kilobug wrote:The issue occurred when several of their testers (probably mostly internal testers, but likely some public beta-testers too) discovered a problem in balance, where some fights were way too easy for some and way too hard for others, depending on play style, order in which you enter the areas, ... and the dev felt they couldn't fix that imbalance (making the game unfun, if it's way too easy or way too hard it's not fun) without adding an health bar. So they added an health bar, which isn't such a major change, problem solved, end of the story (except for a few people who like to rage on forums).
So basically, because people have subjective views on what easy and hard is, they made the whole character building stats largely cosmetic, and dependent on trigger-abilities in battle.
It's not a solution if you wanted to keep the character building aspect a part of the narrative. And it's also not a solution if you accept the premise that people play in different ways and have a subjective experience of difficulty.
That's what annoys me - much more than a developer taking my money and wasting it, or ending up not having the talent to produce the game they advertised. So what I'm asking for is that they're allowed to make an attempt at something not bound by "we think that this may stump some players who expected Mass Effect". But that's not going to happen, because of "feedback".
retroquark wrote:It's lazy design.
It's always easy to call "lazy" the work of others, especially when you don't realize how hard it is. Adapting a pen&paper rule system to a computer game is _hard_. Making a game with high "content-level" reactivity is _hard_.
Absolutely. My problem is that the good attempts at doing this properly, that do work to a surprisingly large extent, are scuttled by some idea that "most people" either won't understand it (it takes too much time investment, people will get bored and quit), won't recognize the system (it will alienate the superfans), or may be difficult mechanically (we'll save time developing and testing will be easier when we do this and that).
Because as we saw in the first iteration of the beta, inXile had taken extreme care to not have the game interrupted narratively even if you died. Avoiding the game-over screen is of course a long discussion, but they seemed to have put some genuine thought into figuring out how to do this, like in PT. So even if you completely bungled everything, you weren't actually punished mechanically for it. So from a certain point of view, you've already removed difficulty from the game completely, and allow the players to make second attempts.
And like I said, since the main character's grip on reality is the only thing keeping them there, it also makes all kinds of sense that if they lose all focus on either these "intellectual", "force" and "finesse" domains, that they would perish in some way, until they could come back to their senses. And therefore exist.
I also don't see why it would be so difficult to add abilities eventually that would transcend these domains, so you might shield yourself from damage by force of will, etc. That in turn would make it possible to balance fights later on in the sense that physical characters would face a completely predictable battle against physical entities, would need some form of immunity or extra shielding, cover from allies, augments, etc., against others. And that for example your less physical characters would end up having to use some form of indirect strategy to target physical characters, find weaknesses, and extend the battles that way. In the same way the physical monsters might not put up a fight if you could overextend them, etc. You would potentially have balancing issues with extremely powerful spells always knocking out physical only beasts, or being very dynamic in the sense that you would have to usually just punch through the weakest defense. But I really don't see why you couldn't have a mix of characters, like was there initially, that would have these different weaknesses.
Strategically taking damage instead of spending it on pre-emptively casting skills is also not an unknown concept in any role-playing game.
The only problem left after that is an AI that is more deft than a player at targeting the weaknesses of the other team. And that's the only problem I saw with the beta at the beginning, which is why I simply expected inXile to sort that out and keep the design.
Instead, it seems we're getting a dimensional overhaul where all the curious shielding and damage types are kept, but where they have basically equal use against the shields or physical barriers of the targets. Except for in boss-fights, I guess, where inXile then somehow have found out it's all right to introduce players to this concept the first time?
On top of that I don't see why adding a HP bar is going to fix any of these issues, if the resistance against damage type suddenly turns up again halfway through the game, and then suddenly adds the same fail condition as before.
Again - my problem isn't with whether or not inXile wants to make a diablo 3-ish fighting part of the game, and make it "fun" with one-shot overpowered abilities reduced by whether or not you use rest-spam, or by a cooldown bar. If that was what they wanted, then go ahead. But I wouldn't help kickstart a game like that. And we wouldn't need to help kickstart a game like that. So my problem is with that they make a decent attempt at a ruleset that actually works, is narratively dynamic, reactive and makes sense in the game-world. And then it's "tweaked" into something completely different mechanically, that then still is as cumbersome as before, if not even worse (the added items, extra abilities that are snuck in on the side for "balance", etc.).
