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The need for an alternative to hardcore mode


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Ok I get it, hardcore/Trial of Iron mode makes playing games more "challenging" by introducing a mode that kills characters permanently.

 

But really, deciding that this should a benchmark for ARPG games is stupid. So if I was a gamer who lived a hectic life (anything from pets to babies to vengeful in-laws and a stressful workplace) then that automatically makes me, my games and my builds "inferior" to those of people whose main advantage is that they can enjoy playing the game in relative peace?

 

There is a very real "what the f***" aspect in that logic because really, that's what the difference comes down to. While some people can (rightfully) argue that hardcore mode simply creates a very different meta that focuses on defensive builds, that also means that people who like playing these kinds of characters or who can play the game for hours in relative peace actually get more out of the game since there exists a different meta that caters to their gaming situation. So what does that mean for rest of us? We too have time to burn, we just can't afford to give the game 100% of our focus.

 

As such, I propose the introduction of a different mode that caters to players who love a challenge but who can't afford to play a mode that causes them to lose all their progress just because one of the many family pets decided to take an impromptu s*** on tomorrow's homework. Since hardcore mode is loosely patterned after how mortality works in real life (along with associated risks) and making things even for the player/their enemies (since enemy NPCs don't have a reload button), this new mode does something similar with another aspect of real life - that of Murphy's Law, ie, whatever can go wrong will go wrong - and the sheer all-encompassing chaotic nature of modern life. Because seriously, there's a reason why we celebrate like crazy when plans go without a hitch.

 

For this mode (call it Trial of Copper, ie the flexible metal) ALL attacks (even the party's) have a chance of doing up to 50% (debatable, for PoE I was thinking 80% max) more damage. The idea here is that battles are now skewed heavily towards being aggressive/dealing damage, being proactive, and killing enemies before they kill you. Yes, your characters will be going down all the time. Yes, you may yet find a use for that hotkey for the reload function. Yes, you may yet develop intimate, perhaps nostalgic, potentially genocidal feelings for that game over screen.

And yes it makes sense. It's stupid to argue the logic of permadeath in a game world where NPCs can casually shrug off the effect of a lightning bolt or a 20 foot fireball.

 

But anyway the challenge will be very real, and so will the accompanying sense of accomplishment for having beaten this game mode. I have high hopes for PoE2 (do your best guys!) and I hope it will also be one of those games that also sets up new standards for how ARPGs should be played. Permadeath is a stupid concept to be made a benchmark for games in general - it definitely works for some games, but games in general should not be held to a standard that favors only a fraction of gamers who are looking for a challenge.

Edited by scythesong
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This isn't an Action RPG.

 

 

 

 So what does that mean for rest of us?

 

The normal game, which is always designed for nonironman....? 

 

Ironman isn't a 'benchmark', it's a niche optional mode.

 

The really long and rambly prolegomena aside, sure, a "aggro" mode sounds cool. I would try it for sure, as even a crude damage switch would knock all of the balancing into chaos in a way that might be interesting.

Edited by Tigranes
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It's kinda confusing to read, but it seems like the OP got some ideas for a game mode, but sets up an argument which is really fragmented and in lack of a better word it's weird. I feel like this is more a rant about your current obligations and living conditions than about the game. :D

Anyways, as pointed out this is not an ARPG at all. The IE CRPG genre of games is normally about making an encounter plan and carrying it out without hiccups and with as few resources spent as possible. It's about trial and error at its best. Most game settings are made so many encounters favor a few strong meta tactics over individual planning, which makes the game accessible. The hardcore modes are just for the players who enjoys a tactical challenge.

I don't think OE has time, resources, or the proper motivation to make a  game mode such as you describe fleshed out with balance etc. But it shouldn't be too hard for the modding community to play around with the numbers, and make an aggro mode. 

 

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PotD is the "hardcore" mode. Ironmode is just something you do for giggles, a bit like speedruns, since more often than not you would first play the game to the end and THEN try Ironmode.

 

Alternatively, you just like restart games a lot, but you don't sound like the type.

 

What concerns your proposed mode, a game mode which favors such agressive style could be interesting, but it sounds to me like it would be easily exploited by fast hitting classes favoring crits (say, rogue... or maybe barbarian with the right build). That would simply mean winning this mode would rely on character creation (deciding on the correct attributes, class and spec), but then you would just breeze through the game because fast attacks + possibility of making 50% damage means that your fast hitters would just decimate your enemies. Not much of a challenge.

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What are you on about? “Iron man” has been a thing in RPGs since I can remember (rogues&likes, wizardry8) but it isn’t a “benchmark” or a definitive way to play. It’s a singleplayer RPG - you do you, let others do their own thing. I imagine that implementing a system which tests your skills with an already implimented ruleset is easier to do, than designing and balancing an entirely new one.

