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I made a review of PoE recently after I finished it for the first time (http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/92610-my-late-review-of-poe/). In it, I mentioned that PoE1 v3.05 had, personally, two major issues to be fixed: 1 - Encounter design and the limiting nature of combat mode, 2 - The leveling up system.

 

As for n.1, I have reasons to believe it will be quite improved in PoE2. We already have sneak peeks showing us exploding kegs and difficult terrains, we know that Maia's bird will be able to scout and adding to the bigger number of ability options with the new subclasses and multiclassing, I am very optimistic about the combat experience in PoE2.

 

The leveling up still worries me though, and here's why:

 

It was clearly unbalanced in PoE1. You didn't have to be a completionist to become overpowered in the second half of the game and go through every encounter like pie. The level scalling option in the expansion and Twin Elms helped a little bit, but it was more like plugging holes with cement. The increased level cap to 20 in PoE2 only makes me more worried, since it will make the characters level up faster in a game that will be about the same size as PoE1. The leveling up system needs a more permanent solution in my opinion, and I would like to open the discussion in this thread for suggestions and thoughts.

 

My suggestion:

 

In addition to the fast paced leveling (I got to level 4 in the blink of an eye in the game), the main reasons that make the game too easy after a while is the big difference between high-level and mid-level accuracy and defenses and the lack of challenging combat design. For me, the linear increase in accuracy and defenses could be replaced by a curve-like increase (ex: +5 per level until 10, than +3 until 15, +1 from there on), or the increases could be tuned down... or maybe both.

 

Realistically, it makes sense that a high-level character would hit or crit a regular xaurip easier, just because now he/she gathered enough combat experience for that, but that doesn't mean that a well organized tribe of xaurips shouldn't prove a challenge for a high-level party (too bad that doesn't happen in PoE1).

 

The game tries to improve difficulty introducing new harder enemies and that's also a good strategy. The problem is that without dynamic level scalling, it is hard to balance encounter difficulty in a non-linear game. Say, if the game's beggining and end are fairly linear and the middle portion has branching story, with monsters with similar levels in each branch, if the player can choose which monsters to kill first, than the later will become easier by consequence (in that middle non-linear portion of the game). This is where a curve progression of accuracy and defenses becomes a good strategy, as it generates a plateau of stats in higher levels, preventing the player to become over-powered after a number of levels. The difference in high-levels, specially for the late portion of the game, could then be expressed by the widening of the ability options (ex: the per-encounter abilities for vancian casters is a nice touch).

 

I was never a big fan of high-level, or "legendary" adventures, so my opinion might be a little biased. But I really think the game could benefit from an anti-overpowering approach on leveling up. It also fits with PoE's more realistic setting, where having a demi-god warrior killing thousands of enemies with single punches just feels out-of-place (unless you're Waidwen).

 

Other obvious suggestions would be:

- Dynamic level scalling, where the number of monsters in every encounter throughout the game always scale with your level, 

- Just forget about the 20 level cap stretch goal and slow down the level gaining.  :p

Edited by LuccA
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I remember them talking in depth about linear vs geometric growth systems. You have to keep in mind that whatever you go with, you have balance the content of the game around that. Either way you can pull strings on the math to get similar results. I really like what they have done with the attribute system, and I think it makes a lot of sense.

 

I did kind of like gaining early levels quickly, because combat is kind of dull right at the start. Midway through the game it feels really nice having enough charges of skills/spells to toss around.

 

I agree on your take about not wanting a sort of "power-level" "space-race" and instead an effort should be made to keep a modicum of low-level low-fantasy challenge in the world. That way special encounters feel truly epic but still explainable and believable in the game. PoE2 will have a harder to justifying taking on extremely powerful encounters simply because you have a smaller party. Already in 1, you had to hire mercs just to deal with Caed Nua raids. Nevermind the whole Lord Gathbin war. Which was awesome btw, and give the Watcher a more involved roll in the world. One where you must rely on others even outside your party.

 

Obsidian has partly solved these issues by removing combat experience. So now leveling is tied to content. So grinding is based on being a completionist. Some people that complete everything might want to get super strong, others may want a dreadful grind to the grisly end. Others want a sweet spot which they can't explain but know when it's been found. If you let the players adjust scaling themselves it becomes a meta game of trial and error, so you want the devs to figure it out for you. But then it's hard to please everyone.

