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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Age of Decadence - March Update: Issues and Changes

Default Age of Decadence - March Update: Issues and Changes

March 31st, 2012, 11:53
Vince D. Weller has posted a lengthy update at the Iron Tower forums responding to criticism of The Age of Decadence public beta and introducing some changes as a result of the feedback:
We’ve finally released the demo, fully expecting it to be proclaimed the best thing that happened to mankind since Jesus took the bullet for us and died for us sins like a true bro. Instead, much to our surprise, it turned out some people loved it and wanted the full game NOW, whereas other people (we’re making a list) hated it and wanted to kill it with fire. Many other people were left unsure whether they were supposed to like it for what it is and hate it for what it isn't. Decisions, decisions…

While the game was never perfect (or even meant to be perfect), we didn’t realize just how imperfect it was. So, instead of moving on, we have to go back unto the breach once more. Thus, I dedicate this update to issues and changes.
To address the combat difficulty, an extra five skill points are available during chargen and you can hit up the shop to change from the default equipment before you get into the first combat. They've also re-tooled the To Hit calculation:
Defense is king at the moment, which is what makes the difficulty so brutal, and, coincidentally, makes CON a dump stat. You either get hit a lot and 10-20 extra hit points won't make a difference, or get hit rarely and don't need extra HP. So…

  • We changed the THC formula. Now the focus is on offensive and balanced builds.
  • CON affects the chance of stat damage.
  • Increased STR and decreased PER bonuses, as PER was a bit too useful and STR a bit useless. Best builds until now were high DEX, high PER, although some people did well with high STR and crafting.
  • Different STR bonuses for different weapons: two-handers get more, daggers get less.
  • THC bonus from lighter weapons reduced.
  • Defense penalty for heavy armor - each subsequent attack IN A SINGLE TURN is harder to block than the one before. We're trying to tie it to your STR and CON now.
  • Tweaked crafting. Lowered the damage techniques, improved masterwork for armors to help dodgers, and added hardened technique for leather armors
  • INT will now determine a number of tagged skills - 1 tagged skill at INT5, 2 at 6, etc. Tagged skills will receive X bonus points for every 10 earned.
On exploration:
This too is a tough one. In most RPGs exploration means walking around and looking for chests to pillage or look for a cat in need of rescuing. I wouldn't call that exploring, but maybe that's just me.

However, it wouldn't hurt to add a few things to do in Teron. So, we're adding two "breaking and entering" opportunities for thieves and we're adding some combat unrelated to quests. It won't be forced on you, but if you like the combat system and playing a fighter, you can now "explore" the town and look for trouble.
…and this is getting long, so head over to read about "meta-gaming" and "not enough options".
More information.
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March 31st, 2012, 11:53
Its great to see them taking many of the suggestions to heart. I didn't try the demo since it sounded like it may still be a bit frustrating at this point. If they release an updated demo at a later date, with (most of) the proposed fixes, I'll definitely give that a go.
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March 31st, 2012, 14:51
Good they are addressing some stuff. Nothing about the camera?

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March 31st, 2012, 17:14
I first thought the demo was unappealing only playing one character type, after trying a few non combat classes Loremaster, Merchant & Preator and then switching to Thief I noticed how complex the story line is.
Different classes play the storyline differently with different quests and outcomes.
Also the fact that this is not a standard Fantasy RPG and the amount of diversity to character development is a big plus.
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March 31st, 2012, 18:28
I hope they don't make it too easy. I liked that I could die fairly easily. I liked that entering combat was a real risk. My only complaint was the apparent inability to make a viable hybrid. If I wanted to make a "talker" character, it seemed I had to focus on these skills to an extent that left me helpless in combat.
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March 31st, 2012, 20:13
The no magic aspect kinda ruins it since most fantasy games are based on the fact that you the player are gifted.In AOD you are a mortal man with nothing over the next man.But if you look back in history there actually were men with gifts in their art.One that springs to mind of a person that the people thought was blessed by god is the Spanish hero El Cid."The lord-master of military arts"…as he was known in Spains reconquest from the moors.So Vince,if your reading this,a man can be gifted.
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March 31st, 2012, 21:16
Well maybe no magic but being mentioned the mysterious place called Abyss where you can collect items at the price of your life, I assume those artefacts will contain in them some kind of magical power, also the ring was mentioned that can give the user magical power, maybe magic is obtained and used from artefacts, interesting game but what I don't like so far is the loading time.
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April 1st, 2012, 16:46
Originally Posted by wolfen View Post
The no magic aspect kinda ruins it since most fantasy games are based on the fact that you the player are gifted. In AOD you are a mortal man with nothing over the next man.
I, for one, definitely appreciate this. Itīs very refreshing and it goes with the gameīs post apoc survival aspect well.
Originally Posted by wolfen View Post
a man can be gifted.
You still have power word: reload .
Originally Posted by Igor View Post
Well maybe no magic but being mentioned the mysterious place called Abyss where you can collect items at the price of your life, I assume those artefacts will contain in them some kind of magical power, also the ring was mentioned that can give the user magical power, maybe magic is obtained and used from artefacts, interesting game but what I don't like so far is the loading time.
Iīm pretty sure all thatīs mentioned as magical in-game is mentioned as such only because in-game characters take it as such (or itīs just a plain lie as in the case of the ring, iirc), while in fact itīs all just forgotten technology the characters donīt understand.


