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September 9th, 2010, 15:10
Jeff has penned a new Avadon blog, explaining some of the system changes. Avadon will be class-based, change up the healing, reduce the need to return to town so often and relax the difficulty - unless you actually choose "hard". On the change to a class system:
And yet, Avadon will throw all that out the window. Avadon: The Black Fortress will have four character classes, each with entirely different pools of abilities. The classes are Blademaster, Shadowwalker, Shaman, and Sorceress, and each plays very differently.

Your party will have up to three characters. One will be your main character. The other two will be selected from characters in the game, each with their personalities and issues and each of which is one of the four classes.

Three party members. Four classes. Thus, you will always have to do without at least one of the classes. Also, sometimes the characters will be off doing their own business, so you will have to play someone else. Because of this, you will need to shift your tactics occasionally.
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September 9th, 2010, 15:10
Your party will have up to three characters. One will be your main character. The other two will be selected from characters in the game, each with their personalities and issues and each of which is one of the four classes.

Three party members. Four classes. Thus, you will always have to do without at least one of the classes.
I dont get it..

You DONT have to do without at least one class. There are 4 classes and four characters (you + 3) so.
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September 9th, 2010, 15:14
no 2 + you… you didn't read it carefully enough.

I think 4 classes are too little though…..
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September 9th, 2010, 15:23
I long for the day when computer RPGs will abandon classes altogether.
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September 9th, 2010, 15:37
I think this sounds great. I got tired of the last Avernum because of too much trekking around. It's an RPG I liked to play in a window while I was busy with other stuff. And having to travel back to town, etc. all the time made it hard to keep track of what was going on and starts to feel like a timesink.
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September 9th, 2010, 16:19
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
no 2 + you… you didn't read it carefully enough.

I think 4 classes are too little though…..
Ah, i do see my error now. You are right.
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September 9th, 2010, 17:16
Reading that blog entry actually makes me less interested in the game. I do understand that Jeff wants to change things around a bit, but the way health (hit points), spell/ability use, and healing are handled does sound dangerously close to how WoW and Dragon Age do it, which (IMHO) is not good. You know, all that fast-recharging HPs after the battle, spells and abilities that are metered by cooldowns, etc.

And what's this "walking back to town" stuff? Isn't there an obvious, dare I say time-honored, way of enabling resting in the wilderness without returning to town. What was it, hmm, oh now I remember: CAMPING. It isn't exactly a new innovation in cRPGs. Sheesh.

Methinks, it is a sad day when cRPG indies start taking their inspiration from Teh New Shit (tm). Oh well, I'll go sulk in the corner now.

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September 9th, 2010, 20:51
And what's this "walking back to town" stuff? Isn't there an obvious, dare I say time-honored, way of enabling resting in the wilderness without returning to town. What was it, hmm, oh now I remember: CAMPING. It isn't exactly a new innovation in cRPGs. Sheesh.
I agree so camping will be a major part in Tactica: Maiden of Faith so I hope you'll like that. IMHO that's much better than running back to town or super fast health generation + your team can do skills like reparing, forging, looking for ingredients, mixing potions, and so on while camping.
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September 9th, 2010, 23:18
Originally Posted by Lurking Grue View Post
Reading that blog entry actually makes me less interested in the game. I do understand that Jeff wants to change things around a bit, but the way health (hit points), spell/ability use, and healing are handled does sound dangerously close to how WoW and Dragon Age do it, which (IMHO) is not good. You know, all that fast-recharging HPs after the battle, spells and abilities that are metered by cooldowns, etc.
Why? I'm finishing up Avernum 6 at the moment and there are some isolated areas that require reasonably lengthy stretches away from town. That either means you simply take a million potions and quaff them every few minutes or you trek back and forth to recover. Neither of these is actually more interesting than getting on with experiencing more content.

Why is it inherently worse to focus on each battle as an individual tactical event rather than one long stretch of attrition. Why is camping inherently better gameplay than simply not needing to?

Note that fatigue builds up, so unlike Dragon Age, there's a consequence for losing battles.

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September 10th, 2010, 05:16
Hmm, sounds like one of the good indy dev's is moving more mainstream….less interest from me.

Still curious to see how it turns out though
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September 11th, 2010, 12:40
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I agree so camping will be a major part in Tactica: Maiden of Faith so I hope you'll like that. IMHO that's much better than running back to town or super fast health generation + your team can do skills like reparing, forging, looking for ingredients, mixing potions, and so on while camping.
That sounds really good! I like games with foraging, potion-mixing, repairing, etc. Looking forward to playing Tactica when you got it finished. Godspeed!

