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Combat is now mostly a dull chore


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#1
cokane

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And I don't think a difficulty spike is going to address this.

 

I think the decision to move spells and abilities to be entirely per encounter has doomed this aspect of the game. Added to this is the removal of long-term health, the focus purely on wounds and removal of limited camping supplies.

 

These changes together have led to two big problems.

 

The first is that bite-sized encounters no longer matter. They are just wasting the player's time. Any fight that does not threaten to knock one of my characters out is meaningless. Because these fights no longer drain meaningful resources from the player, they no longer have any long term effect. And for players who take any effort to study the game's systems, the overwhelming majority of encounters in the game are going to fall into this category.

 

Think back to PoE1 with the temple below the first village, Gilded Vale. It was one of the first difficult areas many players would encounter, and yet no single fight in that temple is a maximum effort "boss fight". This kind of dungeon crawl cannot exist in Deadfire.

 

Upping the difficulty isn't going to change this, it's actually only going to make even more of a chore. All it means is that I go from using almost none of my abilities in these kinds of fights to having to use more and more of them. So long as my characters aren't getting knocked out, I don't have to worry about optimizing my performance in the majority of fights.

 

The second problem is that, even when the game throws a tough fight at you, requiring you to burn per rest items, empowers and suffer wounds, the cost of resting afterwards is so minimal that it's a no-brainer. Food is cheap. Camping is unlimited and risk free. The only kind of "agony" a player might feel in whether to rest or not rest is perhaps if they will burn nice inn bonuses or previous food bonuses.

 

It's a shame because I greatly appreciate the other aspects of the game such as expanded factions, better companion interaction, better thieving options and on and on. But combat, which is a core focus of the game, feels like a repetitive grind for all but the absolutely hardest of fights.


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#2
Infiltrator_SF

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I wouldn't say combat is dull, but it certainly requires less thinking and less resource management than before, when you would lose max hp over time, depending on your success. 

Rest is unlike in PoE1 a no brainer and an easy reset on any kind of miss-step you've ever done, which are in turn harder to make - even if PotD was a demanding mode.

 

I offer a solution for it - In PotD - no resting in non-taverns unless you clear the entire area of enemies. Furthermore, resting incurs a cooldown period and you can't rest in wilderness again unless a fixed amount of time has passed. These things do not require any major modifications to the game in order to be implemented.

 

This means that you only get 1, 2 rests at best during adventures, which severely hampers your ability to shrug off injuries. If we add a GOOD PotD difficulty, this should, IMO, enhance player experience as people will need to optimize their rests when everyone is exhausted or risk losing out on potential value, or worse, having to call it quits and going back to town in order to heal.


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#3
Hebruixe

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While I don't find combat to be a boring chore, I do agree with some of your complaints.

 

The removal of long-term health was definitely a bad change. I hope they reconsider it in upcoming months.

 

If anything they should have made long-term health a more serious issue...requiring something more complex than a single night's rest to heal the damage/injuries. For example, knockout injuries should have required specific medical treatments to heal them. A splint for broken limbs...stitches for lacerations...skin grafts for burns...etc. The ship's surgeon could've played a role in this. It could've been a lot more interesting than backpeddling to generic RPG health mechanics. Sigh.


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#4
ThacoBell

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I find the combat to be a marked improvement. Now the combat in PoE1, THAT was dull and a chore.


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#5
cokane

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I find the combat to be a marked improvement. Now the combat in PoE1, THAT was dull and a chore.

Could you elaborate? I can perhaps see the "chore" part, as combat required more of the player's attention in the original. But, since most fights in Deadfire do not reward or punish the player for paying attention and actually using tactics, I'm failing to see how most combats are actually interesting in Deadfire?



#6
Insidous

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I prefer the new combat a lot. I see were you coming from and was worried too when they announced the removal of health/endurance mechanic, but playing it I prefer this so much. It was a chore for me before to make every encounter as efficient as possible. Sure many might have fun with this, but I prefer fewer but more difficult encounters that challenge me, instead of having a challenge because I don't want to rest or backtrack.

 

In theory many mechanics to make combat more varied are in place, but only shine in very difficult fights, which are unfortunately only the ones you are underleveled. Stuff like keyword counters, afflictions vs. inspirations and sometimes hard penetration penalties.

