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June 9th, 2017, 12:37
An update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker has been made available about the caharcater building and difficulty gameplay mechanics.

Difficulty settings will include a story mode, for those who are less interested in combat and want to focus more on the plot and dialogue. In story mode only thematic abilities of enemies will be noticeable, trolls will still regenerate and spiders will still be venomous, but overall combat will be far easier, and enemy abilities will be easier to deal with. Damage and enemy defenses will be greatly reduced in story mode, and some complex mechanical systems, such as attacks of opportunity, will be switched off for enemies. There will also be a core rules difficulty, which will adhere to tabletop Pathfinder as closely as possible - with attacks of opportunity on your archer that shoots in melee, friendly fire from area of effect spells and occasional deadly critical hits on your party. There will be adapted rules – a simplified version of core rules, fit for fans of CRPGs more than core, where drinking a potion will not provoke an attack of opportunity from an opponent and critical hits of your enemies are not as deadly, reducing the randomness of fights. There will also be several different harder difficulties, where enemies will have their stats (and, consequently DCs for saves, AC, attacks and such) and health incresed by different amounts, for those of you who seek a greater challenge. Other difficulty settings include an easy mode, set between story and adapted rules. On top of that, many combat-related settings will be customizable. Don't like attacks of opportunity? No problem, just switch them off in the options. Most difficulty settings can also be changed in the middle of a fight.
More information.
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June 9th, 2017, 12:37
This customization of features is a new trend showing devs are giving up on providing balance.

It is not given to ensure the balance of a whole system. It is even less to ensure the balance when you can withdraw at will key mechanics from the system.

Another benefit brought by the troop of the like it, it is fun: any discussion on balance issues is going to be morphed into a dislike feature, it can be removed.

Nice deal for devs, they announce a complex system that can be scrapped from key elements. It is no longer needed to bother about balance, players will have to deal with unbalance by taking out the elements they think are the causes of the unbalance.
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June 9th, 2017, 12:49
Bad hairday?

The game is not supposed to be MMO. Which means, unbalanced stuff will be appreciated.
Don't we all play games exactly to find something that unbalances the whole thing so we can abuse it to our cause? Haven't you ever climb something hard to kill trashmobs cannot reach so you can dispose of them easily? And aren't the best games exactly those that are aware of players being curious, players trying to abuse stuff (Dishonored instantly comes in mind). Wasn't lava pit (later patched sadly) the most imaginative strategy to destroy D:OS final boss - something similar exists in recently released Regalia (partymember with a skill that can return debuff back to any hostile lined against a miniboss that casts instakill after one turn passes debuff)?

Sure, there are designers like Sawyer who's mindset is in MMOs and think singleplayers need a perfect balance too. So they waste time on it instead of fixing numerous bugs that plague thier releases.
That's not fun. That's pathetic.
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June 9th, 2017, 14:04
Originally Posted by joxer View Post


Don't we all play games exactly to find something that unbalances the whole thing so we can abuse it to our cause?
Hmm… no? What's the point of doing that if it trivializes combat. Might as well just go to youtube and watch the cutscenes. I like my combat challenging, thanks.
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June 9th, 2017, 14:32
Josh Sawyer just wrote a big blog post about balance.

It's pretty long and follow wolfing's comments. He also points out that D&D is already balanced and gives some IWD QA stories about that.
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June 9th, 2017, 14:57
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Josh Sawyer just wrote a big blog post about balance.

It's pretty long and follow wolfing's comments. He also points out that D&D is already balanced and gives some IWD QA stories about that.
Hmm…there are a lot of great things about D&D 3rd edition and the pathfinder system that is based off of it. But most would agree that balance is definitely not one of them.
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June 9th, 2017, 15:07
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Hmm… no? What's the point of doing that if it trivializes combat.
The point is exactly to reach the point of trivialized combat so it's not timed dodges or a second job any more. In other words automation taking over automatization that took over manualization.
As I said above with an example (Arkane), and you missed it, certain developers are aware of broken balance possibility and deliberately make different contnet mechanics to still keep the game challenging if it gets "broken" and "abused".
Others either don't care or waste time on balancing instead of adding more different (and challenging if possible) content. That's where we get ourself a repetitive grinder with nothing but praised dodging (Dark Souls) or balance patches and mods instead of broken quests fixes (insert any Josh Sawyer game).
A perfectly balanced game is not instantly a masterpiece. In fact, but I've said that before, a masterpiece cannot be completely perfect, it has to contain a flaw or a few. Of course I don't mean making Umbra Sword available to a player in first few minutes then pwning already boring game.

Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Might as well just go to youtube and watch the cutscenes. I like my combat challenging, thanks.
Why would you ever go youtube a singleplayer game?!
But anyway, you probably have a different idea than me what a challenging combat is.

Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Josh Sawyer just wrote a big blog post about balance.
It's boring.
How about a blog that reveals designing different/nonrepetitive content instead. How about explaining why his superbalanced Lionheart never reached PST status.
I can understand some people wanting MMO designs in singleplayer games. I just don't care about that stuff.
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Last edited by joxer; June 9th, 2017 at 15:31.
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June 9th, 2017, 16:30
Originally Posted by fadedc View Post
Hmm…there are a lot of great things about D&D 3rd edition and the pathfinder system that is based off of it. But most would agree that balance is definitely not one of them.
D&D has over 40 years of balancing by now. There was balance change between 3.0e and 3.5e. There are balance changes between each editions. WoTC holds testing when they make new editions to balance everything, these are just not public so you don't learn they made.

How do you believe D&D ended up with Wizard with d4 HP and Warrior with d10 HP and different attack rate? That's called balancing.

Are D&D trying to achieve perfect balance no, because that's not possible regardless of how paranoiac some people seems to be every time the term "balance" is mentioned in regard to video games.
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June 9th, 2017, 16:40
There's never been an interesting RPG with anything like perfect balance.

That doesn't mean crazy imbalance is great - and something like 1st Edition AD&D was an example of a completely whack system. I mean, the Thief could contribute absolutely nothing - because even his tiny arsenal of contribution could be done much better by a Wizard - which also happened to utterly destroy the Thief in combat.

But ever since 3.0 - DnD has had a decent basic balance - and while you can create some amazingly powerful combinations - there are many, many ways to counter them and there are so many combinations that no one can fully claim to know them all.

To me, a large part of the fun of building a character is to come up with unique ways to overcome challenges. That's not always about straight-up powergaming - but more often about creative and fun ways to deal with both combat and non-combat situations. For computer games, the former is often dominant, however - and that's fine with me.

I could play a Pathfinder game for years and not exhaust the character build possibilities.

I've played PoE for something like 60-70 hours - and I already feel I've seen everything interesting about it.

NWN came out 15 years ago - and I can still go back and come up with a new neat build that I've never tried before. I've played that game for thousands of hours, by the way.

Nah, the PoE system Obsidian came up with is a complete joke in comparison. It's not very fun, very rich - or particularly balanced.

Now, I don't mind that it's not balanced - because, as I touched upon, imbalance can be fun.

The problem with PoE is that the designer(s) THOUGHT they could balance it - which is never going to be possible with a system that complicated.

You don't really have to go much beyond Chess to find yourself in a tough position in that way, as a designer.

PoE SMACKS of having been designed around limitations rather than opportunities. It's like they would rather have you bored out of your skull than stumble upon some kind of exploit - and even with that in mind, they largely failed.

Not impressive.

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June 9th, 2017, 16:43
Balance in a PnP game does not necessarily equate to balance in a video game. The lack of a human referee to balance out the play on the spur of the moment surely makes it more difficult to achieve. That doesn't mean it's not possible, but, with a complicated game requirement like an RPG, it likely does make it more of a challenge than it might at first appear even with a pre-existing rules set.
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June 9th, 2017, 16:53
Originally Posted by NewDArt View Post
I could play a Pathfinder game for years and not exhaust the character build possibilities.

I've played PoE for something like 60-70 hours - and I already feel I've seen everything interesting about it.
Get real. D&D has been around for 40 years. It's had generations of people tweaking it, adding to it, and attempting to fix the multitude of garbage rules. Naturally it has a lot more content going for it than a two year old game system barely out the gates. You might as well be comparing Pathfinder to first edition D&D.
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June 9th, 2017, 16:53
Different versions of D&D placed different emphasis on balance. The goal of every version is not necessarily to find perfect balance, but to try to achieve the proper mix of things seeming fair and things seeming interesting, different, and/or realistic. Perfecting balance is not always considered a desirable goal and balance has not always improved with each edition.

Third edition D&D is pretty infamous for not caring about balance as much as later editions, and having vast power differences between classes and builds. This isn't necessarily bad or a flaw, it's just not what that edition focused on. There are plenty of other things about it that made it great. But it definitely shouldn't be used as a model for creating a balanced system.

Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
D&D has over 40 years of balancing by now. There was balance change between 3.0e and 3.5e. There are balance changes between each editions. WoTC holds testing when they make new editions to balance everything, these are just not public so you don't learn they made.

How do you believe D&D ended up with Wizard with d4 HP and Warrior with d10 HP and different attack rate? That's called balancing.

Are D&D trying to achieve perfect balance no, because that's not possible regardless of how paranoiac some people seems to be every time the term "balance" is mentioned in regard to video games.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:04
The only balanced RPG is one in which there is little or even *no* choice in progression. There was one D&D cRPG that did something like that (you went up levels but the game chose everything for you) and it was terrible.

