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Default DA:O player review that will make us smile

October 22nd, 2009, 15:20
To me level scaling is almost a must. Many people enjoy exploring the whole world and getting every item out there, I prefer sticking to the main story. Obviously, someone who's "done it all" will get to the end being much more powerful than me, so it's very difficult to present some level of challenge to both type of players. Either the ending is too easy for the completist, or impossibly hard for the minimalist.
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October 22nd, 2009, 16:12
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
To me level scaling is almost a must. Many people enjoy exploring the whole world and getting every item out there, I prefer sticking to the main story. Obviously, someone who's "done it all" will get to the end being much more powerful than me, so it's very difficult to present some level of challenge to both type of players. Either the ending is too easy for the completist, or impossibly hard for the minimalist.
What do you think difficulty settings are for?
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October 22nd, 2009, 17:53
Oh, are we on that level scaling debate again ?

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October 22nd, 2009, 18:11
Originally Posted by Tan View Post
You don't recall it because there was none in BG 1 as you correctly assumed.
There was, IIRC. If you went to some area early on there were a couple low level Gnolls. If you went there later they had magically reproduced and there were more or them, perhaps also higher level ones.

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October 23rd, 2009, 12:33
Yes there was level scaling in BG just as there was in BG2. If you played with TotSC and got to the max level saverok was higher level. BG2 every monster had level scaling built in, it was very noticeable if you did all the side quests before the main plot line.

Any large non-linear game that allows significant character progression i.e. D&D where your characters HP double from lvl 1 -> 2 almost needs it these days. Games like ultima could get away with it as apart from getting better spells your character did not actually get that much more powerful over the course of the game (an approach I prefer).

DA could possibly get away without it, but it would probably make the game more linear or far too easy, as the game is currently geared that a lot of fights really come down to the wire and your team being a couple of levels lower (relative to the enemy) would certainly be a death sentence, just like being a few levels higher would make it too easy. To change this would require a fundamental change in the games mechanics, i.e. don't give the player more +++ in certain numbers every level, instead give them a single point that they have to allocate carefully….probably wouldn't go down well with gamers these days which is a pity.

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October 23rd, 2009, 15:13
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Yes there was level scaling in BG just as there was in BG2. If you played with TotSC and got to the max level saverok was higher level. BG2 every monster had level scaling built in, it was very noticeable if you did all the side quests before the main plot line.

Any large non-linear game that allows significant character progression i.e. D&D where your characters HP double from lvl 1 -> 2 almost needs it these days. Games like ultima could get away with it as apart from getting better spells your character did not actually get that much more powerful over the course of the game (an approach I prefer).

DA could possibly get away without it, but it would probably make the game more linear or far too easy, as the game is currently geared that a lot of fights really come down to the wire and your team being a couple of levels lower (relative to the enemy) would certainly be a death sentence, just like being a few levels higher would make it too easy. To change this would require a fundamental change in the games mechanics, i.e. don't give the player more +++ in certain numbers every level, instead give them a single point that they have to allocate carefully….probably wouldn't go down well with gamers these days which is a pity.
It certainly wouldn't go well with me. To me RPGs are mainly about character (and party) advancement, planning, etc. If I'm not destroying hordes of goblins with a single spell after a while I'm not a happy camper
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October 23rd, 2009, 15:46
It would help if you listed the areas where it supposedly happens in BG1 so I could test it with a lvl 1 and lvl 7 character one day. Too bad I uninstalled BG 1. I have this program called "character creator" which lets you extract every possible creature from the data files in IE games.

Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Yes there was level scaling in BG just as there was in BG2.
No.

Anyway, how do you know that Sarevok was higher level? I mean, how did you test it?


BG2 every monster had level scaling built in, it was very noticeable if you did all the side quests before the main plot line.
That's so completely not true.


Any large non-linear game that allows significant character progression i.e. D&D where your characters HP double from lvl 1 -> 2 almost needs it these days.
No.
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October 24th, 2009, 17:45
Originally Posted by leth View Post
I won't go into specifics and details and spoilers, but I have played through Dragon Age, and it's easily BioWare's best RPG. It's also BioWare's biggest RPG.
After reading that I dreamed about it during the night and indeed it was the best crpg I had ever played. I felt bad for waking up.

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October 25th, 2009, 18:47
Just a quick update on the matter:

Originally Posted by Tan View Post

Blah.. I wonder how clear-cut was Gaider when he said: "no, all enemies don't scale". What does it mean? Cca 0,5% don't scale or cca 30% don't scale?
There was a "live chat" with bio-developers about the PS port on 23. 10. A smart fellow (wink wink) asked this question: "I'd like to know what percentage, approximately, of enemies in DA level scale? Do all of them scale?" and the answer was; Mark Darrah: "All creatures scale. Some creatures will always be tough though dragons". (You know, it wouldn't be called Dragon Age if they didn't mention dragons on every opportunity.)
The other question, on the topic of shadowless trees in DA, was of course conveniently filtered out.

