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Josh Sawyer's tweets and teasers, part 2

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I think a good answer to this problem is to make every point matter. I would love to see a system like: 20% damage lost for every point below enemy AR, up to a maximum loss of 80%, and then maybe 5% damage gain for every point above (The numbers could be anything really). This brings back the mushy problem though.

 

The system you suggest rewards buffs heavier armors as it rewards stacking pen over AR. It would not only solve problem discussed, but push it further, by punishing light/medium armor by adding extra damage for every point about its AR. Not to mention in that case pen would become a god stat for every weapon as it would mitigate any advantage an AveragePen/HighDamage weapons have over HighPen/AvarageDamage making the latter not only more likely to do 100%, but boost it’s damage done to low AR targets as well.

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I think a good answer to this problem is to make every point matter. I would love to see a system like: 20% damage lost for every point below enemy AR, up to a maximum loss of 80%, and then maybe 5% damage gain for every point above (The numbers could be anything really). This brings back the mushy problem though.

The system you suggest rewards buffs heavier armors as it rewards stacking pen over AR. It would not only solve problem discussed, but push it further, by punishing light/medium armor by adding extra damage for every point about its AR. Not to mention in that case pen would become a god stat for every weapon as it would mitigate any advantage an AveragePen/HighDamage weapons have over HighPen/AvarageDamage making the latter not only more likely to do 100%, but boost it’s damage done to low AR targets as well.

 

You could easily reduce the numbers I suggested. There is already a bonus for over-penetrating significantly. The system I described at least makes some armor always provide better protection against damage than no armor at all.

 

 

 

Also, @Boeror, I personally like your suggestion but I think another problem the devs had with DR is that fast-attack weapons become significantly weaker than the slower, bigger weapons. I think that makes perfect sense but I can see why they might want to avoid that. How would you 'fix' how poorly low base damage scales versus phat lategame dr? What about just straight %damage reductions (varying between damage types).

Edited by George_Truman

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Eh, i think i liked the armor system in the first game, the whole mechanics with penetration, overpenetration seems unnecessarily complicated and just a mess to balance.

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Eh, i think i liked the armor system in the first game, the whole mechanics with penetration, overpenetration seems unnecessarily complicated and just a mess to balance.

 

Agreed. I've heard at least once that they changed the system because people found the old system hard to understand. I'm really not sure how this system is easier to understand, and honestly I suspect most people who found it hard to understand were struggling with the fact it's not a D&D AC system.

 

Did the old system have some problems? Sure. But this new one seems to have at least as many.

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Actually in PoE fast, light weapons do better dps with auto-attacks in general - as soon as you can stack some damage modifiers like fine/exceptional, do more crits and also add Vulnerable Attack (only slows down recovery, the attack animation is not slowed down) they do more dps than heavier weapons. The problem is that in the early game those weapons perform really badly against DR and thus most people think they are bad in general.

 

However - you could simply tune down the flat DR reduction so that everything is balanced better (right from the start).

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Eh, i think i liked the armor system in the first game, the whole mechanics with penetration, overpenetration seems unnecessarily complicated and just a mess to balance.

I agree. My point is that Obsidian obviously doesn't but I do think they are open to ideas that address their concerns. My guess is that they won't go back to the old system but I would bet they are willing to adjust their current system.

 

 

Actually in PoE fast, light weapons do better dps with auto-attacks in general - as soon as you can stack some damage modifiers like fine/exceptional, do more crits and also add Vulnerable Attack (only slows down recovery, the attack animation is not slowed down) they do more dps than heavier weapons. The problem is that in the early game those weapons perform really badly against DR and thus most people think they are bad in general.

 

However - you could simply tune down the flat DR reduction so that everything is balanced better (right from the start).

 
Aren't fast weapons much weaker against the strongest enemies though? I feel like most of the toughest fights involve high DR enemies and against those enemies the bigger weapons tend to do considerably more damage. Around what DR do fast weapons become stronger?
 
Edit: So I did the math and the DR ranges where (superb, durgan-refined, lashing, 20might, vulnerable attack) slow 1handers beat fast 1handers are ~ (12-18),(16-23),(18-31) (graze hit crit). So as far as 1 hand + shield I am definitely wrong. 2handers (2 handed style instead of VA) always deal more, but have the defensive trade-off of no shield or (in the case of dual wielding) less armor for similar% recovery.
Edited by George_Truman

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Eh, i think i liked the armor system in the first game, the whole mechanics with penetration, overpenetration seems unnecessarily complicated and just a mess to balance.