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Why? I'm finishing up Avernum 6 at the moment and there are some isolated areas that require reasonably lengthy stretches away from town. That either means you simply take a million potions and quaff them every few minutes or you trek back and forth to recover. Neither of these is actually more interesting than getting on with experiencing more content.
Not having played Avernum 6, I can't directly comment that, but I'll comment the game design aspect of "requiring lengthy stretches away from town, millions of potions and trekking back and forth to recover". If a game designer makes those lengthy stretches and does not allow you to rest and recover in the wilderness, then I'd say he/she intended you to juggle "a million potions" (making it part of the game's challenge) and at times slog back to town. In other words, the designer considered those activities an integral part of his/her game. Either that or he/she made a serious design error. I'm not accusing Jeff of an error, but I'm questioning designing a game where you cannot rest anywhere else but in towns AND then requiring long stretches in the wilderness WITH frequent combat. That design inherently forces you to make the long trek back to town eventually or, as luck would have it, even frequently. That is, unless you enable camping.

Note that I don't consider supply runs to towns that much of a bore, as long as they are not required frequently and/or made especially cumbersome (like very long distances between towns and constantly respawning mosnters in the way). Same goes for "potion juggling" - as long as it doesn't go overboard, requiring you to lug gallons of potions with you, I'm OK with it. I quess it's Old School, but I consider (some) potion juggling to be a part of fantasy cRPGs.

Anyways, now that Jeff is moving away from resting in towns and from wounds (HP loss) being meaningful after the battle, I think he's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's simplifying the system to the extreme and taking gameplay elements I liked away and replacing them with streamlined and very "MMO-like" elements. And to do that to make us "have more fun" is a lopsided comment leaving those of us who liked the Older School approach more in the cold.

But it's Jeff's game not mine, so he's entitled to do with as he pleases. It just doesn't seem to be a game after my tastes anymore. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

About "experiencing more content". I don't think that this revisioning of the game system is required for that, when either designing the content differently (e.g. shortening the lengthy stretches away from town) or allowing camping could have done it as well, IMO.
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Why is it inherently worse to focus on each battle as an individual tactical event rather than one long stretch of attrition. Why is camping inherently better gameplay than simply not needing to? Note that fatigue builds up, so unlike Dragon Age, there's a consequence for losing battles.
But is this focussing more on the individual tactical event in a meaningful way? Surely, in games with attrition (as you call it), you need to focus on each individual battle too. You cannot just fight "the big picture", you need to focus on individual battles or lose the battle (thus losing the game). But in addition to this, you need to keep in mind the life after the battle and not just ignore that aspect completly. It creates continuity to the game, as you cannot just rampage around and take damage, fling spells and deplete your mana, etc. like there's no tomorrow, because you have to live with the aftermath of the individual battles. IMO, the focus on individual battles without any (or nearly any) long-term effects is very, eh, gamey. Yes, I know it is very common these days, especially in FPS games (e.g. no HPs or health-meter, just a temporarily "wounded state" which is cured by taking cover and not taking additional damage for a few seconds), but does it have to be? Is it inherently better gameplay, or to use the feared F-word, more fun, to streamline everything to the point of over-simplicity and drop anything that requires you to pay attention and perhaps think ahead a bit. I'm exaggerating here, I know, I'm just struggling to get my point across, because English isn't my first language, and so resort to over-emphasis as I lack the verbal finesse of a more subtle apporach. Hope you understood what I meant.

Yup. Just my two cents.

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September 11th, 2010, 14:05
Originally Posted by Lurking Grue View Post
Not having played Avernum 6 […]
You say Avadon is moving away from your preferences but you haven't played Avernum 6, with the "old school" approach? I know that sounds argumentative but perhaps Spiderweb didn't have your money either way?

In other words, the designer considered those activities an integral part of his/her game. Either that or he/she made a serious design error. I'm not accusing Jeff of an error, but I'm questioning designing a game where you cannot rest anywhere else but in towns AND then requiring long stretches in the wilderness WITH frequent combat. That design inherently forces you to make the long trek back to town eventually or, as luck would have it, even frequently. That is, unless you enable camping.
Yes, absolutely. But the camping simply cancels out everything else, which makes it busy-work. The current design works fine - I love Avernum 6 - but if I'm happy to see Jeff questioning the old design and don't actually see an argument here for why the old system is superior.

I quess it's Old School, but I consider (some) potion juggling to be a part of fantasy cRPGs.
Sure. But why not step back and say "why?". Is it really better?

Anyways, now that Jeff is moving away from resting in towns and from wounds (HP loss) being meaningful after the battle […]
Ah, now we get to it. I'll respond below.