 

In short: I prefer the deadfire combat already and difficulty changes will make me like it even more

 

I agree with the food sentiment: good food should be more rare and bad food should debuff.


Edited by Insidous, 17 May 2018 - 02:43 PM.

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#7
Lauro

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I really loving the combat now.. since i can slow it down or not to my liking , just have to be careful im not on "fast" mode...


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#8
ThacoBell

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I find the combat to be a marked improvement. Now the combat in PoE1, THAT was dull and a chore.

Could you elaborate? I can perhaps see the "chore" part, as combat required more of the player's attention in the original. But, since most fights in Deadfire do not reward or punish the player for paying attention and actually using tactics, I'm failing to see how most combats are actually interesting in Deadfire?

 

With abilities and health regen between fights, individual encounters can be more dangerous. Because of this system, I try to punch above my weight far more often, seeking out red skull fights and seeing if I can pull them off. It also means I don't have ot conserve abilities as a resource, so I can comfortably steamroll trash mobs quickly. All the fights in PoE1 felt like they just dragged on. Resource management isn't fun. Playing with abilities and spells to solve an encounter is.


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#9
Yosharian

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> A dull chore

 

Funny, that's how I feel about resting mechanics in POE1.


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#10
cokane

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I prefer the new combat a lot. I see were you coming from and was worried too when they announced the removal of health/endurance mechanic, but playing it I prefer this so much. It was a chore for me before to make every encounter as efficient as possible. Sure many might have fun with this, but I prefer fewer but more difficult encounters that challenge me, instead of having a challenge because I don't want to rest or backtrack.

 

In theory many mechanics to make combat more varied are in place, but only shine in very difficult fights, which are unfortunately only the ones you are underleveled. Stuff like keyword counters, afflictions vs. inspirations and sometimes hard penetration penalties.

 

In short: I prefer the deadfire combat already and difficulty changes will make me like it even more

 

I agree with the food sentiment: good food should be more rare and bad food should debuff.

So I do agree with this in part. The most difficult fights in the game are an improvement over the original. But I think your post itself gives away a long-term problem of the combat system and its related mechanics. As you say, the challenges were when you were underleveled. That's going to be a vast minority of the fights. And it means the game is not going to lend itself to the deep replayability that the original had. Why try out different classes and different builds if 90% of the combats don't offer the player any reason to actually engage in tactical creativity?


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#11
tela2k

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I'm totally for the new system of one regenerating health pool and injuries, good food items just need to be scarcer. Like stated by others the new combat system just doesn't come into full effect because of the low difficulty. There are a lot of engaging new mechanics that I can see making combat actually very exciting at best.

Off the top of my head:
-Prepping mobs for that sick cleaving stance strike.
-Improved in and out of stealth Assassin
-Improved mobility abilites to various classes giving the fights sometimes even a Diabloesque feeling (man did I love the couple first insanely difficult patches of D3).
-Inspiration/affliction mechanic doesn't really get to shine yet since most mobs just don't have any afflictions to cast or don't use them properly.
-Many of the new when Bloodied or Near Death effects should also make for some pretty tense moments where you either destroy or get destroyed.
-New interrupt mechanic could make canceling that Dragon Breath or Gaze of Adragan or whatever pretty engaging.

Getting to use all your stuff in every fight instead of sitting on your abilites and using minimal resources to slay trash pack after trash pack, waiting for that one tough fight actually enables the devs, if they want to, to make every fight difficult enough for you to actually have to use the abilties you have. The majority of fights should now be a lot more intense when the balance is right. The new health mechanic also enables this, since in the old system if there were too many tough fights in a row you'd have to go back and get some more camping supplies and then come back to the same dungeon, or they just had to fill the dungeon with camping supplies, so whatever. Now you can almost get wiped in every fight, but just come on top by the skin of your teeth and have another one like that around the corner. To me that sounds fantastic.

Can't really say for now, since I played through only once and the difficulty is what it is, but the biggest risk I see honestly, since you'll have less active abilities the other side of the coin for getting to spam your stuff is you won't have those long pauses where you finally find that perfect ability just for this situation. So maybe less strategy with ability choices and more importance on how you use the abilities that you have. The other thing is some of the food items are just ridiculously overpowered. Immunity to three afflictions, that's like a Protection from magic scroll, please no. Also empower is kind of a weird get out of jail free card.
 


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#12
ThacoBell

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I've wiped a few times on Normal, and its balance feels really right to me.



