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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature: Dragon Age - Witch Hunt Impressions

Default RPGWatch Feature: Dragon Age - Witch Hunt Impressions

September 19th, 2010, 07:52
Good write up, Dhruin.

I am personally not a big fan of dlc, so I won't be trying it. However, maybe it was the choices?

I decided there is no way in hell, I would trust her with that kind of power, did anyone try this who chose NOT to (the thing) with Morgan in the original? I would really like to hear (in spoiler if necessary) how the outcome differs.

Thanks.

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September 19th, 2010, 08:23
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
dozens of completely unique and EFFECTIVE melee characters. Then we have archery and stealth, which is a complete bore in DA as well.
At higher levels you are likely to have all abilities. At lower levels, the melee builds created fairly different characters. DA:O is one of few modern RPG's who include all the mechanics we would expect from a game like this;

Weapon Specialization; 2-Handed, 2 Weapons, Weapon and Shield
Tactics; Damagedealer, Defender, Backstabber, Buffer, Debuffer, Threat Management, Criticals, Faster Attacks, Aimed Attacks, Assassin-style targeting
Weapon Modification; Using runes to boost your technique, Poisons

DA:O doesn't have exotic weapon specialization but that's the only missing piece from NWN, even if I cannot say exotic weapons are that important.

Thievery also have all the usual abilities with none missing. Stealth, Backstabbing, Pickpocketing, Picking Locks…

That said, I would like to challenge you to come up with an Archery system with as many different forms of special attacks and modes as DA:O. I tried to think hard on this, I simply can't come up with any.

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September 19th, 2010, 09:32
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
At higher levels you are likely to have all abilities. At lower levels, the melee builds created fairly different characters. DA:O is one of few modern RPG's who include all the mechanics we would expect from a game like this;
Fairly different? I must have been playing a different game.

The point is that at the end of the game, you're not supposed to have exhausted everything - and that's ESSENTIAL.

Weapon Specialization; 2-Handed, 2 Weapons, Weapon and Shield
Tactics; Damagedealer, Defender, Backstabber, Buffer, Debuffer, Threat Management, Criticals, Faster Attacks, Aimed Attacks, Assassin-style targeting
Weapon Modification; Using runes to boost your technique, Poisons
You're listing a lot of things, and that's great. Unfortunately, that's not at all my issue. It's not so much the amount of things - though D&D 3.5 utterly dwarfs DA - it's that you can't mix and match, ending up with different characters.

That said, I would like to challenge you to come up with an Archery system with as many different forms of special attacks and modes as DA:O. I tried to think hard on this, I simply can't come up with any.
Ok, maybe I was a little wrong to say that archery is boring. It's not, really, it's just that it suffers from the same issues as all other kinds of combat in the game. There's just not enough variety to have more than essentially a single archer build towards the end.

Stealth is boring, because you don't get to utilise it much to your advantage. Lockpicking is nearly worthless, because all chests have boring and crappy loot. You get a small monetary advantage, but that's it.

I'm just not seeing the "stealthy" guy. I'm seeing a guy doing damage from behind, and that's it.

I had this discussion several times already, and there's a really lengthy one around here somewhere - where I go into detail about my issues.

Maybe it's because you played a mage, and couldn't care less about melee characters? Maybe you just don't have much experience with complex and diverse CRPG systems - or you don't care about it?

If you really believe DA:O offers similar character diversity to D&D 3.5 - then we'll just have to agree to disagree.
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September 19th, 2010, 10:01
The Dragon Age class system does not hold a candle to D&D, not even close.
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September 19th, 2010, 11:51
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
The Dragon Age class system does not hold a candle to D&D, not even close.
The D&D class system does not hold a candle to Ultima I, not even close.

See? We can all make statements. Supporting them makes them valid.

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September 19th, 2010, 12:46
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
The D&D class system does not hold a candle to Ultima I, not even close.

See? We can all make statements. Supporting them makes them valid.
Support has no direct correlation with validity. There's nothing preventing you from being in denial and ignoring what's been said. Not exactly a new thing with fans of games.

As someone I know around here would say: you're being apologetic about Dragon Age, because you enjoyed the experience and you were likely moved by the story.

That's great, but if you can't be objective about the class system - what does that say about your validity as a critic?

Just kidding, by the way. I have to accept you think the class system offers the same kind of diversity as D&D 3.5. I can't fathom how anyone could believe that, but you're not the first. I don't recall the name, but another poster here flat out denied the standout points I and several others were making in that exhaustive thread I mentioned. How do I deal with that?