 

Imo encounters should get more diverse as the game goes on. Difficulty spikes and cake walks should both occur at the end. I think this is what people often complain about, they like the consistency that is found early in the game but keeping that up late game just leaves encounters that feel really flat. Remember your also getting much higher frequency crits late game that can turn subsequent identical encounters into feeling like polar opposites. Getting the whole gamut of the encounters to widen at the end of the game is preferable to doing one extreme or the other. If you want the extreme then adjust the overall game difficulty. Now the question is how well was this pulled off? I think Pillars already does much better than other games simply for throwing out old dnd rules. Not only have we learned the old rules aren't great, but table top rules in general play out differently in a video game. So I like where Obsidian is headed to say the least.

 

Who knows, we press for things to feel balanced enough and we may end up with Mario Kart style rubberbanding, maybe that is what we all want deep down. We want the game to cheat we just don't want to catch it cheating.

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At the moment, especially with the addition of the White March, there is just too much optional content to ever properly balance PoE. The developers need to make sure that the game is at least possible with main story only, which means that completionists (and I think there are many in this genre) will always feel overpowered.

 

I’m not sure if there is a good solution. Maybe just: design your expansion-sets to take place post-end game?

 

I’m very anti-level scaling though. Improvement is at the heart of RPGs, and if everything scales with you, you don’t feel like you are improving. Also, it feels silly when you reach end game and that low-level bandit has been scaled up to be a demi-god on par with your characters. 

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I’m not sure if there is a good solution.

 

There is, but people don't like it: have the only source of experience in the game be the main quest line. This gives the developer complete control over the rate at which the player levels and removes the problem altogether.

 

But every time I've suggested this people complain that the player should be rewarded for doing optional content. Putting aside for a moment that you can still be rewarded with loot, and the fact that the content itself can be enjoyable*, this complaint seems strange. After all, the very same people are often those who complain about feeling overpowered as a result of being completionists, even though the two complaints are essentially at odds with one another.

 

I suspect that it's a matter of inertia. Role-playing games have always given experience for optional content and people don't like change, so whilst they can clearly see the problem of out levelling the critical path, they won't even consider the obvious solution.

 

As an aside, the removal of experience for killing things is another example of this sort of inertia.

 

*If the only reason you're doing optional content is for experience, I think you might be playing the wrong game.

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Or remove experience at all and let the player only advance with training (trainers/teachers/books or whatever). You can still gain benefits from fighting - like special talents which are only unlockable if you have experienced certain situations in fights (unlock Unbroken if you got knocked out more than X times or whatever) or when doing a lot of scouting or doing a lot of lockpicking and so on.

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I made a review of PoE recently after I finished it for the first time (http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/92610-my-late-review-of-poe/). In it, I mentioned that PoE1 v3.05 had, personally, two major issues to be fixed: 1 - Encounter design and the limiting nature of combat mode, 2 - The leveling up system.

 

As for n.1, I have reasons to believe it will be quite improved in PoE2. We already have sneak peeks showing us exploding kegs and difficult terrains, we know that Maia's bird will be able to scout and adding to the bigger number of ability options with the new subclasses and multiclassing, I am very optimistic about the combat experience in PoE2.

 

The leveling up still worries me though, and here's why:

 

It was clearly unbalanced in PoE1. You didn't have to be a completionist to become overpowered in the second half of the game and go through every encounter like pie. The level scalling option in the expansion and Twin Elms helped a little bit, but it was more like plugging holes with cement. The increased level cap to 20 in PoE2 only makes me more worried, since it will make the characters level up faster in a game that will be about the same size as PoE1. The leveling up system needs a more permanent solution in my opinion, and I would like to open the discussion in this thread for suggestions and thoughts.

 

My suggestion:

 

In addition to the fast paced leveling (I got to level 4 in the blink of an eye in the game), the main reasons that make the game too easy after a while is the big difference between high-level and mid-level accuracy and defenses and the lack of challenging combat design. For me, the linear increase in accuracy and defenses could be replaced by a curve-like increase (ex: +5 per level until 10, than +3 until 15, +1 from there on), or the increases could be tuned down... or maybe both.

 

Realistically, it makes sense that a high-level character would hit or crit a regular xaurip easier, just because now he/she gathered enough combat experience for that, but that doesn't mean that a well organized tribe of xaurips shouldn't prove a challenge for a high-level party (too bad that doesn't happen in PoE1).

 

The game tries to improve difficulty introducing new harder enemies and that's also a good strategy. The problem is that without dynamic level scalling, it is hard to balance encounter difficulty in a non-linear game. Say, if the game's beggining and end are fairly linear and the middle portion has branching story, with monsters with similar levels in each branch, if the player can choose which monsters to kill first, than the later will become easier by consequence (in that middle non-linear portion of the game). This is where a curve progression of accuracy and defenses becomes a good strategy, as it generates a plateau of stats in higher levels, preventing the player to become over-powered after a number of levels. The difference in high-levels, specially for the late portion of the game, could then be expressed by the widening of the ability options (ex: the per-encounter abilities for vancian casters is a nice touch).

