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February 19th, 2021, 11:12
I reckon complexity has probably gone up but with paper manuals no longer a thing and having near unlimited storage space to include the required information in game accessibility has gone up a massive amount which makes things appear less complex.

As for BG3, I'm still waiting for enhanced definitive directors cut ultimate complete edition.
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February 19th, 2021, 11:44
There are many ways of defining the complexity of a game.

One could be the total number of paths one can take and the number of resulting outcomes. The complexity (possible different paths and outcomes) can be studied using a field of science which is called network theory. In this regard, the game complexity has certainly increased over time. Some games, such as the original Baldur's Gates, have been very good at giving an illusion of complexity.

Then there is the complexity from the mechanic point of view (such as skills, stats, spells, etc), which some may to think here. For D&D that could also be classified as a mess or controlled chaos. There are so many skills and spells that some of them are bound to overlap.

What I like in Larian games is the strategic complexity on higher difficulties. It's as if one played illustrated chess. There are always multiple ways to solve the battles. Sometimes it may take several trials. The D&D "controlled chaos" of skills and spells may not fit that scheme. Or then it does as pointed out by @gabrielarantest using Solasta as an example.
Last edited by largh; February 19th, 2021 at 12:10.
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February 19th, 2021, 12:28
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
That doesn't clarify anything…

BG3 has a very complex structure, everything from character creation to interdependent quests, systems and character interaction.

If that's all you can say then I'd have to wager you're looking at old games with rose tinted glasses.

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It's not that hard to understand what I meant unless you're being intentionally obtuse here.

I wasn't talking about Baldur's Gate 3, I'm talking about gaming in general. With some exceptions, most mainstream games are less complex and include a lot more hand-holding than games from the aforementioned era. It's easy to see particularly in RPGs and first-person shooters.
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February 19th, 2021, 12:33
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
It's not that hard to understand what I meant unless you're being intentionally obtuse here.

I wasn't talking about Baldur's Gate 3, I'm talking about gaming in general. With some exceptions, most mainstream games are less complex and include a lot more hand-holding than games from the aforementioned era. It's easy to see particularly in RPGs and first-person shooters.
Except, it's not that simple and I'm not being obtuse.
It seems it's not just me who isn't understanding you as largh even had to post about different types of complexities and SirJames simply said games are more complex now.

So I ask again, what things are less complex now that you think are good and fun for gaming ?

In a thread for BG3 you mention it's not BG3. Odd, but fine.
Which RPGs are you referring to then that are less complex ? Pathfinder Kingmaker ? The Witcher 3 ?

I can't talk for FPS games as I almost never played any of them.
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February 19th, 2021, 12:44
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
When you say simpler era there, do you mean in terms of rulesets or the games themselves? If it's the latter, I have to disagree. The only thing that was simpler about that era was the visuals. Game complexity has been in a near constant decline since then.
Sorry, I was a bit vague - I meant rule set complexity. Old AD&D seems vastly simpler than something like D&D 3/3.5 or PF. 5E is a simplification compared to these later systems and seems like a very good fit for a computer-based turn-based game because of that. It should be easier to balance, because a lot of complexity has been removed e.g. most buffs concentration (1 only), scaled back AC/attacks etc. Thing is, Larian doesn't seem to care about balance - and I don't buy the 'it's not fun' argument. Granted, you can cheese any game, but most D&D RPG's I've played (I didn't play cRPGs before BG1, so started this much later than most here I think) at least make an attempt to stick to the rules which were balanced and play-tested and the cheese is people finding loopholes in their implementation (or because of engine limitations). With BG3, those loopholes/cheese seem deliberately engineered in - and that bothers me a lot. Looking at Sven's gameplay video, he made full use of these (and still died - but if the expectation is that you use these in encounters, and they are designed around that… I find that a problem (for me at least). I didn't even try eating food in combat (or throwing potions to heal people) - it seemed such a ludicrous idea. And some of these things really seem lifted from DOS. I also pretty much played it like table-top 5E (like I played solasta), and I found that I was struggling a bit more than I expected. Then, when I started using the overpowered items, abilities, bonus actions, TB-on-for auto backstab, vision cones that render people completely blind and deaf (?) etc, it became a lot simpler. And this wasn't because of existing 5E stuff - every one of those things were home-brewed Larian additions. The vision cones are really overpowered - you shouldn't have pixel accurate knowledge of what they can see, and simply walking behind someone should not confer advantage on your attack (esp if you deny them a reaction, which is what happens). And creatures like a bullete have tremorsense and high passive perception so they don't need to see you and you can't walk up behind them without them knowing (Unless you sneak very very well, but actually sneak, not walking with armour . The more I saw the more irritated and frustrated I became.