 

In Deadfire there is something like “Beraths Blessing” which on consequent playthroughs we allow players to add some bonus challenges or bonuses to vary things up. It might do it for ya.

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You people act like Path of the Damned is anything special to hardcore ARPG players. Seriously, what's next after you've figured out all the ins and outs of what makes builds work in PotD? I don't claim to have played *every* build that works, but I sure know that it's stupid that I'm now doing the same general thing over and over again and the only challenge left is the "if you die once, it's game over" mode. And no, self-imposed handicaps are NOT the answer especially since PoE2 is in a unique position to help change how the presence Ironman Mode is becoming a trend in today's games, which is stupid because the mode caters to a specific playerbase.

 

And Pillars IS an ARPG, you spend more half than your time fighting stuff. Skyrim is an ARPG even though you spend more than half your time crafting stuff/leveling miscellaneous skills or exploring. It's about as much as an ARPG as the Icewind Dale games were, and IWD2/Heart of Fury mode was definitely a hardcore ARPG, except with a beautiful story, music and dialogue.

 

Trial of Iron comes with its own meta, so it would make sense that a hypothetical Trial of Copper would come with its own meta too. Balancing is irrelevant (except in the most basic sense - obviously we don't want a situation where battle starts and boom, everyone dies because of enemy damaging aura scaling gone wrong) since these modes are not about balance (there's a ton of skills/talents that are *very* low priority for Trial of Iron players). It's more about creating a mode for veteran players that's an alternative to the very ordered "I'm going to micromanage every millisecond of this battle so my PC doesn't die". It's going to be chaotic, it's going to be frustrating, people are going to die a lot and it's going to be glorious.

 

Edit:

BTW, the game already has a variation of the %chance on hit mechanic. Not sure how introducing a mode that does that to every attack made (with the effect that it increases outdoing damage by 25%-??) is going to be equivalent to creating expansion content, like some posters seem to be implying. After all Ironman mode just makes it so that if you die, game over. There's going to be some work/fine tuning needed, yeah, but is the amount of effort required really that unreasonable especially once all the hectic aspects of game development are done? After all, this mode doesn't need to come out at release (we DO need time to adjust to/enjoy the new PoE2 meta before we start tackling challenging game modes).

Edited by scythesong
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I like the concept, but I sort of think PoE is the wrong platform. Maybe I am alone on this, but I found combat was the weakest aspect of this game. 90% of all encounters were against trash mobs, and only a few distinguished themselves as being fun, let alone memorable.

For me, one of the earliest encompassed a group of druids at Stormwall Gorge. Between the lightening and the locust swarms, and at least in my case the relatively low level of my party (I saved entering the city until I had cleared everything down to Searing Falls), that skirmish was really dicey. The Guardian on level 13 was just perfect. Cragholdt Bluffs were awesome, I hit that as soon as I could (level 8?), and everything in that area was just fierce. . .But that's really it. The Alpine Dragon is a tough fight (at least the first time til you discover he has the willpower of an alcoholic), but not interesting at all. Thaos is supremely disappointing unless you solo him, and even then, its just riding out his spells until he exhausts himself (or one shotting him with Concelhaut's Hammer).

Increasing lethality with random variables wouldn't solve what is fundamentally lacking in the vast majority of encounters, and in fact might even make them even less challenging when the RNG favors the player.

 

The one thing I did like about the combat as designed though, was tactful positioning trumped raw power. You could tackle things, like the dragons, at levels lower than recommended by placing your people intelligently prior to kicking off hostilities. Ambuscades worked terrifically well.

Edited by Elkor_Alish
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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

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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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I like the concept, but I sort of think PoE is the wrong platform. Maybe I am alone on this, but I found combat was the weakest aspect of this game. 90% of all encounters were against trash mobs, and only a few distinguished themselves as being fun, let alone memorable. 

Yeah, being based on a rollbased, tabletop rules, I felt like the combat never really translated well into a digital setting, with actual space and positioning. Building your character is fun, but combat itself isn't very engaging and forces you to stare at the combat log, instead of the battlefield. PoE improved on IE game system in that respect, and Deadfire has a potential on improving on PoE, with bigger focus on positioning, and making space for your characters to do their thing. Still, I don't expect it to be too rewarding, and if I return to it, it will be for the writing and story rather than combat. 

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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content.

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Man this posts is a waste of time. Seems like this guy is crying about his home life on the forums. Play on normal or story time and you are good. What’s the issue?