Anyway, over the weekend Iīve finished the demo with three non-combat chars (loremaster, grifter, thief) and a combat-heavy assassin and I think the game has a lot of potential.
Itīs nice to see some of the more common concerns being addressed this fast, seems like pretty much all of my major quibbles made it in some form on the list.

I like the artwork + music, to-the-point writing, setting, general difficulty level and crapload of C&C.
Iīve found combat and character systems to be quite problematic in practice, but conceptually I think theyīre both great. I really like the granular reputation in particular. It seems that the update is already set up to deliver a lot of needed polish/rebalancing and Iīm looking forward to trying it.

In general, I think the most difficult issue to address is the gameplay for non-combat characters.
Combat characters get to tinker with equipment and employ variety of tactics in combat (positioning, weapon choice, prioritizing targets, nets, etc.) and these aspects alone allow for some creative play. Moreover, they still get to engage in text adventures and can sometimes succeed in skill challenges (via primary attributes, combat skills like critical strike or block, or reputation values like body count or word of honour). Weapon skill synergies allow for concentrating on one defensive and one offensive skill without relegating the other weapon skills to uselessness and that in turn later allows for increasing few chosen non-combat skills too (crafting seems like an obvious first choice to branch out into).
Failed skill challenges often result in combat and while some of the scenarios were fairly difficult, none presented a dead end for my assassin.

On the other hand, for non-combat characters text adventures are pretty much all there is for them to engage in. Since these lack the granularity of combat/equipment and all available solutions are presented right away, there isnīt much space for playerīs creativity this side of metagaming.
For combat characters, not having a lot of points in daggers isnīt an issue if they have a lot of points in spears, but non-combat characters can be sometimes royally screwed if they, say, have a lot of points in persuasion, but not in streetwise (hopefully, making joint checks based on sum of required skills and including more "intermediate" results will solve this particular problem, personally I think allowing for non-combat skill synergies á la weapon synergies also wouldnīt be out of place).
Still, without dramatic increase in dialogue choices, even with all those non-combat skills the gameplay might end up feeling a bit too passive. Oblivionīs persuasion system was terrible, but I think with its amount of non-combat skills AoD might actually benefit of some more sensible iteration of such minigame (basically combat using dialogue skills), but implementing something like that probably isnīt viable by now and creatively it would be likely a risky endeavour anyway.
Another solution/improvement would be allowing for more usage of skills directly in the gameworld and the update seems to be adding some of this, which is good.

To sum the above up, my impression is that, as of now, the combat heavy characters provide richer and more diverse experience than the non-combat ones.
Thankfully, the upcoming changes seem to be on the right track to at least partially alleviate this.


As for the update itself, all changes seem to be for the better to me, except for removing the tags, but thatīs hard to judge without actually playing the game.
I doubt dialogue can always convey what skills are in use sufficiently (like charisma vs. persuasion, etc.) and Iīm not sure if potential lack of feedback will contribute positively to what is probably the biggest issue with the text adventures currently (pushing players to "retroactive" roleplaying, aka hoard skill points, do a quest "recon", reload, profit!!).
Maybe it will mesh well with the other changes.

All in all, already a must buy for me. Itīs a unique and fresh take on the genre and developers certainly werenīt exaggerating when using replayability as one of gameīs major selling points, since the demo was really a C&C-fest .
Last edited by DeepO; April 1st, 2012 at 17:17.
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April 1st, 2012, 18:13
Deepo,in medieval times there was a thing called a kings champion.This was a man who was champion with a number of fights under his belt.They used a term….he killed 15 men in one on one combat.These men probably killed thousands of men thruout their life yet what mattered is how many fights won in man to man combat.The reason is that a battlefield is different,where you have men watching your back etc.This is where you cant have a normal man running around a world and taking on 4 men at a time.The Great El Cid was killed by an arrow on the battlefield,just saying.

If you wanna see his story its free on Youtube.Long movie done old school style and starring Charleton Heston and the lovely Sophia Loren.Search for El Cid part one….
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April 3rd, 2012, 02:46
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
I, for one, definitely appreciate this. Itīs very refreshing and it goes with the gameīs post apoc survival aspect well.

You still have power word: reload .

Iīm pretty sure all thatīs mentioned as magical in-game is mentioned as such only because in-game characters take it as such (or itīs just a plain lie as in the case of the ring, iirc), while in fact itīs all just forgotten technology the characters donīt understand.


