Larian Studios
Hi guys,

I read many posts saying that devs should care about save scumming and avoid it at all costs.
I really don't understand and reading articles about it doesn't really help.

According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

I'm not the biggest save scummer (?) but sometimes I'm doing it. In exemple when playing games like XCOM or The Darkest Dungeon because I don't want my high level character dead.
I also do it sometimes in RPGs when the event takes a path I don't like.
In BG1/2 I also do it sometimes if one character is perma dead, or if 5 characters out of 6 die in battle.
I just reload and do it again.
In Total War I'm ALWAYS saving before any battle and I reload the auto save before each turns A LOT.

I guess that's what's call save scumming.

I could also do it in BG3 in exemple if I miss a roll that leads to a combat when I was planning a pacific solution.

Anyway I understand that sometimes I'm not really playing the game like devs expect me to play it. I don't always accept the consequences they planned for specific situations, so I'm "cheating".

And what ? Why is that a problem ?

Sometimes I just force me not to save scum to have a different expérience and that's fine too. It's just another way of playing.

Without save scumming I'm playing the game like the devs expect me to play with all its (sometimes, especially in BG3, unexpected) consequences.

With save scumming, I'm driven by the devs but I'm writing the story I want to write.

What should be wrong with this ?
Why couldn't I choose ?

I read some people saying "don't use backstab if you don't like it", but the game is extremely hard/impossible if you don't backstab. This "don't do it if you don't like it" have real and huge consequences on the experience.

But I don't understand why the "don't do it if you don't like it" should have negative consequences on everyone's experience. It looks to me like a complete matter of choice... The choice to assume consequences or the choice to write the "exact" story you want to write.

Why should devs limit our experience to their expected path ? Because a few of us can't avoid save scumming if it's possible ?

So here's the question...
Can you explain me why devs should care about save scumming ?

PS : as usual, I'll probably edit my message a lot. EN is not my native language so I'm usually reading again and again what I wrote to correct a few things. But you get the idea.
Is it even "Save Scumming" if the game has Quicksave/Quickload as a feature? Or even a manual save option rather than using set checkpoints like some games do. It is technically a game feature and part of the mechanics.
I don’t have a problem with save scumming. It’s optional. And I can understand finding the dice rolling mechanic frustrating. If it would make hardcore players happy they can include some sort of Ironman mode that prevents quick loading.
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Hi guys,

I read many posts saying that devs should care about save scumming and avoid it at all costs.
I really don't understand and reading articles about it doesn't really help.

According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

I'm not the biggest save scummer (?) but sometimes I'm doing it. In exemple when playing games like XCOM or The Darkest Dungeon because I don't want my high level character dead.
I also do it sometimes in RPGs when the event takes a path I don't like.
In BG1/2 I also do it sometimes if one character is perma dead, or if 5 characters out of 6 die in battle.
I just reload and do it again.
In Total War I'm ALWAYS saving before any battle and I reload the auto save before each turns A LOT.

I guess that's what's call save scumming.

I could also do it in BG3 in exemple if I miss a roll that leads to a combat when I was planning a pacific solution.

Anyway I understand that sometimes I'm not really playing the game like devs expect me to play it. I don't always accept the consequences they planned for specific situations, so I'm "cheating".

And what ? Why is that a problem ?

Sometimes I just force me not to save scum to have a different expérience and that's fine too. It's just another way of playing.

Without save scumming I'm playing the game like the devs expect me to play with all its (sometimes, especially in BG3, unexpected) consequences.

With save scumming, I'm driven by the devs but I'm writing the story I want to write.

What should be wrong with this ?
Why couldn't I choose ?

I read some people saying "don't use backstab if you don't like it", but the game is extremely hard/impossible if you don't backstab. This "don't do it if you don't like it" have real and huge consequences on the experience.

But I don't understand why the "don't do it if you don't like it" should have negative consequences on everyone's experience. It looks to me like a complete matter of choice... The choice to assume consequences or the choice to write the "exact" story you want to write.

Why should devs limit our experience to their expected path ? Because a few of us can't avoid save scumming if it's possible ?

So here's the question...
Can you explain me why devs should care about save scumming ?

PS : as usual, I'll probably edit my message a lot. EN is not my native language so I'm usually reading again and again what I wrote to correct a few things. But you get the idea.
I have not been in the forums long, but I have already noticed exactly same thing. I think I have even seen posts where game mechanics decissions have to take account "save scumming". I believe latestest I saw was claim that HP and AC changes are somehow related to save scumming. I am totally baffled by this. I do not have slightest idea why any decission regarding HP of enemies or their ACs are any way related to save scumming.

Great post!
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.
Originally Posted by TheFoxWhisperer
Is it even "Save Scumming" if the game has Quicksave/Quickload as a feature? Or even a manual save option rather than using set checkpoints like some games do. It is technically a game feature and part of the mechanics.

Yes, it's still save a cunning, and I'm in apologetic savescummer. If you weren't supposed to fail things every now and then then the developers wouldn't make failure an option in the first place.


Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

This is what they should do. I understand the want to not be able to be tempted to davescum for those who doesn't like it. The mere availability of frequently loading saves affects how pressured you feel about doing it or how satisfactory you feel about not doing it. Out of sight, out of mind. An optional ironman-ish setting solves the issue to both parties favour.
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Hi guys,



I read some people saying "don't use backstab if you don't like it", but the game is extremely hard/impossible if you don't backstab. This "don't do it if you don't like it" have real and huge consequences on the experience.

.

I disagree on this point. I am a casual player that in all games chooses the "easy" difficult option, I am no strategist, I got easily annoied by difficult battles, and I never use backstab. Once I learned the mechanics of the game and found the way to overpower my toons before the boss battles, I had no difficulties in my playthrough, but even in my first playthrough I found some difficulties in advancing but in the end I was able to end the first chapter without too much effort (obviously I had my full of missteps like adventuring in the Underdark when my party was level two, or trying to fight ordes of goblins instead of eliminate them one little group at the time or frontally engaging the owlbear mother and so on.. ..) and again I didn't use backstab.
Save scumming is an interesting topic. It is definitely not always bad and it is definitely not always good.

Take for example combat in Fire Emblem. Some players will always save scum to get hyper stats for characters, so for Fire Emblem: three houses all your level ups are determined when battle starts. So that the player will have to consider "Do I risk repeating this battle?" The devs also made fishing for better stats unneeded as battalions are a chunk of stats late-game.
  • It's an example of save scumming that players found fun, but the developers didn't like. The developers didn't want players to make all difficulties easy for themselves, so measures were put into place for the player to avoid save scumming.

Another Fire Emblem example. Permadeath keeps combat engaging, I wouldn't want to play without it. But I have friends who would always restart combat if a player died. So now we have a rewind feature and the option to turn off permadeath.
  • This was done for the players and Fire Emblem has gone on to grow a larger fan base. The changes embraced player choice and avoided save scumming, making the game a better experience overall. I definitely enjoy the rewind feature even while playing with permadeath.


In Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 players would save good stat rolls and keep re-rolling. The players who wanted to start the game with a juggernaut main character got the choice to.
  • It was save scumming players enjoyed, it was a choice that would impact the whole game so incentives are high to do that in both games. It's probably why Larian is avoiding rolling for stats.


For Baldur's Gate 3 it makes sense for dialogue DC checks. Some are currently just bogus requiring multiple DCs in a row, giving the player a re-roll is nice but it is not clear why I have it in some situations and not others. It doesn't take that long to reload the saves before a conversation, but I believe Larian would like players to not be experiencing a game where they feel they have to save before every conversation. Larian also probably wants players to experience all dialogue options.
(To avoid save scumming, reduce the dialogues with multiple DC checks.) wink

Originally Posted by Cirrus550
I believe latestest I saw was claim that HP and AC changes are somehow related to save scumming. I am totally baffled by this. I do not have slightest idea why any decission regarding HP of enemies or their ACs are any way related to save scumming.
The whole idea that players can't handle a few misses is baffling to me. That's like saying fans in the NFL can't handle an incomplete pass, all most fans remember is who won and who lost. Fans will even forget fumbles and interceptions if their team wins. (Maybe it's because an incomplete pass isn't always an incomplete pass, the chance for an interception is exciting).

HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.
I agree with the thread starter. I don't see a big problem with save summing. I use it sometimes for role-playing purposes, to get an outcome in line with the character I play. That can also be the case, when I want to botch a roll and did get lucky.
Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.

Well, HP-bloat makes combat last longer and drags it out, really. As the only thing that it accomplishes is that you have a chance to hit more, but that is off-set by the fact that everything takes more hits to go down. And you still can miss. Not only that, spells lose some Oomph. Control spells like sleep and colour spray affect less enemies and damage spells make less of an impact. You need more spells to take down an enemy generally. The HP-bloat is one of the reasons combat is such a slog to go through right now.
You can't completely remove save scumming, but you can minimize it. The idea is to keep the flow and pace going without stopping to reload. By reloading you are stopping the story, breaking immersion to mechanically alter something. Many people complain about immersion, so maybe the devs want you to remain in the moment instead of reloading. Like a badge of honor that the game is immersive enough that you don't want to waste time reloading.

Just a theory though.

Personally i'm grateful that they are trying to minimize reloading from "unwanted" results from a game heavily based on chance. I've seen people spend so much time reloading that its kind of sad honestly. The reasons vary though. Sometimes people pick something to hard but are too proud to tone it down. Other times its to succeed at something that made them feel bad.

If I was a dev I wouldn't want people to get hung up on anything and just enjoy themselves. Challenging should be something difficult that you can overcome with skill in real time. If you have to die to learn then, as a dev, you have to choose what to do. Appeal to masochism or casual. If its story then do you want to waste time making scenes fail if everyone will just reload anyway?

All speculation of course. I don't know definitively.
People will save scum no matter what. I'm a chronic savescummer because as others have said, sometimes I want a specific outcome that I failed to properly put into motion. This includes choice games like Heavy Rain and games with more combat where I meticulously snipe every enemy I encounter, reloading if I get caught before I'm done. It does depend on the game to what extent I will save scum - sometimes I am literally fighting with game mechanics, other times I just want what I want.

I do think devs should have "heatmaps" of where players savescum often. The one change Larian did so far due to a lot of savescum data is in the initial Kagha scene.
First time I played prior to patch 3, I didn't think you could save the child at all!
. I think this change added something to the game, especially if they elaborate on Kagha's characterization in particular. While devs certainly do not need to make any changes based on savescum data, and accept that things are working as intended, the data can let them know that there aren't enough options for particular routes that a good number of players want to take. And making changes based on that, with respect to maintaining their artistic vision, can make the game better and reveal much of the game as properly intended.
Originally Posted by TheFoxWhisperer
Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.

Well, HP-bloat makes combat last longer and drags it out, really. As the only thing that it accomplishes is that you have a chance to hit more, but that is off-set by the fact that everything takes more hits to go down. And you still can miss. Not only that, spells lose some Oomph. Control spells like sleep and colour spray affect less enemies and damage spells make less of an impact. You need more spells to take down an enemy generally. The HP-bloat is one of the reasons combat is such a slog to go through right now.

There actually is a thread in here where someone did simulations and found that the HP-bloat would make combat take the expected number of turns more often. (A more centralized distribution). So the trade offs are: The player loses the chance to end combat quickly, but gains the chance that combat will take the expected number of turns more consistently.

[Edit] Links are nice, so here is a link [/Edit]
Larian clearly did the math to ensure that over 20 hours in the game, the player should have spent the same expected amount of time in combat.

On spells
  • Just as most spells lose their oomph so do sword swings and arrow shots.
  • I've mentioned in other threads, HP Bloat through -AC +HP does hurt spells reliant on spell save DC. And something should be done about that.
  • Control Spells should have been adjusted as well. The HP gains for losing 1AC should be close to 5%, so Control spells should have gained a bump as well.

Sleep in 5e the HP pool is derived by rolling 5d8 at level 1. 24 HP (BG3 level 1) is close to the expected roll (22.5). So sleep got the expected pool + ~10%
We'd have to make a table of average enemy adjustment (-AC and +HP%) to find out if sleep is nerfed or not.

(Assuming some variant of HP bloat remains in the game). Personally I would like to get the upside sleep has in 5e, in Baldur's Gate 3. Something like 3d8+16 at level 1 would be more exciting. In the current game meta sleep feels very lackluster and could use a buff.
Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

Yup. It has no effect upon the experience of other players.

