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Default Bard's Tale IV - Spotlight #2 - Combat

August 24th, 2018, 02:05
Eh? I think Arcanum did it best, overall.

You could make your classic half-Ogre fighter..or turn him into a mage/thief, more flawed, unique build with huge variety of background flavor, but good enough to get the job done.

One or two stats for each archetype that characterized your "role", but rest you could set however you want, good balance of intuitive, open and defining. And maxing stats was rewarding: each unlocked powerful benefits.

BG and POE kind of both go into extremes of how they use stats ( with char building).

NWN was bit better than both, but improved a lot when they added Prestige classes.
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August 24th, 2018, 02:06
Dungeoncrawlers are far from pen and paper experiences though. Some minmaxing will always be involved there.

Edit: And I think that's also always true to some degree in games where you play a party. You naturally try to make them as efficient in their roles as possible.
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August 24th, 2018, 02:23
Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
Eh? I think Arcanum did it best, overall.

You could make your classic half-Ogre fighter..or turn him into a mage/thief, more flawed, unique build with huge variety of background flavor, but good enough to get the job done.
You're right about the core system, but I've always felt a little frustrated by Arcanum's character progression and its level cap. I find the allowed skill points just a little too scarce.

Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
BG and POE kind of both go into extremes of how they use stats ( with char building).
I guess that's the balanced conclusion
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August 24th, 2018, 08:38
Still not sure what to think of this one. So far, it's all pretty so-so as far as I can tell. Snack-ish level treat more than anything, which isn't terrible.
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August 24th, 2018, 10:10
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Dungeoncrawlers are far from pen and paper experiences though. Some minmaxing will always be involved there.

Edit: And I think that's also always true to some degree in games where you play a party. You naturally try to make them as efficient in their roles as possible.
This is true. Dungeons and Dragons and particularly the newer Dungeons and Dragons, made it possible for a charismatic monk to have his charisma be useful for diplomacy, or for a rogue to want a high wisdom to use sense motive or perception. The importance of non combat interactions tend to be close to nothing in a dungeon crawler, and even in a full fledged CRPG like Baldur's Gate still minimal compared to an actual table top situation.

Especially these old D&D inspired RPGs though were extremely limiting regarding spells as you basically chose one spell per tier due to the "memory mechanic", essentially leaving your mage with 5 spells or so in combat, as you just chose the best fitting spell of each tier.
That is true to some aspect. Bard's Tale had a spell point system, and while you had less spells you always had a choice of what to cast if the spell points allowed it. A 13th level conjurer had something like 20 spells to choose from, even though some low level ones became useless, so maybe you had a range of 10 useful spells.

I just played through Icewind Dale 2 again and my 7th level mage had about 8 spells memorized, so an average of 2 per spell level. This progression makes playing a mage increasingly complex. I would almost certainly have had around 14 spells memorized at level 13.

So while it true that you only actually have access to a small portion of your arsenal, the actual amount of options increases as you progress.
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August 24th, 2018, 10:29
Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
That is infinitely more fun to me than a game like D&D where there's only false choices, and once you understand how to make the best builds, character creation becomes trivial.
False choices? Nah. That would actually be a better way to describe systems that are ultra balanced.

The imbalance of D&D was one of the things that made it great for a lot of people. Sure, a dual-classed Berserker/Mage is way stronger than a Thief, but that's the beauty of it. Most players were aware of it, and you didn't always choose a class just because it was stronger.
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August 24th, 2018, 12:17
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
False choices? Nah. That would actually be a better way to describe systems that are ultra balanced.
A system with balanced choices can't have false choices. That's stupid.
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August 24th, 2018, 12:21
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
The imbalance of D&D was one of the things that made it great for a lot of people. Sure, a dual-classed Berserker/Mage is way stronger than a Thief, but that's the beauty of it. Most players were aware of it, and you didn't always choose a class just because it was stronger.
That's what makes it such crap.

And we're not just talking about classes here, but attribute distribution. In D&D, there's a right and wrong way to distribute your attributes for each class. If you don't min/max, then you're playing wrong. That's an awful way to go about designing roleplaying games.
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August 24th, 2018, 12:43
Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
A system with balanced choices can't have false choices. That's stupid.
I don't think you understand what I'm saying. If a system is overly balanced, the choices can actually matter less.

Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
That's what makes it such crap.

And we're not just talking about classes here, but attribute distribution. In D&D, there's a right and wrong way to distribute your attributes for each class. If you don't min/max, then you're playing wrong. That's an awful way to go about designing roleplaying games.
Yeah, millions of RPG fans enjoy D&D because it's crap.

There's a right and wrong way to distribute attributes for most RPGs not just D&D. The fact that some games don't require it doesn't diminish the ones that do. As far as which are better, it's simply a matter of individual preference.
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August 24th, 2018, 14:59
The worst system is one where everything is "perfectly" balanced, I would agree with JDR that pretty much makes the choice of attributes boring and superfluous, because no matter what you choose your character will perform equally.

A heavily unbalanced system like 2ed DnD is on the other end of the spectrum but with the same consequence. There's an obvious perfect choice and that's the one you'll make. If I had to choose between this and a perfectly balanced system I would still choose this one.

I agree with Silver Coin that PoE2 has a good system however, because the attributes actually DO matter, both in and out of combat. It's harder to make completely messed up builds, but you still have the option of dumping certain attributes and raising others to make a character better at performing certain roles, and it does make a huge difference over the course of the game even if it doesn't feel that way at first. Some builds are seriously powerful. As it should be, for me the number crunching of character building is a huge part of the fun.
Last edited by TomRon; August 24th, 2018 at 15:25.
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August 24th, 2018, 15:31
I am on the boat that too balanced sucks as things won't matter as much. Everything becomes the same. Its dull and boring when all things are perfectly equal. I like things to have some unbalance.