As I said, Dragon Age is a strong game. Definitely one of the strongest CRPGs in many years. If flaws are overlooked because of that, I can deal with it
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September 19th, 2010, 12:48
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The point is that at the end of the game, you're not supposed to have exhausted everything - and that's ESSENTIAL.
This is true in general, and I withdraw what I said in what you quoted.

Truth to be told, after 150 hours I still had sacrificed a major amount of specializations. I skipped almost all Primal spells, skipping all the iconic damage spells like lightning, fire and frost. I also skipped Spirit (pointless IMO) and Entropy (I wanted them but couldn't afford them). I took Spirit Healer, Battlemage and Keeper because they fit my build. Especially Arcane Warrior and Shapeshifter is a completely different playstyle.

Granted, I played a mage, but when it came to Rogue or Warrior, the Specializations made all the difference.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Ok, maybe I was a little wrong to say that archery is boring. It's not, really, it's just that it suffers from the same issues as all other kinds of combat in the game. There's just not enough variety to have more than essentially a single archer build towards the end.
Which still do not change the point. Archery is a problem in all fantasygames. You can usually not do much more than "shoot". DA:O broke away from that by having both modes and specialized attacks. We tried to use Modern d20 and Star Wars d20 but dropped them. The problem with both was that they used the 3.5 system for ranged combat, which were never designed for ranged combat in the first place. Star Wars SAGA Edition is done with firearms in mind, which makes a very different game. Ranged fighters will almost always be slapped on mechanics in fantasy games.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Stealth is boring, because you don't get to utilise it much to your advantage. Lockpicking is nearly worthless, because all chests have boring and crappy loot. You get a small monetary advantage, but that's it.
Stealth was a problem even in Baldur's Gate. Stealth simply doesn't work well in partybased rpg's. In D&D the Rogue is often a forced utility character. When designing a game or campaign it's almost like you have to include stuff that allow the Rogue to shine. Once you done this, you are forced to have a Rogue since it's forced upon you by locking up legendary items in containers that cannot be forced and by placing traps all over the place.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's not so much the amount of things - though D&D 3.5 utterly dwarfs DA - it's that you can't mix and match, ending up with different characters.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Maybe it's because you played a mage, and couldn't care less about melee characters? Maybe you just don't have much experience with complex and diverse CRPG systems - or you don't care about it?
I have played PnP and CRPG's since the middle eighties. I even GM'd a D&D campaign in 3.5.

Melee in DA:O was different based on specializations. A Berserker clearly made a different character than a Champion. The only D&D build missing from DA:O that comes to mind was the Monk.

There's a logical fallacy that believes that more classes means more diversity, where the opposite is true. The only advantage of a class-based system compared to a skill-based system is to enforce group diversity, but you rarely want more than handful of classes to accomplish that. Instead you want mechanics that allow you to change as much as possible within the class.

In 3.5 some classes were excellent. Fighters, Rogues and Mages clearly had diversifying your character in mind. There was a phletoria of different archetypes that could be made within those classes. Fighters thanks to the great amount of feats you got. Rogues were no longer thieves, they could be everything from assassins, to spies, to thieves, to agents etc. Mages had a lot of different spellschools and metamagic feats.

A Paladin is a Paladin, a Monk is a Monk and a Barbarian is a Barbarian. Unlike the three mentioned above, these classes were extremely tied to a certain build. Rangers were funny since they were more about "are you a 2 handed fighter or an archerer?" than being a ranger. Talent trees slapped on a fighter or rogue could easily replaced these classes.

That said, feel free to explain exactly what in the D&D 3.5 mechanics that you feel is missing.

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September 19th, 2010, 12:53
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
As someone I know around here would say: you're being apologetic about Dragon Age, because you enjoyed the experience and you were likely moved by the story.
It's more that most RPG's between 2005-2010 are retarded in complexity.

When speaking about DA:O I could speak about "my build" and if I do I am forced to use multiple sentences on why I specialized my character in a certain direction.

When speaking about Mass Effect, Gothic, Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc there's really not much to speak about.

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September 19th, 2010, 13:27
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
It's more that most RPG's between 2005-2010 are retarded in complexity.

When speaking about DA:O I could speak about "my build" and if I do I am forced to use multiple sentences on why I specialized my character in a certain direction.

