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Mygaffer

My Feelings on Five Party Members

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As for party size limit reduced to 5, well that‘s regress however you look at it. The more chars the player has the more (personal) quests he‘ll experience which adds to the quality of the playthrough.

Not really. Just like in most RPGs since KOTOR all party member join you. While you can travel with only 4 at any given time, you will still probably experience most of their arch’s and personal quests. If you mean you will experience less sof the smaller interactions, that is true. Is it really that much of an issue. It will still take two playthroughs to go through the game with all of the 7 companions.

 

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As for party size limit reduced to 5, well that‘s regress however you look at it. The more chars the player has the more (personal) quests he‘ll experience which adds to the quality of the playthrough. With more units it‘s easier to turn the tides in a battle which is also true for the enemy meaning there‘s more interesting battles. With more units, players have more variety in playstyle, e.g. make meleers more passive re. abilities and more active re. moving chars to make formations, to block, to shield other chars. With more chars there‘s bigger variety in difficulty the player can set for himself, going with 6 chars or 5 or 4 etc. Whether players like to play with 4 or even go solo is their subjective thing, they‘re free to do so, that‘s not an argument for limiting the party size to 5. Later Bioware games like NWN, KotoR, DA went with smaller parties also because of 3d camera. There‘s no reason to do that with the isometric view.

That’s not how game design works. Putting more or less character on a screen doesn’t make for a more/less engaging combat. I am sorry, but if you make a passive characters, or attach auto control in a tactics game that means there is an issue with the design. Tactics and strategy aren’t bound to amount of units you control but what they can do and what enemies can do - in other words decisions you make before and during combat. Having one exra tank and getting two extra enemies for him to keep busy while your DPS and supports kill and heal doesn’t make combat better. It just adds 3 units which don’t contribute to the engagement in an interesting way. All the games you mentioned had a pretty crappy combat but amount of units under your control wasn’t the key issue. You could expand DA party to 6 and it still would be dull mess (even more so).

 

 

re. KotOR

 

depends. Even if the player is enabled to exchange party members as easily as in KotOR their personal quests could be time-gated and/or area-gated as in BG2 so that it would be very difficult to get all possible personal quests in one playthrough. This would be a good thing, i‘m just saying that with a party of six you‘ll experience more of that but not everything in one playthrough.

 

re. party of 6 vs 5

 

 

while i don‘t have a game design diploma i did play a game like BG2. Playing with 5 was different than playing with 6 for the reasons i already mentioned.

 

 

 

5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

Meh I want no cap at all. Every joinable PC should be able to be in my group at the same time if I want. Why do we still have to tolerate this artificial and arbitrary cap nonsense when technology makes it obsolete?

 

But what can you do?

Because it was never a technological limitation?

 

“One of the responsibilities I think we have as designers is to protect the player from themselves” - Sid Meier

 

I never liked the idea of people joining you, moving into your house and sitting on their asses waiting for you to take them along for a walk. I much preferred Baldur’s Gates’ “here are companions, build a team from them and this is what you get. Come back in next playthrough and try the others!”. I am pretty sure KOTOR was the first to do it but it worked due to your “base” being a ship. Should work the same for Deadfire.

 

 

 

i disagree with Sid Meier. This way of thinking can lead to limiting the player, yet i do like learning from my mistakes, it‘s a way of feeling progress just as much as your char progresses through the game getting more xp, better items...

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

To me it's a wash:

 

Negative: Combat situations will need to be simpler because there are fewer tactical circumstances your group can handle without turning it into a random brawl. That makes it less interesting.

Positive: Characters can have more active abilities to fiddle with during combat because you can focus more on each individual. That makes it more interesting.


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Meh I want no cap at all. Every joinable PC should be able to be in my group at the same time if I want. Why do we still have to tolerate this artificial and arbitrary cap nonsense when technology makes it obsolete?

 

How do you balance the game when some players are wandering around with a ten person party and others have six, or four, or whatever?

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@rjshae

but you issue commands when the game is paused not in real time so you can focus on each individual the same. Or i'm just missing your point?

Edited by 4ward

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

Meh I want no cap at all. Every joinable PC should be able to be in my group at the same time if I want. Why do we still have to tolerate this artificial and arbitrary cap nonsense when technology makes it obsolete?

 

But what can you do?

Because it was never a technological limitation?

 

“One of the responsibilities I think we have as designers is to protect the player from themselves” - Sid Meier

 

I never liked the idea of people joining you, moving into your house and sitting on their asses waiting for you to take them along for a walk. I much preferred Baldur’s Gates’ “here are companions, build a team from them and this is what you get. Come back in next playthrough and try the others!”. I am pretty sure KOTOR was the first to do it but it worked due to your “base” being a ship. Should work the same for Deadfire.

 

 

I didn't like this idea originally either, until I got a job and was no longer willing to invest another 100 precious hours of my life on a new playthrough.

Now I am very grateful that I can enjoy all companions in a single run.

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@rjshae

but you issue commands when the game is paused not in real time so you can focus on each individual the same. Or i'm just missing your point?