 

I was never a big fan of high-level, or "legendary" adventures, so my opinion might be a little biased. But I really think the game could benefit from an anti-overpowering approach on leveling up. It also fits with PoE's more realistic setting, where having a demi-god warrior killing thousands of enemies with single punches just feels out-of-place (unless you're Waidwen).

 

Other obvious suggestions would be:

- Dynamic level scalling, where the number of monsters in every encounter throughout the game always scale with your level, 

- Just forget about the 20 level cap stretch goal and slow down the level gaining.  :p

 

Leveling is always a can of worms. In one of the streams Josh said they what they plan to do is give you a choice at the beginning of the game if you want to scale content or not. If yes, then all encounters should be scaled according to your level. Of not, the difficulty is set and therefore you can find yourself outclassed or overpowered depending where you go.

 

Now: my personal thoughts. I don't like scaling. For me it completely counters the idea of leveling up. I am playing through Tyranny now in PotD. I heard it gets easy in 2nd half and I think I am getting to the point but up to this point it was very frustrating. You see I thought the same enemies 10 hours ago. They are the same enemies but they have more health, better defences and they hit harder to counter my higher level. So what was the point of me leveling up? If I would stay on lvl 1 and enemies wouldn't scale the game wouldn't change much. This is the problem I have with skyrim as well. At the start of the game I could use magic, swords, bows, whatever I liked. Now I can use bows and one handed swords because this is what I chose. I feels completely the same as it did on lvl. 1, but instead of developing my character, I limited my options. 

 

Another bad example was Witcher 3. There was no point for Witcher 3 to have leveling system. Your combat didn't improve much, or get more interested. It only allowed devs to space out content (no you want do all Witcher contracts in one go, because those are lvl. 43. Sure they are same monsters, and they will work exactly the same way as they do on lvl. 10, but you wont be able to face them until you spent 50 hours in the game). Now I think, W3 benefited from this pacing but the downside was that the main story became way to easy after lvl 15 if you did side content.

 

I like the most as difficulty and leveling is used for storytelling. Look at Gothic 1&2. Characters and monsters had set difficulty BUT you could encounter them from the very beginning. On a low level, when you saw Shadowbeast you only could run and hope it won't follow you. On lvl 15 you could face it. And it was so much more satisfying knowing how it could kill you in one hit hours before. Considering an openess of Deadfire I hope this is the route the "unscaled" game will go for: factions and monsters have certain strenght and you will need be powerful enough to face them. Or be really smart with the game. I think this way of approaching lvl system opens quite a potential for interaction with the world and storytelling. If you just create linear experience, where you shouldn't encounter something weaker/stronger than you, then why to include lvl system at all? 

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At the moment, especially with the addition of the White March, there is just too much optional content to ever properly balance PoE. The developers need to make sure that the game is at least possible with main story only, which means that completionists (and I think there are many in this genre) will always feel overpowered.

 

I’m not sure if there is a good solution. Maybe just: design your expansion-sets to take place post-end game?

 

I’m very anti-level scaling though. Improvement is at the heart of RPGs, and if everything scales with you, you don’t feel like you are improving. Also, it feels silly when you reach end game and that low-level bandit has been scaled up to be a demi-god on par with your characters. 

Yes, for me it is a but problem with "in game" expansions. You can scale up things but why shades in Sun in Shadows are so much stronget than those I fought before. I just made a big post on this topic so I won't repeat myself but just like you I am anti-scaling.

 

That said, I don't mind critical path being a bit easier as long as there are good high level fights to have. Dragons, bounties and wizards in PoE where lots of fun and Thaos was never build up as a godly fighter. So he put up some resistance, but I felt no need for it to be THE fight of the game.

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Levelling without level-scaling is something I have thought a fair bit about, and come up with what could be a rather controversial solution to it.  As others have said, level-scaling is kinda a sucky work around for it that undoes the whole sensation of progression and in some systems even makes you feel like you are going backwards ( *cough* Oblivion *cough* ).  I liked the sensation of getting more powerful while doing all the sidequests in Baldur's Gate 2, and I liked the freedom of doing all those sidequests in whatever order I chose, but I do realise they became irrelevant difficulty-wise after a while.  The thing is, I don't think it was levelling up itself that is the problem, but rather what you get for levelling up.