 

Agreed. I've heard at least once that they changed the system because people found the old system hard to understand. I'm really not sure how this system is easier to understand, and honestly I suspect most people who found it hard to understand were struggling with the fact it's not a D&D AC system.

 

Did the old system have some problems? Sure. But this new one seems to have at least as many.

 

With the D&D AC system you have nothing to think about, armor type is class limited (either by proficiency or armor type disabling class abilities). If it wasn't class limited, everyone would be running in the armor type that afford the highest AC once they get the money to buy it (technically still do, the highest is just based on your class).

 

All armor systems end up with "use best or don't use any" unless you force people to use something specific via class proficiency or bonus/malus.

 

The Deadfire system actually has less issues then POE1 version, it's just balanced like crap (like most of the game it seems).

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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When you put board-gamey systems in your video game, things might turn up weird and complicated.

Other games that used video-gamey systems had no problems with these basic things at all. You have a resource that you use to activate your abilities and when you put on heavier armor it either makes them more expansive or it reserves part of your resource.

Deadfire went the board game way even in resources. Points etc. Why? Computers are good in managing these things; it's not a board game where you need to have small point by point resource systems.

I said it before, but it still buffles me why Obsidian does so: I don't think mixing board game mechanics to video games (and vice versa) when there is no need to is a good idea. Take advantage of the medium, let calculations to the computer and design your systems accordingly. When someone plays your game, they should know that lighter armour ofers less protection but more flexibility. That's it. Other calculations shouldn't bother anyone. Now you have to compare this with that and see how much you can strike over armor etc. Too board-gamey!

There is a reason why Pillars (and Deadfire) are the only games the play real-time and use these complicated systems instead of more straight-forward mana/fatigue and cooldowns; and it isn't that other designers are dumb and make boring games.

Edited by Sedrefilos
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Why is Obsidian trying to reinvent the wheel?

 

Stay humble, base your mechanics on D&D math, and then tweak it to suit your game's vision.

 

Saves aggravation, time, and money.

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it.  Enhance it.

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Why is Obsidian trying to reinvent the wheel?

 

Stay humble, base your mechanics on D&D math, and then tweak it to suit your game's vision.

 

Saves aggravation, time, and money.

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it.  Enhance it.

DnD is mediocre as a boardgame (mechanics-wise) and is bad when traslated to pc games. Pillars system is way way better but still some mechanics are irrationally complicated when they could have been simpler and more straight-forward (avoiding DnD systems though).

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Copying D&D mechanics is less "not reinventing the wheel" and more like attaching a horse to an automobile and insisting it's better than those newfangled petroleum engine things.

 

It's also kind of irrelevant because D&D doesn't use armor as DR, but for some reason insists on folding every non-magical defensive measure into one value.

 

I can see the reasoning behind changing the DR system to a more complicated one. It's not working out so well by the sounds of it, but neither did Pillars', to be honest. You still had little incentive not to put heavy armor on any character who wasn't sticking to the back line, but some attacks pumped out so much damage armor didn't stop them anyway.

Edited by MortyTheGobbo

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When you put board-gamey systems in your video game, things might turn up weird and complicated.

Other games that used video-gamey systems had no problems with these basic things at all. You have a resource that you use to activate your abilities and when you put on heavier armor it either makes them more expansive or it reserves part of your resource.

Deadfire went the board game way even in resources. Points etc. Why? Computers are good in managing these things; it's not a board game where you need to have small point by point resource systems.

I said it before, but it still buffles me why Obsidian does so: I don't think mixing board game mechanics to video games (and vice versa) when there is no need to is a good idea. Take advantage of the medium, let calculations to the computer and design your systems accordingly. When someone plays your game, they should know that lighter armour ofers less protection but more flexibility. That's it. Other calculations shouldn't bother anyone. Now you have to compare this with that and see how much you can strike over armor etc. Too board-gamey!

Well, it is board-gamey, because PoE is inspired by IE games, which were a computer adaptaion of tabletop system. PoE and even more so Deadfire, tends to adapt this system to computer-friendly setting, but it is still abstract, number oriented tabletop.

 

You mentioned the "other games". Anything specific in mind? The only game I can think of, which attempted IE experience was Dragon Age: Origins, which to me was a boring slog of shallow mechanics. While it did a good job in cutting convoluted stuff out, it failed to introduce new mechanics to make up for it. 

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With the D&D AC system you have nothing to think about, armor type is class limited (either by proficiency or armor type disabling class abilities). If it wasn't class limited, everyone would be running in the armor type that afford the highest AC once they get the money to buy it (technically still do, the highest is just based on your class).