Anyway, this is just my 2c. I know many people love doing all the crazy stuff - well they will have a great time that's for sure. I just hope that the story/quests remain interesting.
Last edited by booboo; February 19th, 2021 at 12:45. Reason: spelling
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February 19th, 2021, 12:56
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I can't talk for FPS games as I almost never played any of them.
I played Wolfenstein, Doom, and Duke Nukem. Those certainly weren't complex games in any measure. Played Division 2 as a modern comparison. That is by far more complex than the old ones. I agree with the statement that someone is "looking at old games with rose tinted glasses" or then just confusing user-friendliness with complexity. In Ultima 5, the most complex thing was to remember all those words one could say to NPCs. I still remember "JOIN" On the other hand, the requirement of writing everything down on a piece of paper could perhaps be considered "complexity". Nowadays everything can be found from the journal and most games even have huge pointers on top of NPCs (or on the minimap), so that is perhaps a valid argument for decreasing complexity.
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February 19th, 2021, 12:56
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
In a thread for BG3 you mention it's not BG3. Odd, but fine..
Why is that odd? Again, I have to ask, are you being intentionally obtuse here? Because it sure seems like it. What does the thread topic have to do with what I said?

Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
Which RPGs are you referring to then that are less complex ? Pathfinder Kingmaker ? The Witcher 3 ?.
No, Kingmaker would not be one. In fact, that would be one of the exceptions that I mentioned.

Most mainstream RPGs are though. TES is a great example because you can see how it's become more streamlined with each game starting with Morrowind. The Outer Worlds is an even better example when you compare it to Obsidian's older titles. Or compare Fallout 1 & 2 to Fallout 3 & 4.

Another good example from a different genre would be XCOM. It's not even debatable that the newer games are less complex than the originals.

For a lot of games, all about being more accessible and appealing to more people which is an unfortunate necessity with today's development budgets.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:06
Originally Posted by largh View Post
I played Wolfenstein, Doom, and Duke Nukem. Those certainly weren't complex games in any measure. Played Division 2 as a modern comparison. That is by far more complex than the old ones. I agree with the statement that someone is "looking at old games with rose tinted glasses" or then just confusing user-friendliness with complexity. In Ultima 5, the most complex thing was to remember all those words one could say to NPCs. I still remember "JOIN"
The Division 2 is a hybrid looter shooter with RPG elements. If you're going to compare that to pure shooters, then yeah, that's going to be more complex. If you stay strictly within that genre though, games are, for the most part, a lot more streamline than they used to be.

Look at the more popular FPS series like Call of Duty and Halo. Compared to Doom, Duke Nukem, Blood, and other similar games, they're simpler. They're more focused on a cinematic experience, and the level design is far more linear. You don't need rose-tinted glasses to see that.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:22
I'll chime in and agree with JDR on the complexity topic, at least when we're talking RPG's. Grand Strategy has gone the other direction which has made my gaming habits shift more towards those titles.

Regarding the OT, Druid has always been my favourite class on paper, but in the old days were they could only be true neutral RP'ing them was too hard for me. When I can go neutral good it works better, but I still usually end up playing a Chaotic Good Rogue or Mage anyway…

Also on topic, what's the general opinion on the Watch and other "Old-school" sites reagrding BG3? I've been avoiding reading too much about it since I don't want spoilers, but it would be good to know where I should put my expectations.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:24
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Why is that odd? Again, I have to ask, are you being intentionally obtuse here? Because it sure seems like it. What does the thread topic have to do with what I said?



No, Kingmaker would not be one. In fact, that would be one of the exceptions that I mentioned.

Most mainstream RPGs are though. TES is a great example because you can see how it's become more streamlined with each game starting with Morrowind. The Outer Worlds is an even better example when you compare it to Obsidian's older titles. Or compare Fallout 1 & 2 to Fallout 3 & 4.