 

My controversial idea is based on the though that you gain too much at level up, and that not all of it is needed.  In Pillars it is clear that you gain more talents, more class abilities, and more skills, these I think are not the issue.  In Pillars, and most other class-based systems, you also gain extra hit points and extra accuracy in addition to what they gain via talents.  A level 10 character is going to be tougher even without the skills and talents than a level 1 character simply because they have more hit points, more deflection, and more accuracy simply because they are a higher character.  This means that when a level 1 creature fights them then they are not going to be able to hit, and are going to be constantly crit'd with every blow, and when they do manage to luck out and hit the level 10 character the damage they do is comparatively minor simply due to the enlarged hit pool.  This is a constant power creep, a power creep that can only be matched by a power creep of the enemy too.

 

My thought therefore is that maybe characters should not gain the automatic benefits of levelling up: that you gain the talent, skill, and ability but that's it.  No automatic increase in hit dice unless they take a feat that increases it, no increase in accuracy unless they take a talent that increases it, etc.  This would remove the need to do every increasing amounts of damage just to stay competitive, and would even keep certain talents such as Weapon Focus relevant as their increase to accuracy ceases to be lessened proportional to increases in accuracy in general, as they become one of the few ways to increase it!  This way, a level 10 character still becomes significantly more powerful but a level 1 creature could still be a threat to them if they are not careful and don't use their abilities properly.  It reduces the power creep.

 

Now, before anyone points out the flaws in this, let me just say that I don't necessarily think it is a particularly good idea, I am sure there are many things I am overlooking that is wrong with this thought, and even I enjoy the feeling of increased power you get at level up (there is a reason why some theorise that MMOs use it as an addiction to keep their players paying).  I just thought I would chuck it out there, as a thought to the general issue of levelling and keeping combat 'relevant' without just scaling content up.

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There is, but people don't like it: have the only source of experience in the game be the main quest line.

I like it.

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My controversial idea is based on the though that you gain too much at level up, and that not all of it is needed.  In Pillars it is clear that you gain more talents, more class abilities, and more skills, these I think are not the issue.  In Pillars, and most other class-based systems, you also gain extra hit points and extra accuracy in addition to what they gain via talents.  A level 10 character is going to be tougher even without the skills and talents than a level 1 character simply because they have more hit points, more deflection, and more accuracy simply because they are a higher character.  This means that when a level 1 creature fights them then they are not going to be able to hit, and are going to be constantly crit'd with every blow, and when they do manage to luck out and hit the level 10 character the damage they do is comparatively minor simply due to the enlarged hit pool.  This is a constant power creep, a power creep that can only be matched by a power creep of the enemy too.

 

My thought therefore is that maybe characters should not gain the automatic benefits of levelling up: that you gain the talent, skill, and ability but that's it.  No automatic increase in hit dice unless they take a feat that increases it, no increase in accuracy unless they take a talent that increases it, etc.  This would remove the need to do every increasing amounts of damage just to stay competitive, and would even keep certain talents such as Weapon Focus relevant as their increase to accuracy ceases to be lessened proportional to increases in accuracy in general, as they become one of the few ways to increase it!  This way, a level 10 character still becomes significantly more powerful but a level 1 creature could still be a threat to them if they are not careful and don't use their abilities properly.  It reduces the power creep.

 

I totally agree with you. Don't find it controversial. Actually, that was my main suggestion for fixing the leveling system in my OP:

 

 

In addition to the fast paced leveling (I got to level 4 in the blink of an eye in the game), the main reasons that make the game too easy after a while is the big difference between high-level and mid-level accuracy and defenses and the lack of challenging combat design. For me, the linear increase in accuracy and defenses could be replaced by a curve-like increase (ex: +5 per level until 10, than +3 until 15, +1 from there on), or the increases could be tuned down... or maybe both.

 

(...) The game tries to improve difficulty introducing new harder enemies and that's also a good strategy. The problem is that without dynamic level scalling, it is hard to balance encounter difficulty in a non-linear game. Say, if the game's beggining and end are fairly linear and the middle portion has branching story, with monsters with similar levels in each branch, if the player can choose which monsters to kill first, than the later will become easier by consequence (in that middle non-linear portion of the game). This is where a curve progression of accuracy and defenses becomes a good strategy, as it generates a plateau of stats in higher levels, preventing the player to become over-powered after a number of levels. The difference in high-levels, specially for the late portion of the game, could then be expressed by the widening of the ability options (ex: the per-encounter abilities for vancian casters is a nice touch).