 

Sorry what I meant was people used to D&D armour expect better armour to make them harder to hit, so the fact that Pillars armour didn't do that was confusing (code for "I don't like change"). I can't say for certain, but I suspect a lot of the complaints about the DR system being confusing stem from exactly this.

 

I wasn't suggesting one system was actually more complicated or simpler than the other.

 

All armor systems end up with "use best or don't use any" unless you force people to use something specific via class proficiency or bonus/malus.

 

 

Unless there's a meaningful trade off this is the case yes.

 

The Deadfire system actually has less issues then POE1 version, it's just balanced like crap (like most of the game it seems).

 

 

I'm not sure this is the case. With a bit of tweaking to DR values I think the Pillars system would also be perfectly fine. The issues came at the extremes I think.

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When you put board-gamey systems in your video game, things might turn up weird and complicated.

Other games that used video-gamey systems had no problems with these basic things at all. You have a resource that you use to activate your abilities and when you put on heavier armor it either makes them more expansive or it reserves part of your resource.

Deadfire went the board game way even in resources. Points etc. Why? Computers are good in managing these things; it's not a board game where you need to have small point by point resource systems.

I said it before, but it still buffles me why Obsidian does so: I don't think mixing board game mechanics to video games (and vice versa) when there is no need to is a good idea. Take advantage of the medium, let calculations to the computer and design your systems accordingly. When someone plays your game, they should know that lighter armour ofers less protection but more flexibility. That's it. Other calculations shouldn't bother anyone. Now you have to compare this with that and see how much you can strike over armor etc. Too board-gamey!

Well, it is board-gamey, because PoE is inspired by IE games, which were a computer adaptaion of tabletop system. PoE and even more so Deadfire, tends to adapt this system to computer-friendly setting, but it is still abstract, number oriented tabletop.

 

You mentioned the "other games". Anything specific in mind? The only game I can think of, which attempted IE experience was Dragon Age: Origins, which to me was a boring slog of shallow mechanics. While it did a good job in cutting convoluted stuff out, it failed to introduce new mechanics to make up for it. 

 

I had Dragon Age and almost every other non-turn-based rpg and action rpgs in mind. Yes Dragon Age (and the other games) might not be as fun as Pillars was but gameplay-wise they did it right. The rest is encounter tuning/variety etc (a section in which Dragon Age games suck). Never have I played (or watched being played) another pc rpg game and be confused by mechanics and how they work as I am now with Deadfire (even in Pillars I though DR system was good - though vancian casting etc I believe were outdated).

The things one can adapt from tabletop gameing is core mechanic ideas (classes, spells etc) and story presentation (scripted interactions is a great example for instance). How they work in a video game should be worked having in mind this is a video game, not a board game.

 

I have seen board games use some video game adaptations too, either to mechanics or aesthetics and I can't say I like them there much either. I do design board games in my spare time (I'll even have my first publication later this year) and I always try to respect that dichotomy. Else you end up messing functionality. One should know what the medium can offer and where are its strengths and weaknesses and use them accordingly. This is how I see it. I know many just can't  detatch their mind from years long DnDing and love just to see a copy-paste of mechanics in their video games, but personally I think these kinds of designs make pcrpgs weaker.

Edited by Sedrefilos

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Why is Obsidian trying to reinvent the wheel?

 

Stay humble, base your mechanics on D&D math, and then tweak it to suit your game's vision.

 

Saves aggravation, time, and money.

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it.  Enhance it.

 

When it comes to AC D&D is, if not broken, stupid. Wearing full plate doesn't make you harder to hit (if anything it might make you easier to hit): what it does is make it so that many of the blows that do hit you don't do any harm. I can't understand why D&D might want to combine the two in order to reduce the number of dice rolls and mental maths needed to play (although plenty of, in my opinion, better RPGs manage not to) but once you've got a computer doing all that for you, you really shouldn't have to.

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I had Dragon Age and almost every other non-turn-based rpg and action rpgs in mind. Yes Dragon Age (and the other games) might not be as fun as Pillars was but gameplay-wise they did it right. The rest is encounter tuning/variety etc (a section in which Dragon Age games suck). Never have I played (or watched being played) another pc rpg game and be confused by mechanics and how they work as I am now with Deadfire (even in Pillars I though DR system was good - though vancian casting etc I believe were outdated).

The things one can adapt from tabletop gameing is core mechanic ideas (classes, spells etc) and story presentation (scripted interactions is a great example for instance). How they work in a video game should be worked having in mind this is a video game, not a board game.

 

Well, I didn’t find Dragon Age gameplay fun at all - it seemed very KOTOR like. Actually, I had similar problem in Tyranny, though to a lesser degreee. But that’s unimportant.