Another good example from a different genre would be XCOM. It's not even debatable that the newer games are less complex than the originals.

For a lot of games, all about being more accessible and appealing to more people which is an unfortunate necessity with today's development budgets.
You still haven't answered the one question about what you mean by complexity ?

You also named a couple of examples that you find to be less complex, whilst I named some to be more complex.
Doesn't seem to be a general trend.

Not only that, the games you mentioned are specifically Bethesda games. If they have a trend to simplify games, that doesn't necessarily apply to the whole industry.

I could easily name today's games which are more complex in many ways:
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Pathfinder Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous
- Tyranny (in its varied paths)
- The Witcher 3
- Kingdom Come Deliverance

And these are just games I've played. I would contend there are many more with systems much more complex than earlier RPGs.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:32
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
Sorry, I was a bit vague - I meant rule set complexity. Old AD&D seems vastly simpler than something like D&D 3/3.5 or PF. 5E is a simplification compared to these later systems and seems like a very good fit for a computer-based turn-based game because of that. It should be easier to balance, because a lot of complexity has been removed e.g. most buffs concentration (1 only), scaled back AC/attacks etc.
Thanks for clarifying. Yeah, I agree that it became more complex with 3/3.5

At the same time though, I think it became a little more intuitive as well. Things like THACO, the multiclassing/dual-classing system, and lower AC = better in 2nd Edition took me longer to get used to than anything in 3/3.5
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February 19th, 2021, 13:36
Originally Posted by TomRon View Post
what's the general opinion on the Watch and other "Old-school" sites reagrding BG3?
D:OS3
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February 19th, 2021, 13:38
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
You still haven't answered the one question about what you mean by complexity ?

You also named a couple of examples that you find to be less complex, whilst I named some to be more complex.
Doesn't seem to be a general trend.

Not only that, the games you mentioned are specifically Bethesda games. If they have a trend to simplify games, that doesn't necessarily apply to the whole industry.

I could easily name today's games which are more complex in many ways:
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Pathfinder Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous
- Tyranny (in its varied paths)
- The Witcher 3
- Kingdom Come Deliverance

And these are just games I've played. I would contend there are many more with systems much more complex than earlier RPGs.
It should be fairly obvious what I meant with the examples I gave.
I named more than a couple of examples, and I could list a lot more, but I'm not going to waste any more of my time with you on this.

The only thing you're doing is pointing to exceptions that I already mentioned existed. (Except for TW3 which I don't consider complex).

If you don't want to believe that games in general are more streamlined and guided now, that's fine. I know better than to try to change your mind.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:43
I think either side here are debating tastes and preferences, and so nobody is really wrong. Also some people have a different opinion on what defines as complex or simple. This is also why it is so hard for a AAA titles with millions of potential customers to handle and filter feedback in a way that any significant portion of said customers will be pleased.

In my opinion, the EA was a mistake. Larian should stick to their vision and deliver it to the customers because they are the professionals, the ones who have taken 5+ years at university and have long game development careers, and honestly, I wanna play a game made by those people, who already proved to be really good at it, over playing a game made by the feedback of 4 million "gamers" ie random people all with different views and opinions on what is best, only because a slight majority of them seem to agree more with a general direction.

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February 19th, 2021, 13:53
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
I think either side here are debating tastes and preferences, and so nobody is really wrong. Also some people have a different opinion on what defines as complex or simple. This is also why it is so hard for a AAA titles with millions of potential customers to handle and filter feedback in a way that any significant portion of said customers will be pleased.

In my opinion, the EA was a mistake. Larian should stick to their vision and deliver it to the customers because they are the professionals, the ones who have taken 5+ years at university and have long game development careers, and honestly, I wanna play a game made by those people, who already proved to be really good at it, over playing a game made by the feedback of 4 million "gamers" ie random people all with different views and opinions on what is best, only because a slight majority of them seem to agree more with a general direction.
I agree with you which is why I have been asking JDR 3 times now to explain what he means by complexity. He doesn't seem to want to explain.
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February 19th, 2021, 13:55
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
It should be fairly obvious what I meant with the examples I gave.
I named more than a couple of examples, and I could list a lot more, but I'm not going to waste any more of my time with you on this.

The only thing you're doing is pointing to exceptions that I already mentioned existed. (Except for TW3 which I don't consider complex).

