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05-05-2014, 12:52 AM #21281
Even with a pen and paper RPG where you have a GM, you essentially make an agreement of some form regarding what kind of game you will play. I have RP'd with friends who wanted to practice their improv, and we never fought anything. And I have played The Infinite Dungeon or whatever that sourcebook was, where we didn't ever really talk to anything.
It is all about knowing what you are getting in to. Whenever I am rolling a character for a PC RPG, I try to get an idea of what I can expect. Back when I played the Alazander series of mods for NWN (great series, by the way. AL1 is weak but AL2 and AL3 are amazing) I did a bit of basic research to figure out what kinds of weapons I would find. When I played Shadowrun Returns I did a bit of basic research to figure out which combat style I like. And so forth
And with pretty much any "guns with words" style RPG, I always assume that I want a jack of all trades. I can emphasize the bits that are more fun for me (hacking, talking, and stealth, usually) but I make sure that I have a good solid weapon for when the poopy hits the fan. Because unless it is very clearly a "you can do anything" game (of which, those don't exist :p), there will come a time when I will have to fight. Maybe I'll get spotted by a guard when I was trying to steal a necklace, maybe I'll get cutscene-incompetence'd and surrounded by goblins what don't speak Common. Either way, I need at least SOME combat potential.
Take Human Revolution for example. I focused all my points on hacking, cloaking, and exploring. And I ALSO carried around an inventory full of weapons, including a tricked out pistol. I can count on one hand the number of non-bosses I killed (until the last mission), but that didn't mean I couldn't whip out the heavy artillery when push came to shove. I DID get lucky with the second (?) boss in that I had the anti-electricity mod (was for exploration), but all the others just needed A gun. I understand that some people wanted to RP MacGuyver and refuse to even touch a gun, but I think it is fair to say that a special ops assassin/commando who refuses to touch a weapon probably won't last too long in the field.
As for this specific situation: Yeah, I have heard horrible things about those sewers. That is probably just a REALLY shitty area. But the idea of having to have combat abilities isn't that far out there.
The DLC just has issues it seems. I even cranked things down to super duper low "my PS3 looks better than this" settings and it still lags out the ass. Which is a shame, since I hear the Heavy Team DLC was fun
05-05-2014, 01:05 AM #21282
I'm not saying that non-combat focused PCs should be knowingly handicapped in combat, I'm asking for those who are combat focused to be better. Human Revolution can work here (and that some conversations were boss fights of sorts was one of the few positive things I had to say about it) but there's no handicap in combat in that game not going for combat-oriented upgrades first. Your pistol will do the same amount of damage (before armour reduction) at the beginning of the game as it will at the end. In VtM:B, that's not the case. And on top of that, for ranged weapons you also have an accuracy penalty.
Now you can certainly RP a lot of that away; Jensen was a former special forces police officer, so he had gun training. My newly-embraced vampire was...well, no-one in particular, but there should be a point where fun has to shoulder-barge its way into the balance.
05-05-2014, 01:08 AM #21283
When any D&D Dungeon failed my own perception of my characters bullshit tolerance (the character) would ask everyone if we could back to the tavern now, because I don't want to die this week.
The sewer in VtM:B would have failed that test.
05-05-2014, 01:20 AM #21284
What really shines out of those 3 missions is Kshatriya, you have to go out into a pretty much open world and collect items of 'worth'. You only get to save back at base and top make make things extra tense its all set on the surface so make sure you've enough filters to last you!
I'm yet to complete any of them yet though, they're tough as nails.
05-05-2014, 01:58 AM #21285
Personally, I think the solution is moving away from the "sandbox, build your character however you want" angle, or doing a better decoupling of social and combat. The Witcher 1 and 2 did a great job of that, since there were some skills that were useful socially but they weren't essential and 2 in particular very much took a "use a skill to make it better" approach toward dialogue while still using a more traditional approach for combat abilities (the skill tree)
Whereas a system like D&D (specifically 3/3.5e since I won't deal with THAC0 and I doubt people here are familiar enough with 4e) uses a different approach by always increasing your base attack bonus. So even in Hordes of the Underdark when my Wizard is moved into the middle of a Dark Elf blood orgy for dialogue purposes, I have a chance. I can cast a spell to run away or I can actually brawl with them. I won't last long because my health is shit and my attack bonus is on par with a Fighter who is getting ready to take Weapon Specialization, but it keeps me from feeling helpless and lets me buy time for my meat shields to catch up with me.