I do agree with some others who have chimed in that said devs should re-evaluate points where players tend to save scum often. It’s a sign that particular encounter or event needs to be refined.
I think that devs should provide both playstyles. If people want to savescum, they should be able to, and if they don't, there could easily be a toggle of some kind.
I've never understood the gatekeeping surrounding savescumming. Why are people so concerned with how other choose to play a game?

Personally, I thoroughly enjoying dealing with the consequences of my actions and running into bad luck that's out of my control sometimes, as long as the systems in place are fleshed out and fair.
If someone else wants that "perfect playthrough" where everything goes their way and they're willing to reload until it works out for them, more power to them.

It's all on the player to decide to play the game how they choose to, and it's weird to try to tout yourself as a "purist" in a situation that's related to video games.
Why not? If players roll to succeed every time, there's no challenge. Or that's what I would assume that is in BG3 but not predecessors. In previous games, the dice were not a factor for diplomacy checks, etc.

Now as for what I've done? I absolutely had to pass the Owlbear animal handling. I'm trained in it so the 18+ check irritated me. I also wanted to see what would happen if I passed animal handling with the chicken and dexterity check for the ring. Basically, I reload if I fail something that I see to be easy (must roll a 2 and I roll a 1 by the will of the evil gods), or if I die. Dying isn't something I can get over lol.

I also got rejected for advances from a party member and I was a little irritated lol. So I may reload if that conversation went FUBAR.
I can't fathom someone wanting save scumming disabled. In a table top game you have a GM who is guiding the experience. If you have one player that constantly rolls ones, it becomes a running joke and the GM adapts the experience to make that player have a blast while rolling abysmally. The game systems in BG3 don't care about the feelings of the player rolling 1 every time. They'll just bend that player over the table and have it's way with them. when the failure for rolling is no options in role-playing and no success in combat, what is left? Starting over from where they last saved, which is essentially a forced save scum.
Chances they prevent save scumming approach 0%.
Originally Posted by Bufotenina
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Hi guys,

I read some people saying "don't use backstab if you don't like it", but the game is extremely hard/impossible if you don't backstab. This "don't do it if you don't like it" have real and huge consequences on the experience.

.

I disagree on this point. I am a casual player that in all games chooses the "easy" difficult option, I am no strategist, I got easily annoied by difficult battles, and I never use backstab. Once I learned the mechanics of the game and found the way to overpower my toons before the boss battles, I had no difficulties in my playthrough, but even in my first playthrough I found some difficulties in advancing but in the end I was able to end the first chapter without too much effort (obviously I had my full of missteps like adventuring in the Underdark when my party was level two, or trying to fight ordes of goblins instead of eliminate them one little group at the time or frontally engaging the owlbear mother and so on.. ..) and again I didn't use backstab.

All right but then you're using something else.
That's not really important but you get the idea : save scumming doesn't impact the experience of everyone, only those who choose to use it.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
The whole idea that players can't handle a few misses is baffling to me. That's like saying fans in the NFL can't handle an incomplete pass, all most fans remember is who won and who lost. Fans will even forget fumbles and interceptions if their team wins. (Maybe it's because an incomplete pass isn't always an incomplete pass, the chance for an interception is exciting).

HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.

The big difference is that playing a solo video game is not a competition...
As your friends, I also restart a battle when a single character die in FE : Three houses^^
I really don't care if people save scum in a single player game, it doesn't affect me. They aren't trying to force it on us as a game mechanic, it is only a matter of player preference. Only time I do it is if an outcome is bugged or makes no sense, otherwise I prefer to keep playing even if something I don't like happens. All they need to do is have an option for people to turn it off if they want.

I think in EA there is a lot more of this since people are trying to see different outcomes, once released there will be less of it. They should take this into account with balancing some things that may not need balancing.
Originally Posted by Zarna
I really don't care if people save scum in a single player game, it doesn't affect me. They aren't trying to force it on us as a game mechanic, it is only a matter of player preference. Only time I do it is if an outcome is bugged or makes no sense, otherwise I prefer to keep playing even if something I don't like happens. All they need to do is have an option for people to turn it off if they want.

I think in EA there is a lot more of this since people are trying to see different outcomes, once released there will be less of it. They should take this into account with balancing some things that may not need balancing.

I think the only time it can affect others is if the devs change the DC due to save scumming stats. They did that with Arabella. Her initial DC was so high that even with high CHA it was a strong likelihood she would die.

I think the current DC is more appropriate and as a result, it affects all players.

I think it’s appropriate because you only get one shot at it and it’s a major change in outcome. But in the case of Shadowheart and her secret, I think it’s fine to keep the DC high since you get more chances to reveal it. And of course the DC should drop accordingly as your approval rating goes up during your travels.
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
The whole idea that players can't handle a few misses is baffling to me. That's like saying fans in the NFL can't handle an incomplete pass, all most fans remember is who won and who lost. Fans will even forget fumbles and interceptions if their team wins. (Maybe it's because an incomplete pass isn't always an incomplete pass, the chance for an interception is exciting).

HP-bloat does have the benefit of ensuring combat won't take too long, so it's not just about avoid save scumming at least.

The big difference is that playing a solo video game is not a competition...
That's a fair statement. It is true that the human side of the DM is gone in a videogame setting. A miss against a human being can feel more respectable than a miss against AI.
I've been more focused on the other side of my statement. That the human DM will make low-rolls not feel bad. While for the current meta in BG3 a miss is always not getting what you wanted.

I believe how Larian adapts to the lack of a human DM, will be the difference between a good and a great game.

Originally Posted by Maximuuus
As your friends, I also restart a battle when a single character die in FE : Three houses^^

xD
One of my friends always reminds me that I let Seteth, Lysithea, and Bernadetta die at the end of Blue Lions. To me, it was amazingly poetic they all died securing victory against the final boss.
For story based reasons, scumming is good as it lets you explore all the content in the game. You can pop back and see what happens if you do X stupid thing you'd never do, and then pop back to your actual save. It's fun and kind of the point of choice-and-consequence roleplaying games to have stuff like that.
So penalising it, is just penalising players for exploring the game content.
I feel like I’m missing something. Is there any reason to think Larian cares at all about save scumming or is this topic just about people being judgemental about others who savescum?
Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 were practically built around the concept of incessant quick-saving and reloading. Metagaming has given BG a long afterlife, helped by things like Ironman modes, or solo class combos or speed runs or such, as well as mods to make the AI more punishing over time, but even when it first dropped the load screen was constantly reminding you to save and save often. A good boss fight was one that needed to be fought more than once or twice. Its kind of a defining feature of those games. They leaned heavily into Save/Rest flexibility to make D&D work for an RTS style RPG and I thought handled both pretty well. This game, BG3, should try and model itself on the successful approach of its predecessors. Making saving/reloading/restarting more difficult or unnecessarily complicated by default is totally anathema to BG in my view.

Baldur's Gate is basically groundhog day, or the 10 minute time machine like Dr Strange. The whole playstyle is basically like, "Ok now that I know, lets do it again! Again!"

BG2 was also successful because it took some liberties with things weapon proficiency/mastery or introducing new class kits. Some of those I didn't really like over BG1's approach, since it made some pure classes kind of obsolete, (especially the priests Totemic Druid>Druid, Priest of Talos>Cleric etc), and making weapons proficiencies so specific also balkanized the character builds into being based more around equipment, but still, that opened things up for a lot of reload replay. I don't recall ever hearing the term savescumming till I came here, that must have come from other games. In Baldur's Gate that's just how the thing played lol
For a normal playthrough, BG3 certainly enforces save scumming way more than BG1/BG2.

Sure, it was much easier to actually get "game over" due to MC dying (and in BG1 with no easy way to raise dead also other characters), so saves/reloads were frequent, but that does not count as save scumming, does it? BG1/2 did not allow saving in combat, so saving/reloading after each (un)successful dice roll in combat was not possible.

But my main gripe are those obnoxious dice rolls in dialogues, I really think that in cRPG, it is way better to implement a "minimum stat required" system - in BG3, this could be implemented by calculating the expected value of the dice roll (like they did, with rounding, for HP on level ups), so you don't really have to change anything compared to the rules, advantage and bonuses still work the same way as before, just the randomness is taken out of the equation. Dialogue checks were handled as stat (charisma...) check without randomness in BG1/2 as well, although they were infrequent. The current system basically makes non-combat skills mostly irrelevant, at least in a single player game, with the only reason to consider them being reduction of number of reloads if the player thinks they got a result they really don't want.

I suspect it is just a cheap and effortless way to gain "this is D&D" points ("show them the 20-sided dice, no one can deny that then!"), instead of properly implementing the rules in places where it would actually improve the cRPG experience.
Originally Posted by Warlocke
I feel like I’m missing something. Is there any reason to think Larian cares at all about save scumming or is this topic just about people being judgemental about others who savescum?
Larian brought up that they changed the game because of excessive save scumming. (The Kagha scene in particular). Larian collects metrics on the game and makes decisions based on that.

The thread is an open-ended question on how we feel about save-scumming. Do we think the devs should care about it?
Originally Posted by Starshine
For story based reasons, scumming is good as it lets you explore all the content in the game. You can pop back and see what happens if you do X stupid thing you'd never do, and then pop back to your actual save. It's fun and kind of the point of choice-and-consequence roleplaying games to have stuff like that.
So penalising it, is just penalising players for exploring the game content.
This. There is close to zero games in the world (nothing comes to mind) that I have ever played through again fully. So during the one and only playthrough I explore all the converstation options available. That means gazillion of reloads during content rich games.

This my personal opinion of course is that saving should allowed everywhere (no problems here) and loading speeds should be optimized (problems here). And should Larian change anything because of this? No.
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.
Originally Posted by Cirrus550
Originally Posted by Starshine
For story based reasons, scumming is good as it lets you explore all the content in the game. You can pop back and see what happens if you do X stupid thing you'd never do, and then pop back to your actual save. It's fun and kind of the point of choice-and-consequence roleplaying games to have stuff like that.
So penalising it, is just penalising players for exploring the game content.
This. There is close to zero games in the world (nothing comes to mind) that I have ever played through again fully. So during the one and only playthrough I explore all the converstation options available. That means gazillion of reloads during content rich games.

This my personal opinion of course is that saving should allowed everywhere (no problems here) and loading speeds should be optimized (problems here). And should Larian change anything because of this? No.
So not this. I would argue save-scumming is BAD, for both story and gameplay reasons. When a game facilitates easy save-scumming, it oftentimes becomes a compulsion, a kind of roleplaying straightjacket. It incentivizes the player to control every outcome to reach the ideal goal, rather than play freely how you like and accept the outcome. Perfection(ism) is the enemy of good. By allowing "cheap" perfection, imperfection becomes unacceptable even though the path towards that ideal outcome is tedious, unimmersive and downright anti-roleplaying. Your "gazillion of reloads" make even finishing a single playthrough that much less likely. You burn yourself out - not only reloading constantly, but even restarting the game repeatedly. Most gamers don't even finish a game once for such (and other) reasons.

Cyberpunk 2077 has a loot system that incentivizes save-scumming. The loot is somewhat randomized and the power level variation is significant. This leads to hundreds, if not thousands of reloads trying to optimize the loot throughout the course of the game. You feel compelled to do it because of the satisfaction of getting the best version of an item...even though it saps enjoyment from gameplay in general. Both by doing a boring repetitive act that breaks immersion, and by contributing to becoming overpowered in such a way you trivialize combat. In this way instant gratification wins out nearly every time.