 

Overall, I agree with you on designing a Computer game with Computer in mind, but the DNA of the series is difficult to shake off. Expectations are to be met, and change too much and fans will accuse you of “dumbing down” the game or selling out. Overall, those kind of RPGs tend to be more about designing your team and character, rather than active tactical combat.

 

I wouldn’t mind an Real-time tactical RPG, which would do things a bit differently. Keep statistics steady, and expand character usefulness via skills and abilities, focus on positioning and space control, have weapons vary in range, attack ark etc. rather than numerical statistics. I do agree that buffing your dice rolls, isn’t nearly as fun if you don’t get to roll those dices. Still, this is how IE games worked, and this is what PoE is building on. I am curious what Outer Worlds is all about.

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It's not a new approach to use separate to hit/damage resistance parameters. PnP games have been doing it for decades and it works well. Try playing something other than archaic D&D for a change.

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

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I put my people in a variety of armor, even though it's suboptimal, because I like variety. I am wildly not a fan of Pillars' "full plate or go naked" tendency.

Yeah me to. RP over logic all the way for me.

 

Besides I enjoy a challenge.

Yeah. In Pillars, everyone finishes the game in the armor they start in (except GM and Hiravias who get clothes). Another way to keep it challenging without changing the difficulty.

"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Why is Obsidian trying to reinvent the wheel?

 

Stay humble, base your mechanics on D&D math, and then tweak it to suit your game's vision.

 

Saves aggravation, time, and money.

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it. Enhance it.

Except Josh feels there are aspects of D&D that *are* broken and do need to be fixed
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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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about armor:

 

- I have never played PnP games, and when I got Bg2 (my first big modern RPG) I did not know DnD and lots of things did not make any sense to me. I learned fast that I should use the armor that gives me the best armor class unless another armor has a very good special ability (like I put on an armor with fire resistance before fighting a mage who throws fireballs at me), but the system did not make sense to me. There is somebody in a plate armor and somebody naked. The one in plate armor is harder to hit ( does the armor make it easier to jump to the side to dodge the attack?), but when they get hit both take the same damage.

 

- The armor systemI liked most were DSA ( e.g. Drakensang ) or DA:O.

 + In DSA heavier armor absorbs more damage (like PoE1) but without minimum damage, so armor can negate damage completely. But heavier armor also hinders you, making it harder to hit enemies and also making it harder to dodge or parry their attacks. I admit that there was an optimal strategy: get the heaviest armor and put all your points in one weapon type so that your bonusses to hit an parry are much higher then the armor penalty. You can parry a lot and even if you get hit you take little or no damage because of your armor.

 + In DA:O armor absorbed damage (not sure if there was minimum damage) but heavier armor increased your ability costs. There were different types of weapons with different damage and penetration (like sword = high damage and low penetration, Mace is the opposite). There were also modal abilities that gave you a bonus at the cost of permanently occupying some of your resources. So a fighter in the heaviest armor with a defensive modal on took little damage, but his stamina was consumed after 2 special attacks and a mage in heavier armor needed more mana for his fireballs.

When writing this and thinking about it, I think I like the DA:O system most. You had to balance protection vs action economy. Looking back, I think I like DA:O a lot game mechanics wise. This is not about armor, but also aggro and combo attacks (freeze+crit= shatter, oil + fire = boom). I think that D:OS (especially part 2) goes too far with environmental effects when most of the map is covered with cursed fire or electric clouds.

 

- Personally, I liked PoE1 a lot, much more than the system of PoE2. At least I can say that both systems make sense to me ( DR or penetration with recovery as downside), much more than any DnD system ever did.

For me, the advantage of PoE1 over PoE2 is that in PoE1 each point of DR gives you something. In PoE2 one point AR difference does sometimes mean nothing and sometimes its the difference between taking little damage or tons of damage. Its all or nothing and the same difference can mean all in one situation and nothing in another.

Maybe I like PoE1 over PoE2 just because I got used to it. Would I say the same if PoE1 had penetration and they change to DR for PoE2? I do not know.

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Why is Obsidian trying to reinvent the wheel?

 

Stay humble, base your mechanics on D&D math, and then tweak it to suit your game's vision.

 

Saves aggravation, time, and money.

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it. Enhance it.

Except Josh feels there are aspects of D&D that *are* broken and do need to be fixed

 

I agree with Josh. Some (not all) mechanics of DnD are broken, at least when you put them into a computer game.

 

That being said, I do not understand why they changed a working system ( PoE1 DR) for something new (PoE2 penetration).