When speaking about Mass Effect, Gothic, Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc there's really not much to speak about.
Well, I'm not one to claim that modern CRPGs are satisfying in complexity. But you need only look towards something like Neverwinter Nights 2 or Drakensang, to find vastly superior character systems.

Dragon Age was great in several areas, but unfortunately I don't think the character system lives up to the BG legacy. Far from it….
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September 19th, 2010, 13:46
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Well, I'm not one to claim that modern CRPGs are satisfying in complexity. But you need only look towards something like Neverwinter Nights 2 or Drakensang, to find vastly superior character systems.
Drakensang? Consider me a skeptic.

When it comes to NWN2 it's built on one of the most advanced PnP games ever made. We will probably never see that kind of game in digital form again, neither will we see a new cRPG with that sort of complexity unless it's based on another popular PnP system (I wish Vampire would get a proper game based on it). That said, I cannot agree that melee in D&D 3.5 was that advanced. What D&D 3.5 have is an extremely advanced spellcasting system.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Dragon Age was great in several areas, but unfortunately I don't think the character system lives up to the BG legacy. Far from it….
Including vanilla Baldur's Gate 1? Again, spellcasting was complex, but you have very little options in specialization in melee.

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September 19th, 2010, 13:48
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Granted, I played a mage, but when it came to Rogue or Warrior, the Specializations made all the difference.
I tried out all specializations, and though they did add a little spice - they were clearly not gamechanging in any way. I certainly didn't think so.

There must be a reason I have no desire to experiment with new characters, and I promise you - I'm not one to cheat myself out of a good time.

So, either I was blind - or there really weren't too many ways to diversify rogue/fighter.

Stealth was a problem even in Baldur's Gate. Stealth simply doesn't work well in partybased rpg's. In D&D the Rogue is often a forced utility character. When designing a game or campaign it's almost like you have to include stuff that allow the Rogue to shine. Once you done this, you are forced to have a Rogue since it's forced upon you by locking up legendary items in containers that cannot be forced and by placing traps all over the place.
Nah, BG didn't have good stealth, I'll grant you that. I'm more into Neverwinter Nights, and I always played it multiplayer. Stealth was decent, but not exactly miraculous - but it did the job, and there were several uses for it.

I don't think the Rogue is a forced utility character at all. It used to be, back in the 2nd Edition days - but 3+ edition changed all that around. I love playing a rogue, and they can be extremely powerful as well. They also happen to be one of the most popular classes in D&D Online - where stealth is implemented fantastically well.

I have played PnP and CRPG's since the middle eighties. I even GM'd a D&D campaign in 3.5.
Yeah, I know of several people who've played tons of PnP without ever thinking about rules from the mindset of a designer.

Melee in DA:O was different based on specializations. A Berserker clearly made a different character than a Champion. The only D&D build missing from DA:O that comes to mind was the Monk.
If that's what you call diversity - then I guess I see where we differ. A few extra skills on top of exactly the same skillset doesn't make the character feel different. Also, since you could have 2 specialisations - it didn't take long before you'd seen what there is to see with a full party. Not what I'm talking about here.

There's a logical fallacy that believes that more classes means more diversity, where the opposite is true. The only advantage of a class-based system compared to a skill-based system is to enforce group diversity, but you rarely want more than handful of classes to accomplish that. Instead you want mechanics that allow you to change as much as possible within the class.
I'm not sure why you mention logical fallacies - as I've never claimed that more classes means more diversity.

It's not the amount of classes in D&D, it's the customizability - especially in terms of multiclassing and feats. You can make pretty much whatever you want - and end up with countless characters that play COMPLETELY differently.

Nothing at all like that in DA - where you can't even multiclass. Pretty pathetic, when you think about it.

In 3.5 some classes were excellent. Fighters, Rogues and Mages clearly had diversifying your character in mind. There was a phletoria of different archetypes that could be made within those classes. Fighters thanks to the great amount of feats you got. Rogues were no longer thieves, they could be everything from assassins, to spies, to thieves, to agents etc. Mages had a lot of different spellschools and metamagic feats.
You seem to be forgetting that classes don't have to stand alone. A fighter is just one class within a character. Most of my effective melee characters mixed several classes and prestige classes. That's what diversity is.