Baldur's Gate 3 has done a lot to disincentivize this kind of behaviour by providing multiple ways to avoid undesirable outcomes and/or by making outcomes less binary good or bad. When it isn't through roleplaying opportunities, it is straight gameplay mechanics such as "inspiration points". There are some concerns over the balance however. For instance, the way Larian too readily hands out advantage on attack rolls to limit save-scumming incentivized by bad RNG which is the nature of the beast with DnD. This is a rather heavy-handed measure that will upset fragile DnD balancing and lead to poor balancing and/or more "house rules" changes to the DnD rules. Some people with a low tolerance for real or perceived failure advocate for a "baked-in" save-scumming system, ie. by making skill checks easier to succeed (and thereby making skill monkeys like Bards and Rogues that much less useful). Larian focusing on this issue is a very good thing, hopefully they will find the right balance in the process though.
I general I agree save scumming is not ideal, it is something I try to avoid as it more or less ruins the experience for me personally. Though I have resorted to save scumming from time to time as there are the occasional outcome that is just plain bad if you fail the speech roll (intimidation/persuasion/etc..) The Kagha scene being a prime example. (another example where I resorted to save scumming is when I wanted to visit the zhentarim hideout.) Although, I think that last one might be a bug. =/ Even though I saved that Zhentarim dude and he gave me the password I still had to beat two rolls in order to enter the hideout without the choice of giving the password. Save scumming was required because if I failed the check I was deaded by the exploding barrels...

With that little tangent out of the way. My personal opinion is that they don't really need to do much except to doing what they are doing (I.E. adjusting the difficulty of roles where save-scumming is abnormally high.) There are few choices so far in this game I feel the need to win the roll on but there are situations where it happens.
I fee like, its an, if you don't like it, don't do it problem?
there's nothing in the game that makes you do it, and penalising people doing it, because YOU dont want to do it, like, just don't do it.
If other people do, no skin off your nose.

Failing skill checks if just part of DnD-genre games too. Not poor balancing, poor balancing would be if they were all easy to pass as then that's just removing a game mechanic
Originally Posted by Starshine
I fee like, its an, if you don't like it, don't do it problem?
there's nothing in the game that makes you do it, and penalising people doing it, because YOU dont want to do it, like, just don't do it.
If other people do, no skin off your nose.

Failing skill checks if just part of DnD-genre games too. Not poor balancing, poor balancing would be if they were all easy to pass as then that's just removing a game mechanic
Or you implement dialogue ability/skill checks without the random element like BG1/2 did (though they didn't have nearly as many of them)...
Originally Posted by DiDiDi
Originally Posted by Starshine
I fee like, its an, if you don't like it, don't do it problem?
there's nothing in the game that makes you do it, and penalising people doing it, because YOU dont want to do it, like, just don't do it.
If other people do, no skin off your nose.

Failing skill checks if just part of DnD-genre games too. Not poor balancing, poor balancing would be if they were all easy to pass as then that's just removing a game mechanic
Or you implement dialogue ability/skill checks without the random element like BG1/2 did (though they didn't have nearly as many of them)...

can you imagine having an npc in a table top game keeping some fairly mundane secret about their past that explains their motivations and having it hidden behind 5 different difficult dice checks? At some point (after the first roll for me) the group would just say "fuck it, let's just move on". While dice are an integral part of the D&D experience, having fun while role playing is what I do it for. Failing dice checks over and over again and getting snarky remarks from npcs because of it isn't my idea of fun lol
Originally Posted by spectralhunter
I think the only time it can affect others is if the devs change the DC due to save scumming stats. They did that with Arabella. Her initial DC was so high that even with high CHA it was a strong likelihood she would die.

I think the current DC is more appropriate and as a result, it affects all players.

I think it’s appropriate because you only get one shot at it and it’s a major change in outcome. But in the case of Shadowheart and her secret, I think it’s fine to keep the DC high since you get more chances to reveal it. And of course the DC should drop accordingly as your approval rating goes up during your travels.
As long as they don't do this every time people have some kind of emotional issue with something.

Originally Posted by Rack
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.
But how does it affect your single player game if someone else does this in their single player game? Some people do it way too much but they do not make us do it as well.

Originally Posted by Seraphael
So not this. I would argue save-scumming is BAD, for both story and gameplay reasons. When a game facilitates easy save-scumming, it oftentimes becomes a compulsion, a kind of roleplaying straightjacket. It incentivizes the player to control every outcome to reach the ideal goal, rather than play freely how you like and accept the outcome. Perfection(ism) is the enemy of good. By allowing "cheap" perfection, imperfection becomes unacceptable even though the path towards that ideal outcome is tedious, unimmersive and downright anti-roleplaying. Your "gazillion of reloads" make even finishing a single playthrough that much less likely. You burn yourself out - not only reloading constantly, but even restarting the game repeatedly. Most gamers don't even finish a game once for such (and other) reasons.

Cyberpunk 2077 has a loot system that incentivizes save-scumming. The loot is somewhat randomized and the power level variation is significant. This leads to hundreds, if not thousands of reloads trying to optimize the loot throughout the course of the game. You feel compelled to do it because of the satisfaction of getting the best version of an item...even though it saps enjoyment from gameplay in general. Both by doing a boring repetitive act that breaks immersion, and by contributing to becoming overpowered in such a way you trivialize combat. In this way instant gratification wins out nearly every time.
If it takes the fun out of it then don't do it. I am not understanding why people feel compelled to do something they don't like. I would get burnout if I did it as much as you are describing so I don't do it. :P Also, loot is only pixels and they are not worth a negative mental state.

Originally Posted by Azariel
I general I agree save scumming is not ideal, it is something I try to avoid as it more or less ruins the experience for me personally. Though I have resorted to save scumming from time to time as there are the occasional outcome that is just plain bad if you fail the speech roll (intimidation/persuasion/etc..) The Kagha scene being a prime example. (another example where I resorted to save scumming is when I wanted to visit the zhentarim hideout.) Although, I think that last one might be a bug. =/ Even though I saved that Zhentarim dude and he gave me the password I still had to beat two rolls in order to enter the hideout without the choice of giving the password. Save scumming was required because if I failed the check I was deaded by the exploding barrels...

With that little tangent out of the way. My personal opinion is that they don't really need to do much except to doing what they are doing (I.E. adjusting the difficulty of roles where save-scumming is abnormally high.) There are few choices so far in this game I feel the need to win the roll on but there are situations where it happens.
They need to think carefully when they do this though, too much adjusting will lead to watered down and boring content. Easy mode should be where rolls are hard to fail.

I only do it where I would find it immersion breaking otherwise since there is not a DM you can explain things to (for example, 4 heavily armed individuals with hands on weapons surrounding a civilian and asking them a simple question will 99.9% of the time get an answer out of them unless said civilian is inebriated, but here there is only an intimidation check that may fail.) The Kagha scene was not an issue for me, failing it just showed me what type of person she was and I acted accordingly. I expect a lot of people weren't used to having something like that in their games which is where the complaints came from. If it was something that would have made people quit the game and get refunds then I can see why they changed it, although I do not understand why people had that reaction.
Reloading saves is in ways not that different from just picking an Easy or Storymode difficulty in games. Some people like a challenge, others are in it for the story experience. Reloading failed dice roll checks is not that much different. Who cares how others play the game. Unless saves/quicksaves will be removed or made possible only in certain spots and locations, or the game changes to checkpoints it is a thing some people will use and others will not. Just like the difficulty levels you can pick.
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by DiDiDi
Originally Posted by Starshine
I fee like, its an, if you don't like it, don't do it problem?
there's nothing in the game that makes you do it, and penalising people doing it, because YOU dont want to do it, like, just don't do it.
If other people do, no skin off your nose.

Failing skill checks if just part of DnD-genre games too. Not poor balancing, poor balancing would be if they were all easy to pass as then that's just removing a game mechanic
Or you implement dialogue ability/skill checks without the random element like BG1/2 did (though they didn't have nearly as many of them)...

can you imagine having an npc in a table top game keeping some fairly mundane secret about their past that explains their motivations and having it hidden behind 5 different difficult dice checks? At some point (after the first roll for me) the group would just say "fuck it, let's just move on". While dice are an integral part of the D&D experience, having fun while role playing is what I do it for. Failing dice checks over and over again and getting snarky remarks from npcs because of it isn't my idea of fun lol

Well it is mine, the skill checks, the amount of it, and how integrated they are into this game is to me, one of the most fun and interesting aspects of this game and where the fun of it comes from.
Not only do I approve of it I wish there was an option to try out everything without having to use the slow load screen. I'm one of those people that want to learn everything I can and see all the sights. Being locked behind a single choice just to be forced to replay the entire game again to see what else the game has to offer seems ludicrous to me.
To quote Yatzhee; "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof!"

I find the 5e mechanics a bad mesh with the social and roleplaying sides of video games. It can often lock you out of content and options simply by RNG.

This is fine in tabletop where the DM can always incorporate failed rolls to further the story or make new paths forward on the fly when players do unexpected things. A video game, however, has limited options and the harsh treatment of the dice can feel very unfun when you're suffering bad rolls.

Managing accuracy and dice rolls can be fun as a core combat feature, because it emphasize positioning, buffs etc. Doing the same with social encounters is trickier, because each failed roll can cut off other rolls or outcomes entirely. A couple of bad rolls in a fight tend to result is using a bit more healing afterwards, but not outright losing if you play smart.

I think it could work if they added a few more options that are not dice rolls, but unlocked through classes, backgrounds and proficiencies. They should keep dice rolls, of course, but maybe limit them a bit more than now.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
To quote Yatzhee; "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof!"

I find the 5e mechanics a bad mesh with the social and roleplaying sides of video games. It can often lock you out of content and options simply by RNG.

This is fine in tabletop where the DM can always incorporate failed rolls to further the story or make new paths forward on the fly when players do unexpected things. A video game, however, has limited options and the harsh treatment of the dice can feel very unfun when you're suffering bad rolls.

Managing accuracy and dice rolls can be fun as a core combat feature, because it emphasize positioning, buffs etc. Doing the same with social encounters is trickier, because each failed roll can cut off other rolls or outcomes entirely. A couple of bad rolls in a fight tend to result is using a bit more healing afterwards, but not outright losing if you play smart.

I think it could work if they added a few more options that are not dice rolls, but unlocked through classes, backgrounds and proficiencies. They should keep dice rolls, of course, but maybe limit them a bit more than now.

What is interesting is they already have that last part in some instances, an example of this would be super early on in the tutorial when you come across the intellect devourer, most classes/races have to do an arcana roll to determine what the creature (brain) is. However, a Githyanki player just knows that it's an intellect devourer with no roll required. I would like more of these types of situations where rolls are not required depending on race/class.
Originally Posted by Zarna
Originally Posted by Rack
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.
But how does it affect your single player game if someone else does this in their single player game? Some people do it way too much but they do not make us do it as well.

Did you check out the link I posted? Because that's really not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is it's risky to let people choose to make the experience less enjoyable for themselves. What is the correct amount of save scumming? I think it should be pretty much zero, if people are reloading to deal with bugs or have either died or backed them into an unwinnable situation that's fine. If people are reloading to get out of suffering negative consequences then I'd argue that's pretty much always a problem. If the game can prevent or disicentivise this it won't affect people who don't use saves in this way and will improve the game for people who do.

The upside is if people are using save scumming to get around other design flaws. This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check. If it is then save scumming isn't the solution, instead skill checks need to be revised or removed.

The other upside is what about players who just don't ever want to suffer bad consequences? If we can trust players to make this decision (which is risky) then save scumming is a really inelegant solution. Maybe we can give players infinite inspiration, or have an option for it. We can make NPCs immune to death or able to be targetted by revivify or raise dead. This has the dual advantage of making fixing these problems simpler and making it explicit to the player what they are choosing. Players tend to have a lot more resistance to selecting an easy mode than making the game easier by abusing saves.
Originally Posted by Rack
This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check.
Disco Elysium!
Originally Posted by DiDiDi
Originally Posted by Rack
This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check.
Disco Elysium!
Am eagerly waiting for the enhanced edition before I get stuck into it.
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Thats why other games have XP per Quest and not XP for kills to minimize the tempation and control the Player Level.
The same with a Traders and no random goods. Because the player feels punished with a only bad offers.
Thats why social skills and magic never works when competes with combat magic because the people will have Tradeequip or Sleep to learn a Open Lock Spell because time is no factor.
I already mentioned a while back that the best way around save scumming for story elements at least, is to make outcomes of your choices only transpire further down the road.
The immediate consequence of a decision promotes save scumming as it becomes obvious what is "good" and what is "bad", Give me grey and then later on let me find out what that decision meant, either way.
That was one of the things the Witcher games did that was always pretty effective. I haven't spoiled myself for BG:3 but I've observed people talking around things in Act 1 that might have bigger ramifications in later Acts.
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.
Originally Posted by Rack
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.