If you don't want to believe that games in general are more streamlined and guided now, that's fine. I know better than to try to change your mind.
It's not about not believing. It's about not understanding what you mean by it. We've both mentioned some games which have either been simplified or been made more complex.

So I am trying to understand what specifically is making you think games have lost in their complexity in general …
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February 19th, 2021, 14:23
Originally Posted by Nereida View Post
In my opinion, the EA was a mistake. Larian should stick to their vision and deliver it to the customers because they are the professionals, the ones who have taken 5+ years at university and have long game development careers, and honestly, I wanna play a game made by those people, who already proved to be really good at it, over playing a game made by the feedback of 4 million "gamers" ie random people all with different views and opinions on what is best, only because a slight majority of them seem to agree more with a general direction.
They are used to Early Access now and it's a formula that works well for them. We have seen how heavily they rely on it to deter all sorts of potential problems, for example with their heat map. With the increase in complexity and scope, it's only natural they proceed to an EA on a smaller scale (first chapter), it's so much different than the D:OS series (they used EA for D:OS2, even though it was more similar to D:OS).

But I agree, they should stick to their vision and not be too much influenced by all the opinions, most of them cancel one another out anyway (just looking at the competing threads of 'party of 4' vs 'party of 6'…). And still they change things to have not-too-unkind companions. Instead they could use the opportunity to have bug reports, but no, they're not interested in that. Go figure.

Hopefully it won't have too much impact on the final product, and at least a part of it will have been well-tested.

Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I agree with you which is why I have been asking JDR 3 times now to explain what he means by complexity. He doesn't seem to want to explain.
I was wondering that as well, games like BG3 and D:OS 2 are quite complex in every technical way, except the rules. They're more open, there are story-wise C&C, there are lots of interactions possible with the environment which multiplies the outcome of navigation and combat…

However, statistically there aren't many games that offer that much today. But to say it's in decline supposes most of the games offered that much back then, and I'm not sure about that. We just remember about the few which did.
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February 19th, 2021, 14:25
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I agree with you which is why I have been asking JDR 3 times now to explain what he means by complexity. He doesn't seem to want to explain.
As if you really need someone to explain how TES has been simplified or how the newer XCOMs are less complex. Why play dumb?

I mentioned TES as an example. It's obvious why, but I'll pretend for a moment that it's not obvious to you. Each game in that series has had more skills and stats removed for the purpose of streamlining it. In addition to that, the player is now more guided than in the older titles to the point where all you have to do is follow a compass pointer right to your objective.

The Witcher 3 is also more mainstream that it's prequels. Alchemy has been dumbed down to the point where you no longer even have to think about it after you've crafted a potion for the first time. I think I recall you not liking TW1 though, so maybe you're unaware of the differences there. It's also a guided tour like most AAA RPGs are now. You can turn off the compass, but unfortunately that makes many objectives difficult to find since you're often not given any directions.

The Outer Worlds has all of the worst examples rolled into one. The missions are extremely guided, there are very few skills or abilities, and there's no need whatsoever for any kind of item management because the devs decided to flood the game with 4x more ammo and healing items than what the player needs.

I could go on with more examples, but I somehow doubt this is going to amount to anything more than a pointless back and forth debate. Hopefully you can at least admit now that you see where I'm coming from.
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February 19th, 2021, 14:35
But isn't that a shift of complexity from low-level tasks to another form of complexity? In some cases, anyway, you gave some good examples of dumbed-down features for sure.
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February 19th, 2021, 14:46
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
I was wondering that as well, games like BG3 and D:OS 2 are quite complex in every technical way, except the rules. They're more open, there are story-wise C&C, there are lots of interactions possible with the environment which multiplies the outcome of navigation and combat.
Larian has always gone against the grain in some ways which is one of the reasons I like them. They're a minority though when it comes to a developer making AA-AAA games that aren't as mainstream. For every Larian, you have Bethesda, Bioware, Obsidan, etc, going more and more mainstream.

That said, I don't agree with the "more open" part. Their more recent games aren't really that open imo. You can technically travel in most directions, but areas are level-gated. I'm not including BG3 when I say that since I've only seen the first map.

Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
But isn't that a shift of complexity from low-level tasks to another form of complexity?
In what way? I don't consider having fewer skills/abilities or being guided right to my objective a shift in complexity.
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