It's impressive how some of you, and inxile, manage to reason yourselves into believing that this is a good idea from either a pure marketing point of view, or a mechanical point of view. But it's still not going to make extra clicking sprees and ability management - that has no point - be any more fun. And you can see it now, with how the strategy involved simply is to manage your skill-pool to not run out. Which, I can't help but notice, ends up meaning you will massively favor physical caracters - which also explains why you suddenly got magic items that shoot projectiles based on your skill. It's lazy, and it's not fun.
And in addition, it just creates a load of work for people creating the gameplay. Worse, inXile ends up in a similar situation as Obsidian, with that their game is only ever balanced if two people play the game all the way through following the exact same route.
It's so bad that when you step off the path, you can basically count the number of hit-points on a monster and know on beforehand what level you're supposed to be when you meet it the first time. After that, of course, the monster then becomes extremely weak, and doesn't offer any challenge at all.
So not only does the game become unbalanced, it also becomes less entertaining mechanically in the first place, as well as boring if you do it well enough. Where then the only way to add difficulty is to overpower the enemies and create bosses.
This is lazy design, and it's not impossible to do it better than this. I have made rulesets that work. And hilariously, so have both Obsidian and inXile - that now both have abandoned the working design in favor of something that is mechanically exhaustive to both the developer as well as the player.
That you then still find out that this is a good decision, as you explain and inXile indirectly suggests, doesn't come from knowing that creating a more interesting system is difficult, and that the original attempt had fundamental weaknesses (that you for example saw out of experience as playing GM or designing games) but from this: you insist that any solution is great as long as "people want it".
That the people in question who want these changes simply want any change, and the experience of having participated in the development process - and apparently, and in this case demonstrably, would be happy with practically any solution as long as they feel their feedback was taken on board - this only makes the bad decision better, it seems the reasoning goes. Since now the superfans are heavily invested in defending the decision that was made as well - and that it was "their" decision. You want to hear that inxile makes adjustments, and you cheer them on no matter what that change is.
It's a bad decision period, and it probably comes from the simple fact that inxile puts too much weight on internet fora feedback - whether it's indirect through internal testers who practically live on reddit and gaf, or just from taking on board feedback that reads like this: "I think that this may be too difficult for the average player".
The process so far fits perfectly with that way of thinking. And it's also why inXile doesn't want to brag about what they've done to the ruleset. They know that if they said honestly what they were doing: "we have simplified the ruleset significantly because we think most of our users are a bit slow, and are looking for payoff in terms of larger numbers popping up rather than figuring out and being rewarded by solving a puzzle" - you'd be axed in any review later, and you'd be universally panned.
Again - this is what I expect from a publisher massively invested in selling a game in terms of player base and consistent logins over time, and are desperate to have players staying with the game. Where then a project manager makes a decision based purely on focus-group tests, completely isolated from the game-design.
And here you have a game that's been sold on beforehand, that doesn't even target that audience, has no microtransactions, and is a single-player game that people can play through on their own time.
And we still get these big business-type decisions, that normally developers blame on PR-folks and marketing getting their way in spite of design. For a kickstarted game this makes no sense.
kilobug wrote:When TTON Kickstarter was made, Numenéra ruleset wasn't even finalized. And it was clearly mentioned that they would _adapat_ Numénera ruleset, not blindly implement it. As the original game, it did have a healthbar, and it did _massively_ break AD&D2 rules (much more than TTON breaks Numénera rules, actually).
I apologize for being excessively antagonistic about all of this. But I really hope some of the Tton team reads at least these bits - because this is how your feedback folks reason. What convinces you that people who reason in this way wouldn't be happy with anything, as long as you simply stated, with confidence, that the design you chose is fantastic?
In the same way, what convinces you that following feedback like this specifically is going to help you design a consistent game? And what makes you think that feedback like this should decide on how the ruleset functions?
You need to differentiate the sell and present the player perspective better. Or at the very least not let player-perspective influence individual ruleset decisions. I mean, they insist on it themselves: "we don't know all the details of the game's rules and the development". But of course they are absolutely certain that whatever was changed to appease players is wise and logical!
Doesn't make sense, Inxile.