Ignoring any issues I may have with the article itself (or how it is less applicable for narrative RPGs), its conclusion and advice is basically what Larian is looking to implement.

The premise of the article is that fun is removed due to players doing tedious, repetitive tasks due to their compulsion to optimize. The recommended solve from the article (coloring is mine for emphasis):

Quote
If possible, designers should provide the ability to turn an exploit on or off, giving the players control over their worst instincts. For example, most games with save/load functionality can be abused by players to improve their odds; an RPG in which smashing a box produces random loot can be reloaded as many times as necessary until the best possible weapon or armor appears.

If the worry is specifically about save scummers ruining the game for themselves due to tedious reloading, Larian is also planning for this with a loaded die options.

People who want more extreme anti-reload options will have ironman mode, which is basically an industry standard at this point. The only other thing I can think of getting Larian to add, is maybe a "soft ironman mode", where dying doesn't lead to save-deletes (you only get 1 save and need to load from it).



If anything, the article warns us that trying to control the player experience and forcing some sort of exploit-removal doesn't really work. From the article again:

Quote
With Civ 3, we introduced a feature that preserved the game’s random seed in the save game file, guaranteeing that individual combats would play out the same way regardless of how many times the player reloaded the game. No longer were players tempted to reload every bad combat result, which could slow the game to a crawl.

However, the community response was not what we anticipated. Although some players appreciated that they were no longer tempted to reload combats, many others were frustrated that one of their old tricks disappeared. Indeed, some angry fans actually felt that the game was cheating on them by always reproducing the same combat result!

We solved this problem by turning this feature into an option on game start. Players who want the chance to reload a particularly unlucky roll can use the old exploit, but the game, by default, discourages this work-intensive strategy. Ultimately, the designer can’t go wrong putting the player in control of his or her own experience.
Originally Posted by Rack
Did you check out the link I posted? Because that's really not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is it's risky to let people choose to make the experience less enjoyable for themselves. What is the correct amount of save scumming? I think it should be pretty much zero, if people are reloading to deal with bugs or have either died or backed them into an unwinnable situation that's fine. If people are reloading to get out of suffering negative consequences then I'd argue that's pretty much always a problem. If the game can prevent or disicentivise this it won't affect people who don't use saves in this way and will improve the game for people who do.

The upside is if people are using save scumming to get around other design flaws. This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check. If it is then save scumming isn't the solution, instead skill checks need to be revised or removed.

The other upside is what about players who just don't ever want to suffer bad consequences? If we can trust players to make this decision (which is risky) then save scumming is a really inelegant solution. Maybe we can give players infinite inspiration, or have an option for it. We can make NPCs immune to death or able to be targetted by revivify or raise dead. This has the dual advantage of making fixing these problems simpler and making it explicit to the player what they are choosing. Players tend to have a lot more resistance to selecting an easy mode than making the game easier by abusing saves.
I read the article but I am having trouble putting myself into the shoes of someone who thinks like that. Even if I optimize the crap out of one character and breeze through a game it is easy for me to play the next time with a character who cannot do these things. I have no temptation to switch back to the easy method on them. Some of the examples given also seemed to make sense for efficiency and removing them because a few felt compelled to always use them seems silly to me. I despise handholding and railroading just because others are apparently weak willed. I think having an easy mode for the chronic savescummers and a toggle for the anti savescummers should be fine for this game.

Originally Posted by Riandor
I already mentioned a while back that the best way around save scumming for story elements at least, is to make outcomes of your choices only transpire further down the road.
The immediate consequence of a decision promotes save scumming as it becomes obvious what is "good" and what is "bad", Give me grey and then later on let me find out what that decision meant, either way.
This would be great. I especially like options where the good choice leads to bad results and vice versa. However some people will look up what is supposed to happen in online guides and make decisions accordingly. :P
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

Its not a question when you active cheat or make a Savegame for a another Storyline.
Save Scumming is a problem when the player expection and the game drift apart and the player feels betrayed.

Example:
When you find a Trader and buy a very good armor but you are killed a few minutes later.
You reload a older Savegame but now the Trader has no good Armor.
Now you Save Scumming to bring your armor back.

Or in Divinity when Traders have new Items after Level UP, no Stealing before a Level UP means the goods are forever lost.
Or Traders have the "wrong" class Books etc. ...

Save Scumming is a problem when fundamental Game elements like Items are random generated and you see no Developer intervention for a "good" and balanced experience.
Random Loot is viable for Diablo with infinity number of monsters or Roguelike Games like Risk of Raind but not a Party RPG.
Originally Posted by Caparino
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

Its not a question when you active cheat or make a Savegame for a another Storyline.
Save Scumming is a problem when the player expection and the game drift apart and the player feels betrayed.

Example:
When you find a Trader and buy a very good armor but you are killed a few minutes later.
You reload a older Savegame but now the Trader has no good Armor.
Now you Save Scumming to bring your armor back.

Or in Divinity when Traders have new Items after Level UP, no Stealing before a Level UP means the goods are forever lost.
Or Traders have the "wrong" class Books etc. ...

Save Scumming is a problem when fundamental Game elements like Items are random generated and you see no Developer intervention for a "good" and balanced experience.
Random Loot is viable for Diablo with infinity number of monsters or Roguelike Games like Risk of Raind but not a Party RPG.
In your example save scumming is not the problem. Your are talking some other problem that is then resolved by save scumming. But the save scumming is not the root cause and nothing needs to corrected in save mechanism itself.

In these cases save scumming statistics can be used to identify the root problem. But what devs should care is the root problem. Not get hung on the save scumming.
But to accept Save Scumming as a normal viable Gameplay element make the devs lazy because "you dont like it? Reload" attitude.
Its the same like the Barrelmancy discussion. You dont like the barrels dont use them.
I think there's a difference between accepting Save Scumming as a gameplay element and accepting it as something that's just there in the came. I mean, save-scumming is tedious and boring. So is going into the games code and figuring out secrets and hacks from there. That doesn't mean the devs should actively stop players from doing it, for no other reason than trying would be a headache and there's a decent chance that doing so could make the game as a whole worse (I think, I know nothign about coding). The point is, devs should accept that save scumming is a thing that a game with a save option will probably allow you to do, and don't obsess about finding ways to stop it, just like they shouldn't assume that that save scumming is going to be an active method that should be used.

I thinnk the Barrelmancy issue is actually slightly different because the barrels are actual gameplay elements consciously left throughout the gameworld and they're meant to be used in-game, whereas the save function is just a technical convention of these kinds of games and exist in basically all RPGs.
Originally Posted by Zarna
I read the article but I am having trouble putting myself into the shoes of someone who thinks like that. Even if I optimize the crap out of one character and breeze through a game it is easy for me to play the next time with a character who cannot do these things. I have no temptation to switch back to the easy method on them. Some of the examples given also seemed to make sense for efficiency and removing them because a few felt compelled to always use them seems silly to me. I despise handholding and railroading just because others are apparently weak willed. I think having an easy mode for the chronic savescummers and a toggle for the anti savescummers should be fine for this game.

I think there's at least some common ground here. My philosophy on games design holds that the most fun way to play and the most efficient way to play should be the same. That said I don't think we need to agree on the best way to design a game to agree on how to approach the issue. I might ideally I'd have an option where you couldn't manually save and the game autosaved whenever the player fails a roll but that isn't actually practical because of the risk that poor luck or a bug would create an unwinnable situation.

In reality I'd want something like:

1) Seed dice rolls. If you reload because you rolled a one then retry the same action you're gonna get that one.

2) Have an options menu labelled as "Cheat Options" In here you can deactivate seeded dice rolls, toggle NPC immortality, allow unlimited use of inspiration in dialogue and auto roll 20s in dialogue.

That's pretty similar to what you said should be fine, it's really only different in terms of framing.
Maybe if they avoided using terms like "Storytime" or "Easy" or "Hardcore" or "Ironman" which tend to lump everything together, but instead just presented individual settings that inform some kind of overall score, then perhaps players would experiment more with the settings? Even something as simple as the name of the difficulty setting can have an impact. Like if the game is overly patronizing and baiting the player by saying things like "So are you a story time carebear ready for bedtime, or a badass ironman?!" And pretty much everyone is going to go with "Normal" or "Core rules" because they don't want to punk themselves out in their single player game lol. I think "cheat" is problematic because it does have a way of making it much less likely that a player explore those options, even if they might vastly improve their enjoyment of the game.

A scored playthrough might be a better approach than gatekeeping it from the initial launch, but done in such a way that its not an either/or zero sum type thing. Just to use an example from the BGEE games, some players might enjoy a more difficult enemy AI for the combats, but maybe they don't care about scribing scrolls into a spellbook. Or maybe someone likes the idea of more monsters, but isn't as interested in monsters doing 200% damage or having twice as many hitpoints or whatever other random idea they introduce to make for a more punishing homebrew. Maybe some players pine for rest/save restrictions, but not the other stuff. It would be cool if the options you selected had some kind of default range to let you know how hard/easy you were making things on yourself, but without using any of the charged terms that tell the player they are holding themselves to a lower standard hehe. Like basically they just need to lie to us a little about it, so their can the player is encouraged not to judge themselves overmuch for playstyle preferences.

A game that comes to mind is Master of Orion 2, where the player could create a custom race with certain bonuses or penalties, but where you had to offset or balance the bonuses with penalties and bring the total back to zero, or else it influenced the potential overall score for that match. I'm not totally sure how that would work in a D&D game, since its basically introducing another meta point that attaches to the character or to the playthrough beyond just XP/loot that we expect. Clearly it would have to be more compelling than just a steam achievement. If selecting more challenging options provided some in-game incentives beyond just the joy of more punishment, or a badge that flashes across the bottom of a screen for half a second, but I'm not sure what that should look like for this particular game.
Not sure if anyone mentioned this, but I've had some moments where I actually enjoy save scumming. Reloading a save to get a certain item that only drops from one chest but it's a low chance, trying to proc a certain reward after a quest turn-in or reloading to check a vendor's new items (diablo 2 for instance). Not everyone's experience is "ruined" by save-scumming. I know devs have a tendency to try to control exactly how the player is having fun but why? If save-scumming is disabled completely, then I won't have the type of fun the devs want me to have, i'll just not play.
Games are supposed to be fun for the people who buy them. Some people like a save-anywhere/anytime function--some people prefer checkpoint saves. So developers should support both types of saves, of course. (But if they have to choose, I much prefer the save anywhere/anytime.) I've never understood the people who think saving anywhere/anytime is something they are forced to do against their wills just because it is an option in a game. Yes, it is fun to try different approaches to obstacles to see the result or which approach they find most satisfying. Saving and restoring allows that kind of freedom in gameplay--checkpoint saving does, too, but it also forces a lot of repetitive gameplay on the player for the privilege of trying different solutions to a problem.

The term "save scumming" is a pejorative expression, imo. It attempts to cast negativity on games which merely provide an option for saving anywhere and anytime. It's a very dumb expression, imo. The only kind of game that doesn't allow so-called "save scumming" is a game without any save-game function at all and I've never seen one of those...;) Such a game wouldn't be much fun, I imagine.
Originally Posted by Waltc
The only kind of game that doesn't allow so-called "save scumming" is a game without any save-game function at all and I've never seen one of those...

You could argue that online games such as MMOs fall into this category. The player's current game state is saved upon logout and/or at predetermined intervals, but the player can't go further back to a previous game state - they can only resume from where they last left off.
I don't think this needs to be heavily addressed ATM. This is largely due to the fact that currently it is early access and there are issues that comes with that. Crashes, glitches, bugs, etc... This may cause people to save-scum to get back the roll they had before the crash. (this has happened to me a few times.)

I think alternate ways to get the outcome you desire should also exist for many situations (obviously not all if you fail to convince someone not to attack you hard to find an alternate solution to a fight there.)

Certainly later in development they can look at the data and decide if things should be changed on a case by case basis.

Personally on my playthroughs I like to go with the rolls and live with the consequences however there are examples where this is not the case. (although funny, when failed, some rolls require save scumming. those would be the kind that lead to death an example would be failing to resist the Mind Flayer in the beginning...) Those could more or less be avoided if your teammates didn't just sit there and watch you die like nitwits but hey.... There are also some rolls I refuse to accept on a specific type of playthrough because screw those results. admittedly 95+% of the rolls are not like that.

