Even more W2 feedback

Discussion about the upcoming Wasteland 3!

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radscorpion9
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Even more W2 feedback

Post by radscorpion9 » February 12th, 2017, 8:10 pm

Hello!

Like 90% of people here (I assume), I played through Fallout 1, 2, 3 (ugh), 4, New Vegas, Arcanum, and Wasteland 2. Unfortunately I didn't get to play Wasteland 1 back in the day, now it feels too dated to try.

After playing so many of these games, and in particular Wasteland 2, I had some feedback on what I felt would make this game better. First I will go over the problems, then my recommendations.

1. Like many have already noted, the weapon skills were not equally strong. You could end up playing the game only to realize 20+ hours in that pistols are actually kind of bad. Assault rifles blew everything else out of the water, in particular due to the strength of end game weaponry. Heavy weapons were nearly useless when you had access to dozens of LAW type weapons (requiring no training) which made for easy sweeping afterwards with the all-powerful assault rifle. Submachine guns and pistols were quite weak.

Secondly I found it misleading when the game characterized assault rifle ammo as rare. Ostensibly this was the reason why a pistol or SMG would be chosen. But if you were careful, you could find tons of ammo in containers everywhere, not to mention at shops where they sell hundreds of rounds. So long as you don't burst fire every encounter there is more than enough for a squad to use 3-4 assault rifles and still have plenty left over to spare.

2. The skillset distribution of many of the NPCs made very little sense or forced them to take on extremely narrow roles because of their subpar intelligence and therefore inability to level up in other areas, which made these NPCs painful or useless to play. If I recall correctly the rationale given was that this skill and statpoint distribution was "realistic". The problem with this reasoning is that 99% of the game was about using said stat/skill points in combat and/or to advance the plotline, or discover interesting narratives amongst key members of the Arizona populace. Therefore the realism detracted from 99% of the gameplay, making such a rationale self-defeating in the worst way. As I mentioned in another thread, no one really cares if "Alfred the mechanic" has a realistic stat point distribution if 99% of the time he sucks to play.

This was not true for all NPCs, some of which had a decent stat/skill point distribution. But then this presented another serious problem, because you could easily end up duplicating one or two skill sets unnecessarily, meaning you basically wasted all of those skill points on things that a future NPC already had (like mechanics for example). This is quite frustrating and can make one restart the game if it happens with multiple NPCs. Again, maybe this is "realistic". But it is also realistic to go to the bathroom every 6 hours or so, its not included in the game because it isn't fun. Similarly no one finds it fun to have wasted all of their skill points because they didn't randomly choose the correct ones not covered by a future NPC.

3. It is not clear which skills are actually useful and which are not. If certain skills turn out to be mostly useless compared to others, and a person picks them thinking this game is an RPG and surely the game will have this avenue available for them to complete their objectives, they may find that they were terribly wrong 20+ hours in and be forced to restart. I don't know if its just me, but I find the kiss ass, hard ass, and wise ass options to be more irritating than fun because you have to gamble on which ones will be used in what situations, with what types of people. There is no clear way to know in advance which one will lead to the choices the player will find optimal, so its just a shot in the dark. This to me is not fun. As you can see, you basically need to look at game guides, or go through the game as a trial run (not very immersive or fun) in order to know what is good and what isn't.

4. I think using skills generally with a percentage of success leads to save scumming (it is really tempting and hard to resist, this is just a psychological fact.) Also it feels really unfair when you have 95% chance to unlock a safe, but you critically fail instead. Would you really accept that or just quickload?

Again, I get that the current approach includes some level of "realism" into the game by having critical fails and so on. But in practise, it just leads to the player reloading most of the time, because it is within the ruleset of the game that you can reload and therefore no one really feels like they are cheating. Therefore it is counterproductive to realism, because people will quickload to avoid a negative outcome or to create a better outcome.

5. As a completely separate point on Wasteland 3. If you are going to do animated facial portraits and dialogue, I would ask that you don't make it look like a cartoon, because fish lips to me looks kind of silly and almost like a talking pig. When you look at the portraits in Fallout 1 or Fallout 2 (Harold the ghoul, the super mutant commander in the military base, the master himself, the drill sergeant...I could go on and on), they all looked gritty and realistic (and sometimes genuinely scary), like I was actually looking at a real character from the post-apocalypse. From what was presented so far in the Wasteland 3 promotional video, I can not take it seriously to the same degree; the graphics actually looked better in the 90s than they do today.