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That being said, I do not understand why they changed a working system ( PoE1 DR) for something new (PoE2 penetration).

 

People criticised it. As far as I can tell those criticisms took two forms: (i) that it was difficult to understand and (ii) that along with the graze system it resulted in lots of hits doing tiny amounts of damage (apparently a lot of people prefer to miss than to hit for a tiny amount).

 

I don't understand (i) at all. The basic system is simple: DR is subtracted from your damage roll to determine the actual damage done. It's made slightly more complicated by the fact that there's a cap on how much damage can be reduced and enemies have different DRs against different damage types, but the basic concept is not hard to understand.

 

As for (ii) there's certainly some truth to this, but I don't think it couldn't be overcome with tweaks to the existing system. As it is I don't think the new system is any better in this regard.

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One thing I don't lack about the Deadfire PEN system - its less elegant than the one from PoE1. In the first game - you do damage, it goes against enemy armor and gets reduced. Simple to understand and naturally makes certain weapon more useful in certain situations - you go against enemy in high armor and fast, low damage will be less effective as damage will be subtracted from every hit - you use a slow, hard hitting weapon, and the armor resistance is subtracted only once. Easy, simple, organic

Deadfire on the other hand, every weapon works the same way - you are 1 PEN below target's armor rating: 25% damage is subtracted. Therefore, a new Penetration stat to make various weapon more or less effective in certain situations. Not great - Penetration is yet another stat players need to keep an eye on, and adds little new depth to combat.

However, thing I like about the new system, is that it makes it easy to recognize when you do a wrong thing. I wonder how much unsatisfaction with the new system comes from a better feedback than an actual mechanic - in PoE1 you could attack enemy with ineffective weapon and simply never realize that unless you pay a very close attention. To be honest I rarely changed my weapons in PoE1. With Deadfire system its really easy to judge when your weapon is effective and when it is not. I tend to change targets, switch weapons, consider my spells much more in Deadfire than I did in PoE1. If I make a bad decision, it is quite easy to recognize. 

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One thing I don't lack about the Deadfire PEN system - its less elegant than the one from PoE1. In the first game - you do damage, it goes against enemy armor and gets reduced. Simple to understand and naturally makes certain weapon more useful in certain situations - you go against enemy in high armor and fast, low damage will be less effective as damage will be subtracted from every hit - you use a slow, hard hitting weapon, and the armor resistance is subtracted only once. Easy, simple, organic

 

Deadfire on the other hand, every weapon works the same way - you are 1 PEN below target's armor rating: 25% damage is subtracted. Therefore, a new Penetration stat to make various weapon more or less effective in certain situations. Not great - Penetration is yet another stat players need to keep an eye on, and adds little new depth to combat.

 

However, thing I like about the new system, is that it makes it easy to recognize when you do a wrong thing. I wonder how much unsatisfaction with the new system comes from a better feedback than an actual mechanic - in PoE1 you could attack enemy with ineffective weapon and simply never realize that unless you pay a very close attention. To be honest I rarely changed my weapons in PoE1. With Deadfire system its really easy to judge when your weapon is effective and when it is not. I tend to change targets, switch weapons, consider my spells much more in Deadfire than I did in PoE1. If I make a bad decision, it is quite easy to recognize. 

Color-coded flying damage numbers could do the trick in recognizing if you're effective or not. Red=crit, white=hit, green=graze. Just a quick idea that poped in my head reading your post. You see one makes many greens, something's not going well.

Edited by Sedrefilos

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"However, thing I like about the new system, is that it makes it easy to recognize when you do a wrong thing. I wonder how much unsatisfaction with the new system comes from a better feedback than an actual mechanic - in PoE1 you could attack enemy with ineffective weapon and simply never realize that unless you pay a very close attention. To be honest I rarely changed my weapons in PoE1. With Deadfire system its really easy to judge when your weapon is effective and when it is not. I tend to change targets, switch weapons, consider my spells much more in Deadfire than I did in PoE1. If I make a bad decision, it is quite easy to recognize."

 

This is the key to whole thing -- it's not about simplicity v complexity, or ultimately about balance at all, it's about *feedback*. The behavior you're describing is exactly why Obsidian wants to see. It wasn't happening with DR, it is happening with Pen/AR: the mechanic is successful.

 

It just isn't finished being balanced (in the beta, anyway) yet.

 

Personally, I'd really just like the numbers to be much smaller, so there we be fewer or, even no, deadzones where nothing changes when you add or subtract small amounts of Pen or AR. I recognize though that that would make abilities and effects that modify them *much* stronger, and therefore necessitate then being much rather -- and changing that much stuff would obviously be a huge undertaking.

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