On a side note, as discussed previously, some classes/races should have the ability to skip a roll altogether. Much like how a Githyanki does not need to roll a Arcana check to determine that the brain in the tutorial section is an intellect devourer, some classes should be able to skip rolls. (not that it is out yet but for example the bard should be able to skip the performance check when playing the lute for that tiefling, I mean what kinda bard can't play the lute...) =P
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

Man, i want rule the game but not the game rule me.
It's annoyng when you cannot persuade ordinal NPC and to get what you want. So, what i suppose to do then unless to save scumming?
Originally Posted by Caparino
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

Its not a question when you active cheat or make a Savegame for a another Storyline.
Save Scumming is a problem when the player expection and the game drift apart and the player feels betrayed.

Example:
When you find a Trader and buy a very good armor but you are killed a few minutes later.
You reload a older Savegame but now the Trader has no good Armor.
Now you Save Scumming to bring your armor back.

Or in Divinity when Traders have new Items after Level UP, no Stealing before a Level UP means the goods are forever lost.
Or Traders have the "wrong" class Books etc. ...

Save Scumming is a problem when fundamental Game elements like Items are random generated and you see no Developer intervention for a "good" and balanced experience.
Random Loot is viable for Diablo with infinity number of monsters or Roguelike Games like Risk of Raind but not a Party RPG.

Example: I find a good set of armor at a merchant. I buy it, equip it, and make a new save file. Now, if I die later, I'll always have that armor. Save early, save often, save before, save after. This has been a mantra in these games since BG 1.
Originally Posted by Warlocke
I feel like I’m missing something. Is there any reason to think Larian cares at all about save scumming or is this topic just about people being judgemental about others who savescum?

I think it is the latter. There have been threads before going on about having the devs do something to stop or limit "savescumming". So hate it, some have no issue with it. Personally, I don't see any problem, since it is a personal choice, and any player can choose to not do it. Some games literally require savescumming like Xcom 2. Though they actually have a cool system of maintaining like 3 or 4 save points every minute apart while you play. That way if you die, you can choose to just reload say 2 minutes in the existing battle to try and change the outcome. But I STILL save before starting a new mission regardless.

Immersion is a personal thing, different for everyone. Some things that "break immersion" for some, do not do so for others.
Savescumming could partially be fixed by adding an option for Iron Mode where you only save when you rest or the game constantly autosaves making actions permanent.
Personally I don't see issue with save scumming
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I thinnk the Barrelmancy issue is actually slightly different because the barrels are actual gameplay elements consciously left throughout the gameworld and they're meant to be used in-game, whereas the save function is just a technical convention of these kinds of games and exist in basically all RPGs.

I think you pretty much nailed that right on the head.
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I thinnk the Barrelmancy issue is actually slightly different because the barrels are actual gameplay elements consciously left throughout the gameworld and they're meant to be used in-game, whereas the save function is just a technical convention of these kinds of games and exist in basically all RPGs.

Yeah, save scumming is going to happen no matter what. Designing ways to discourage it is a complete waste of time at best, unless it's a major part of your design philosophy. Solasta actually used to preserve random seed by default, following the lead of games like Fire Emblem and XCOM. People hated it in Solasta because unlike those other two games, Solasta had dialogue skill checks and failing those always meant you were forced to murderhobo someone. Then they introduced an option to turn that off, but preserving was still the default option. Then they had it turned off by default afterwards, because most people didn't know that option existed and what it meant.

Though while your topic of barrelmancy is valid too, I personally don't see it as that much of a problem, as it could be easily fixed by just increasing their weight to the point where you can't put them in your inventory period. Even if nothing happens to the barrels, it's not a core mechanic, you actually CAN just ignore them as people like to argue, as it's not like enemies are picking them up to nuke your whole party at once either. In that respect, I'd have bigger problems with the frequency of throwable flasks and special arrows than barrels, as enemies do use those.

You can't really ignore height/backstab advantage and disadvantage though.
There are many reasons players reload and not all of them are for "bad" reasons.
Re-doing a battle isn't a bad form of savescumming for example, but if you want to limit the amount of times players do it, then do it through positive gameplay design.

There is nothing worse than feeling you've been conned out of something good due to a poor die roll and that's it. Get an item vs don't, save a person vs don't. Something positive vs something negative.

If I know that a couple of die rolls = a cool piece of gear and failing means I get nothing, then yeah, chances are players will reload until they get the item. But what about if getting said item meant also something negative? Like a faction hunting down the owner of said magical item, harassing the player(s), or meaning you miss out on a character joining you later on as a result of you owning said item. What if failure just mean you had to seek a different opportunity. You failed the charisma check, but you open up the opportunity to threaten, or take/achieve by force.

Say for example in the grove I fail to save the child via talking? What if I have a chance, to physically intervene, what would the ramifications be? Give me choice, rather than giving me success or failure so close together that re-loading just frankly makes sense. I appreciate it's a lot of effort to do this all the time, but the player is imho much less likely to reload (other than to see different outcomes out of curiosity), if they still feel in control of their destiny.
I don't particularly mind the option to save scum in single player games. But I do think that when players feel incentivised to do so regularly, there might be a problem with how things are designed. This is where the D20 ruleset shows some cracks when adapting form a tabletop format to a game.

As a DM, I don't let my players "take back" their rolls. Them failing at something just becomes part of the story going forward and gets incorporated into the way content unfolds. And I can do that because my stories are only as limited as I make them. A game, on the other hand, have very strict limitations for what it can and cannot do. Failing dice rolls can easily just lock you out of content and the more rolls you have to do in a row, the less likely you are to succeed. Failing a dice roll only to have someone blow up the entire room, likely killing you, is particularly annoying.

Let's take the Zhentarim hideout as an example. I don't remember the exact DCs, but they're not too bad individually. I think ~12 to 15 in increasing difficulty or thereabouts. So let's say the 4 skill checks are 12, 13, 14 and 15. Let's further assume you have 16 Dexterity and Charisma, as well as proficiency where it is relevant.

First check: Pure dex, so 9 or higher with +3.
Second check: 8 or higher with +5.
Third check: 9 or higher with +5.
Fourth check: 10 or higher with +5.

That's 4 checks that are each nearly just a coinflip that you have to pass. A rough headcalc. estimate gives me somewhere between 8 and 12% chance of success WITH the stats and proficiencies relevant. Even with Guidance (+1d4), you're looking at maybe 20% chance of making it. You can bypass having to do these specific checks via a quest, but that's not exactly obvious until you've done it and if you bumble your way into the place before that, you can lock this part out with a single bad roll.

Previous D&D games like Neverwinter Nights had mechanics like "Take 10" or whatever it was, where you could often bypass having to make a roll by simply checking your current bonus. This was typically done outside of combat and was a way to reward players for investing in a skill. We even have something like it in BG3 with the class specific dialogue options.

I think one possibly solution would be to alter how some (not all) of these interactions work. Instead of automatically going to the dice roll, maybe having proficiency with a skill could sometimes be counted as an automatic success. Let's say giving us the option to bypass DCs that would be equal to or lesse than 8 + skill bonus if (and only if) we're proficient.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
...I think one possibly solution would be to alter how some (not all) of these interactions work. Instead of automatically going to the dice roll, maybe having proficiency with a skill could sometimes be counted as an automatic success. Let's say giving us the option to bypass DCs that would be equal to or lesse than 8 + skill bonus if (and only if) we're proficient.

I agree, I think there are really to many dice rolls in regards to conversations etc. I mean 1 here or there is fine, but when you have to do a roll check like 2 or 3 times in a single conversation it gets annoying.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
I don't particularly mind the option to save scum in single player games. But I do think that when players feel incentivised to do so regularly, there might be a problem with how things are designed.
This is a very solid summary of the matter...

Quote
As a DM, I don't let my players "take back" their rolls. Them failing at something just becomes part of the story going forward and gets incorporated into the way content unfolds. And I can do that because my stories are only as limited as I make them. A game, on the other hand, have very strict limitations for what it can and cannot do. Failing dice rolls can easily just lock you out of content and the more rolls you have to do in a row, the less likely you are to succeed. Failing a dice roll only to have someone blow up the entire room, likely killing you, is particularly annoying.

Let's take the Zhentarim hideout as an example. I don't remember the exact DCs, but they're not too bad individually. I think ~12 to 15 in increasing difficulty or thereabouts. So let's say the 4 skill checks are 12, 13, 14 and 15. Let's further assume you have 16 Dexterity and Charisma, as well as proficiency where it is relevant.

First check: Pure dex, so 9 or higher with +3.
Second check: 8 or higher with +5.
Third check: 9 or higher with +5.
Fourth check: 10 or higher with +5.

That's 4 checks that are each nearly just a coinflip that you have to pass. A rough headcalc. estimate gives me somewhere between 8 and 12% chance of success WITH the stats and proficiencies relevant. Even with Guidance (+1d4), you're looking at maybe 20% chance of making it. You can bypass having to do these specific checks via a quest, but that's not exactly obvious until you've done it and if you bumble your way into the place before that, you can lock this part out with a single bad roll.

Previous D&D games like Neverwinter Nights had mechanics like "Take 10" or whatever it was, where you could often bypass having to make a roll by simply checking your current bonus. This was typically done outside of combat and was a way to reward players for investing in a skill. We even have something like it in BG3 with the class specific dialogue options.

I think one possibly solution would be to alter how some (not all) of these interactions work. Instead of automatically going to the dice roll, maybe having proficiency with a skill could sometimes be counted as an automatic success. Let's say giving us the option to bypass DCs that would be equal to or lesse than 8 + skill bonus if (and only if) we're proficient.
...And this a perfect example of it.
It has been said countless times over the years and across several games, but the "trick" is designing the entire game under the assumption that even failing every single dialogue/story skill check won't just "lock you out of things" but simply opens new possibilities. Even at cost of putting some cleverly disguised crutch to help the player... Which doesn't mean "loaded dice". It means that the failure must become the starting point of a new scenario rather than an excuse to bash the players on their head.

A perfect example of this already present in BG3 is when the priestess captures you and if you fail the TWO chances to free yourself the game "cheats" and sends you a new NPC (a dwarf woman) introducing herself as one of Raphael's lackeys and freeing you instead... This time remarking that "You will own him one" for the favor.
See? It's a failure, but it's one that opens a new narrative scenario instead of cutting you out interesting content. Hell, arguably it's MORE Interesting that just succeeding.
Originally Posted by Tuco
A perfect example of this already present in BG3 is when the priestess captures you and if you fail the TWO chances to free yourself the game "cheats" and sends you a new NPC (a dwarf woman) introducing herself as one of Raphael's lackeys and freeing you instead... This time remarking that "You will own him one" for the favor.
See? It's a failure, but it's one that opens a new narrative scenario instead of cutting you out interesting content. Hell, arguably it's MORE Interesting that just succeeding.
This was one of my favorite parts of BG3.
Failing checks and resolving myself to reload or enter an unavoidable combat, but instead I'm given cool new content. More of this please.
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by Tuco
A perfect example of this already present in BG3 is when the priestess captures you and if you fail the TWO chances to free yourself the game "cheats" and sends you a new NPC (a dwarf woman) introducing herself as one of Raphael's lackeys and freeing you instead... This time remarking that "You will own him one" for the favor.
See? It's a failure, but it's one that opens a new narrative scenario instead of cutting you out interesting content. Hell, arguably it's MORE Interesting that just succeeding.
This was one of my favorite parts of BG3.
Failing checks and resolving myself to reload or enter an unavoidable combat, but instead I'm given cool new content. More of this please.

Yep, totally agree. Consideration of all possible narrative strands is a major attraction of RPGs for me. Sadly, most games "choices" are largely flavour, and frequently structure thamselves around rather banal combat ( whatever the system being used ) in a somewhat lame hierarchy of "bosses"; presumably because the videogame player base mostly like to hit things.

One of the reasons I have the BG3 EA is because I sensed from what was shown that Larian were getting a lot better at building a more complex narrative than with their DOS games. The more that can be achieved by "talking" and "doing" rather than "hitting", the better the game will be ( for me, anyway ).
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
I read many posts saying that devs should care about save scumming and avoid it at all costs.
I really don't understand and reading articles about it doesn't really help.