My recommendations are:

1. Ensure all weapon classes can be used without feeling subpar overall to any other class. I don't think you should ever create a weapon class that can be used because it has cheap ammo; all weapon classes should have powerful weapons that are comparable to all other weapon classes when used in the appropriate situation. This makes all weapons fun to use rather than just one branch of them.
2. Allow players to distribute skill points for all NPCs you acquire. You can still have backstories without implying anything about their particular expertise. This allows players to play the game without worrying about accidentally duplicating a set of skills already taken by another NPC that they would really like in their party (not just because they're a decent fighter; perhaps they simply like their personality, etc.). Also this ensures that they don't have any terrible stat or skill point distribution.
3. Ensure that there are multiple ways to solve quest lines such that all skills can be used a fair amount of the time. I would probably remove certain ones, like the traps skill, and fold it into mechanics generally such that each skill has plenty of uses in a variety of situations rather than rare, isolated cases.
4. On skill success/failure, using the lockpick skill as an example, I would design it such that if you reach a certain level, you can definitively unlock a safe or crate of a certain difficulty, but if your level isn't high enough you can't. This actually makes it feel rewarding to level up that skill, because you know that you have truly earned the right to unlock a safe or lockbox, not just that you quickloaded a few times. And lets be honest, a lot of us have quickloaded or have some quickloading rule (only 3 times). The way I suggest is far more honest and feels genuinely rewarding. I would also put an end to random loot in containers. Hmm, now that I think of it I generally hate randomness in games.
5. As stated.


Thank you for reading. Back to work for me...sigh.

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Drool
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by Drool » February 12th, 2017, 10:25 pm

radscorpion9 wrote:Unfortunately I didn't get to play Wasteland 1 back in the day, now it feels too dated to try.
You should give it a try. Ignore the mouse (except for clicking to play paragraphs) and dive in. It shouldn't take long to suck you in.
Ensure all weapon classes can be used without feeling subpar overall to any other class.
Meh. It's my opinion that attempting to do this led to the problems WL2 had with weapons. I was always in favor of progressive weapon classes like in the original. Of course, WL2's skill system wouldn't allow that, but that's another point I disagreed with the devs on.
Allow players to distribute skill points for all NPCs you acquire.
Nah. They should just be specc'd in a way that makes sense. I have no problems with them having set skills; they're premade characters. Again, this was more a failing of CLASSIC than anything.
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Woolfe
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by Woolfe » February 12th, 2017, 10:46 pm

Drool wrote:
radscorpion9 wrote:Unfortunately I didn't get to play Wasteland 1 back in the day, now it feels too dated to try.
You should give it a try. Ignore the mouse (except for clicking to play paragraphs) and dive in. It shouldn't take long to suck you in.
Ensure all weapon classes can be used without feeling subpar overall to any other class.
Meh. It's my opinion that attempting to do this led to the problems WL2 had with weapons. I was always in favor of progressive weapon classes like in the original. Of course, WL2's skill system wouldn't allow that, but that's another point I disagreed with the devs on.
I dunno, I think they could have made the weapons significantly better and more balanced.

Made Rifles powerful but "uninteresting" whilst other weapons had tricks and abilities that make them more worthwhile.
Drool wrote:
Allow players to distribute skill points for all NPCs you acquire.
Nah. They should just be specc'd in a way that makes sense. I have no problems with them having set skills; they're premade characters. Again, this was more a failing of CLASSIC than anything.
Yup... Classic was fairly broken unfortunately, little to no attribute effect on skills, combined with loss of learn by doing.

I never expected the old system, nor did I expect a Fallout rip. But what they came up with was in many ways trying to be both, and failed.
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by ogi79 » February 13th, 2017, 3:13 am

I agree with you that more realistic is better then cartoon look (drill sargeant was the most bad-ass-cool character in F2). I hate cartoon look in games (could not force myself more then 5 min to play Borderlands)

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crimsoncorporation
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by crimsoncorporation » February 13th, 2017, 8:22 am

radscorpion9 wrote:Hello!I don't think you should ever create a weapon class that can be used because it has cheap ammo; all weapon classes should have powerful weapons that are comparable to all other weapon classes
Actually I think it would have been a good thing if in Wasteland 2 there were weapons which are useful not because of their damage output, but because the ammo is cheap and easy to get.

