obsidian overshot the goldilocks zone insofar as their changes to penetration and cipher focus generation is concerned.
initially penetration were the alpha and omega o' deadfire combat, which were admitted bad. first beta release forced players to find ways to maximize penetration to the exclusion o' most other factors as, at best, secondary or tertiary concerns. unfortunate, penetration is a relative negligible factor as of beta 4, which makes armour (friend or foe) a meaningful consideration for countering overpenetration, and possible for a few as yet unseen boss battles. yeah, pistols might be non optimal 'gainst a foe with high piercing resistant armour, but even so, pistols, affected by fod or other accuracy and penetration boosting powhaz, makes 'em effective 'gainst all save to most heavily armoured o' foes. works for player armour in a similar fashion as there is little reason to wear heavy armour as medium armour will be enough to prevent overpenetration... though am admitting we believe folks is underusing daze affliction at it significant boosts armour benefits.
focus generation for ciphers has also become comically easy for ciphers. am s'posing the changes to penetration and to ciphers had a complimentary and additive impact on focus generation. after the first couple moments o' a combat encounter, a vanilla cipher will have generated considerable focus and will be having little difficulty generating more focus as need be. negligible gameplay impact.
regardless, as we previous stated, most o' the beta4 game mechanics improvements is not. customization has ironic suffered as there is now essential passives intermixed between bloat options-- once folks play deadfire and submit their ideal builds we are gonna see more than a little repetition o' a small handful o' passives. the return o' might has given a power up to more than a few multiclasses which didn't actual need such, while genuine op paladins didn't get any real changes to mitigate their dominance. etc.
the game is playable in its current form and is even fun, but btea 4, as a whole, were an overreaction on the part o' obsidian. a slight nerf to cipher focus generation and/or weapon penetrations as well as addressing paladin opness (at the very least, could return the malus to paladins) should be considered.
am not expecting any meaningful balance changes by may 8, but obsidian will make balance changes post release, and am hopeful they ain't too reluctant to swing the nerf bat at deadfire, 'cause at the moment, the game needs a southie-style smackdown.
HA! Good fun!