 

This is actually my number 1 solution for PoE2, on top of level scaling (which people have already pointed out some fair arguments against, and I agree)...

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My controversial idea is based on the though that you gain too much at level up, and that not all of it is needed.  In Pillars it is clear that you gain more talents, more class abilities, and more skills, these I think are not the issue.  In Pillars, and most other class-based systems, you also gain extra hit points and extra accuracy in addition to what they gain via talents.  A level 10 character is going to be tougher even without the skills and talents than a level 1 character simply because they have more hit points, more deflection, and more accuracy simply because they are a higher character.  This means that when a level 1 creature fights them then they are not going to be able to hit, and are going to be constantly crit'd with every blow, and when they do manage to luck out and hit the level 10 character the damage they do is comparatively minor simply due to the enlarged hit pool.  This is a constant power creep, a power creep that can only be matched by a power creep of the enemy too.

 

My thought therefore is that maybe characters should not gain the automatic benefits of levelling up: that you gain the talent, skill, and ability but that's it.  No automatic increase in hit dice unless they take a feat that increases it, no increase in accuracy unless they take a talent that increases it, etc.  This would remove the need to do every increasing amounts of damage just to stay competitive, and would even keep certain talents such as Weapon Focus relevant as their increase to accuracy ceases to be lessened proportional to increases in accuracy in general, as they become one of the few ways to increase it!  This way, a level 10 character still becomes significantly more powerful but a level 1 creature could still be a threat to them if they are not careful and don't use their abilities properly.  It reduces the power creep.

 

I totally agree with you. Don't find it controversial. Actually, that was my main suggestion for fixing the leveling system in my OP:

 

 

In addition to the fast paced leveling (I got to level 4 in the blink of an eye in the game), the main reasons that make the game too easy after a while is the big difference between high-level and mid-level accuracy and defenses and the lack of challenging combat design. For me, the linear increase in accuracy and defenses could be replaced by a curve-like increase (ex: +5 per level until 10, than +3 until 15, +1 from there on), or the increases could be tuned down... or maybe both.

 

(...) The game tries to improve difficulty introducing new harder enemies and that's also a good strategy. The problem is that without dynamic level scalling, it is hard to balance encounter difficulty in a non-linear game. Say, if the game's beggining and end are fairly linear and the middle portion has branching story, with monsters with similar levels in each branch, if the player can choose which monsters to kill first, than the later will become easier by consequence (in that middle non-linear portion of the game). This is where a curve progression of accuracy and defenses becomes a good strategy, as it generates a plateau of stats in higher levels, preventing the player to become over-powered after a number of levels. The difference in high-levels, specially for the late portion of the game, could then be expressed by the widening of the ability options (ex: the per-encounter abilities for vancian casters is a nice touch).

 

This is actually my number 1 solution for PoE2, on top of level scaling (which people have already pointed out some fair arguments against, and I agree)...

 

Whoops!  Obviously my reading skills a bit of levelling up too. :biggrin:  Yep, I agree, I think your description of the 'linear progression' of levelling and its power creep better explains what I was going for.

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Levelling without level-scaling is something I have thought a fair bit about, and come up with what could be a rather controversial solution to it.  As others have said, level-scaling is kinda a sucky work around for it that undoes the whole sensation of progression and in some systems even makes you feel like you are going backwards ( *cough* Oblivion *cough* ).  I liked the sensation of getting more powerful while doing all the sidequests in Baldur's Gate 2, and I liked the freedom of doing all those sidequests in whatever order I chose, but I do realise they became irrelevant difficulty-wise after a while.  The thing is, I don't think it was levelling up itself that is the problem, but rather what you get for levelling up.

 

My controversial idea is based on the though that you gain too much at level up, and that not all of it is needed.  In Pillars it is clear that you gain more talents, more class abilities, and more skills, these I think are not the issue.  In Pillars, and most other class-based systems, you also gain extra hit points and extra accuracy in addition to what they gain via talents.  A level 10 character is going to be tougher even without the skills and talents than a level 1 character simply because they have more hit points, more deflection, and more accuracy simply because they are a higher character.  This means that when a level 1 creature fights them then they are not going to be able to hit, and are going to be constantly crit'd with every blow, and when they do manage to luck out and hit the level 10 character the damage they do is comparatively minor simply due to the enlarged hit pool.  This is a constant power creep, a power creep that can only be matched by a power creep of the enemy too.