According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

I'm not the biggest save scummer (?) but sometimes I'm doing it. In exemple when playing games like XCOM or The Darkest Dungeon because I don't want my high level character dead.
I also do it sometimes in RPGs when the event takes a path I don't like.
In BG1/2 I also do it sometimes if one character is perma dead, or if 5 characters out of 6 die in battle.
I just reload and do it again.
In Total War I'm ALWAYS saving before any battle and I reload the auto save before each turns A LOT.

I guess that's what's call save scumming.

I could also do it in BG3 in exemple if I miss a roll that leads to a combat when I was planning a pacific solution.
As I understand it, save-scumming isn't about reloading to try to do better or exploring different options - save scumming is about abusing RNG to cheat your way through the content, and not engaging with design in intended way. So less about reloading battle until you do well enough, and more about spamming finger of death that you have no chance of landing until you roll 20. Not playing iron-man is not the same as save-scumming. Bypassing mechanics through abuse of RNG: is.

I think people who will complaint about save-scumming are people who are susceptible to it, and don't enjoy it. How game design influences players is something devs should very much consider, though of course it is impossible to make a tailor-game made game for everyone. If we talk about skill-checks things few things to consider would be:

How many people reload if they fail a check?
Is failing a check our character is highly proficient with in some way engaging? Is winning a check we have little chance to succeed in rewarding?
Does RNG in skill checks make playthroughs more varied, or do players gravitate toward the same path, as their character choices are being bypassed through save-scumming?

Personally, I had a fine experience with BG3 skillchecks - most of them went as expected, there were few unfortunate failures, and few unexpected wins. With straight 20 roll, it is a matter of luck, and I can see things going terribly wrong for someone (assuming it is a flat 20d roll - FiraXCOM1&2 cheats quite a bit with their percentage, and players still complain about those few misses - something that I didn't find that commong in my many, many playthroughs. Some people will just dislike RNG). More importantly, I don't recall BG3 failing me into an instant failure state - having things go into unexpected direction is A-OK in my book, killing me (I mean pernamently - game over/try again) for rolling a wrong number is not.
Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

Agreed!
I thought of an alternative solution that may balance the Save Scumming to reroll an encounter and Saving to shield progress:

Aside from the Autosaves the game applies, tie Progress saves to Short Rests (we have 2 of them) and perhaps the Camp and Waypoints.
You get 2 "free" saves out in the world but need to either return to camp or a Waypoint location for additional saves. You can still do it 100 times if you want but you have to leave the region ... in essence, pulling you out of the action. It becomes a choice; "do I use a short rest to save? Leave and come back? Or, roll the dice and take what comes?"
Originally Posted by Absalom
Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

Agreed!
I thought of an alternative solution that may balance the Save Scumming to reroll an encounter and Saving to shield progress:

Aside from the Autosaves the game applies, tie Progress saves to Short Rests (we have 2 of them) and perhaps the Camp and Waypoints.
You get 2 "free" saves out in the world but need to either return to camp or a Waypoint location for additional saves. You can still do it 100 times if you want but you have to leave the region ... in essence, pulling you out of the action. It becomes a choice; "do I use a short rest to save? Leave and come back? Or, roll the dice and take what comes?"

Or, we just leave it alone? If we start to redesign a game every time someone says "but that's open to abuse", we'll never get a game. This is a perfect example, I won't be "scumming" saves, but I will be saving just as I have since games with saves were made. I can remember when there was no such thing, or where autosaves were the only options. I think saving during combat is a bad thing, so I don't do it. However, how many here complaining about that loved Skyrim? You could, after all, save during combat, I've seen videos where people did it. Regardless, if I'm not save scumming, and Joe Normal is, how is that affecting my game? If we're not playing MP, it's not affecting me at all. Can they make it where we can't save during combat? I'm sure they can, others have. Is it necessary? No. From where I'm sitting, this topic is a whole lot of "but someone might do better at x than me because they "cheated" to do it", but if we're all tooling along in SP, it doesn't matter in the least bit what they managed to do. Some people love to use mods, but I don't. How many threads have I started insisting that mods have no business in games? None. Because it doesn't affect me, unless we're playing MP together. In that instance, if they're using mods, and I'm not, I can just quit that game, and look for another, or just play SP.
This is one of those topics that has me putting my head in my hands and asking "Why can't we all just get along"?

You are absolutely correct in your assessment. How you play your game has ZERO impact on how I play mine.

It shouldn't matter one iota if you want to save scum or not.

The only thing I would perhaps suggest is an achievement that unlocks if the player finishes without reloading once.
But again, purely a vanity feature and of no real importance.

The other thing I've noticed about BG3, is due to the way encounters are designed, you get AMBUSHED a lot.
That is to say, there's an aspect of the fight that isn't telegraphed early on that can really blindside you and wipe you out.

I tend to find myself reloading combat, because sometimes, things just go sideways and I wasn't able to adapt correctly.
The same comes for when your attempts to get a certain outcome in the game are foiled by a dice roll.

I don't have the time to replay the game over and over again from scratch, just to try and follow the story path I *actually* wanted to follow.
In a game where pathing will cause your party to literally jump off a cliff instead of climbing down a ladder, I cannot believe we're still debating any save limitations.
Originally Posted by Wormerine
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
I read many posts saying that devs should care about save scumming and avoid it at all costs.
I really don't understand and reading articles about it doesn't really help.

According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

I'm not the biggest save scummer (?) but sometimes I'm doing it. In exemple when playing games like XCOM or The Darkest Dungeon because I don't want my high level character dead.
I also do it sometimes in RPGs when the event takes a path I don't like.
In BG1/2 I also do it sometimes if one character is perma dead, or if 5 characters out of 6 die in battle.
I just reload and do it again.
In Total War I'm ALWAYS saving before any battle and I reload the auto save before each turns A LOT.

I guess that's what's call save scumming.

I could also do it in BG3 in exemple if I miss a roll that leads to a combat when I was planning a pacific solution.
As I understand it, save-scumming isn't about reloading to try to do better or exploring different options - save scumming is about abusing RNG to cheat your way through the content, and not engaging with design in intended way. So less about reloading battle until you do well enough, and more about spamming finger of death that you have no chance of landing until you roll 20. Not playing iron-man is not the same as save-scumming. Bypassing mechanics through abuse of RNG: is.

I think people who will complaint about save-scumming are people who are susceptible to it, and don't enjoy it. How game design influences players is something devs should very much consider, though of course it is impossible to make a tailor-game made game for everyone. If we talk about skill-checks things few things to consider would be:

How many people reload if they fail a check?
Is failing a check our character is highly proficient with in some way engaging? Is winning a check we have little chance to succeed in rewarding?
Does RNG in skill checks make playthroughs more varied, or do players gravitate toward the same path, as their character choices are being bypassed through save-scumming?

Personally, I had a fine experience with BG3 skillchecks - most of them went as expected, there were few unfortunate failures, and few unexpected wins. With straight 20 roll, it is a matter of luck, and I can see things going terribly wrong for someone (assuming it is a flat 20d roll - FiraXCOM1&2 cheats quite a bit with their percentage, and players still complain about those few misses - something that I didn't find that commong in my many, many playthroughs. Some people will just dislike RNG). More importantly, I don't recall BG3 failing me into an instant failure state - having things go into unexpected direction is A-OK in my book, killing me (I mean pernamently - game over/try again) for rolling a wrong number is not.

As I stated earlier in this thread, it isn't about people's option to save/reload until the game works out the way they want it to and more about the underlying designs that encourage save scumming. As Yahtzee Croshaw once said: "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof."

This typically comes with 2 elements; one is that the is a 'right' and a 'wrong' outcome to a skill roll, usually involving the player being locked out of content or rewards simply for having bad luck instead of being locked out because of player choice. The other is when several of these dice rolls happen in a short amount of time and failing any one of them leads to the 'wrong' outcome, which drastically stacks the deck against the player. The Zhentarim are particularly annoying to deal with, not just because there are many skill checks in a row, but because failing any of said skill checks have a fair shot of simply killing your party because they blow up the room you're in.

There are very simple ways to fix these problematic elements, some of which are already present in the game.

1: More class based dialogue options bypassing skill checks. They are usually really neat to have from a world-building and roleplaying perspective too. My Ranger calling out the tiefling wizard apprentice who wants to flee by saying something like "I AM the hunter, NOT the hunted" was a fun option to get. Or the Rogue interacting with the kids grifting passersby.

2: Proficiency based options bypassing skill checks. Makes sense to me for someone with proficiency with Persuasion to get to skip some (not all) dice rolls that goes on that skill.

3: Don't have a lot of checks required for a single outcome. 1 will usually do when we're rarely above 65% chance of succeeding the harder ones. Having a dice roll followed by having to pick a dialogue that can still screw it up still works fine. Having more than 1 should be reserved for very special encounters, IMO, because of the % chances the D20 system tend to work with. I am not counting dialogue perception checks in this, those seem to largely be fine.

4: Don't have people blow up the room you're standing in for failing a dialogue check. It feels very unfair that a bad dice roll during a dialogue can lead to Xd6 worth of unavoidable fire damage that I won't even get a chance to react to. Lock the doors, set things on fire and all of that, but give me a chance to get out of the way and treat it as a realtime "escape" encounter.

5: And most important of all, try to always have a narrative outcome other than just 'you failed' for whenever a dialogue check is called for. Like Raphael sending someone to free you if you can't do it on your own, because it is in his best interest that you feel like you're in his debt. A debt he will almost certainly come to collect, which adds tension and anticipation to the story going forward. A dice roll should decide which story paths you have available, not block them off without alternatives.

Personally, I don't mind the chance to 'fail' as I go along. It can make the story interesting and add replay value, but I do mind when the rolls are set up in a way that encourage save scumming because it feels so obvious that not succeeding was the wrong outcome. Not an alternate path or a setback, just the wrong outcome.

Is this the case with all of the dialogue checks in the game? Nope. But there are enough of them to notice and since we're in Early Access, this is the best time to call attention to the parts in the system we want improved. I think we can all agree that we don't want a system that encourages save scumming, even if doing it remains an option.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
As I stated earlier in this thread, it isn't about people's option to save/reload until the game works out the way they want it to and more about the underlying designs that encourage save scumming. As Yahtzee Croshaw once said: "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof."

This typically comes with 2 elements; one is that the is a 'right' and a 'wrong' outcome to a skill roll, usually involving the player being locked out of content or rewards simply for having bad luck instead of being locked out because of player choice. The other is when several of these dice rolls happen in a short amount of time and failing any one of them leads to the 'wrong' outcome, which drastically stacks the deck against the player. The Zhentarim are particularly annoying to deal with, not just because there are many skill checks in a row, but because failing any of said skill checks have a fair shot of simply killing your party because they blow up the room you're in.
Yeah, but I think there is a seperate discussion to be made regarding combat rolls, and skill checks. For the most part my reply was meant toward combat encounters (that's what I understood Maximuus was refering to).

I do think that skillchecks as they currently are have a much higher chance of being unenjoyable and therefore save-scummed through - personally I had an ok time with it in my playtrhough, but I can also easily imagine alternative universe when it wasn't the case. As such I was always in favour of flat skill checks in cRPGs, and I like Josh Sawyers's preference of double dice rolls.

I will also agree that loosing rolls in BG3 is ususally not very interesting. Loosing content is never fun. If it results in death in coop, it might not be a problem due to resurrect, but I find that resurrecting my main in singleplayer cheapens the stakes, and disengages me. I think BG1&2 might have had a right idea afterall by making PC death as a game over state. Then again in BG3 no one and everyone is a PC.

Overall, I think you are absolutely correct in everything you have listed .
idk I kind of like that my PC can die. It's led to some great in game story moments.
Originally Posted by Wormerine
Originally Posted by TomReneth
As I stated earlier in this thread, it isn't about people's option to save/reload until the game works out the way they want it to and more about the underlying designs that encourage save scumming. As Yahtzee Croshaw once said: "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof."

This typically comes with 2 elements; one is that the is a 'right' and a 'wrong' outcome to a skill roll, usually involving the player being locked out of content or rewards simply for having bad luck instead of being locked out because of player choice. The other is when several of these dice rolls happen in a short amount of time and failing any one of them leads to the 'wrong' outcome, which drastically stacks the deck against the player. The Zhentarim are particularly annoying to deal with, not just because there are many skill checks in a row, but because failing any of said skill checks have a fair shot of simply killing your party because they blow up the room you're in.
Yeah, but I think there is a seperate discussion to be made regarding combat rolls, and skill checks. For the most part my reply was meant toward combat encounters (that's what I understood Maximuus was refering to).