And yes, cRPGs are missing the real life DM who can either tweak things or Just Say No.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:08
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Get real. D&D has been around for 40 years. It's had generations of people tweaking it, adding to it, and attempting to fix the multitude of garbage rules. Naturally it has a lot more content going for it than a two year old game system barely out the gates. You might as well be comparing Pathfinder to first edition D&D.
I'm talking about the core rulebook with only the core classes.

The amount of content isn't that much greater than any other core ruleset from DnD for the past few decades.

PoE had everything in the world to pick from - and they still utterly, utterly failed to create a compelling system that compares favorably with DnD.

PoE had no excuse not to learn from "40 years" of garbage rules. Also, no one asked Obsidian to create terrible combat AI, pathfinding, ZoC rules, multiclassing, "recovery" system, and on and on. All those things are complete crap in that game.

So, you get real first - please

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June 9th, 2017, 17:15
Balance in tabletop RPGs? Total myth. There is none and never has been. Those that think there is either don't understand where the base line game actually is, or they are playing in games where the GM is really good at catering to different character power levels within his own group. What little balance exists in the first few levels is quickly left behind as key classes get access to things that flat out break the rules (as written).

Pathfinder is coming up on a decade of life and the power curve has been steadily upward since the beginning. It's been a little less of a steep incline than what was around in 3.5, but the arms race is alive and well.

There's only one gauge that's useful for tabletop RPGs… is everyone at the table having fun? Yeah? Then it doesn't matter how you are playing or where your table's power curve is. The same can be said of single player CRPGs. Is the game enjoyable or not. Of course, both tabletop and computer games have to be fun enough to drive purchases. If they're accomplishing that, balance discussions are meaningless. Folks that prefer balance will gravitate to those games, and those that like less rigid systems will play different games. Making balance items configurable is no different than having a good GM that can keep a group of disparate power levels/styles engaged.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:26
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Sure, there are designers like Sawyer who's mindset is in MMOs and think singleplayers need a perfect balance too. So they waste time on it instead of fixing numerous bugs that plague thier releases.
That's not fun. That's pathetic.
Sawyer just continues the mainstream trend that "game cant "punish" player for any choice". So player dont have any responsibility for his own choices. He dont need to think about his build or play style.. whatever he choose it must be "equally good" for him.

Note - I wonder how much time will designers lost to ensure all options are "equally good". I would say that despite best effort they will often fail.


"They’re not presented as inferior options to the player. They’re presented as options… "
It seems he would prefer "worse options" to be clearly labeled as "inferior options" - that is nonsense. This way nobody would think about them so it would make no sense to include them at all.

Secondly - who could instantly say which option is better or worse for your hero and party and gameplay style? Judge which option is good or just interesting for you is part of the game. To make every option basically the same doesnt make the game better - it makes this judging and thinking less important and less interesting or in worst cases pointless.


Sawyer also contradicts himself:
"They’re presented as options… that turn out to be implicitly awful even in the best circumstances."
So according to him its common that options look ok but quickly turn out to be "implicitly awful even in the best circumstances". Really? So player has no chance to see it? I dont think so. Of course, some newbies and children will choose badly BUT I dont expect newbies to be able to master RPG instantly without knowledge! If Sawyer thinks that every newbie should be able to master any hard challenge in RPG then he in fact says that game must be designed and simplified to allow it. Imagine Dark Souls designed as a game where every challenge must be mastered by noobs that make bad choices - welcome to the world of Josh Sawyer.

Secondly - I dont really believe his words about "awfull options in best circumstances" that many players cant see. Its more likely Sawyer's rhetorics to justify his approach to design.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:42
Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Sawyer just continues the mainstream trend that "game cant "punish" player for any choice". So player dont have any responsibility for his own choices. He dont need to think about his build or play style.. whatever he choose it must be "equally good" for him.
I don't like that there is no fun to be had. Dark Souls follow a similar path (well the dark side path that leads normally to your demise) in that whatever build or weapons you have, you only tweak your attributes by +-0.1 which has little or no effect, leaving matters to player's reflexes. Nevertheless, they balance things out and add a bit of mystery and fun with the varied enemy attributes and defence towards the various raw and elemental damages to keep the players on their toes.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:51
A little unbalance is fun as long as newbie can finish on lowest option. Letting folks play how they want is also good. One reason to prefer single player experience.
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June 9th, 2017, 17:55
Sawyer probably got his ass handed to him a few too many times by powergamers and now spends his time designing horrible systems to punish them!

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June 9th, 2017, 18:18
Originally Posted by NewDArt View Post
Sawyer probably got his ass handed to him a few too many times by powergamers and now spends his time designing horrible systems to punish them!
Considering the guy designed hard mode content/mods for IWD and Fallout NV…I doubt it very much.

He had to endure IWD QA testers who couldn't even get through half the game because they understood nothing to D&D though.
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