So that's pretty much a confirmation that Gaider was indeed talking out of his ass, like he was talking out of his ass when he kept repeating that they're avoiding the tank-mage concept (when, in fact, there's an "Arcane Warrior" mage specialisation which is just that - a mage-tank par excellence).. etc.


Here's this "chat": http://blog.us.playstation.com/2009/…ge-2/#comments

They filtered pretty much all interesting/"difficult"/non-praising questions and we were left with "BIOWARE YOU'RE SO GREAT! THANK YOU SO MUCH!", "TELL US SOMETHING MORE ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL WORLD?". And the comments on the blog show that people were pissed off about it.
I can imagine those people whose questions were displayed were actually (otherwise useless) bio-employees like Chris Priestly or Stanley Woo under an alter ego PS-blog nick.
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October 25th, 2009, 19:56
Yes, I guess pretty much everything scales. But as I understand it, there's a limit to how much the monsters scale. Like these particular monsters will scale between levels 6-12, so those won't go over level 12 even if the player is at level 20 and so on. Also once you visit an area, the monsters will stay at the level they were if you come back later at a higher level.

There's nothing wrong with scaling if it's done right and not like it was in Oblivion for example.
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October 25th, 2009, 20:04
Originally Posted by lumiapina View Post
Yes, I guess pretty much everything scales. But as I understand it, there's a limit to how much the monsters scale. Like these particular monsters will scale between levels 6-12, so those won't go over level 12 even if the player is at level 20 and so on. Also once you visit an area, the monsters will stay at the level they were if you come back later at a higher level.

There's nothing wrong with scaling if it's done right and not like it was in Oblivion for example.
I know there's a "level range" but that's little consolation. Moreover, we don't know what's the average range. Is it 2-3 levels or 5-10+ levels? If it's the latter then it's pretty much Oblivion, in practice.

On the subject of "if you revisit an area later the monsters stay at the level they were when you visited it last time". I've read about it. That's dumb. So you can visit all possible available areas first and then have a walk in the park?
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October 26th, 2009, 10:29
If this is indeed true, it sounds like a pretty horrible way of scaling that will result in a serious detriment to the experience for those who are aware of it.
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October 26th, 2009, 13:42
The persistence bit is a nice idea, used in other games including Fallout 3.

But the problem is that you could, basically, go through the game without levelling (if that was possible) and still only encounter suitable challenges.

Then again, as long as character builds are non-linear and unpredictable, it should be possible to achieve a sensation of power earned.

However, based on the CharCreator - it seems to me the builds are relatively straightforward and linear overall, so my guess is that no matter what you choose, you'll end up with a capable character. They apparently didn't feel multiclassing was worth keeping from D&D - which tells me it's not what I'd prefer.

Essentially, it seems the only real challenge is in a tactical sense, meaning in HOW you fight. Strategic challenge, as in how you build and plan your characters will likely have much less of an impact in terms of overall capacity.
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October 26th, 2009, 13:58
Reasonably balanced level scaling is fine with me

Originally Posted by Tan View Post
That's so completely not true.
.
BG2 is a decent example of sensible level scaling that doesnt disturb the experience, and given the amount of flak this claim always draw it seems like the scaling was too subtle for many gamers to even notice it

Heck, one of the devs has admitted that there was some level scaling in BG2 on this very forum If you want to test it you can try visiting the following places* in chapter 2 and chapter 6** and notice the "slight" differences in monster fauna:

Shadow dragon dungeon
Unseeing eye dungeon (particularly the undead village part)
Firkraags dungeon
Watchers Keep (it definitely makes sense to scale a place that you can access any time from chapter 2 to late in the Throne of Bhaal expansion)

*The correct in-game location names elude me, so I use descriptive names instead.
** I assume (but havent tested) that you can get the same effect by simply editing your characters experience with shadowkeeper or some other savegame editor. I've mainly saved these locations to chapter six in order to max out experience (I'd estimate that the higher level monsters add half a million XP per character or so).
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October 26th, 2009, 15:24
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The persistence bit is a nice idea, used in other games including Fallout 3.

But the problem is that you could, basically, go through the game without levelling (if that was possible) and still only encounter suitable challenges.

Then again, as long as character builds are non-linear and unpredictable, it should be possible to achieve a sensation of power earned.

However, based on the CharCreator - it seems to me the builds are relatively straightforward and linear overall, so my guess is that no matter what you choose, you'll end up with a capable character. They apparently didn't feel multiclassing was worth keeping from D&D - which tells me it's not what I'd prefer.

