I made a review of PoE recently after I finished it for the first time (http://forums.obsidi...-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.
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.
Edited by LuccA, 05 June 2017 - 01:48 PM.