#13
cokane

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I'm totally for the new system of one regenerating health pool and injuries, good food items just need to be scarcer. Like stated by others the new combat system just doesn't come into full effect because of the low difficulty. There are a lot of engaging new mechanics that I can see making combat actually very exciting at best.

Off the top of my head:
-Prepping mobs for that sick cleaving stance strike.
-Improved in and out of stealth Assassin
-Improved mobility abilites to various classes giving the fights sometimes even a Diabloesque feeling (man did I love the couple first insanely difficult patches of D3).
-Inspiration/affliction mechanic doesn't really get to shine yet since most mobs just don't have any afflictions to cast or don't use them properly.
-Many of the new when Bloodied or Near Death effects should also make for some pretty tense moments where you either destroy or get destroyed.
-New interrupt mechanic could make canceling that Dragon Breath or Gaze of Adragan or whatever pretty engaging.

Getting to use all your stuff in every fight instead of sitting on your abilites and using minimal resources to slay trash pack after trash pack, waiting for that one tough fight actually enables the devs, if they want to, to make every fight difficult enough for you to actually have to use the abilties you have. The majority of fights should now be a lot more intense when the balance is right. The new health mechanic also enables this, since in the old system if there were too many tough fights in a row you'd have to go back and get some more camping supplies and then come back to the same dungeon, or they just had to fill the dungeon with camping supplies, so whatever. Now you can almost get wiped in every fight, but just come on top by the skin of your teeth and have another one like that around the corner. To me that sounds fantastic.

Can't really say for now, since I played through only once and the difficulty is what it is, but the biggest risk I see honestly, since you'll have less active abilities the other side of the coin for getting to spam your stuff is you won't have those long pauses where you finally find that perfect ability just for this situation. So maybe less strategy with ability choices and more importance on how you use the abilities that you have. The other thing is some of the food items are just ridiculously overpowered. Immunity to three afflictions, that's like a Protection from magic scroll, please no. Also empower is kind of a weird get out of jail free card.
 

These are also good points. And I'm not ready to totally give up on combat, it could be improved.

 

I want to focus on one suggestion you made which gets at the core of what I was originally trying to say: "If they want to, to make every fight difficult enough for you to actually have to use the abilities you have." Making every fight in the game the same difficulty is exactly the design problem that has doomed the game. A monotone combat difficulty doesn't seem like a good recipe for sustained fun in what's supposed to be a long and epic RPG.

 

But it's precisely the *only* way they can now make combat challenging given the decision to remove most of the consequences between combats, such as spell loss, ability loss, health, etc.


Edited by cokane, 17 May 2018 - 03:35 PM.

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#14
the_dog_days

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I've wiped a few times on Normal, and its balance feels really right to me.

 

 

I'm playing on PotD and aside from a few optional bosses, it feels like I'm playing on normal. :/


Edited by the_dog_days, 17 May 2018 - 03:38 PM.

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#15
Voss

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I find the combat to be a marked improvement. Now the combat in PoE1, THAT was dull and a chore.

Could you elaborate? I can perhaps see the "chore" part, as combat required more of the player's attention in the original. But, since most fights in Deadfire do not reward or punish the player for paying attention and actually using tactics, I'm failing to see how most combats are actually interesting in Deadfire?

 

They aren't, particularly.  But at least they're faster.   it helps make them a little less dull.  

 

Though sadly PoE1 had more functional/impactful combat mechanics



#16
Tigranes

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On paper, I agree entirely with the OP. In practice, I'm still only a few hours into the game, so I am waiting to see how it pans out. But it does seem to get rid of a lot of challenge, a sense of actually being on a dangerous adventure, a feeling that your decisions in combat actually matter.

 

Food is really funny - Pillars wanted to get rid of laborious pre-buffing, but food in POE1 was already extremely powerful if you bothered to spend time eating up for every fight. Now you have so much food you could make a cooking minigame out of the assets!

 

 

 

I prefer the new combat a lot. I see were you coming from and was worried too when they announced the removal of health/endurance mechanic, but playing it I prefer this so much. It was a chore for me before to make every encounter as efficient as possible. Sure many might have fun with this, but I prefer fewer but more difficult encounters that challenge me, instead of having a challenge because I don't want to rest or backtrack.