The issue with Wasteland 2 is that ammo is far too easy to aquire, which is why the weaker weapon types become pointless in comparison.

Nonetheless I still enjoy all the weapon classes in Wasteland 2, it's a good way to challenge yourself to beat the game without assault rifles for example. Pistols for example are useful if you use them as a debuffer, which is essential on Supreme Jerk.

In general many of the problems you describe come from being very focused on min-maxing, at least that's my impression.

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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by bokkie » February 13th, 2017, 2:13 pm

crimsoncorporation wrote: In general many of the problems you describe come from being very focused on min-maxing, at least that's my impression.
This. It is something I tend to do as well. Then I notice it and try to let it go. Not bothering makes a game more enjoyable, not trying to squeeze the perfect solution out of everything, why frustrate myself over two team members having the same skill... But I don't play on highest difficulty levels anymore as well ;)

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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by Woolfe » February 13th, 2017, 3:42 pm

ogi79 wrote:I agree with you that more realistic is better then cartoon look (drill sargeant was the most bad-ass-cool character in F2). I hate cartoon look in games (could not force myself more then 5 min to play Borderlands)
Sigh... You need to be more specific than "Cartoon".

I personally didn't think WL2 was cartoony at all.
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Zombra
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by Zombra » February 13th, 2017, 4:33 pm

Drool wrote:
radscorpion9 wrote:Allow players to distribute skill points for all NPCs you acquire.
Nah. They should just be specc'd in a way that makes sense. I have no problems with them having set skills; they're premade characters.
Actually I think this is a cool idea. It might be strange that every NPC you meet is an expert at Cryptography because that's the hole you left in your PCs' skillset, but it would mean you weren't actively discouraged from using new NPCs. Once I had Ralphy and Chisel specced to fill my party's gaps (with skills they didn't start with, I might add), I felt no desire to try new companions, except for some mild curiosity to see what they were like. I'd add them for a mission or two then fire them again to get back my "real" characters. rad's idea might fix this problem.

Then again, it would suck for all NPCs to just blur together into a bunch of Cryptography experts with different portraits. You're probably right that it's best kept as is, with the addition of stats that make sense. I still think the "no new companions" problem is best solved by having CNPCs leave after a while.
Woolfe wrote:
ogi79 wrote:I agree with you that more realistic is better then cartoon look (drill sargeant was the most bad-ass-cool character in F2). I hate cartoon look in games (could not force myself more then 5 min to play Borderlands)
Sigh... You need to be more specific than "Cartoon".
I personally didn't think WL2 was cartoony at all.
I believe radscorpion9 was referring to the W3 trailer with Fish-Lips ... I'm inclined to agree. Graphic quality isn't a big deal for me but art direction is. When I saw Fish-Lips my first thought was that Shrek had gotten a tan and a tattoo. The pixar/claymation looking style is weird to me and "cartoony" describes well enough what's off-putting about it.

I can see what they used for their inspiration from the original game for Fish-Lips and Mister Funtimes
Image
but this shouldn't be the phenotype for the entire game. One more Warcraft orc with a tiny forehead, huge jaw, and close-set eyes and I may scream.
Image

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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by SagaDC » February 13th, 2017, 4:38 pm

Woolfe wrote:I personally didn't think WL2 was cartoony at all.
They're referring to the early demo animations for "Fish-Lips" from Wasteland 3, who does look markedly more cartoonish in comparison to the static art used for characters in Wasteland 2.

Though I do think that several of the talking heads back in the old Fallout titles had very exaggerated, "cartoonish" facial features as well. It was a mixed bag, with some of them looking fairly realistic (for animated video game characters) and others looking like exaggerated caricatures (Gizmo and Decker spring to mind, for example).

In many ways, I feel that Fish-Lips was deliberately designed to appear reminiscent of the more over-the-top talking heads from Fallout 1.

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Woolfe
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Re: Even more W2 feedback

Post by Woolfe » February 13th, 2017, 8:50 pm

Ah.

My apologies. Although I stand by my need to be more specific comment. Just saying "Cartoony" or "Cartoon Like" don't really give us something to work with. But Cartoony like Fishlips in the W3 early demo. Now that is being specific :D
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