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What is the point of scaling with "power level" as opposed to level


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I know power levels have thus far been inconsistently and poorly implemented, I can see how the system will potentially work. However I can see only see potential issues and no clear benefit to this system;

 

  1. Power level is less clear, if a spell does 5dps + 1dps/3 levels I instantly understand, currently I'd have to look at a table.
  2. Character powers will dramatically spike at certain levels. At tier 3 a cipher will gain access to biting whip as well as a boost to many abilities, and potentially existing passives. This jump will be even more obvious with a multiclass character. (If powers scale with level then less abilities will coincide with access to a new tier.
  3. The tool tips can't easily tell you how many level until an ability increase as well as the effects of empower. (E.g. Currently it'd have to say something like 2 power levels away from an upgrade, (6 levels).
  4. If abilities were affected by level the can scale in a perfectly linear fashion.

So in conclusion what does "power level" actually bring to the game as opposed to simply saying that multiclass are considered 2 levels below single class for abilities?

The clarity of the system is my main issue.

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If you could "define" that class level of multiclass characters is -2 compared to single class chars then there's no difference on first glance. But then you will have issues with XP gaining and some other stuff:

Power Level gives you an additional adjusting screw that doesn't interfere with character level. So you can decouple things that you want to scale with level (for example enemies' level scaling) from things that you want to scale with Power Level (for example active abilities like spells).

If you throw it all into the class-level pool things can get messy and obscure. I think that Power Level is an elegant solution. You can easily adjust its values without interfering with things that you want to tie to class level.

You can also have things that alter your Power Level then (Empower, racial ability like Wellspring of Live, class ability like Livegiver's Spiritshift Power Level boost when casting Rejuvenation spells), certain afflictions without messing around with character level which usually entails many more things than Power Level does (like base Accuracy, health, defenses and so on).

Edited by Boeroer
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If you could "define" that class level of multiclass characters is -2 compared to single class chars then there's no difference on first glance. But then you will have issues with XP gaining and some other stuff:

 

Power Level gives you an additional adjusting screw that doesn't interfere with character level. So you can decouple things that you want to scale with level (for example enemies' level scaling) from things that you want to scale with Power Level (for example active abilities like spells).

 

If you throw it all into the class-level pool things can get messy and obscure. I think that Power Level is an elegant solution. You can easily adjust its values without interfering with things that you want to tie to class level.

 

You can also have things that alter your Power Level then (Empower, racial ability like Wellspring of Live, class ability like Livegiver's Spiritshift Power Level boost when casting Rejuvenation spells), certain afflictions without messing around with character level which usually entails many more more things than Power Level (like base Accuracy, health, defenses and so on).

 

It would be even better if core abilities also scaled with power level like carnage and sneak attack, etc.

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  1. Power level is less clear, if a spell does 5dps + 1dps/3 levels I instantly understand, currently I'd have to look at a table.

 

You wouldn't have to. Single classes gain a new power level at every 2nd character level (except end-game), multiclasses at every 3rd :)

 

(I don't see why end-game is different, though.)

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Subbing thread. Agree with what Boeroer said.

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses

 

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Power level seems like a sensible mechanic, though UI needs to communicate it better. I think I would find it very confusing if I wouldn't be following Deadfire so closely.

 

 

If you could "define" that class level of multiclass characters is -2 compared to single class chars then there's no difference on first glance. But then you will have issues with XP gaining and some other stuff:

 

Power Level gives you an additional adjusting screw that doesn't interfere with character level. So you can decouple things that you want to scale with level (for example enemies' level scaling) from things that you want to scale with Power Level (for example active abilities like spells).

 

If you throw it all into the class-level pool things can get messy and obscure. I think that Power Level is an elegant solution. You can easily adjust its values without interfering with things that you want to tie to class level.

 

You can also have things that alter your Power Level then (Empower, racial ability like Wellspring of Live, class ability like Livegiver's Spiritshift Power Level boost when casting Rejuvenation spells), certain afflictions without messing around with character level which usually entails many more things than Power Level does (like base Accuracy, health, defenses and so on).

I think you misunderstood what I was suggesting, think more along the lines of we gain a power level every level. (Abilities are treated as x levels lower not multiclass in general)

Empower treats the ability as though it was x levels higher.

It seems to me a much easier mechanic to understand and quantify.

