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Hi folks!

Time for another Panel from Hell! This is Panel From Hell VI, heralding major patch eight, “Of Valour and Lore”, which brings us the Bard class, and playable gnomes, at last, among other fixes. As usual, this thread will be written as a synopsis of the panel for those who don't have the time or the willpower to watch the full stream directly – though some may be relieved to find this task more approachable than previous panels; Where PFH V was substantially shorter than its predecessors, PFH VI is substantially shorter again, than PFH V, clocking in its stream time at just 1:15 long, about half an hour of which is intro and outro material not strictly related to actual content information, so if the time investment was a hurdle for some viewers, this much shorter stream may be more approachable.

Thanks again to Drath for maintaining the real-time thread during the stream – as usual I was asleep in my time zone ^.^ This thread will try to remain content spoiler free if such situations come up, and while I will give my opinions or thoughts on elements of the stream, I'll be making it clear where presented facts and my personal commentaries diverge.

With that said, on to the synopsis!

The panel begins with a fan art reel, as is tradition, though this time we have a voice-over from Volo, inviting us to enjoy the first annual “Forgotten Idol”, in their quest for the best bard of the realms. The reel lasts about a minute and a half and has a nice variety of different works from different fans, and it's always nice to see.

Interestingly, this panel doesn't start off with Swen in his armour, but jumps straight into the 'action'. We come into the scene in a theatre, with a heavily dressed stage occupied by a metal band (Belgian group Hunter, as the title card identifies them, for whom David Walgrave, Larian's head of production is the vocalist)... and their camera-man on stage beside them, entirely in shot, while he gets close-ups of one of their guitars... which is a bit odd, to be honest. They perform a metal rendition of Alfira's song for the gathered audience.

To be honest, I couldn't listen to it in full and skipped forward through the song frequently every few seconds; this is personal opinion only, but Alfira's song is just plain bad – it's poorly written, has terrible flow and cadence and is generally just an unpleasant listening experience, and the conversion into a mostly-screamed metal rendition did it no favours. I'm not an aficionado on metal, but it was certainly a thing that happened, the lyrics were indeed screamed repeatedly into a microphone and I understood it for the most part most of the time.

Thankfully, mercifully, after three minutes of this, Neil the Troubadour fights his way onto stage to interrupt their performance, in order to deliver what he considers to be much finer barding; a love sonnet. He doesn't get very far; the rockers don't take kindly to being interrupted and decide that murder is the correct response, as their bassist explodes Neil's head with a potent chord. Viewers of the stream got an unnecessarily gory special effect, though I'm curious what the viewers in the live theatre saw.

The scene cuts away from them poking his body and arguing about whether he's still alive, to an old-school testing pattern, complete with ear-splitting beep, for about 15 seconds, before transitioning to their normal technical difficulty screen; it's honestly difficult to know whether this was intentional or an actual stream problem.... this question is answered after another minute by the voice-over of crew members arguing bout needing to put a commercial up, a cheesy 90s tv commercial skit, and a brief segue into an actual advertisement for their merchandise – again, heavily advertising their Divinity: Original Sin 2 merch, dressed up as a 'joke' commercial. In the background the music being played during this 'break' – along with the numerous panicked employees dressed in red hats and white beards strongly suggests the other major release for the patch – gnomes – though they aren't admitting it yet. They dedicate about three minutes to this before getting back to the contest between Hunter ('Masters of the Electric Lute'), and Neil ('The Elven (and now headless) Troubadour).

Volo takes a moment in voice-over to eschew both himself and Larian from any responsibility for exploded heads or other bodily mutilations, before asking the audience to vote on who they think is the best bard. This writer would probably vote for the cartoon gnomes singing the background song during the commercial skit – good thing she wasn't watching live.

While waiting for the votes to come in, we get a few back and forths, eurovision-style, between the two 'competitors' in their separate lounges – or, still sprawled out on the stage, in Neil's case. We dither for a few more minutes without commentary, before Volo returns to announce the winner – Neil's head-exploding trick (or possibly indignant fan rage for them killing Astarion's VA) won the twitch voters over, and he is declared the winner... though during Volo's various dialogue parts, he seems a little choppy; like someone playing badly-cut pre-recorded voice lines without blending them and cutting them off part way. It's a bit disconcerting.