 

My thought therefore is that maybe characters should not gain the automatic benefits of levelling up: that you gain the talent, skill, and ability but that's it.  No automatic increase in hit dice unless they take a feat that increases it, no increase in accuracy unless they take a talent that increases it, etc.  This would remove the need to do every increasing amounts of damage just to stay competitive, and would even keep certain talents such as Weapon Focus relevant as their increase to accuracy ceases to be lessened proportional to increases in accuracy in general, as they become one of the few ways to increase it!  This way, a level 10 character still becomes significantly more powerful but a level 1 creature could still be a threat to them if they are not careful and don't use their abilities properly.  It reduces the power creep.

 

Now, before anyone points out the flaws in this, let me just say that I don't necessarily think it is a particularly good idea, I am sure there are many things I am overlooking that is wrong with this thought, and even I enjoy the feeling of increased power you get at level up (there is a reason why some theorise that MMOs use it as an addiction to keep their players paying).  I just thought I would chuck it out there, as a thought to the general issue of levelling and keeping combat 'relevant' without just scaling content up.

 

Well I acknowledge your caveat at the end. But one problem with not growing stronger in stats and talents is that not only do you not put small-fry enemies behind you, but you hurt the nature of larger more involved encounters. It's nice having low level spells to fall back on that are designed around the lower endurance pools that both you and your enemies had around levels 1-5. In large battles you burn through your fancy spells on the mob boss and blow all your good AoEs. Then when you're 2 companions down, low on health, fallen back to ****ty spells. You are fighting just a handful of also injured mobs and it still feels like a struggle to take out those last few. I love this feeling of exhaustion at the end of a fight.

 

My general view on that matter is that the solution to balance issues might lie less in the leveling system and instead in building encounters and content. Smart enemies should feel challenging, smart enemies should be well dug in. I know it's nice to really refine systems that touch all corners of the game, but I don't think that is how you balance a game as a whole. Encounters should be bespoke and fine tuned, and hopefully the developers figure out a way to create such encounters economically.

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I’m not sure if there is a good solution.

 

There is, but people don't like it: have the only source of experience in the game be the main quest line. This gives the developer complete control over the rate at which the player levels and removes the problem altogether.

 

But every time I've suggested this people complain that the player should be rewarded for doing optional content. Putting aside for a moment that you can still be rewarded with loot, and the fact that the content itself can be enjoyable*, this complaint seems strange. After all, the very same people are often those who complain about feeling overpowered as a result of being completionists, even though the two complaints are essentially at odds with one another.

 

I suspect that it's a matter of inertia. Role-playing games have always given experience for optional content and people don't like change, so whilst they can clearly see the problem of out levelling the critical path, they won't even consider the obvious solution.

 

As an aside, the removal of experience for killing things is another example of this sort of inertia.

 

*If the only reason you're doing optional content is for experience, I think you might be playing the wrong game.

 

xp limited to the critical path has been suggested frequent enough by numerous folks including Gromnir.  however, what one must recall is just how much resistance there were to the simple notion o' implementing objective xp in poe. 

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/68476-discussion-the-poe-beta-xp-system/page-1?hl=%20gromnir%20%20objective%20%20experience

 

were multiple 30 page threads in which half the posters predicted doom for poe if objective xp were implemented instead o' more familiar schemes from the ie games.

 

the most significant obstacle to fixing poe2 leveling is discovering how/where obsidian went wrong with poe1, 'cause pre-release, the developers were absolute certain they understood leveling. josh were certain completionists would not reach the cap 'til late in the game.  obsidians provided examples o' how they had complete control o' xp rewards in game total, per area and per map.  keeping xp balanced were seen to be an easy task given the tools the developers had at hand. clear something went amiss.  whatever scheme folks come up with to fix poe 2 leveling must needs be addressing the antecedent problem.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. 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)

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If the developers can't mess with the length of experience needed to gain a level, they could always expand the breadth. What I mean by that is they can allow the acquisition of unique lore through side quests which then allows characters to direct their development in ways they couldn't via the main plot. By doing so, they can add to the replayability.

 

For example, a side quest could allow access to a rare scroll of swordsmanship that adds a unique 'talent' to the available pool. The characters will still need to level up to add the talent, but at least now they can build their character out along a slightly different path. Possibly there could be several such acquirable talents that are linked together -- gather all parts of the Ancient Art of Swords manual to master the new path.

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Well I acknowledge your caveat at the end. But one problem with not growing stronger in stats and talents is that not only do you not put small-fry enemies behind you, but you hurt the nature of larger more involved encounters. It's nice having low level spells to fall back on that are designed around the lower endurance pools that both you and your enemies had around levels 1-5. In large battles you burn through your fancy spells on the mob boss and blow all your good AoEs. Then when you're 2 companions down, low on health, fallen back to ****ty spells. You are fighting just a handful of also injured mobs and it still feels like a struggle to take out those last few. I love this feeling of exhaustion at the end of a fight.

