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Default Divinity Original Sin 2 - Great World…Poor Combat

March 17th, 2020, 08:09
So I’m finally close to finishing this game. Just a couple more fights in Arx left. I have begun to realize that as much as I like Larians world building…I don’t appreciate their philosophy towards combat in this game. Every combat encounter utilizes what I consider cheap tactics to ensure that you are ALWAYS at a disadvantage. You are either ambushed by enemies who have the high ground, confronted by new mechanics you haven’t seen in the 80 prior hours before (spiders who implant eggs, enemies who revive in some fashion, etc), put into some pit with environmental issues, have enemies magically appear like they were waiting in some pocket dimension, etc. This turns each fight into a puzzle to figure out the right combination required for victory (after reloading several times). Honestly this just gets frustrating and annoying after a while and provides zero sense of character progression or agency. No matter how powerful my characters become they are just as screwed each fight as the prior fights.

I don’t mind some of these “puzzle fights” in games but having every fight be this way seems…cheap. Toss in a couple of straight up slugfests for gods sake. Something where I can feel like my character has grown into a legitimate badass as opposed to having to reload after getting wiped each fight. I never got annoyed by the fights in D:OS or any previous Larian game. But at this point I’m just trying to slog through the rest of this game and doubt I’ll do a second playthrough. I really hope they don’t include this type of nonsense in BG3. Ugh
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March 17th, 2020, 11:24
I agree. While I admire Larian for inventing this new combat systems, like elements and high ground, seems they dont know how make it all right. The first game was all about constant CC from players, to prevent it they added armor system in 2, but is it any better? Now you must slog through taking down armor, before even make those elements and skills useful.
But to be honest I still had fun solving battle puzzles - right, not solving, cheesing it! I don't know, if its one of those Larian kinda "funny jokes", but they assume that players will cheese every battle anyway, so to counter it, they make all enemies cheat, like doing ambushes out of thin air, having 1000 initiative, enormous AP pool and so on. Maybe I could be ok with that, if their games would be just combat simulators, but for RPG… nah, it punishes reoleplaying (like being adventurer or godwoken in search for power), you always must know what battle awaits you ahead, so you go, die reload and now, when you know, you play it. And this I hate the most. Constant reloads for you first playthrough. But then again I love those few even matches, when I don't need to know battle ahead and can make it through on the first atempt.

Unfortunately I bet the same "funny " system will awaits us in BG3 - you go, die, reload and now cheese it and win - though I still have hope, because… DnD rules.
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March 17th, 2020, 11:34
Here is typical D:OS 2 "roleplaying" adventure:
You are on the road with your party, you see somebody ahead, standing, eager to talk with you. You approach, talk, that person turns hostile (your high persuasion skill does nothing) and booom - 5 or 6 enemies spawns out of thin air, all in advantageous positions, the person you talked to turns to be boss with 100 initiative, always goes first, buffs to the teeth, walks 100 miles and then 1shots all of your party with his first damage skill, and that all in first turn. How funny is that!
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March 17th, 2020, 15:44
Originally Posted by Zogar Sag View Post
Here is typical D:OS 2 "roleplaying" adventure:
You are on the road with your party, you see somebody ahead, standing, eager to talk with you. You approach, talk, that person turns hostile (your high persuasion skill does nothing) and booom - 5 or 6 enemies spawns out of thin air, all in advantageous positions, the person you talked to turns to be boss with 100 initiative, always goes first, buffs to the teeth, walks 100 miles and then 1shots all of your party with his first damage skill, and that all in first turn. How funny is that!
Yeah pretty much my experience as well…on every single fight. Frustrating? Yep. Challenging? Sure. Fun? Not at all. Just hoping to wrap the game up tonight so I can move on the something else.
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March 17th, 2020, 17:15
I know I'm in a tiny minority, but I vastly prefer the first game over the second. I found the bias against pure melee just to be way too much for me to stomach in the second game, and I'm pretty sure I'll never replay it. I've replayed the first game and suspect I'll likely keep doing so.
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March 17th, 2020, 18:30
It's horrible and it doesn't help that every enemy has movement skills and usually double the health and armor as you.
I almost had to puke when the giant worm spawned in my party in the last fight of the island. Who designs encounters like that?
Another gimmicky "defend the elf" fight and i was done. Too annoying.
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March 17th, 2020, 22:16
There were a handful of fights in D:OS2 that I had to do more than once, and one (literally one) that I never bothered to beat (some flaming guy who was optional)

Not bragging. Just a contrary viewpoint of: the combat was good and wasn't cheap or overly hard at all.
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March 17th, 2020, 22:46
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
There were a handful of fights in D:OS2 that I had to do more than once, and one (literally one) that I never bothered to beat (some flaming guy who was optional)