A Paladin is a Paladin, a Monk is a Monk and a Barbarian is a Barbarian. Unlike the three mentioned above, these classes were extremely tied to a certain build. Rangers were funny since they were more about "are you a 2 handed fighter or an archerer?" than being a ranger. Talent trees slapped on a fighter or rogue could easily replaced these classes.
This is where you show your ignorance. You obviously have no idea how many effective variants of those classes exist. You should take a look at some D&D forums, and check out how people make min/max builds. All classes feature in dozens of power builds.

Again, Dragon Age has NOTHING to compare with it.

You think a few "specializations" make up for the lack of multiclassing, the pathetic 3 classes, the lack of a feat system - and things of that nature? Believe me, it's nowhere near that.

That said, feel free to explain exactly what in the D&D 3.5 mechanics that you feel is missing.
There's no single mechanic - it's the ability to customize and effectively invent your own class/character that's missing.

You seem to be oblivious to what diversity really means.
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September 19th, 2010, 13:54
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Drakensang? Consider me a skeptic.

When it comes to NWN2 it's built on one of the most advanced PnP games ever made. We will probably never see that kind of game in digital form again, neither will we see a new cRPG with that sort of complexity unless it's based on another popular PnP system (I wish Vampire would get a proper game based on it). That said, I cannot agree that melee in D&D 3.5 was that advanced. What D&D 3.5 have is an extremely advanced spellcasting system.
What does it matter if we'll never see that again?

That's the problem isn't it. That's exactly why I'm bitching about Dragon Age, and why I don't understand someone like you, who would seem to appreciate old school mechanics, is so forgiving of the mainstream approach.

The melee system is a LOT more advanced than Dragon Age. The easiest way to appreciate this, is to play Temple of Elemental Evil - where they implemented most, not all, but most of the options available in melee - and that's OUTSIDE the character system.



Including vanilla Baldur's Gate 1? Again, spellcasting was complex, but you have very little options in specialization in melee.
Including BG1 - yeah. I can go back and replay that over and over, because of the multiclassing and dual classing. It's just a way more interesting character system, even in that primitive form.

Besides, I actually think the combat system was better. Not so "fancy" looking, but a lot more interesting than the endless samey grinds of Dragon Age.

Pretty much 80% of ALL the battles in Dragon Age was about taking out 2-3 main guys at a distance (or close in fast) - and then clear the rest. It was fun for ~50% of the game, and then it became a chore.

I rushed through the entire final act on hard - simply because I couldn't stand that endless cycle of repetitions. At least Baldur's Gate had interesting setups and for its age, the battles were very challenging and diverse.
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September 19th, 2010, 14:29
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
They also happen to be one of the most popular classes in D&D Online - where stealth is implemented fantastically well.
D&D Online allows for solo gameplay. As I said, stealth is usually not that interesting a party based games.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yeah, I know of several people who've played tons of PnP without ever thinking about rules from the mindset of a designer.
Like you obviously, which is why you weren't even able to explain yourself. You do not seem to be aware of the primary criticism from PnP players that lead to D&D 3.5 and later 4.0. Compared to other systems at the time, D&D offered boxed in classes and lack of customization, despite the feats system (issues explained below). The talent system in Modern d20 which was later implemented in 4.0 was meant to adress this problem.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
If that's what you call diversity - then I guess I see where we differ.
I call diversity diversity. The more optional stuff that overlap eachother, the more diversity you have.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's not the amount of classes in D&D, it's the customizability - especially in terms of multiclassing and feats. You can make pretty much whatever you want - and end up with countless characters that play COMPLETELY differently.
Feats was a 3.0 addition meant to fix the lack of customization in AD&D where the only way to change a class was by having different ability scores and picking other equipment. Feats only shines with Fighters and Wizards, as mentioned, since they get bonus feats instead of class abilities. The others were limited to just a few feats, too few to make a character feel different from another character within the same class. In 3.0 Rangers were locked to 2 handed fighting and archery. In 3.5 you could pick. It wasn't until the talent systems in 4.0 you got any real customization that matches other popular systems like WoD or BRP.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Nothing at all like that in DA - where you can't even multiclass. Pretty pathetic, when you think about it.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You seem to be forgetting that classes don't have to stand alone. A fighter is just one class within a character. Most of my effective melee characters mixed several classes and prestige classes. That's what diversity is.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
This is where you show your ignorance. You obviously have no idea how many effective variants of those classes exist. You should take a look at some D&D forums, and check out how people make min/max builds. All classes feature in dozens of power builds.
Multiclassing is unique to D&D, but it is made neccessary due to a flaw with the system. Paladin and Barbarian are uneccessary classes as they could have been fighter talents.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You think a few "specializations" make up for the lack of multiclassing, the pathetic 3 classes, the lack of a feat system - and things of that nature? Believe me, it's nowhere near that.
Multiclassing is a flaw in the system.
Less is more when it comes to classes.
The feat system was only fully utilized by fighters and wizards in 3.5.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
There's no single mechanic - it's the ability to customize and effectively invent your own class/character that's missing.
Yes, the talent trees was missing in 3.5. It was fixed in 4.0.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You seem to be oblivious to what diversity really means.
25 specializations per class in the first edition of a new computer game is pretty nice.