 

I have done every single one of my play throughs except the first as a Triple Crown run, I am the minorty, I also have an adult life and responsibilities to my dog, mortgage and wife so I have no idea what you are on about.

 

This game is catered to the casual by playing on any other difficulty then PoTD and trial of iron, hell its got a story mode.

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Have gun will travel.

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Man this posts is a waste of time. Seems like this guy is crying about his home life on the forums. Play on normal or story time and you are good. What’s the issue?

 

I have done every single one of my play throughs except the first as a Triple Crown run, I am the minorty, I also have an adult life and responsibilities to my dog, mortgage and wife so I have no idea what you are on about.

 

This game is catered to the casual by playing on any other difficulty then PoTD and trial of iron, hell its got a story mode.

I love the way you order your responsibilities. :D

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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content.

 

To my understanding and maybe I am wrong here an ARPG is a game that has a type of level up system but when you swing your sword, block, chuck a fireball or fire an arrow it will hit its intended target as long as you aim properly there is no dice roll for attacks or skill checks.  Am I wrong here?

Have gun will travel.

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PS did not to come off as aggressive or elitist to the OP, I can get a little passionate when I do not agree (Kind Wayfarers! lol).  I have a losing record against the AI on Triple Crown Runs 5 wins and about 15 Losses (maybe more) so am in no way trying to belittle the OP.  I just think if he/she is not willing to lose a character after one death they can just play the game like its intended.  Why do you need some crazy damage mode???

Edited by Torm51
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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

This is the modern era. Just about every game has aspects from other genres, hell good luck trying to pin down what kind of game Divinity: Original Sin actually is. Is it an RPG? Is it a turn-based RPG? Is it a hack-and-slash/action RPG? Is it a sandbox RPG? Why is it an RPG, again?

 

 

Man this posts is a waste of time. Seems like this guy is crying about his home life on the forums. Play on normal or story time and you are good. What’s the issue?

 

I have done every single one of my play throughs except the first as a Triple Crown run, I am the minorty, I also have an adult life and responsibilities to my dog, mortgage and wife so I have no idea what you are on about.

 

This game is catered to the casual by playing on any other difficulty then PoTD and trial of iron, hell its got a story mode.

Did you miss the part where I pointed out that I've played PotD too many times? At this point I can solo PotD pre-act 3 on mostly muscle memory, and that's probably because I come from the BG1/Fallout era when characters had this habit of dying all the time just from a stray crit.

We simply had to up our game if we wanted to play at higher difficulty levels.

Even when BG2 came out (and after several years of playing) the challenge just wasn't enough anymore, which is why we considered it a godsend when someone decided to introduce a mod that allowed you to fight a planetar right from Irenicus' Dungeon. The Icewind Dale 2 devs actually heard our plea and introduced a unique setting called Heart of Fury mode, which is basically a variation of the "Trial of Copper", except just over a year later, Black Isle was gone. Interestingly some of the Infinity Engine EE devs are now re-introducing a kind-of Heart of Fury mode for their games.

 

Anyway, nice on you for being so passionate about attacking other people's passions.

 

 

 

If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content.

 

It's the same today actually, except everything is skewed towards action games. The thing about action games is that it's all about stimuli - you receive data (through a combat mechanics box or your basic senses) and you respond appropriately. The game then rewards/penalizes you based on your reaction time/the appropriateness of your reaction. It's very similar in this respect to strategy games, except strategy games give you much, much more time to figure out what your next move should be.

 

The thing is that a lot of game devs these days seem to be interested in making their games "more engaging" by (for some reason) introducing mechanics-related visual/auditory stimuli (ie, flexing their game engines and making their games more action game-y) instead of creating a more complicated/branching story mechanic (in that respect some JRPGs are actually ahead of their western counterparts). Maybe current trends are because a lot of people want to "experience" more from their home instead of trying to imagine how a certain scenario would play out based on context? Who can say.

Edited by scythesong
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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

This is the modern era. Just about every game has aspects from other genres, hell good luck trying to pin down what kind of game Divinity: Original Sin actually is. Is it an RPG? Is it a turn-based RPG? Is it a hack-and-slash/action RPG? Is it a sandbox RPG? Why is it an RPG, again?

 

 

Man this posts is a waste of time. Seems like this guy is crying about his home life on the forums. Play on normal or story time and you are good. What’s the issue?

 

I have done every single one of my play throughs except the first as a Triple Crown run, I am the minorty, I also have an adult life and responsibilities to my dog, mortgage and wife so I have no idea what you are on about.

 

This game is catered to the casual by playing on any other difficulty then PoTD and trial of iron, hell its got a story mode.