Anyway, over the weekend Iīve finished the demo with three non-combat chars (loremaster, grifter, thief) and a combat-heavy assassin and I think the game has a lot of potential.
Itīs nice to see some of the more common concerns being addressed this fast, seems like pretty much all of my major quibbles made it in some form on the list.

I like the artwork + music, to-the-point writing, setting, general difficulty level and crapload of C&C.
Iīve found combat and character systems to be quite problematic in practice, but conceptually I think theyīre both great. I really like the granular reputation in particular. It seems that the update is already set up to deliver a lot of needed polish/rebalancing and Iīm looking forward to trying it.

In general, I think the most difficult issue to address is the gameplay for non-combat characters.
Combat characters get to tinker with equipment and employ variety of tactics in combat (positioning, weapon choice, prioritizing targets, nets, etc.) and these aspects alone allow for some creative play. Moreover, they still get to engage in text adventures and can sometimes succeed in skill challenges (via primary attributes, combat skills like critical strike or block, or reputation values like body count or word of honour). Weapon skill synergies allow for concentrating on one defensive and one offensive skill without relegating the other weapon skills to uselessness and that in turn later allows for increasing few chosen non-combat skills too (crafting seems like an obvious first choice to branch out into).
Failed skill challenges often result in combat and while some of the scenarios were fairly difficult, none presented a dead end for my assassin.

On the other hand, for non-combat characters text adventures are pretty much all there is for them to engage in. Since these lack the granularity of combat/equipment and all available solutions are presented right away, there isnīt much space for playerīs creativity this side of metagaming.
For combat characters, not having a lot of points in daggers isnīt an issue if they have a lot of points in spears, but non-combat characters can be sometimes royally screwed if they, say, have a lot of points in persuasion, but not in streetwise (hopefully, making joint checks based on sum of required skills and including more "intermediate" results will solve this particular problem, personally I think allowing for non-combat skill synergies á la weapon synergies also wouldnīt be out of place).
Still, without dramatic increase in dialogue choices, even with all those non-combat skills the gameplay might end up feeling a bit too passive. Oblivionīs persuasion system was terrible, but I think with its amount of non-combat skills AoD might actually benefit of some more sensible iteration of such minigame (basically combat using dialogue skills), but implementing something like that probably isnīt viable by now and creatively it would be likely a risky endeavour anyway.
Another solution/improvement would be allowing for more usage of skills directly in the gameworld and the update seems to be adding some of this, which is good.

To sum the above up, my impression is that, as of now, the combat heavy characters provide richer and more diverse experience than the non-combat ones.
Thankfully, the upcoming changes seem to be on the right track to at least partially alleviate this.


As for the update itself, all changes seem to be for the better to me, except for removing the tags, but thatīs hard to judge without actually playing the game.
I doubt dialogue can always convey what skills are in use sufficiently (like charisma vs. persuasion, etc.) and Iīm not sure if potential lack of feedback will contribute positively to what is probably the biggest issue with the text adventures currently (pushing players to "retroactive" roleplaying, aka hoard skill points, do a quest "recon", reload, profit!!).
Maybe it will mesh well with the other changes.

All in all, already a must buy for me. Itīs a unique and fresh take on the genre and developers certainly werenīt exaggerating when using replayability as one of gameīs major selling points, since the demo was really a C&C-fest .
I agree to a point. Just as in life, people who don't avoid fights and who focus on things like being able to kick teeth in real good probably have a few more interesting stories than the captain of the debate team or the first chair in the band. What would you rather listen to a grandfather tell a story about: killing Nazis or the pleasant discussion he had where he persuaded a farmer to sell him apples at a really great price? This is probably why there isn’t a popular super-hero called The Super Conversationalist.

There really isn't a good way around it besides making a mini-game for figuring out lore and for conversations. Also, it seems there was some things only talkers could do, such as (spolier ahead) becoming the chosen one.

But I think it would be nice if there was a way to get skill points from some of the random stuff with a talker. Spoilers ahead: like the girl being chased. That is three dead bodies so three points right there. Also, the merchant ambush thing. If you kill the two, and then the three after, that’s five skill points. I had far, far more money as a fighter than as a talker. Also, because of combat and saving and reloading, it takes me a lot longer to get through the demo as a fighter. But I also have to min-max and get all the SP I can (as a fighter) so I fight the raiders, make sure I get the KBs, etc.

Also, critical strikes from dialogue that kill don't seem to get SPs. So it is more SPs to not critical strike from dialogue. That seems kind of wrong to me.

This game is far more up my alley than anything else I played in a long time. This is RoA taken to the next level—taken down the road RPGs should have went down in the 90s instead of the Diablo or BG fucking moron route. I'd rather have a party but we can't have everything I guess. And I also dislike the camera too.
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