Essentially, it seems the only real challenge is in a tactical sense, meaning in HOW you fight. Strategic challenge, as in how you build and plan your characters will likely have much less of an impact in terms of overall capacity.
I don't think it will be possible to "not level up" and go through the game. Since some of the monsters will be tough whether you're at a low level or not, also your level probably rises automatically when you have experience, you just get more points allocate to stats and talents.

I think there's quite a lot directions to build your characters. Not to mention the specialties, which you can have two. Also there's probably advantages to choose talents that work well with the rest of the team.

Of course we can't say for sure untill we get our hands on the actual game, but with the information we have, I wouldn't say it looks too straight forward in terms of character building.
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October 26th, 2009, 16:44
Originally Posted by lumiapina View Post
I don't think it will be possible to "not level up" and go through the game. Since some of the monsters will be tough whether you're at a low level or not, also your level probably rises automatically when you have experience, you just get more points allocate to stats and talents.

I think there's quite a lot directions to build your characters. Not to mention the specialties, which you can have two. Also there's probably advantages to choose talents that work well with the rest of the team.

Of course we can't say for sure untill we get our hands on the actual game, but with the information we have, I wouldn't say it looks too straight forward in terms of character building.
It's true that you'll level up automatically, but where a non-scaling game would reward you with monsters easier to deal with - you're going to be aware that your level is irrelevant since monsters scale to it, effectively ruining the sensation of progression. That's the point, but it's only a problem if you have it in mind - and I know that some players won't even know about it - much less be in constant awareness of it. It's about how much you care or think about the underlying mechanics - where I'm somewhat obsessive about that stuff.

I don't have a clear image of character building myself, I'm just seeing a relatively limited array of options in a linear progression path. That tells me that "mixing and matching" will be more like selecting 2-3 paths and sticking with them than it's going to be an "across the board" optimisation to your wishes.

Since they've gone with an extremely limited class selection, it's even more apparent that you're not going to have particularly multi-faceted characters, but characters with a lot more pre-defined roles. Sort of like D&D 3rd vs 4th edition.

But again, I'll have to play the game before knowing for sure.
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October 26th, 2009, 17:18
Zaleukos, I was talking about BG1 - in which I've never noticed level scaling nor do I have any evidence of it. In BG2, on the other hand, I know there are some instances where additional monsters are added, if you're at a higher level.



Regarding "persistant scaling"; guys, you don't have to *fight* the monsters and gain experience, you just have to run from area to area and bind that area level (to the lowest possible point).

It works like this: after Ostagar you get quests and open areas, some main areas are already open; Redcliffe, Orzammar, Circle Tower etc. Other areas are opened by questgivers in cities.

I've read that you CAN'T leave an area until combat is over. This means that you can't bind a *specific* encounter, which you already started a fight with, because until your party or the enemies are dead (or in perception range) you can't leave the area. Knowing that, it makes sense it binds an area, not a specific encounter you've already engaged.

Conclusion; this system seems very nonsensical.
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October 26th, 2009, 23:18
Originally Posted by Tan View Post
… snip …
I've read that you CAN'T leave an area until combat is over. This means that you can't bind a *specific* encounter, which you already started a fight with, because until your party or the enemies are dead (or in perception range) you can't leave the area. Knowing that, it makes sense it binds an area, not a specific encounter you've already engaged.

Conclusion; this system seems very nonsensical.
I don't have a problem with their definition of "persistant scaling" although I am not a fan of scaling (it pretty much killed Oblivion for me) in general. Still if you can come back later to kick some butt at least you can have that sense of "power progression".

However what worries me far more is the other part of your statement. That you can't leave an area with an encounter unless you die or they die. Kinda sucks if true. So no running from a hard fight to come back later? Once in combat it is do or die? Seems punitive and not very role-playerish.

I had not heard that before and I follow a lot of DAO. Could you provide a Dev post or some other official record of that? Just curious if it is documented or just forum conjecture.
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October 27th, 2009, 00:40
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
I don't have a problem with their definition of "persistant scaling" although I am not a fan of scaling (it pretty much killed Oblivion for me) in general. Still if you can come back later to kick some butt at least you can have that sense of "power progression".
I do see the problem, and a big problem. Basically, you can trash this whole dumb system by exploring all possible available areas first and then engage in trivial combat throughout the game.

However what worries me far more is the other part of your statement. That you can't leave an area with an encounter unless you die or they die. Kinda sucks if true. So no running from a hard fight to come back later? Once in combat it is do or die? Seems punitive and not very role-playerish.

I had not heard that before and I follow a lot of DAO. Could you provide a Dev post or some other official record of that? Just curious if it is documented or just forum conjecture.
I think it's ok that you can't leave an area willy-nilly without the monsters following you.
No, it's not conjecture.

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