I do think that skillchecks as they currently are have a much higher chance of being unenjoyable and therefore save-scummed through - personally I had an ok time with it in my playtrhough, but I can also easily imagine alternative universe when it wasn't the case. As such I was always in favour of flat skill checks in cRPGs, and I like Josh Sawyers's preference of double dice rolls.

I will also agree that loosing rolls in BG3 is ususally not very interesting. Loosing content is never fun. If it results in death in coop, it might not be a problem due to resurrect, but I find that resurrecting my main in singleplayer cheapens the stakes, and disengages me. I think BG1&2 might have had a right idea afterall by making PC death as a game over state. Then again in BG3 no one and everyone is a PC.

Overall, I think you are absolutely correct in everything you have listed .

I'm with Sawyer on this one. A 2d10 system as base sounds a lot less tedious than a D20 precisely because of the bell curve. Maybe I'll give it a test run with my own group sometime. Having an option to have the game run on one sounds neat and would probably go a long way to solve the janky interaction between D&D and a singleplayer experience.

Generally I don't find the rolls in combat to be a big problem, because there are usually a need for numerous failed rolls for the RNG to be the thing that kills you and because of that the results even out a lot more. If you lose a combat, the most likely reason is because you made suboptimal decisions before or during the encounter, though it is still possible to be at the complete mercy of the RNG even here.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Absalom
Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

Agreed!
I thought of an alternative solution that may balance the Save Scumming to reroll an encounter and Saving to shield progress:

Aside from the Autosaves the game applies, tie Progress saves to Short Rests (we have 2 of them) and perhaps the Camp and Waypoints.
You get 2 "free" saves out in the world but need to either return to camp or a Waypoint location for additional saves. You can still do it 100 times if you want but you have to leave the region ... in essence, pulling you out of the action. It becomes a choice; "do I use a short rest to save? Leave and come back? Or, roll the dice and take what comes?"

Or, we just leave it alone? If we start to redesign a game every time someone says "but that's open to abuse", we'll never get a game. This is a perfect example, I won't be "scumming" saves, but I will be saving just as I have since games with saves were made. I can remember when there was no such thing, or where autosaves were the only options. I think saving during combat is a bad thing, so I don't do it. However, how many here complaining about that loved Skyrim? You could, after all, save during combat, I've seen videos where people did it. Regardless, if I'm not save scumming, and Joe Normal is, how is that affecting my game? If we're not playing MP, it's not affecting me at all. Can they make it where we can't save during combat? I'm sure they can, others have. Is it necessary? No. From where I'm sitting, this topic is a whole lot of "but someone might do better at x than me because they "cheated" to do it", but if we're all tooling along in SP, it doesn't matter in the least bit what they managed to do. Some people love to use mods, but I don't. How many threads have I started insisting that mods have no business in games? None. Because it doesn't affect me, unless we're playing MP together. In that instance, if they're using mods, and I'm not, I can just quit that game, and look for another, or just play SP.

I agree that "it's open to abuse" is a bad reason to change something in a singleplayer game. Free saving and such is an important quality of life that I don't think a lot of people would want it gone. Being able to pick up and put down a game at your leasuire will allow more people to experience more of a game.

However, I think the underlying point of people complaining about save scumming isn't to take away that being able to save/reload is the main problem, but that elements of the game encourage people to play in such a way. I can't remember seeing much fuss about save scumming in, for example, Dragon Age or the Pillars of Eternity and I suspect it has a lot to do with the player not having to roll dice after dice in conversations with less than ideal chances of success and very harsh outcomes.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Absalom
Originally Posted by Wabash
Let us free to savescum and give us an ironman for those against it.

Agreed!
I thought of an alternative solution that may balance the Save Scumming to reroll an encounter and Saving to shield progress:

Aside from the Autosaves the game applies, tie Progress saves to Short Rests (we have 2 of them) and perhaps the Camp and Waypoints.
You get 2 "free" saves out in the world but need to either return to camp or a Waypoint location for additional saves. You can still do it 100 times if you want but you have to leave the region ... in essence, pulling you out of the action. It becomes a choice; "do I use a short rest to save? Leave and come back? Or, roll the dice and take what comes?"

Or, we just leave it alone? If we start to redesign a game every time someone says "but that's open to abuse", we'll never get a game. This is a perfect example, I won't be "scumming" saves, but I will be saving just as I have since games with saves were made. I can remember when there was no such thing, or where autosaves were the only options. I think saving during combat is a bad thing, so I don't do it. However, how many here complaining about that loved Skyrim? You could, after all, save during combat, I've seen videos where people did it. Regardless, if I'm not save scumming, and Joe Normal is, how is that affecting my game? If we're not playing MP, it's not affecting me at all. Can they make it where we can't save during combat? I'm sure they can, others have. Is it necessary? No. From where I'm sitting, this topic is a whole lot of "but someone might do better at x than me because they "cheated" to do it", but if we're all tooling along in SP, it doesn't matter in the least bit what they managed to do. Some people love to use mods, but I don't. How many threads have I started insisting that mods have no business in games? None. Because it doesn't affect me, unless we're playing MP together. In that instance, if they're using mods, and I'm not, I can just quit that game, and look for another, or just play SP.

I agree that "it's open to abuse" is a bad reason to change something in a singleplayer game. Free saving and such is an important quality of life that I don't think a lot of people would want it gone. Being able to pick up and put down a game at your leasuire will allow more people to experience more of a game.

However, I think the underlying point of people complaining about save scumming isn't to take away that being able to save/reload is the main problem, but that elements of the game encourage people to play in such a way. I can't remember seeing much fuss about save scumming in, for example, Dragon Age or the Pillars of Eternity and I suspect it has a lot to do with the player not having to roll dice after dice in conversations with less than ideal chances of success and very harsh outcomes.

People that want "perfect" outcomes are going to reload anyway, even if they have to go back x amount of time to do so. So the only way to prevent it is to remove the ability to save. It's a bit funny to me, because it's a non-issue in so far as I'm concerned, because the idea wouldn't occur to me. In the first rounds of my testing this, I had some rather negative outcomes, and yet, instead of thinking I had to get it "right" the first time, I played it out to see where it goes. It's what I've always done, and what I'll always do. It's odd that people that are dead set against something are always the ones that have a list of how "it's open to abuse", and let's not kid ourselves, that's the motivation behind trying to get this "fixed". Someone might get a desirable outcome w/out going through what someone else did, in a SP game. It's none of my business how someone else chooses to play their SP game. If we're in an MMO, and it can adversely affect me, then I'm all over preventing it from happening. Here? If it's not a MP game, then it's going to have no impact on me whatsoever. In fact, I may not even be aware that someone else did something, let alone how. Of all the complaints I've read on these forums, this is the least troublesome one. In fact, it's irrelevant to the bulk of my experience.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
People that want "perfect" outcomes are going to reload anyway, even if they have to go back x amount of time to do so. So the only way to prevent it is to remove the ability to save. It's a bit funny to me, because it's a non-issue in so far as I'm concerned, because the idea wouldn't occur to me. In the first rounds of my testing this, I had some rather negative outcomes, and yet, instead of thinking I had to get it "right" the first time, I played it out to see where it goes. It's what I've always done, and what I'll always do. It's odd that people that are dead set against something are always the ones that have a list of how "it's open to abuse", and let's not kid ourselves, that's the motivation behind trying to get this "fixed". Someone might get a desirable outcome w/out going through what someone else did, in a SP game. It's none of my business how someone else chooses to play their SP game. If we're in an MMO, and it can adversely affect me, then I'm all over preventing it from happening. Here? If it's not a MP game, then it's going to have no impact on me whatsoever. In fact, I may not even be aware that someone else did something, let alone how. Of all the complaints I've read on these forums, this is the least troublesome one. In fact, it's irrelevant to the bulk of my experience.

Maybe I'm not getting you, but it seems like you are missing the key issue here. The save scumming itself isn't a problem because people being free to save/reload isn't really an issue, but it also usually doesn't come up as a big discussion in most systems. The Pillars of Eternity, Dragon Age, the Elder Scrolls, Witcher, even earlier Baldur's Gate games... all game series I've not seen save scumming taken as a serious issue.

The difference between those and Baldur's Gate 3 is that there are design elements in BG3 is that seem to push more players towards using save/reload than just the ones who want a perfect outcome. A lot of that comes with the way a d20 distributes its result, i.e. flatly across the board and that we're often working with poor % chances, while the outcomes we get often feel like just the "wrong" outcome. Currently the Zhentarim hideout is the most obvious example, seeing as we're rolling several skill checks in a row and failing any one of them not only locks out a quest and a merchant with rare items, but might also just kill you because the Zhents love blowing up the room.

My point being that it is the underlying problems leading people to feel strongly incentivized to save/scum that should be looked at. I'll repeat myselfr from earlier in the thread:

There are very simple ways to fix these problematic elements, some of which are already present in the game.

1: More class based dialogue options bypassing skill checks. They are usually really neat to have from a world-building and roleplaying perspective too. My Ranger calling out the tiefling wizard apprentice who wants to flee by saying something like "I AM the hunter, NOT the hunted" was a fun option to get. Or the Rogue interacting with the kids grifting passersby.

2: Proficiency based options bypassing skill checks. Makes sense to me for someone with proficiency with Persuasion to get to skip some (not all) dice rolls that goes on that skill.

3: Don't have a lot of checks required for a single outcome. 1 will usually do when we're rarely above 65% chance of succeeding the harder ones. Having a dice roll followed by having to pick a dialogue that can still screw it up still works fine. Having more than 1 should be reserved for very special encounters, IMO, because of the % chances the D20 system tend to work with. I am not counting dialogue perception checks in this, those seem to largely be fine.

4: Don't have people blow up the room you're standing in for failing a dialogue check. It feels very unfair that a bad dice roll during a dialogue can lead to Xd6 worth of unavoidable fire damage that I won't even get a chance to react to. Lock the doors, set things on fire and all of that, but give me a chance to get out of the way and treat it as a realtime "escape" encounter.

5: And most important of all, try to always have a narrative outcome other than just 'you failed' for whenever a dialogue check is called for. Like Raphael sending someone to free you if you can't do it on your own, because it is in his best interest that you feel like you're in his debt. A debt he will almost certainly come to collect, which adds tension and anticipation to the story going forward. A dice roll should decide which story paths you have available, not block them off without alternatives.

Personally, I don't mind the chance to 'fail' as I go along. It can make the story interesting and add replay value, but I do mind when the rolls are set up in a way that encourage save scumming because it feels so obvious that not succeeding was the wrong outcome. Not an alternate path or a setback, just the wrong outcome.
I agree 100% with the OP.

Maximuus, your Native language isn't EN! You write so well I had no idea.
Originally Posted by TomReneth
Originally Posted by robertthebard
People that want "perfect" outcomes are going to reload anyway, even if they have to go back x amount of time to do so. So the only way to prevent it is to remove the ability to save. It's a bit funny to me, because it's a non-issue in so far as I'm concerned, because the idea wouldn't occur to me. In the first rounds of my testing this, I had some rather negative outcomes, and yet, instead of thinking I had to get it "right" the first time, I played it out to see where it goes. It's what I've always done, and what I'll always do. It's odd that people that are dead set against something are always the ones that have a list of how "it's open to abuse", and let's not kid ourselves, that's the motivation behind trying to get this "fixed". Someone might get a desirable outcome w/out going through what someone else did, in a SP game. It's none of my business how someone else chooses to play their SP game. If we're in an MMO, and it can adversely affect me, then I'm all over preventing it from happening. Here? If it's not a MP game, then it's going to have no impact on me whatsoever. In fact, I may not even be aware that someone else did something, let alone how. Of all the complaints I've read on these forums, this is the least troublesome one. In fact, it's irrelevant to the bulk of my experience.