 

 

My general view on that matter is that the solution to balance issues might lie less in the leveling system and instead in building encounters and content. Smart enemies should feel challenging, smart enemies should be well dug in. I know it's nice to really refine systems that touch all corners of the game, but I don't think that is how you balance a game as a whole. Encounters should be bespoke and fine tuned, and hopefully the developers figure out a way to create such encounters economically.

 

These big boss fights you mentioned could still be challenging in late-game PoE1, like the dragons and the ending fight. The thing that spoiled a little of the second half of the game for me was the easy and brainless thrash mob encounters, which was almost every encounter except for the boss fights (and maaaybe the Ethik Nöl cavern and a few ogres), and that's after choosing to level scale...

 

Better encounter design would help, indeed. But I think it would be a better solution (and less demanding for the developers) to make the player-characters less over-powered when leveling up than to make every encounter in the game a "small and challenging boss fight". We don't have to go to the extreme route and cut the defenses and accuracy progression altogether, but maybe tuning them down or using a curve-progression...

 

A great example of that is how the HP increase happened in Baldur's Gate 2 AD&D rules. If I remember correctly, after a certain level your character won just 3 HP instead of a D8 or D10, preventing him to become a huge HP pool. If we do the same thing with PoE's accuracy and defenses, we could also prevent characters to become over-powered. *Mind that low-level monsters would still be easy to kill, but mid-level, mid-to-high-level... not that much xD. 

Edited by LuccA

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There's another way to handle power creep.  Both Geneforge and Gothic do it.  You can level up, but trainers teach new skills and power ups are findable in the world.  When you start getting powerful it feels hard-won.  Normally systems that do this are brutal to early game players though.

Edited by anameforobsidian

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xp limited to the critical path has been suggested frequent enough by numerous folks including Gromnir.  however, what one must recall is just how much resistance there were to the simple notion o' implementing objective xp in poe. 

 

Oh sure, I was simply pointing out that there is a solution. As I said, (many) people thoroughly dislike it.

 

the most significant obstacle to fixing poe2 leveling is discovering how/where obsidian went wrong with poe1, 'cause pre-release, the developers were absolute certain they understood leveling. josh were certain completionists would not reach the cap 'til late in the game.  obsidians provided examples o' how they had complete control o' xp rewards in game total, per area and per map.  keeping xp balanced were seen to be an easy task given the tools the developers had at hand. clear something went amiss.  whatever scheme folks come up with to fix poe 2 leveling must needs be addressing the antecedent problem.

 

 

Yeah it's odd. You'd think that one would simply keep a spreadsheet (or more sophisticated tool) of all xp sources in the game (far easier in a game without monster xp) and set the amount of xp needed for each level appropriately, yet even before the release of the White March DLCs it was relatively easy to reach the level cap a fair way before the end of the game.

 

I suspect that doing the above is a rather boring job though, particularly if you don't do so meticulously from the start, and so perhaps the devs tried to estimate this sort of thing instead, hence the reason they got it wrong.

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I want the game to ask me "How completionisty are you?" and scale content depending on my answer. It already asks me for difficulty level so why not aks for completionism level as well.


Vancian =/= per rest.

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xp limited to the critical path has been suggested frequent enough by numerous folks including Gromnir.  however, what one must recall is just how much resistance there were to the simple notion o' implementing objective xp in poe. 

 

Oh sure, I was simply pointing out that there is a solution. As I said, (many) people thoroughly dislike it.

 

the most significant obstacle to fixing poe2 leveling is discovering how/where obsidian went wrong with poe1, 'cause pre-release, the developers were absolute certain they understood leveling. josh were certain completionists would not reach the cap 'til late in the game.  obsidians provided examples o' how they had complete control o' xp rewards in game total, per area and per map.  keeping xp balanced were seen to be an easy task given the tools the developers had at hand. clear something went amiss.  whatever scheme folks come up with to fix poe 2 leveling must needs be addressing the antecedent problem.

 

 

Yeah it's odd. You'd think that one would simply keep a spreadsheet (or more sophisticated tool) of all xp sources in the game (far easier in a game without monster xp) and set the amount of xp needed for each level appropriately, yet even before the release of the White March DLCs it was relatively easy to reach the level cap a fair way before the end of the game.