05-05-2014, 02:08 AM #21286
I think the solution is moving away from the "sandbox, build your character however you want" angle, or doing a better decoupling of social and combat. The Witcher 1 and 2 did a great job of that
05-05-2014, 02:20 AM #21287
But yeah, I really hope that more games take the approach of just completely decoupling social and combat. I realize that it is problematic in that it makes your characters super awesome and what not, but that is usually easy to explain from an RP perspective and it just speeds up the endgame a bit.
My current "dream" system would be the following:
Take Mass Effect 1's classification system (Combat, Tech, and "Magic"). Every class has up to two classifications, and that determines which trees you get. Upon leveling up, you get a point in every tree you have (two points if you are a double combat and so forth). Completely decoupled from that is the social tree, which preferably is increased through your actions, in a manner similar to The Witcher 2 and Alpha Protocol. Hell, couple the reputation system in with that, just make sure it is the Mass Effect 3 rep system where you get renown no matter what you do, and your red/blue points are cumulative.
...I think some of that made sense to me!
05-05-2014, 03:31 AM #21288
If you're going to make a game, any game, built around the idea of choices, including choices as to how engage in combat, you need to be fair and you need to be consistent.
05-05-2014, 09:38 AM #21289
You make a good point that the battlefield sequence was very deviant from the normal course of the game, but the fact that it is difficult is not a 'character building flaw' so to say, because you're playing a completely different character and it doesn't matter if you put points in your sword skill tree beforehand or not. The guys you're playing are not witchers; their combat tactics will be different so it's purely down to your skill with a handicapped character that determines whether you succeed. It's not putting your character in a disadvantageous position, just you. And, to be fair, it didn't come completely out of nowhere since you were given control of a different character at the start of the chapter as well, when Saskia dueled Henselt.
05-05-2014, 01:52 PM #21290
I was led to believe that having points into sword techniques were employable. So then I resign my statement of that being unfair in character building and just say that entire sequence isn't well balanced (which is something I already complained about in the previous discussion). I spent a lot of the time trying to cheese the AI during that sequence and waiting around a bit trying to regenerate health. I'd hardly say that cheesing AI is a fun way of playing through an intentionally handicapped sequence. It's not like Serious Sam where you're relying on the strict routines of the AI to emerge victorious; when you have three groups of enemy soldiers really close together where pulling one might pull another and overwhelm you, it's not fun quick saving/reloading to make sure you only pull the one by approaching at the very precise angle. It was certainly a joke when you reach the boss of that area and have all your capabilities left that you can absolutely destroy it with ease (in fact my biggest problem was that the game checkpointed as it started its attack, meaning I'd be dead before I could move, until I eventually found a way around it and then proceeded two lay waste).
Whilst your example is true, there are numerous times when you're running through the area to go between camps and you retain your skills. Granted you're not taking over another character, I do not think it's made immediately clear that when you do return to clear it at the end of the chapter that you'll be possessing a character(s) and be similarly locked out of your skills. Going into it, with the conversations I had had, it seemed like you were preparing Geralt to enter it as himself. Eitherr way, this goes well above my point of generally poorly balanced areas. The sewers are as crappy as the battlefield, if not worse because they go on for so much longer.
05-05-2014, 01:56 PM #21291
05-05-2014, 04:02 PM #21292
Can anyone name a game where the sewers (or even sewers-like levels) were actually not some kind of unimaginative, go-to length-extending environment - in short, you know, good?
05-05-2014, 04:12 PM #21293
05-05-2014, 04:14 PM #21294
05-05-2014, 04:41 PM #21295
It wasn't perfect, but it was "fair" as it were. But whereas every other boss fight wasn't really worth the hassle, this one was as the hassle was minimal and The Feels were through the roof.
05-05-2014, 04:58 PM #21296
05-05-2014, 04:58 PM #21297
05-05-2014, 05:45 PM #21298
Mirror's Edge had luscious sewers which highlighted the excesses of the city from a different point of view. But generally sewer sits right next to office cubicles and warehouse filled with crates for lazy chaff.
05-05-2014, 05:50 PM #21299
Oh yeah, Mirror's Edge. Cool real life inspired sewers. 99% of buildings look the same though:D
05-05-2014, 06:25 PM #21300