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September 19th, 2010, 14:51
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That's the problem isn't it. That's exactly why I'm bitching about Dragon Age, and why I don't understand someone like you, who would seem to appreciate old school mechanics, is so forgiving of the mainstream approach.
I might be too oldschool for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. I have a history with skillbased systems so I am naturally biased against class systems. I can appreciate that they made a computer game based on that system but I know the flaws in it.

I am naturally biased to a game like Fallout 2 that use a skill system.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The melee system is a LOT more advanced than Dragon Age. The easiest way to appreciate this, is to play Temple of Elemental Evil - where they implemented most, not all, but most of the options available in melee - and that's OUTSIDE the character system.
For melee you either focused on hitting hard, hit often, on defense, or to make criticals (usually mixed with hitting often). This was supported by your class, your abilities, your feats and your choice of equipment. I take NWN2 over ToEE thanks to the level 10 cap.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Including BG1 - yeah. I can go back and replay that over and over, because of the multiclassing and dual classing. It's just a way more interesting character system, even in that primitive form.
MC and DC are the result of a flaw in the D&D system and classes in general.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Pretty much 80% of ALL the battles in Dragon Age was about taking out 2-3 main guys at a distance (or close in fast) - and then clear the rest. It was fun for ~50% of the game, and then it became a chore.
I generally do not play melee fighters because they are boring. All battles regardless of system seem to be "I run up to it and hit it". The most advanced melee system I know of is the Swedish 7th edition of Dragons & Demons, where you get a pool every turn that you divide into attacks, defense, special attacks and abilities but I understand that those slower in math have problems with handeling it (in our gaming group one guy compute his round in 5 sec where another seem to barely handle a single round without asking for help despite having whole tables precalculated for him). That game barely have "classes", you design your own archetype and on top of the skill system you have a talent system.

In BG1/BG2/NWN1/NWN2 I played a cleric and in DA:O I played a cleric-like mage. Playing a buffer/debuffer means tactical choices almost every second. Where friends are, were foes are, what friends use as equipment, what foes use as equipment, difference in classes, amount of health/stamina left etc

I got the "killed 250 opponents without dealing damage" achievement early on.

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September 19th, 2010, 14:56
Like you obviously, which is why you weren't even able to explain yourself. You do not seem to be aware of the primary criticism from PnP players that lead to D&D 3.5 and later 4.0. Compared to other systems at the time, D&D offered boxed in classes and lack of customization, despite the feats system (issues explained below). The talent system in Modern d20 which was later implemented in 4.0 was meant to adress this problem.
4E is a streamlined simplification of the system, to make it more accessible and introduce the same boring and moronic notions so popular in MMOs, with strict and rigid class roles.

3.5 is full of customisation.

I call diversity diversity. The more optional stuff that overlap eachother, the more diversity you have.
Yes, even the slightest bit of diversity is what you call diversity. That's not my approach, as I tend to use words so they have a meaning. You could call chess diverse, because there are two colors I suppose. Great.

Feats was a 3.0 addition meant to fix the lack of customization in AD&D where the only way to change a class was by having different ability scores and picking other equipment. Feats only shines with Fighters and Wizards, as mentioned, since they get bonus feats instead of class abilities. The others were limited to just a few feats, too few to make a character feel different from another character within the same class. In 3.0 Rangers were locked to 2 handed fighting and archery. In 3.5 you could pick. It wasn't until the talent systems in 4.0 you got any real customization that matches other popular systems like WoD or BRP.
No, the feat system shines for all classes - as it's the system itself.

4.0 and real customization? Have you been drinking?