As Wormerine alluded to, I'm pretty sure must people on this forum will be fine with power levels, however it is likely to be a barrier to understanding for new/casual players.

 

Perhaps i should rephrase to "Empower increases the Effects of an ability by +x levels" so there can be no confusion about accuracy etc.

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Ah, ok. Yes, this could also work.

 

I guess they just wanted another value to play around with, since that might be easier to tune up and down once you have it (I mean from a coding and testing perspective).

 

As I said: if you have a seperate value instead of a class-level-malus on abilities (so to speak) you can alter that value more easily not only while balancing everything,, but also later during the game when it comes to buffs and afflictions. This seems to be easier than doing stuff like D&D's level draining for example? Instead of tuning down all abilities for a short amount of time or instead of lowering the actual level you can just lower Power Level. But your example on Empower also makes sense of course.

 

I guess general balancing of abilities in regard to single class/multi class could be easily done without such a concept of power levels and also the empower function on abilities would not need it.

 

They originally introduced Power Levels when they still tried to build a multiclassing system where you could decide which class you level on each level-up. So you could have picked 1 level of rogue just in order to get Sneak Attack and then 19 levels of cipher. Power Levels were supposed to balance those obvious picks.

 

So I believe when they changed to the actual multiclassing system Power Levels just stayed because they proved to be convenient and the concept was already build in. Pure speculation on my part though.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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To be elegant solutions they would have to 1) apply uniformly, 2) be clearly described, 3) balanced against the games other systems, and 4) fit within the game's lore. I don't think either "power level" or "empower" do any of these. 

 

1) The effects are not uniform across all of the games abilities. As many have pointed out, empower has actually no effect at all on some abilities (sworn enemy), I would imagine neither does power level. Further, I would think it would be a coding/testing nightmare to try to make a +1 power level/empower affect the dozens of abilities in a well balanced/uniform manner. Also, since empower and power level don't apply to active abilities, they disproportionally affect casters compared to melee. 

 

2) The mechanics are not also clear. The tooltip descriptions are often either not helpful, or non existent. Probably because they affect each ability differently.

 

3) Power level/empower only effect active abilities, and therefore do not play nice with the passive abilities. In the current state of the game this makes power level/empower underwhelming, as the passives right now are so strong. As mentioned, any changes would effect casters much more than melee. 

 

4) They also don't match the game's lore. Where does this "empower" trait come from? Why do members of my party have it, but nobody else? Just because? It is a very arcadey addition with zero lore or justification behind it.

Edited by Bazy
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Also, since empower and power level don't apply to active abilities, they disproportionally affect casters compared to melee. 

 

As mentioned, any changes would effect casters much more than melee.

Poor ranged weapons. No one cares about them :(

Vancian =/= per rest.

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I think the power level/power source system needs an overhaul for intuition/flavor myself.

 

In my view they should be able to remove the words "power level" or "power source" from the game almost entirely.

 

Instead, they should come up with better names for the "power sources" so that they come across more as character/class attributes that develop with experience.

 

This works already for a couple power sources, like faith for priests.

 

Priests deepen their faith. It's a natural attribute of a priest.

The other "power sources" should be renamed similarly, as some of the current "power sources"  are really clunky -- Psionics, Nature, Spirits, etc. These should all be renamed in a way that they can be seen as attributes of the character in natural language (much like faith).

Using chanter as an example, they could increase their attunement, highlighting increasing abilities to sense and connect their narratives and chants to the latent spirit fragments around them.

Chanters could then be highly attuned or deeply attuned, etc.

And we then get a more clearly flavored picture of a character - L12 Celebrant, Faith - 4, Attunement - 8. (I don't remember how many levels of each this example should properly have.)

 

I think it's very possible to come up with more attribute-like names for all the classes that currently have wonky/stiff/awkward ones.

Related, I'd also like to see these class-related psuedoattributes (I see them as class specific hybrids of attributes and experience) be rewarded in particular quests. Maybe a chanter with a certain level of attunement can learn about a secret of some kind on a particular quest because they're attuned enough to hear an echo of a song long since gone in the spirits fragments there, or a quest pertaining to deep questions of the gods and faith has unique revelations based on how deep the faith of a priest is, etc.

