations. If there's a punch coming your way, you'll either avoid it or you'll be eating dirt; there's nothing wrong with a little save or suck, and that is the only way to have hard control in the game. Hard control on the other hand adds depth, you need to be able to deal with one or two characters being stunned, you can't just rely on your generic super-stats. I've heard the "being stunned is not fun" argument many times, but being on the receiving end isn't supposed to be 'fun', games are supposed to challenge you, forcing you to adapt to the possibility of losing control of your party members in various ways is part of the fun.

 

EDIT: in other words, I doubt most people would agree that this is a problem, if it is not taken too far, and I don't recall any encounter in PoE besides those damn Fampyr that really abused such abilities, and even when it comes to them there are ways take preventive measures.

 

EDIT EDIT: without extensive hard control the game easily devolves into the binary "my HP times DPS is bigger than yours, I win" - situations that we see in most MMOs and plenty other games, which is kinda boring to me. To each their own, but I'm glad that there's plenty of hard CC, I like my games to be punishing, and even unfair, to a point.

Edited by Ninjamestari
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Phantoms and Lagufaeth are a good test of how well the player understands game mechanics instead of just hulk smashing everything. They're not the source of any perceived stun excess.

 

What they do need to improve is the original intention of graze/crits. It was supposed to reduce scenarios where you get stunned forever just for failing a save by 1. The problem is it then added a lot of tiny stuns all over the place (2 second stuns, hardly enough for anything but irritating to players) and also made it easy for players to powergame and achieve massive crits (stunning dragons for 50 seconds, etc). I was surprised that they went with this linear gradation for state debuffs as if it was the same as damage, and something has to be adjusted there.

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What they do need to improve is the original intention of graze/crits. It was supposed to reduce scenarios where you get stunned forever just for failing a save by 1. The problem is it then added a lot of tiny stuns all over the place (2 second stuns, hardly enough for anything but irritating to players) and also made it easy for players to powergame and achieve massive crits (stunning dragons for 50 seconds, etc). I was surprised that they went with this linear gradation for state debuffs as if it was the same as damage, and something has to be adjusted there.

 

Yes, rather than a linear function, something like a logistic function might be more realistic, where you get to the point of diminishing returns at the two extremes. But that would be much harder to communicate to the audience.

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Man, I hate that title

 

Pure click-bait.

 

Nah, pure click bait would have been "10 retarded features Obsidian puts in their games. Number 3 will blow your mind!"

But yeah, when I saw the word "retarded", I knew this would be an epic rant ;)  

 

I get where OP is coming from. The first time you encounter phantoms in GV, you've only got 3 party members, and probably aren't very good yet, so that area probably caused a decent amount of frustration among players. Perhaps they should have had the beta in Gilded Vale instead of Dyrford. I think Dyrford was chosen so that the beta testers could play with higher level characters, but still, if somewhere is going to be super well tested and balanced, the first village might have been a better choice.

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Playing through Pillars 1 again on PotD and I'd apparently forgotten about just how retarded the amount of stun or other hard control spam there is in this game.  Phantoms that stun on hit, every hit.  Returning Storm and Relentless Storm that stack with each other, do high damage in an AOE, and stun on every hit.  Wizards can paralyze for a long duration at low level with high accuracy, Chill Fog blinds and damages in a massive AOE at level 1.

 

It's kind of insane.  I don't know how anyone that plays tabletop games consistently could possibly have thought this was a good idea - "save or suck" is one of the most enduring problems in tabletop RPG design, and it's like they tried to maximize that problem in Pillars.  Maybe it's just a PotD thing, when monsters have enough HP and stats that they don't just fall over when the player farts in their general direction.

 

Regardless, has Obsidian said anything about this?  I recall reading that they admitted that Phantoms were a mistake, or at least that they appeared too early in the game... but the stun-happy Phantoms are just a symptom of a larger problem.  Do we know if they'll be focusing on addressing that problem for Pillars 2, or can we expect it to also be a game with awful gameplay balance like Pillars 1 and Tyranny?

Dude. If it's too hard just give up.

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I like those nasty stunners. Skirmishers, Phantoms, Banshees, Lagufaeth and also Corrupted Druids and Blights and whatnot.

 

It feels especially good to start an encounter with disabling + clipping them first. ;)

 

Ogre Druids also got much hate in the past for using Calling the World's Maw and Plague of Insects, same as Delemgans and especially Adragans ("Hello petrified, tell me how you're doin'!"). Because they can use spells the player can use. How dare they!

 

Usually those complaints will come from players who don't know the mechanics yet and get frustrated because they get owned by those enemies - although the rest of the game feels easy for them. They don't know how awesome Fenwalkers are and will never use a mountain dwarf because they think "Hale & Hardy" is totally useless.