Maybe I'm not getting you, but it seems like you are missing the key issue here. The save scumming itself isn't a problem because people being free to save/reload isn't really an issue, but it also usually doesn't come up as a big discussion in most systems. The Pillars of Eternity, Dragon Age, the Elder Scrolls, Witcher, even earlier Baldur's Gate games... all game series I've not seen save scumming taken as a serious issue.

The difference between those and Baldur's Gate 3 is that there are design elements in BG3 is that seem to push more players towards using save/reload than just the ones who want a perfect outcome. A lot of that comes with the way a d20 distributes its result, i.e. flatly across the board and that we're often working with poor % chances, while the outcomes we get often feel like just the "wrong" outcome. Currently the Zhentarim hideout is the most obvious example, seeing as we're rolling several skill checks in a row and failing any one of them not only locks out a quest and a merchant with rare items, but might also just kill you because the Zhents love blowing up the room.

If they're not looking for a perfect outcome, what difference does it make? You see, it's not that I don't understand the issue, it's that I do understand the issue, and why I think it's not a big deal. As I said, I don't care how someone got a result, or why they got it the way they did. It has 0 impact on me. If you're wondering why I persist, it's because it's a non-issue, that is pretty persistent.

Quote
My point being that it is the underlying problems leading people to feel strongly incentivized to save/scum that should be looked at. I'll repeat myselfr from earlier in the thread:

There are very simple ways to fix these problematic elements, some of which are already present in the game.

1: More class based dialogue options bypassing skill checks. They are usually really neat to have from a world-building and roleplaying perspective too. My Ranger calling out the tiefling wizard apprentice who wants to flee by saying something like "I AM the hunter, NOT the hunted" was a fun option to get. Or the Rogue interacting with the kids grifting passersby.

2: Proficiency based options bypassing skill checks. Makes sense to me for someone with proficiency with Persuasion to get to skip some (not all) dice rolls that goes on that skill.

3: Don't have a lot of checks required for a single outcome. 1 will usually do when we're rarely above 65% chance of succeeding the harder ones. Having a dice roll followed by having to pick a dialogue that can still screw it up still works fine. Having more than 1 should be reserved for very special encounters, IMO, because of the % chances the D20 system tend to work with. I am not counting dialogue perception checks in this, those seem to largely be fine.

4: Don't have people blow up the room you're standing in for failing a dialogue check. It feels very unfair that a bad dice roll during a dialogue can lead to Xd6 worth of unavoidable fire damage that I won't even get a chance to react to. Lock the doors, set things on fire and all of that, but give me a chance to get out of the way and treat it as a realtime "escape" encounter.

5: And most important of all, try to always have a narrative outcome other than just 'you failed' for whenever a dialogue check is called for. Like Raphael sending someone to free you if you can't do it on your own, because it is in his best interest that you feel like you're in his debt. A debt he will almost certainly come to collect, which adds tension and anticipation to the story going forward. A dice roll should decide which story paths you have available, not block them off without alternatives.

Personally, I don't mind the chance to 'fail' as I go along. It can make the story interesting and add replay value, but I do mind when the rolls are set up in a way that encourage save scumming because it feels so obvious that not succeeding was the wrong outcome. Not an alternate path or a setback, just the wrong outcome.

So you're actually looking for the "right" outcome, aka the "perfect outcome", despite saying that that's not what this is about. You see, there are narrative outcomes, but people don't like them, so they reload. You say "save scumming wasn't an issue elsewhere, and yet, the term didn't originate from here. There was save scumming in BG, I used to belong to a gaming forum where it was discussed a lot when trying to get specific outcomes on something. This was while BG was still new. So for something that hasn't been an "issue" until now, it's sure got a long and storied history. At the end of the day, it's irrelevant. Even if mechanics, or outcomes are changed, there are those that are still not going to like them, and so, they'll reload. So what is it that they're supposed to do to "fix" something that isn't broken?
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by TomReneth
Originally Posted by robertthebard
People that want "perfect" outcomes are going to reload anyway, even if they have to go back x amount of time to do so. So the only way to prevent it is to remove the ability to save. It's a bit funny to me, because it's a non-issue in so far as I'm concerned, because the idea wouldn't occur to me. In the first rounds of my testing this, I had some rather negative outcomes, and yet, instead of thinking I had to get it "right" the first time, I played it out to see where it goes. It's what I've always done, and what I'll always do. It's odd that people that are dead set against something are always the ones that have a list of how "it's open to abuse", and let's not kid ourselves, that's the motivation behind trying to get this "fixed". Someone might get a desirable outcome w/out going through what someone else did, in a SP game. It's none of my business how someone else chooses to play their SP game. If we're in an MMO, and it can adversely affect me, then I'm all over preventing it from happening. Here? If it's not a MP game, then it's going to have no impact on me whatsoever. In fact, I may not even be aware that someone else did something, let alone how. Of all the complaints I've read on these forums, this is the least troublesome one. In fact, it's irrelevant to the bulk of my experience.

Maybe I'm not getting you, but it seems like you are missing the key issue here. The save scumming itself isn't a problem because people being free to save/reload isn't really an issue, but it also usually doesn't come up as a big discussion in most systems. The Pillars of Eternity, Dragon Age, the Elder Scrolls, Witcher, even earlier Baldur's Gate games... all game series I've not seen save scumming taken as a serious issue.

The difference between those and Baldur's Gate 3 is that there are design elements in BG3 is that seem to push more players towards using save/reload than just the ones who want a perfect outcome. A lot of that comes with the way a d20 distributes its result, i.e. flatly across the board and that we're often working with poor % chances, while the outcomes we get often feel like just the "wrong" outcome. Currently the Zhentarim hideout is the most obvious example, seeing as we're rolling several skill checks in a row and failing any one of them not only locks out a quest and a merchant with rare items, but might also just kill you because the Zhents love blowing up the room.

If they're not looking for a perfect outcome, what difference does it make? You see, it's not that I don't understand the issue, it's that I do understand the issue, and why I think it's not a big deal. As I said, I don't care how someone got a result, or why they got it the way they did. It has 0 impact on me. If you're wondering why I persist, it's because it's a non-issue, that is pretty persistent.

Quote
My point being that it is the underlying problems leading people to feel strongly incentivized to save/scum that should be looked at. I'll repeat myselfr from earlier in the thread:

There are very simple ways to fix these problematic elements, some of which are already present in the game.

1: More class based dialogue options bypassing skill checks. They are usually really neat to have from a world-building and roleplaying perspective too. My Ranger calling out the tiefling wizard apprentice who wants to flee by saying something like "I AM the hunter, NOT the hunted" was a fun option to get. Or the Rogue interacting with the kids grifting passersby.

2: Proficiency based options bypassing skill checks. Makes sense to me for someone with proficiency with Persuasion to get to skip some (not all) dice rolls that goes on that skill.

3: Don't have a lot of checks required for a single outcome. 1 will usually do when we're rarely above 65% chance of succeeding the harder ones. Having a dice roll followed by having to pick a dialogue that can still screw it up still works fine. Having more than 1 should be reserved for very special encounters, IMO, because of the % chances the D20 system tend to work with. I am not counting dialogue perception checks in this, those seem to largely be fine.

4: Don't have people blow up the room you're standing in for failing a dialogue check. It feels very unfair that a bad dice roll during a dialogue can lead to Xd6 worth of unavoidable fire damage that I won't even get a chance to react to. Lock the doors, set things on fire and all of that, but give me a chance to get out of the way and treat it as a realtime "escape" encounter.

5: And most important of all, try to always have a narrative outcome other than just 'you failed' for whenever a dialogue check is called for. Like Raphael sending someone to free you if you can't do it on your own, because it is in his best interest that you feel like you're in his debt. A debt he will almost certainly come to collect, which adds tension and anticipation to the story going forward. A dice roll should decide which story paths you have available, not block them off without alternatives.

Personally, I don't mind the chance to 'fail' as I go along. It can make the story interesting and add replay value, but I do mind when the rolls are set up in a way that encourage save scumming because it feels so obvious that not succeeding was the wrong outcome. Not an alternate path or a setback, just the wrong outcome.

So you're actually looking for the "right" outcome, aka the "perfect outcome", despite saying that that's not what this is about. You see, there are narrative outcomes, but people don't like them, so they reload. You say "save scumming wasn't an issue elsewhere, and yet, the term didn't originate from here. There was save scumming in BG, I used to belong to a gaming forum where it was discussed a lot when trying to get specific outcomes on something. This was while BG was still new. So for something that hasn't been an "issue" until now, it's sure got a long and storied history. At the end of the day, it's irrelevant. Even if mechanics, or outcomes are changed, there are those that are still not going to like them, and so, they'll reload. So what is it that they're supposed to do to "fix" something that isn't broken?

Which part of people wanting the outcomes of the dice rolls to be more interesting than just "you failed" or "you won" and "if you build a character to deal with specific skills, please make it a bit more reliable", not to mention "please stop blowing up the room for failing any one of the four skills checks we have to make for this one encounter" is hard to understand? I'm honestly at a loss, because these are not hard ideas to grasp.

Even with 16 in the associated stat and proficiency, you're sitting at a +5 modifier in a skill until lvl 4 or 5, when it can be increased by 1. Even moderately difficult skill checks (DC10+) often leaves that with a 1/4 or 1/3 chance of failing. Seeing as this is the failure chance of characters who are built to be able to handle these checks, it is reasonably to expect for the ourcome to be more interesting than "you lost access to this content".

We can compare 2 different situations to perhaps explain better what I am talking about. The first one is if the player bumbles their way into the Zhentarim hideout and, most likely, have the Zhents blow up a load of oil barrels because there are 3 or 4 moderately difficult skill checks in a row (I think Rogues can skip 1 of them). The other is interacting with the Tiefling kids selling junk in the Druid Grove.

The Zhents have a number of skill checks in a row to handle that one "encounter", most of which seem to be 10+ in difficulty. Even assuming a 75% successrate for each of them (which is higher than my Charisma+Persuasion Warlock had), we're talking only ~30% chance of success. 65% success rate, which is more realistic for a character with the right skills, leaves you at under 20% chance of making it. Failing any one of these checks seem to lead to the Zhents setting fire to the barrels of oil, causing an explotion and potentially killing someone in, or your entire, party. It also locks out a quest or two and a merchant with rare items.

When interacting with the scamming kids, a few Perception checks will be running in the background. The first few of these seem to be pretty difficult for lvl 1-4 characters (I'd say 15+ off the top of my head, but they could be even higher) and most characters are unlikely to catch the kid stealing from them. Here you also get some unique interactions as a Rogue, which is neat from a roleplaying perspective, but ultimately doesn't affect the outcome of the main interaction beyond letting the player know the kids are scammers. At the end, you get another Perception check which seems to be much easier to pass to notice if you were robbed.

If you catch the thief, you get a unique interaction with them and get to keep your stuff. If you succeed at any of the checks other than the one that lets you catch the thief in the act, you start a mini quest to get your stuff back, which may not pay off right away, but if you pursue it you can find their hidden base and interact with their leader. You can then buy your stuff back, try for a skill roll to get it for free or ask for your stuff back as a favor if you've built some reputation with these tiefling kids before going there by doing other interactions around the Druid Grove. If you fail every check and don't notice you've been robbed and then get to meet the leader of the tieflings because you built reputation, I think she gives you your stuff back for the favors you did them. Or you can confront them in another way, if you're that sort.

The interactions with the tiefling kids is well designed for the harsh nature of the d20 system, because the roll of the dice decides how this plays out should the player be interested in pursuing it. Failing any of the dice rolls, which is very likely, doesn't simply cut off something from the player, but makes the world react to it and leaves open options for solving the situation in alternate ways. Even if you fail every check there is a form of closure to the situation if you're willing to pursue it. The "encounter" doesn't end on a single bad roll of the dice, it just unfolds with an altered narrative. Or the player can shrug and decide it isn't interesting enough to pursue.

The interactions with the Zhentarim, contrarily, are badly designed for the d20 system because it seems to work the exact opposite way when it comes to the skill checks. Failing any one of the checks, which has a 2/3 chance even with unrealistically high success rates, seem to just cut off the encounter and, as an added bonus, might even result in a partial or total party death because the Zhents love explosives.

Failing skill checks is so common in the d20 system that it is practically a core mechanics and when you don't have the infinite possible interactions a DM brings to the table, games should design their content around this. That is to say more like they designed the tiefling kids and less like they designed the Zhents.
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