 

Gaming time is limited for us older chaps.

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

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The designers choose what are the best for the characteristics they think are more important for the experience of the general player, of course they give you options to adjust the game to what you want from it, but just for the options that don't compromise the experience of the average player. Difficulty settings let to choose what is best for each player based on whether this is important or not for them.

 

They decided that will be better for the general experience to design the game around a 5 members party and not be able to modify this cap

The party size limitation is consequence of combat and replay-ability importance and generate problems for those for whom combat and replay-ability are not of big importance compared to having an arbitrary limitation of companion for role-playing purposes, for those who don't have time or just wont replay the game and want to experience all companions.

Ii think a solution is to let the players modify their experience by making it easily moddable, so its not an option in the menu, and it feels like a modification of how the game was supposed to be played and was designed for, but still let people modify their experience according to what is important to them in this aspect.

 

Same with difficulty settings, i think it could be cool to be able to be able to mod difficulty( (hp)x(X)?, (accuracy)x(X)?, etc) for those who find PotD easy

Edited by esyvjrt
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Err, these games are designed to be played more than once. So you are not supposed to be able to see all of the content on one playthrough. If you can something is wrong.

Absolutely... Also, with multiclassing there should be enough options combat wise for those that like that sort of thing. For me it will likely be all single class for the first couple of playthroughs at least cause I like specialized characters more...

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“One of the responsibilities I think we have as designers is to protect the player from themselves” - Sid Meier

 

I never liked the idea of people joining you, moving into your house and sitting on their asses waiting for you to take them along for a walk. I much preferred Baldur’s Gates’ “here are companions, build a team from them and this is what you get. Come back in next playthrough and try the others!”. I am pretty sure KOTOR was the first to do it but it worked due to your “base” being a ship. Should work the same for Deadfire.

 

 

i disagree with Sid Meier. This way of thinking can lead to limiting the player, yet i do like learning from my mistakes, it‘s a way of feeling progress just as much as your char progresses through the game getting more xp, better items...

 

But game rules are all about limitations. Bishops can only move diagonally, you may only play one card at a time, you may only bring four guys to shoot 20+ aliens in the face. It's the designer's job to create interesting limitations for the player to work with.

That even extends to the narrative, not only combat. You cannot have Monty and Xzar at the same time as Jaheira and Khalid. You can't join Telvanni and Redoran. Yennefer or Triss.

Limits are necessary for the game mechanics and the game world to work, and you can't offload everything on the players.

Restricting the party to five (or, at all) is a game rule in that sense. It's part of the challenge of combat.

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Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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If you throw all limitations out of the window and just allow anything, you end up with Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

 

I will not allow that to happen here!!!


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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

Why will 5 better? I haven't seen any good arguments for 5 as well.

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Vancian =/= per rest.

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

Why will 5 better? I haven't seen any good arguments for 5 as well.

 

 

I gave one - 5 better reflects the size of a PnP group.


Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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@Varana

 

it‘s a single-player offline game, we‘re playing with ourselves on the pc, you‘re not sitting with other folks around the table. You‘re supposed to be allowed to set your own rules/limitations within the given rules. You want to tackle Firkraag with a party of 4,5,6 or even solo, that‘s up to you. You want to use spells before fights or not at all, up to you. You enter the druid grove and decide to not rest at all, rest once, rest twice… up to you and so on and on.. You want to try to even break the rule, go ahead be creative, go with a high charisma reload when necessary and try to finish the game with Xzar/montaron and Jaheira/khalid. Hell, there‘s people who separated pairs in BG1. You want to use moving to fool the enemy or even use kiting, up to you. Trust that people are capable and willing to learn, allow them to set their rules within the system, allow them fun, we‘re all different.

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@Varana

 

it‘s a single-player offline game, we‘re playing with ourselves on the pc, you‘re not sitting with other folks around the table. You‘re supposed to be allowed to set your own rules/limitations within the given rules. You want to tackle Firkraag with a party of 4,5,6 or even solo, that‘s up to you. You want to use spells before fights or not at all, up to you. You enter the druid grove and decide to not rest at all, rest once, rest twice… up to you and so on and on.. You want to try to even break the rule, go ahead be creative, go with a high charisma reload when necessary and try to finish the game with Xzar/montaron and Jaheira/khalid. Hell, there‘s people who separated pairs in BG1. You want to use moving to fool the enemy or even use kiting, up to you. Trust that people are capable and willing to learn, allow them to set their rules within the system, allow them fun, we‘re all different.

 

But you can't tackle Firkraag with 20, which is the implication which I believe @Varana was responding to.

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Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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@Varana

 

it‘s a single-player offline game, we‘re playing with ourselves on the pc, you‘re not sitting with other folks around the table. You‘re supposed to be allowed to set your own rules/limitations within the given rules. You want to tackle Firkraag with a party of 4,5,6 or even solo, that‘s up to you. You want to use spells before fights or not at all, up to you. You enter the druid grove and decide to not rest at all, rest once, rest twice… up to you and so on and on.. You want to try to even break the rule, go ahead be creative, go with a high charisma reload when necessary and try to finish the game with Xzar/montaron and Jaheira/khalid. Hell, there‘s people who separated pairs in BG1. You want to use moving to fool the enemy or even use kiting, up to you. Trust that people are capable and willing to learn, allow them to set their rules within the system, allow them fun, we‘re all different.

