I was one of the folks who waited until patch 3.05 to start playing this game. That being said, I would like to share my thoughts about it now that I finished my first complete playthrough (I skipped White March... will save that for another time).
NARRATIVE DESIGN - VERY POSITIVE:
I loved the variety of it.
The developers talked about how they aimed for a "realistic fantasy" style (kinda like Game of Thrones) and for me they simply nailed it. Every quest, even the smaller ones, felt somehow morally ambiguous.
ISSUES: Maybe the cities could have felt more organic and alive, with NPC schedules (that's planned for PoE2 already). Also, after reaching Twin Elms,
Actually, I felt there was lost potential regarding the impact of background, skill, reputation and disposition on reactivity overall. It was competently done in some places, like
ART AND GAMEPLAY (NON-COMBAT) - VERY POSITIVE:
I won't repeat what has being praised to death since the game's launch: how it improved upon the IE style in almost every aspect. I remember being blown away in the first hours of gameplay about how near perfect it was, from the environment and UI art to the freedom I had while building my characters.
The one thing though, that I would like to highlight as a big positive for me is the policy of avoiding classic IE games exploits on gameplay, mainly supported by Josh Sawyer. Some of this implementations were very criticized here, but I got nothing but love for them since the beggining. The disencouragement of dumping stats, rest-spam and grinding exp. by killing monster mobs, the lack of an overpowered-weapon-to-rule-them-all... this all favors immersion and roleplaying instead of powergaming, which should be left for hack-'n'-slash and MMO's realm.
ISSUES: Definetly leveling up. Again this has been addressed to death, and high-level content scalling seem to have fixed some of it. But all of Act 3 was frustratingly easy for me, playing on hard (and I didn't do any of White March). I think high level content scalling is not the right solution for this, but maybe changing the way leveling up works.
The main reason for the game becoming too easy in high levels is the rising of defenses and accuracy, some high level abilities, and the lack of challenging encounter design (addressed in the next session). To solve this, I would propose a non-linear rise of defenses and accuracy (maybe a rising curve with a plateau). This makes more sense realistically, as experience in countless combats won't make you stronger and stronger until you reach god-like levels of killing a xaurip with a single punch. Maybe leveling up could be represented more by the widening of the abilitiy options available. Another obvious solution is simply limit the exp. rewards and slowing down the leveling up (I might think more about this for a new topic).
COMBAT - DECENT/MILDLY POSITIVE:
Again, I didn't disapprove of Josh's policy against IE's gameplay exploits and his implementation of the engagement system. I think it was a cool addition, and it actually presented a new challenge, as you had to find a way to break engagement if trying to get away from a fight. Also, the amount of abilities available is huge! This made every combat at least entertaining for the beggining of the game. There were some hard counters here-and-there, immunities and monster abilities that I had to think how to avoid and some challenging fights that felt somewhat rewarding when I was able to beat them, however...
ISSUES: I feel like the implementation of a combat mode limited the options for encounter design a lot. With this current system, we are not able to do stuff like scout a group of enemies while invisible, throw a potion or explosive at a clueless mob of monsters, charm an enemy and send him in the front line of an encounter etc. Overall, the whole encounter design for PoE1 was very lackluster, and I don't understand why the developers allowed this, since Sawyer worked on IwD2 which has great encounter design. Using the different abilities available was cool at the beggining, some of them were a little different, like swapping the mage with another character, the fire wall and rolling flame, but man, I would love to see encounters where the party started with a disadvantage, with variations on terrain, boulders, obstacles, exploding kegs (or shooting at some oil kegs so they would cast slicken nearby), maybe some interactable objects (hell, why not even scripted interactions mid-combat, the possibilities would be numerous!).
This went longer than I expected. Any thoughts on the issues/positives I mentioned are welcomed!
Edited by LuccA, 21 May 2017 - 09:36 AM.