Multiclassing is unique to D&D, but it is made neccessary due to a flaw with the system. Paladin and Barbarian are uneccessary classes as they could have been fighter talents.
Yeah, I guess the real solution is to remove multiclassing and boil it down to 3 classes with almost no diversity, as per Dragon Age?

Maybe for DA2 they'll have just 2 classes - because a Rogue could have been a Warrior

Ehm, no.

Multiclassing is a flaw in the system.
Less is more when it comes to classes.
The feat system was only fully utilized by fighters and wizards in 3.5.
Interesting claims, but you're not backing it up with anything.

What is it with you and focusing until the point of blindness? Yeah, fighters and wizards got more feats - but the other classes each get at least 7 - and feats can be pretty decisive. Besides - and this is the key point:

Each class can be a multiclass.

You could argue that there should never have been classes in the first place, and just a larger set of feats. But I really enjoy the idea of a core class with some innate powers and features - it adds flavor. Yeah, that goes for the Paladin, Barbarian, and Ranger too. Those classes each contribute greatly in several builds.

Not a lot of classes are too interesting standing alone, but that's the point - they shouldn't be.

That's what makes D&D 3.5 so rich in flavor, and Dragon Age so poor. 4E suffered from similar streamlining mistakes where you have much fewer interesting choices and the moronic concept of "aggro" and "tanks"… Something that should never have been invented for a decent CRPG.

Yes, the talent trees was missing in 3.5. It was fixed in 4.0.
4.0 is fixing what wasn't broken in the first place. A significant step down.

25 specializations per class in the first edition of a new computer game is pretty nice.
Ehm, what?

There are 4 specialisatons pr. class and they make only a limited impact on playstyle, except in a few rare cases - like the Blood Mage or the Arcane Warrior.

Do you have other imaginary "facts"?

Nah, I'm out.

I have zero interest in a "yes" - "no" endless cyclical debate.

You think Dragon Age has as much diversity as D&D 3.5 - and I think you should remember that for future reference and talk about it with your friends. Eventually, it will become clear - because it's SO far removed from reality that I really don't need to argue my case - which would only fall on deaf ears, obviously
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September 19th, 2010, 14:57
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Thievery also have all the usual abilities with none missing. Stealth, Backstabbing, Pickpocketing, Picking Locks…
Wait a second … This set of skills is imho definitively (A)D&D-inspired.

I could imagine a "thieving tradition" whoch doesn't include backstabbing - because thieves just don't kill people. They just take away.

For a *successful* thief, backstabbing wouldn't be needed. "Real" thieving is imho rather about remaining in the shadows.

I only write this because I'm not used to backstabbing with the TDE thieves. It's just not a "typical skill" for them.

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September 19th, 2010, 16:13
JemyM, as in a previous post of yours, you called classes like the Barbarian and Paladin very limited. From my experiences in both tabletop and video games however, this is not the case. Especially claiming that the Paladin and Barbarian are limited to one build strikes me as ridiculous.

Even if you limit yourself to the 3.5 Player Handbook I and Dungeon Master Handbook I, you still have a few ways to go about with those classes. But if you include books like "Complete Divine" or "Complete Champion", the possibilities feat wise alone for the pure Paladin will offer as many if not more different play styles than possible to the fighter. Claiming that they should simply be talent trees for rogues or fighters also strikes me as an odd thing to say since you would down right ignore several fundamental class mechanics of 3.5 by doing so.

I also heartily disagree with your claim that rogues are pushed into a utility role, they do not really sacrifice anything for obtaining that utility while getting large combat bonuses in the form of sneak attacks and survivability. If one would insist that they are being pushed somewhere, than it is to do worse in combat with mostly undead creatures.

Placing melee combat under the simple therm of larger hits, crits or more hits feels like completely ignoring tactics like flanking, sneak attacks, flat footed and many more. But more importantly, you seem to blatantly ignore the interaction of magical effects and melee. In Dragon Age it is limited to adding 5 or 10 damage to your weapons, but in Dungeons and Dragons you have spells like magical weapon, bless weapon, holy avenger, ect… which have an enormous impact.

Lastly, I detest skill based systems. Especially in an environment with multiple participants. Reason for this is that because everyone has the same options, there is no true diversity. Classes however, allow you to automatically put restrictions in place.

While I am not a big fan of WoW, I have to admit that it is an interesting game to analyze various gaming mechanics. While it works with classes at the moment, up until now the various skill choises that are useable in the game are nearly all available to any class. Anyone can basically pick their role with various similar abilities, very similar to a skill-based system. Class choice at the moment, really does not limit you (apart from single skilled classes like Rogues, which have become very unpopular).