 

Of course it can be a shock for inexperienced players to get disabled so hard and then bite the dust - but as I said it feels especially rewarding if you finally manage to overwhelm them.

 

And for me it's more like "disable first or suck" instead of "save or suck". Why can they get off their disables although you start the fight?

 

I mean how frustrating must it be for an Adragan to stand around at some random crossroads, scratching his stony butt - and suddenly get his head blown apart by a paladin's arquebus shot with Flames of Devotion? That is really evil save or suck I'd say - he didn't even see it coming. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Playing through Pillars 1 again on PotD and I'd apparently forgotten about just how retarded the amount of stun or other hard control spam there is in this game.  Phantoms that stun on hit, every hit.  Returning Storm and Relentless Storm that stack with each other, do high damage in an AOE, and stun on every hit.  Wizards can paralyze for a long duration at low level with high accuracy, Chill Fog blinds and damages in a massive AOE at level 1.

 

It's kind of insane.  I don't know how anyone that plays tabletop games consistently could possibly have thought this was a good idea - "save or suck" is one of the most enduring problems in tabletop RPG design, and it's like they tried to maximize that problem in Pillars.  Maybe it's just a PotD thing, when monsters have enough HP and stats that they don't just fall over when the player farts in their general direction.

 

Regardless, has Obsidian said anything about this?  I recall reading that they admitted that Phantoms were a mistake, or at least that they appeared too early in the game... but the stun-happy Phantoms are just a symptom of a larger problem.  Do we know if they'll be focusing on addressing that problem for Pillars 2, or can we expect it to also be a game with awful gameplay balance like Pillars 1 and Tyranny?

Dude. If it's too hard just give up.

 

 

Or just turn down the difficulty. I really don't get acheivement hunters

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Phantoms and Lagufaeth are a good test of how well the player understands game mechanics instead of just hulk smashing everything. They're not the source of any perceived stun excess.

 

I'm not so sure about that. Following josh's mentality of every party is viable, I made a party without casters and had a lot of problems dealing with the Lagufaeth before I outleveled them. It's easy to get stunlocked by them on PotD, even if you invest in talents against these effects, since their sheer numbers and stats are stacked against you. Since the rest of PotD was very doable with such a party, I think that goes to show that these systems are probably not so well-balanced, and the OP makes some good points.

 

It's easy to dismiss any criticism with a lack of understanding of the game mechanics, but even if you do understand the game mechanics, there is a very uneven distribution of tools for specific encounters over all available classes. If your party doesn't have enough hard CC for all enemies, and you only have a limited number of debuff removing abilities, then even using buffs for your defenses may leave you at a statistical disadvantage.

If Hard difficulty feels too easy 90% of the time, while PotD feels right 90% of the time with a party that doesn't utilize all the tools available, then that definitely shows that the stun mechanics are separate from the other mechanics. It's strange when a party that doesn't utilize many game systems can consistently go through the highest difficulty, but fail at one specific mechanic - then the overall difficulty should scale up, such that the party can consistently have fun on hard difficulty and doesn't need to go to PotD, which can very well be reserved for system mastery.

 

I'm not saying that the issue in PoE was as big as OP makes them out to be, but some criticism is justified, especially due to the strange scaling of graces for stun effects that have already been mentioned. The availability of stuns are great, but stunlocks always feel cheap.

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But if you have only one guy with decent lore you can just use scrolls. At least against Lagufaeth. No scroll helps against stun or prone and a priest will be the only way to prevent those if your defenses are not high enough. But then there's also a potion of (Major) Recovery - this helps a lot in such cases. You don't need casters for that.

 

Criticism is always justified as long as it's constructive. Ranting all over the place with exaggerations is not. It's understandable and it mght also be relieving, but one should expect some nudges and clouts in response. :)

 

I agree though that those auto-stunners like Skirmishers and Phantoms shouldn't proc stun effects on grazes. Things like spell chances (x% proc chance on hit or crit) also don't work with grazes and it would be only fair if enemies' "spell chances", even if they are 100% of all hits and crits, wouldn't work on grazes (of the initial hit roll).

Edited by Boeroer

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A non-caster party is always going to be more challenging, and the point is to make such parties viable to skilled players, rather than 'every party just as good as the other'. I've also played noncaster parties, as well as solo, and such homebrew handicaps obviously add new challenges - that's supposed to be the fun. They can't be used as evidence that POE is 'stun spam'.

Edited by Tigranes
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The lenguath were frickin easy to beat and so where the phantoms in the starting town and caed nua.

 

As soon as I came across encounters on POTD that where to difficult I just adventured elsewhere and came back when I was a higher level.

 

Having harder encounters is an important part of theses games and this thread should be deleted if you ask me. Stupid post.

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