 

I think the gap between players here is so big it's difficult to bridge. A lot of players, as you say, find it a 'chore' to prepare for combat, use their resources efficiently, and fight a big challenge every single fight. I don't say this as an insult - it's not my business to judge how you play. But as someone who gets incredibly bored and frustrated when I realise I could just win these fights not using half the available resources or spamming left click, I feel like my style of play has not been served well by these changes. To me, "making every encounter efficient" is the fun, and without it, I feel like I'm playing chess against a 3 year old and wondering why I'm bothering. Again, that describes a certain group of players, who are no more or less legitimate than others.

 

I do wish they made the game easier to mod on this front, i.e. easy to edit variables for things like enemy HP, empowers / power sources per level, things like that.


Edited by Tigranes, 17 May 2018 - 03:47 PM.

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#17
Katarack21

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While I did prefer the split health system, I'm not finding combat at all boring or dull. I'm really enjoying it, actually.



#18
cokane

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On paper, I agree entirely with the OP. In practice, I'm still only a few hours into the game, so I am waiting to see how it pans out. But it does seem to get rid of a lot of challenge, a sense of actually being on a dangerous adventure, a feeling that your decisions in combat actually matter.

 

Food is really funny - Pillars wanted to get rid of laborious pre-buffing, but food in POE1 was already extremely powerful if you bothered to spend time eating up for every fight. Now you have so much food you could make a cooking minigame out of the assets!

 

 

 

I prefer the new combat a lot. I see were you coming from and was worried too when they announced the removal of health/endurance mechanic, but playing it I prefer this so much. It was a chore for me before to make every encounter as efficient as possible. Sure many might have fun with this, but I prefer fewer but more difficult encounters that challenge me, instead of having a challenge because I don't want to rest or backtrack.

 

I think the gap between players here is so big it's difficult to bridge. A lot of players, as you say, find it a 'chore' to prepare for combat, use their resources efficiently, and fight a big challenge every single fight. I don't say this as an insult - it's not my business to judge how you play. But as someone who gets incredibly bored and frustrated when I realise I could just win these fights not using half the available resources or spamming left click, I feel like my style of play has not been served well by these changes. To me, "making every encounter efficient" is the fun, and without it, I feel like I'm playing chess against a 3 year old and wondering why I'm bothering. Again, that describes a certain group of players, who are no more or less legitimate than others.

 

I do wish they made the game easier to mod on this front, i.e. easy to edit variables for things like enemy HP, empowers / power sources per level, things like that.

Appreciate much of what you said here. I just want to agree with what you said about synergies here. I'm not necessarily against any individual mechanical change itself -- health, wounds, per encounter casts, limited camping. But all of them together have resulted in removing a level of depth that the original game had.



#19
flamesium

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Ideally if the game is balanced correctly and you select an appropriate difficulty for your skill level then most fights should carry the threat of one or more party members dying if you don’t play well. Each encounter should be challenging in its own right.

I’d prefer to have 10/10 engaging fights in an area than have the first 9 be boring because you’re saving your best abilities for the boss fight, then have the boss fight be easy because you’ve saved all your top abilities for it and it’s had to be balanced for people who haven’t.

Nothing could ever be more boring than having to run back through multiple load screens to go get more camping supplies. Only resting in inns could be an option for people who want it, although anyone who really wants that could self-impose it right now.
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#20
SilverSaint

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I think the current system (of getting to use everything) is perfectly fine and I enjoy it.  My problem comes in a lack of tuning for your level and a complete lack of end game encounters.  With the current system on Vet and POTD in fights of my level I should HAVE to do more then let my pre-determined AI abilities play out (which has casters just autoing) at maximum game speed since I will simply obliterate the enemies with no thought.  From my experience your exact level encounters should feel around 1.5-2 skull level and are currently so undertuned it defeats the entire purpose of leveling scaling. 

 

That then brings me to end game encounters, of which the game has absolutely none at all.  In POE1 the various dragons were incredibly hard, even at max level beating them is no simple task, meanwhile in POE2 the dragons are literal jokes and are lower level content.  I am honestly shocked there are no optional super bosses (really its just the dampyr mage guy and hes not even 20).

 

At least to me, a player who played POE1 on normal and had trouble at parts, let alone couldn't beat the Adra Dragon, POE2 POTD feels like POE1 Normal, minus the optional hard bosses and really just all the hard parts.


Edited by SilverSaint, 17 May 2018 - 04:22 PM.

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