 

I suspect that doing the above is a rather boring job though, particularly if you don't do so meticulously from the start, and so perhaps the devs tried to estimate this sort of thing instead, hence the reason they got it wrong.

 

doesn't sound as if the developers were estimating.  josh gave examples regarding the addition o' exploration and lockpick xp.  obsidians pointed out how they knew the exact amounts of xp possible in game, maps, and areas.  if new sources o' xp were added, balance would be retained 'cause would be a simple matter o' decreasing other sources by same amounts.  implementing exploration and lockpick xp were not gonna be any kinda resource drain as the developers already had the tools to track xp with exactitude. which again is why the leveling issues o' poe were so curious. developers were extreme confident regarding xp awards.

 

there were something fundamental flawed with the obsidian approach to poe xp tracking. weren't a matter o' a couple developers failing to track xp correct in a limited number o' instances.  developers believed a completionist would need work hard to reach the cap late in the game.  something fundamental and/or major were busted with the obsidian approach to tracking.  until such flaw is identified and corrected, is almost guaranteed we will see a leveling problem in poe2 regardless o' the scheme implemented.

 

HA! Good Fun! 

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. 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)

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I want the game to ask me "How completionisty are you?" and scale content depending on my answer. It already asks me for difficulty level so why not aks for completionism level as well.

Completionism has a few variables though. There will be people who decide they're going to do everything they're not locked out of and possibly a few people who decide to only do the main quest. Most people will likely not know. It will all depend on role playing reasons, how fun they find the side content, how difficult they find it, if they get bored, whether they find it in the first place ,etc. as to if they'll do all or little of the optional content.

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The feeling of not being able to kill something then being able to kill it after levelling up is over-rated. Level scaling is bad, the worst etc but not having level scaling is realistic? Why am I getting powerful and the NPCs are not? Some NPCs like animals shouldn't but if I'm learning new abilities overtime some NPCs should learn some also. They should have min&max levels but the difference shouldn't be just stat boosts like in Bethesda games, it should be new abilities, gear, even changed looks or how many they are as well. 

 

Also story urgency is a problem in RPGs the most, instead of trying so hard to make it "seem" urgent,(you don't seem good. -no I'm fine really, eder. not loosing my mind at all) make it so the end boss gets powerfull as you "dilly dally" in the game. If you reach him early enough you'll have a weak end boss, if you take your time the boss will be more powerful, he'll be in a fortified place with henchman every step of the way etc. f.i. If the player has max level party in PoE's end battle, we could have met a more prepared Thaos; there could have been like 2 more statues and the way down there could have harder encounters.

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The feeling of not being able to kill something then being able to kill it after levelling up is over-rated. Level scaling is bad, the worst etc but not having level scaling is realistic? Why am I getting powerful and the NPCs are not? Some NPCs like animals shouldn't but if I'm learning new abilities overtime some NPCs should learn some also. They should have min&max levels but the difference shouldn't be just stat boosts like in Bethesda games, it should be new abilities, gear, even changed looks or how many they are as well. 

 

This certainly applies in some cases (particularly a recurring antagonist) I don't see any reason that your typical bandit say, who spends his time stealing from unprotected travellers, would have any in game reason to become more powerful over time. There is presumably a level of power necessary to work as a bandit and little reason for bandits to try to become more powerful than that. Of course a bandit leader might reasonably be more powerful, and they might have tough lieutenants to help them maintain control, but there's really no sensible explanation for your typical bandit encounter becoming harder as you level up.

 

The player character is fundamentally different to the vast majority of people living in their world. This is someone who, for whatever reason, seeks out danger and who therefore always needs to improve themselves. As such they really should be outgrowing the vast majority of enemies they face.

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I know deadfire is supposed to have more environmental hazards. Perhaps bandits become more cleaver to take on a more challenging opponent. Like assassins maybe they start showing up in areas that its preferential to their position. Maybe there are traps that you can't disable. Maybe they rush your healer first.

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I'm not saying they should get powerful at the same rate as the player but they should have min-max levels and scale around that. If a bandit have no reason to be more powerful his level range should be much smaller than some NPC who is more ambitious.

 

Or we can look at as an organization, If there is a bandit leader with lieutenants etc. they should get more powerful as player gain levels, as in they should have better organization, more men, more patrols,  better AI(if its possible) etc not just individual scaling.

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It's sort of like curtailed and constrained version of level scaling that is narrative backed in it's justification. Which I think is preferable to giving bandits glass armor or whatever stupid **** bethesda pulls. It's a neat way to take things, you just have to be too careful that you don't end up writing drastically different content that gets locked out or opened depending on how far you have progressed and when.

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