But in addition to this, you need to keep in mind the life after the battle and not just ignore that aspect completly. It creates continuity to the game, as you cannot just rampage around and take damage, fling spells and deplete your mana, etc. like there's no tomorrow, because you have to live with the aftermath of the individual battles. IMO, the focus on individual battles without any (or nearly any) long-term effects is very, eh, gamey.
This is where we differ. You say that HP loss is "meaningful" with traditional systems — I say it's not. Every player (and virtually every game supports this), simply loads up on potions and cancels the effects of every battle immediately. Or you camp, which likewise cancels the effects. The only consequence is spending some money on potions and, honestly, in how many RPGs are you not overpoweringly rich by the end? Very, very, very few.

You're also ignoring the fact that Jeff is simply using a different method to create tension. According to Jeff…

"However, as you use more demanding spells and abilities, your fatigue will slowly increase, and when it gets too high you can't use those abilities."

Why isn't fatigue from your actions just as meaningful as HP loss (which you can simply negate by camping or quaffing a potion)?

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September 11th, 2010, 15:33
I think BG2 did that quite well: spells and abilities did not regenerate and sleeping outside had risks of encounters.
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September 12th, 2010, 20:43
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
You say Avadon is moving away from your preferences but you haven't played Avernum 6, with the "old school" approach? I know that sounds argumentative but perhaps Spiderweb didn't have your money either way?
Not sure what you mean by "Spiderweb not having my money either way", but I was genuinely interested in Avadon when Jeff announced it. I've only got (got as in bought, not as in pirated) Avernum 1-3 and I really liked them. It's been awhile since I played them, so the memories are a bit hazy, but I did like 'em (that much I at least remember). I downloaded the demos of Avernum 4 and 5 when they were released, but neither of them seemed to grab me then, can't remember why out of hand, but as I've got so many games on my playing list at all times, I simply moved on and didn't purchase the full versions of them. As to Avernum 6, I guess I kind of gave up on Avernum after trying those demos, some might say I thought "one Avernum more of the same", but I'd like to say it was just that I had my plate full already, gamewise. So, maybe I'm not Jeff's core audience then. But even if I'm only part of the fringe audience, I can still voice my disappointed at the direction Jeff's taken with Avadon (this is a cRPG discussion forum after all), as it seems to embrace the sleeker, more streamlined, perhaps even more casual side of cRPGs. Have to wait and see what it turns out to be.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
But the camping simply cancels out everything else, which makes it busy-work. The current design works fine - I love Avernum 6 - but if I'm happy to see Jeff questioning the old design and don't actually see an argument here for why the old system is superior.
I don't agree that camping is just busy-work, but we have agree to disagree here, I guess. So many things get labelled busy-work or time-sinks in cRPGs nowdays that it makes one wonder, how streamlined and simplified do people want cRPGs to be? How busy have we become, if even recreational games need to be fast, time-efficient and offer gratification every 5 minutes or something? If it is too much trouble to e.g. press a button to camp once in awhile in game to, I dunno, pretend (roleplay) that your virtual party of adventurers are resting and recuperating, instead of just making the game shortcut that and just slap on a superfast recharging HP, then I fear where the increasing streamlining of gameplay will take the cRPGs (it ain't exaclty looking sunny).

To mangle PnP RPG terminology, I prefer "simulationist" gameplay (this is how it could happen) over "gamist" gameplay (it's only a game). To me it isn't the same, if a game, for instance, just considers you to automatically bandage all wounds and quaff a few potions to bring your HP up, by giving superfast autohealing; versus you having to decide when to do that and how to do that, "juggling" your healing resources and assessing whether you need to stop to recuperate or push on, and even better having some beneficial or detrimental effects to healing depending on party-members first aid skills. To me, simulating the action rather than streamlining it will aid my immersion and enjoyment of the game. Unless of course it's taken to extremes.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
This is where we differ. You say that HP loss is "meaningful" with traditional systems — I say it's not. Every player (and virtually every game supports this), simply loads up on potions and cancels the effects of every battle immediately. Or you camp, which likewise cancels the effects. The only consequence is spending some money on potions and, honestly, in how many RPGs are you not overpoweringly rich by the end? Very, very, very few.

You're also ignoring the fact that Jeff is simply using a different method to create tension. {snip} Why isn't fatigue from your actions just as meaningful as HP loss (which you can simply negate by camping or quaffing a potion)?
Well, by end-game maybe, but there's still the early and mid-game where things might not be so out of whack. At least they shouldn't be. And I still maintain, that HP loss can be meaningful with traditional systems. If the game doesn't sprinkle healing potions everywhere and give obscene amounts of loot with every encounter, the HP loss can be very meaningful. Sure, many games fail at this, but should we just accept this and simplify it to nonexistence in favor of this mystical extra content, which might just be yet another battle? I don't think so.

The fatigue as a consequence of battles in Avandon sounds good and I have no qualms about that. And yes, it can be just as meaningful as HP loss.

Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
I think BG2 did that quite well: spells and abilities did not regenerate and sleeping outside had risks of encounters.
Indeed.

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