 

Edited by khango
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@khango I do agree that the system should be presented in a more natural way. Personally I hope that talent sheet will show in the upper corner how much class resource you gain per lvl (faith, rage, guild etc.) and amount needed to reach next power lvl. As far as renaming - I really don’t mind. They seem fine, nothing that really struck me as odd. Counting “faith” in numbers makes just as much sense as a bond between ranger and their animal, or Ciphers psychic powers. I am more concerned about making mechanics transparent and reducing need to memorise the manual - when do you gain power level, how do power level and empowerment influence each of the skills etc.

 

Tying conversation checks to class resources doesn’t really make much sense. This already exists to some extend as your class unlocks special interactions. All that would add is an additional lvl requirement to pass those checks (amount of resources you have is based on your lvl, so even when you multiclass it is always static and you have no influence over it). Other checks are based on resources you have influence on - attributes and skills. It could be an interesting mechanic if resources wouldn’t replenish between battles and you could spend them in battle or in conversations - alas it is not the case here.

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@khango I do agree that the system should be presented in a more natural way. Personally I hope that talent sheet will show in the upper corner how much class resource you gain per lvl (faith, rage, guild etc.) and amount needed to reach next power lvl. As far as renaming - I really don’t mind. They seem fine, nothing that really struck me as odd. Counting “faith” in numbers makes just as much sense as a bond between ranger and their animal, or Ciphers psychic powers. I am more concerned about making mechanics transparent and reducing need to memorise the manual - when do you gain power level, how do power level and empowerment influence each of the skills etc.

 

Tying conversation checks to class resources doesn’t really make much sense. This already exists to some extend as your class unlocks special interactions. All that would add is an additional lvl requirement to pass those checks (amount of resources you have is based on your lvl, so even when you multiclass it is always static and you have no influence over it). Other checks are based on resources you have influence on - attributes and skills. It could be an interesting mechanic if resources wouldn’t replenish between battles and you could spend them in battle or in conversations - alas it is not the case here.

RE the second half of that:

 

I mostly like the idea that there are things somebody who is an experienced X would notice or know that an inexperienced one wouldn't, but which aren't hugely gameplay altering, more so gameplay hinting. For example scorch marks in an area - maybe your experienced ranger can say from them it's a particular kind and age or size of dragon and a low level one could just generalize, or perhaps your wizard can tell a specific fire spell was used and that there was a wizard here previously etc. These things could come up in conversation ("We saw signs of a dragon" vs "We saw signs of a particularly large fire dragon" or "Someone cast fan of flames here" vs. "the area was burned"), get floating or recorded dialog ("fresh burn marks form an elder drake, look sharp"), etc. I guess to clarify I suppose I mean more class level than unused resources, though presumable not having enough class resources for the text adventure checks could already be a thing.

 

RE the first half of it:

I do think some of the existing power source naming conventions are okay, but others are pretty awkward. nature, mortification, and arcane all strike me as off. Eutierria seems better than Nature, for example, or maybe there's an older cleaner word. Even something like "Esoteric Knowledge," which is a bit cludgy seems like it'd be better than "arcane." Arcane is an adjective, not a thing you count or grow in. With mortification, what would grow is their ability to respond to and endure mortification, not mortification itself, so the name of the power source should probably refer to that ability rather than its stimulus - even something like serenity, contrition, suffering, or transcendence might barely pass muster. Mortification being the external act which is multiplied and magnified by the actual internal characteristic that a character has some level or degree of power in.

 

And yeah, for arcane I guess you just say "arcane power level" and get by okay, but "mortification power level" is sort of a non-sequitur.

 

Any case I don't mean to suggest that my ideas here are right, just that I think it needs to some coherence and consistency cleanup in the whole power level thing, particularly for "flavor reasons."

 

 

 

 

Edited by khango
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  • 3 weeks later...

The main problem of Power Level is indications for understand his reach.

 

We can call that tomatoes/DPS or else, in the game, it must be appear somewhere.

 

And the most simple way to do that ...

 

-------------------

 

Flames of Devotion

Accuracy : 20

 

Fire Damage : 40 %

 

-------------------

 

(And then, slide your mouse on "40 %")

 

=

 

Tooltip Single class :

 

Base : 20 %

Power Level : 20 % (Gain of 5 % each 5 levels)

 

Tooltip Multi class :

 

Base : 20 %

Power Level : 15 % (Gain of 3 % each 4 levels)

 

In this case we are visibly level 20 and single class. Cool !

Done !^^ Power Level is now an understandable concept.

Edited by theBalthazar
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