Not bragging. Just a contrary viewpoint of: the combat was good and wasn't cheap or overly hard at all.
I wouldn’t say that the combat was “hard”. Each fight was manageable once you figured out the mechanics and there have been some I sailed though without much of an issue (including the worm one mentioned above). I just feel that Larian was over reliant on creating artificial challenge by putting players in the worst possible starting positions with unknown mechanics or number of enemies. Do we really need to be ambushed every fight or have the enemies get free positioning each time?
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March 17th, 2020, 22:54
Originally Posted by Heckle View Post
Do we really need to be ambushed every fight or have the enemies get free positioning each time?
No, but I guess I don't remember the game that way, especially the first part of your sentence. I know it did happen on occasion, but I also remember lots of fights in which I could see every opponent from jump. You can also often stealth people around and set up before you trigger a fight, ambushing them.
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March 17th, 2020, 23:30
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
No, but I guess I don't remember the game that way, especially the first part of your sentence. I know it did happen on occasion, but I also remember lots of fights in which I could see every opponent from jump. You can also often stealth people around and set up before you trigger a fight, ambushing them.
Yeah you’re right there were a fights that you do that on, especially in earlier acts. But even the earlier acts had a lot of what I’m talking about. Maybe my perception is being jaded by my most recent fights in Arx…where it seems every fight involves spawns, unfair positioning, or new mechanics at play which you can’t predict until you start fight (respawning necrofire lizards, poison pits, mirrors that you have to destroy, spider larvae, etc.). I just know that I’m frustrated with this type of “surprise” combat and hope they reevaluate it for future games. I actually do like the magic/physical armor design that many people hate. I end up running two physical and two magic characters so they can team up on whatever enemy is weakest to their attacks during fights.
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March 18th, 2020, 01:44
Loved the combat in that game. But I like challenging combats and this game definitely had some and made you think about how to solve the encounteres.
The first DOS did not. I actually restrained myself to use healing potions and special arrows in DOS1, just so it becomes a tad more challenging. The only challenging fight I had there was against some golems, which you are not supposed to be able to kill.

For me Combat has priority in these games and as I mentioned, I loved it here. Of course you need to think about how to solve the combat, but you have TONS of different options, so its not really a puzzle which mostly has one correct solution.
I didn't like Blackguards for example, which really was just puzzles. Puzzles with pretty much one correct solution and you could only reach that solution by having several checks of luck (hard difficulty). That wasn't at all fun to me.

Regarding World Building: I liked the story here as well. As it was not as freaky and abstract as in most other games, where you fight against gods or similar. DOS2 also has somewhat of this component, but at some point it brings it down to the ground, which I liked quite a lot. Cannot say more about it without spoiling stuff.
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March 18th, 2020, 04:27
Having special fights (like that big, wooden structure that started burning) makes the game interesting. The straight up fights are OK to teach the player about the enemies but one or two of those is enough. Then you've got to start mixing it up with special mechanics of some sort or they'll just be the same as the last fight. Why do that? "You bested the 8 orcs, eh? Well, let's see how you handle 8 orcs!!"
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March 18th, 2020, 06:03
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Having special fights (like that big, wooden structure that started burning) makes the game interesting. The straight up fights are OK to teach the player about the enemies but one or two of those is enough. Then you've got to start mixing it up with special mechanics of some sort or they'll just be the same as the last fight. Why do that? "You bested the 8 orcs, eh? Well, let's see how you handle 8 orcs!!"
So I agree…and that’s actually my point. I think they dropped the ball a little bit in “mixing it up” as you stated, at least in Arx. If they would have thrown in a couple of the straightforward orc fights you mentioned I wouldn’t have an issue. Something to let you flex your muscles some, feel powerful, and take pride in how easy that type of fight was compared to when you started. Having every fight in that act be an oppressive puzzle that you are probably gonna need to reload at least once was a buzzkill for me. I still like the game overall and will continue my trend of buying Larian games, the combat just wasn’t my favorite in this one. But not every game is gonna tick all the boxes for everybody, which is just fine by me.

And I actually liked Blackguards 1 and 2 quite a bit!
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March 18th, 2020, 15:27
I never play combat games very long. I quit DOS-2 after the first chapter, quit DOS after Cyseal, quit Baldur's Gate one once reaching the eponymous city, etc. I probably would have played through Pathfinder but quit that once I got to the kingdom management sim At this point I've finally learned to never buy a party-based game unless I can get it for under $10.

Nothing wrong with the games, but I don't like encounters that last more than a single minute at most. I really prefer combat encounters that can be beat in 30 seconds or less, so single-character games are my vast preference. I can play party-based games like might and magic because the combats are extremely fast paced and you can wipe a whole room of monsters in a few seconds.
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