The idea that one can only play a game by min/max is foolish. Some people like to play that way while others don't care about always being the most perfect and absolute best (as in powerful) character.
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August 24th, 2018, 16:21
People who use POE as an example of a "perfectly balanced system" obviously haven't played it enough or just didn't bother to. It does matter for example if your mage has a higher hit chance, higher damage bonus, or higher area effect radius, and you can build a weak damage controller mage, or a high damage low area mage, those aren't choices without an impact on the game. Also creating a tank character with a low resolve or a damage dealer with low damage and accuracy bonuses are simply bad choices. That doesn't mean its as cut and dry as 2nd edition D&D, where a fighter has no use for charisma in any CRPG (though a tabletop DM could punish him for having a "3"). I personally like that you can build an effective fighter a couple of different ways in POE, but I know that's a matter of taste.
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August 24th, 2018, 16:54
Originally Posted by forgottenlor View Post
People who use POE as an example of a "perfectly balanced system" obviously haven't played it enough or just didn't bother to. It does matter for example if your mage has a higher hit chance, higher damage bonus, or higher area effect radius, and you can build a weak damage controller mage, or a high damage low area mage, those aren't choices without an impact on the game. Also creating a tank character with a low resolve or a damage dealer with low damage and accuracy bonuses are simply bad choices. That doesn't mean its as cut and dry as 2nd edition D&D, where a fighter has no use for charisma in any CRPG (though a tabletop DM could punish him for having a "3"). I personally like that you can build an effective fighter a couple of different ways in POE, but I know that's a matter of taste.
Exactly! Well put.
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August 24th, 2018, 17:53
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I don't think you understand what I'm saying. If a system is overly balanced, the choices can actually matter less.
They matter even more, but in a different way.

The decision no longer becomes which choice is most efficient, but rather which choices seems more fun or suited to your playstyle. That's good RPG design.
Last edited by Copper Coin; August 24th, 2018 at 18:13.
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August 24th, 2018, 18:10
I am on the boat that too balanced sucks as things won't matter as much. Everything becomes the same. Its dull and boring when all things are perfectly equal. I like things to have some unbalance.
You think the fun in RPGs is powergaming and finding the most efficient builds. That's why you don't like balanced systems.

I don't think that's what makes a good roleplaying game. What makes a good roleplaying game is players finding the most fun and interesting builds, which works best when the systems are balanced and you are not punished for not powergaming.

Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
The idea that one can only play a game by min/max is foolish. Some people like to play that way while others don't care about always being the most perfect and absolute best (as in powerful) character.
No, but in crappy games like D&D you're at a disadvantage if you don't min/max. Not only are you at a disadvantage, but there's no fun incentives to do so either.
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August 24th, 2018, 19:15
Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
You think the fun in RPGs is powergaming and finding the most efficient builds. That's why you don't like balanced systems.

I don't think that's what makes a good roleplaying game. What makes a good roleplaying game is players finding the most fun and interesting builds, which works best when the systems are balanced and you are not punished for not powergaming.

No, but in crappy games like D&D you're at a disadvantage if you don't min/max. Not only are you at a disadvantage, but there's no fun incentives to do so either.
EDIT: Re-wrote to be more on point.

For the record A) Don't tell me why I don't like balanced systems. I know far better than you why I don't like overly balanced games (balanced games that are not overly or too strictly balanced are okay - its when they become so balanced every character is a shade of gray that I really dislike it) and B) Don't assume you know what my play style is when you clearly don't.

If you knew me at all, which you have no reason to, you would know how utterly inaccurate you assumption is. I can't think of any style of game playing less fun, to me personally, then min/max cookie cutter powergaming a character. Out of all the ways to play a game that style is so low on my list I wouldn't even play a game if I was forced to do that.

As long as a game has a difficulty slider then there is far less risk involved with gimping one's self. Which is why I love difficulty sliders as it allows me to play a character the way I want to without having to min/max or powergame. Then for those who want to be the best of the best playing on ultra-hardcore modes they can do that as well.

I was also both a DM and a player, at various times, in highschool and college, playing AD&D and there is no reason to min/max the system unless you have a pretty crappy DM who forces you to. A good DM will adjust the game to allow for good role playing.

You need some balance clearly but when it gets too overdone I find it makes the characters in some games, but not all, too similar and gray. Like games that let you be anything you want at any time and do all things. Pointless to me.

For the record POE1 and POE2 are two of my favorite games and have played them both through a few times.
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Last edited by wolfgrimdark; August 24th, 2018 at 19:37.
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August 24th, 2018, 20:58
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August 24th, 2018, 21:57
As a person that never played original BT games I don't care how BT4 compares to old games but how it plays now.
And what I have seen so far looks fun and fine.
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August 24th, 2018, 23:05
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post
You need some balance clearly but when it gets too overdone I find it makes the characters in some games, but not all, too similar and gray.
You're conceding that a game can be heavily balanced and still allow a large variety of different playstyles and characters? So what's your argument exactly?


For the record POE1 and POE2 are two of my favorite games and have played them both through a few times.
I haven't even been talking about PoE. In general, the assumption that choices in an RPG can be too balanced is idiotic and holds no weight whatsoever.
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August 24th, 2018, 23:16
It's simple. RPGs are all about choices. A good RPG should offer you multiple choices that are fun and balanced. There's absolutely no such thing as choices being too balanced, and there's nothing positive about an RPG that gives you superior choices and inferior choices
Last edited by Copper Coin; August 25th, 2018 at 00:08.
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