What is the result of this? Many are getting the same lackluster feeling concerning diversity that I get with skill-based systems. Same with Divinity 2, what was I at the end? I felt a bit of everything. In Morrowind or Oblivion I restricted myself. Otherwise the same would happen, I would feel as if my character had no identity. Diversity is in my opinion only obtained through limitations and not by options.

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Last edited by Davion; September 19th, 2010 at 17:55.
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September 19th, 2010, 17:58
Originally Posted by Davion View Post
Even if you limit yourself to the 3.5 Player Handbook I and Dungeon Master Handbook I, you still have a few ways to go about with those classes. But if you include books like "Complete Divine" or "Complete Champion", the possibilities feat wise alone for the pure Paladin will offer as many if not more different play styles than possible to the fighter.
You are entering a discussion whether or not you are able to diversify in DA:O.
NWN2 was mentioned as comparison. NWN2 do not have Complete X stuff.

Originally Posted by Davion View Post
Claiming that they should simply be talent trees for rogues or fighters also strikes me as an odd thing to say since you would down right ignore several fundamental class mechanics of 3.5 by doing so.
My point being that Paladin or Barbarian could have been a modification to Fighter rather than a class of it's own. If you look at their basic class structure they have pretty much the same HP, BaB, Proficiencies etc. What makes them different is the class abilities. The basic design of class abilities is that you get a new ability after taking X levels out of class X. What that means is that classes aren't more than rigid forms of talent trees. The addition of those lead to less diversity than what would be possible had they been talent trees that used the same base class. You can look at how Star Wars SAGA Edition works as a reference. It only have 5 classes, but each class have around 5 interchangable talent trees within them.

In DA:O there are only 3 classes, but each class have 25 talents, or skills or spelltrees or whatever you would like to call them. It is possible to build a paladin, a barbarian, a cleric, a ranger or a bard etc even if those aren't official classes.

That doesn't mean DA:O have as much in it as D&D 3.5, but it is an example of lack of classes doesn't necessary mean lack of diversity. As a new system in a new RPG, it is difficult to name many systems that have the same amount of diversity.

Originally Posted by Davion View Post
Placing melee combat under the simple therm of larger hits, crits or more hits feels like completely ignoring tactics like flanking, sneak attacks, flat footed and many more.
Sneak attack = backstabbing. Flat footed and flanking are combat tactics not character specializations.

Originally Posted by Davion View Post
But more importantly, you seem to blatantly ignore the interaction of magical effects and melee. In Dragon Age it is limited to adding 5 or 10 damage to your weapons, but in Dungeons and Dragons you have spells like magical weapon, bless weapon, holy avenger, ect… which have an enormous impact.
Not really no. I already mentioned that the equipment system and magic system in D&D 3.5 as good.

Originally Posted by Davion View Post
Lastly, I detest skill based systems. Especially in an environment with multiple participants. Reason for this is that because everyone has the same options, there is no true diversity. Classes however, allow you to automatically put restrictions in place.
I also detest pure skill based systems such as BRP. I prefer systems that have a few classes but then multiple options within those.

To quote myself; "The only advantage of a class-based system compared to a skill-based system is to enforce group diversity, but you rarely want more than handful of classes to accomplish that. Instead you want mechanics that allow you to change as much as possible within the class."

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Last edited by JemyM; September 19th, 2010 at 18:10.
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September 19th, 2010, 18:12
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Wait a second … This set of skills is imho definitively (A)D&D-inspired.

I could imagine a "thieving tradition" whoch doesn't include backstabbing - because thieves just don't kill people. They just take away.

For a *successful* thief, backstabbing wouldn't be needed. "Real" thieving is imho rather about remaining in the shadows.

I only write this because I'm not used to backstabbing with the TDE thieves. It's just not a "typical skill" for them.
Most games go back to D&D. Including DOOM (hitpoint mechanic).

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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September 19th, 2010, 21:56
Yes, I know. But it kind of angers me to see all games of this world being taken as having a single system as its foundation … It's like the Out Of Africa theory to me.

I'm a bit touchy, I think, because saying "it comes from that game" is also a neat portal for those who are ready to use the "unoriginality" reason to smack up games they don't like, just in general … It's easy to say "na, game X has had it MILLENNIA before …"

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