I am all for giving player a choice - if you don’t want to deal with combat you turn difficulty down. If you want to try going solo, you go solo. However, these are all self imposed limitations to make the game harder/easier consciously breaking the rules.

 

Job of game designer is to give you a game with an entertaining set of rules. What is entertaining is subjective so it is beneficial if the game is flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of players. But it is not up to player to make up rules or not use existing features to make the game fun. Most gamers have a natural drive to play optimally. If one option is strictly better than the other why would you use the weaker one? It’s like putting an overpowered unit in chess but expecting you to figure out to not use it.

 

Giving you ability to run with all companions at once is bad. Sure, they could balance it around 5 characters and than expect people to figure out that most fun they have is by playing with 5, while giving a wider option to people who just want to run around with everyone. But how do you communicate this? How do you stop people who want to have balance combat by not taking with them too many units? Why do you even waste time creating UI for an amount of companions which actively hurt the experience. It’s like giving a sos to a meal which doesn’t fit just in case someone one day might want it. You Are a Chef, and it is your job to compose a good meal. Whenever someone likes it or not it’s up to them and they can decide whenever they want to eat your stuff or not. Or they give feedback and you adjust or stick to your guts. Coupled companions in BG1 are a good example. They were limiting and people were abusing game systems to bypass them. That’s why they are not present in BG2. Obsidian did 6 man party and decided it was too much. If the change to 5 won’t be a good decision thy will probably adjust for the next installement.


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@Varana

 

You‘re supposed to be allowed to set your own rules/limitations within the given rules.

Exactly - within the given rules. Maximum party size is part of those rules.

No one's going to let every player decide freely (and I mean without restrictions) how much damage he wants his sword to deal, or how many spells his casters can use.

 

Edit: Generally speaking, a game is not a simulation. Rules and restrictions are what makes a game a game.

In a world simulation, you could take your ship crew into combat. Recruit random guards. Just sail your ship off the map and go to a completely different region of the world. Die from food poisoning or choking on a pretzel.

But a game needs focus. It needs a theme, an intended experience, and a vision. That restricts the stuff you can do but creates a more challenging and better experience all around.

Edited by Varana
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Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

Why will 5 better? I haven't seen any good arguments for 5 as well.

 

That's exactly the point. There is no good argument for neither party size. There is no magic number. Each game is designed to fulfill a specific purpose and it is determained by the developers. If they design the game to be played good with 5 party members then it's gonna be better with 5.If they design it for 6 it's gonna be better with 6. If they disign it for 4 it's gonna be better with 4. Noone can tell right now if the game is gonna be better with 5 or with 6 because noone has played it yet.

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

Why will 5 better? I haven't seen any good arguments for 5 as well.

 

 

I gave one - 5 better reflects the size of a PnP group.

 

 

PnP party size is 5 (or less) because having bigger party is more time consuming.

Computers can handle bigger party sizes than PnP because they do all calculations and do it very fast.

For the same reason PoE1 had rules that are unfit for PnP system. If mechanics do not need to follow PnP traditions than party size does not need as well.

 

It may not be a bad argument but i would not call it good either.


Vancian =/= per rest.

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5 Party member cap will be an improvement. I haven't seen any good arguments as to why having 6 is preferential.

 

Why will 5 better? I haven't seen any good arguments for 5 as well.

 

 

I gave one - 5 better reflects the size of a PnP group.

 

 

PnP party size is 5 (or less) because having bigger party is more time consuming.

Computers can handle bigger party sizes than PnP because they do all calculations and do it very fast.

For the same reason PoE1 had rules that are unfit for PnP system. If mechanics do not need to follow PnP traditions than party size does not need as well.

 

It may not be a bad argument but i would not call it good either.

 

 

What I'm looking for in a CRPG is for it to recreate, as closely as possible, the PnP experience. So PoE1's "unsuitable for PnP rules" are a big negative so far as I am concerned.


Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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Noone can tell right now if the game is gonna be better with 5 or with 6 because noone has played it yet.

I don't know.  The developers have been clear that they chose 5 because it worked better in early play-testing, and lead to a more balanced game.   I think the developers saying "it works better" is a strong argument for 5.

 

At this point they know vastly more about the game than any of us, so their opinion carries weight.

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Besides, they're designing the encounters and everything else around having five party members. It's not like they're designing around six and sticking the player with five.

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Noone can tell right now if the game is gonna be better with 5 or with 6 because noone has played it yet.

I don't know.  The developers have been clear that they chose 5 because it worked better in early play-testing, and lead to a more balanced game.   I think the developers saying "it works better" is a strong argument for 5.

 

At this point they know vastly more about the game than any of us, so their opinion carries weight.

 

Yes, that's what basically I'm saying all this time to the 6-arguers.

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