Did you miss the part where I pointed out that I've played PotD too many times? At this point I can solo PotD pre-act 3 on mostly muscle memory, and that's probably because I come from the BG1/Fallout era when characters had this habit of dying all the time just from a stray crit.

We simply had to up our game if we wanted to play at higher difficulty levels.

Even when BG2 came out (and after several years of playing) the challenge just wasn't enough anymore, which is why we considered it a godsend when someone decided to introduce a mod that allowed you to fight a planetar right from Irenicus' Dungeon. The Icewind Dale 2 devs actually heard our plea and introduced a unique setting called Heart of Fury mode, which is basically a variation of the "Trial of Copper", except just over a year later, Black Isle was gone. Interestingly some of the Infinity Engine EE devs are now re-introducing a kind-of Heart of Fury mode for their games.

 

Anyway, nice on you for being so passionate about attacking other people's passions.

 

 

 

If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content.

 

It's the same today actually, except everything is skewed towards action games. The thing about action games is that it's all about stimuli - you receive data (through a combat mechanics box or your basic senses) and you respond appropriately. The game then rewards/penalizes you based on your reaction time/the appropriateness of your reaction. It's very similar in this respect to strategy games, except strategy games give you much, much more time to figure out what your next move should be.

 

The thing is that a lot of game devs these days seem to be interested in making their games "more engaging" by (for some reason) introducing visual/auditory stimuli (ie, making their games more action game-y) instead of creating a more complicated/branching story mechanic (in that respect some JRPGs are actually ahead of their western counterparts). Maybe current trends are because a lot of people want to "experience" more from their home instead of trying to imagine how a certain scenario would play out based on context? Who can say.

 

I read your posts again and still do not see where you say you play on PotD but who cares if you do that is cool, if you dont ok cool too lol  That being said I do not see the point of some wacky damage mode like you proposed.  Most casual players/"busy" people will play on normal and you have the small percentage that play on PoTD and Trial of Iron modes.  I do not see the need for your proposed mode.  

 

PS I come from the same era as you.

Edited by Torm51

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Does this person even realize that a significant chunk of the PoE playerbase are veteran IE (and older) game players?

 

Obviously a lot of people simply stopped playing because the challenge/appeal is gone. And thank you for pointing out that our last options are to play the game AGAIN tin casual/hard/PotD or Ironman Mode.

 

Now if only someone could suggest an alternative game mode for players interested in having more options for replayability without the stress of losing progress due to whatever... oh wait.

Edited by scythesong
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Does this person even realize that a significant chunk of the PoE playerbase are veteran IE (and older) game players?

 

Obviously a lot of people simply stopped playing because the challenge/appeal is gone. And thank you for pointing out that our last options are to play the game AGAIN tin casual/hard/PotD or Ironman Mode.

 

Now if only someone could suggest an alternative game mode for players interested in having more options for replayability without the stress of losing progress due to whatever... oh wait.

I do man I’m one of them but I can’t assume you are a trial of iron/heart of fury type player, that’s all.

 

Anyway I downvote your proposed idea but ya another mode is welcome.

 

PS

 

let me reiterate @scythe that I apologize for the digs on the early post.  I do agree that another mode would be cool.

Edited by Torm51
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If you think PoE is an action role playing game, can you name an RPG that is not an action RPG?

You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content.

 

 

My question was intended to be rhetorical. The term "action RPG" was coined specifically to distinguish games like Diablo from games like Baldur's Gate. Since PoE is a game like Baldur's Gate, not a game like Diablo, it's not an ARPG by definition.

 

As for games like Deus Ex, it's not like Baldur's Gate and it's not like Diablo, so it belongs in a third category, alongside Mass Effect2 etc.

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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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As for games like Deus Ex, it's not like Baldur's Gate and it's not like Diablo, so it belongs in a third category, alongside Mass Effect2 etc.

 

 

Actually I am pretty sure Deus Ex belongs to its seperate genre: "Immersive Sim", alongside System Shock, Thief, or more modern: Prey, or Dishonored. 

 

Mass Effect is a Bioware creation. An action/RPG hybrid combining popular elements of action games (Gears of War) and rpgs (conversations trees, progression). Where Diablo presented traditional RPG combat in a more active manner, Mass Effect quite literally takes and RPG and an action game and stitches them together.

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I actually really like this idea. Outside of hectic lives, I have pretty severe ADD which generally keeps me from playing Death-is-Game-Over style modes because any simple noise or movement in the corner of my eye can mean all progress lost and that's frustrating as hell, even though I'd like the increased difficulty. At least PoE has pause though, that helps.

 

I think it might be something for Obs to look into for future games, though I'm guessing its too late for Deadfire.

 

Not sure why you're so angry about it though, OP.

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