The stream cuts over to a promotional video – the release trailer for the patch, showcasing Bards and Gnomes; Inspiration is mentioned, and we see bards buffing other characters, but the preview doesn't give us much – it's about 1:10 long, and is comprised almost entirely of shots of characters playing instruments. We see viols, lutes, flutes, lyres and drums. In the voice-overs we hear the shouting of insults... though most of the insults seem to be geared around toilet humour or just being gross, which this writer is not really a fan of.

Once it ends, we come back in to Swen in his armour – now with a prosthetic noses stuck to it on the front. I think it's meant to be Neil's nose. He greets us and also introduces Nick, their systems designer, Inna, their technical writer and David, their head of production. They admit to some scripting confusion because they'd planned for avid to have won the vote – but they still manage to field a few psychic-damage-worthy puns about the situation. Swen briefly reminisces about how it's been six years coming, on account of a decision that was made during Divinity: Original Sin 2 – In Swen's words, David wanted the bard in then, but Swen wanted the actually cool stuff, like the polymorpher, so Bard didn't make it then... it's a bit of an odd sentiment to express when you're trying to hype the bard class in your new game.

At this point, I would like to take a moment to appreciate that they've shifted into a situation where this can more truly be called a panel stream, since we now have a group of relevant people actively talking about and discussing the new features. First up, it's the Bard class.

We can see that Bard starts with two cantrips and four known spells at 1st level (good), and they highlight the new addition of Vicious Mockery; it looks correct, though the tooltip doesn't call out that the target must be able to hear you. Nick mentions that they have 97 different insults prepared, each recorded multiple times for each character voice. This writer wonders whether they also recorded them for each of their origin characters, since the spell will be accessible to all of them as well.

Bards get a starting instrument, to pick form one of the five we saw in the video, though the game mentions this can be changed at any time, as long as you find other instruments. It's mentioned that bards will use these for their casting, which is an interesting comment in a game where there are as yet no spellcasting foci for other characters, and they aren't required to replace material components for anyone else.

Next up they show us Bardic Inspiration, and it's bad, unfortunately – as many folks feared, Larian have gone with the lazy and least useful method of developing this ability; the inspired character simple adds the bardic die to their Next attack roll, ability check or saving throw. Disappointed, but not surprised, I'm sorry to say.

They jump across to mention the other major feature drop in the patch, - the release of the Gnome race. The stats look to be mostly in ordr, but Larian's usual simplification have, in this case, given their racial traits a boost – Gnome cunning reads as though it provides advantage to all Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma saving throws universally in BG3, svirfneblin's stone cunning provides them universal stealth advantage, rather than one related to their actual traits, and Rock gnomes get history Expertise universally too.

Though hold up; that's expertise. Rogues hold your breaths and cross your relevant appendages. Inna jumps in to confirm that Expertise is in now, for everyone who should have it. There's some pleasant news!

Rock gnomes are also mentioned for their tinker-toy feature, though in BG3 it's just a music box, rather than a choice of object, and you can't change it, it seems.

Finally, they take a moment to mention that there are new hairs in the character creator as well – though this seems like it's only going to add to the already unwieldy method of selection... a dozen more hairstyles (named... 1a, 2a, 3a.... 6b, 7b, 8b... etc...), all still crammed away and viewable behind a single 'next' button, and no way to jump to the one you want, or to compare two different one,s as well as force-reloading the character between each change, causing a reset of their stance animation, which can further cloud comparisons. Oh well. We cut out to a video recording talking to Victoria Kubien, one of Larian's 3D character artists, about the updates here.

The main features are that hairs are now universally unlocked across all race, sex and class options, and you can add a highlight colour to tweak your base hair colouration. Victoria has fun quick-changing several hair wigs between cuts to the character creator and acting like nothing happened.

We move on to look at some of the Bard's subclass features; the class is releasing with the expected colleges of Valour and Lore.

Lore college has Cutting Words: it's listed as a reaction, but the trigger is not described in the tooltip. It has been 'buffed' in that the tooltip suggests that the cutting words effect gives its bardic die penalty to all attack rolls, ability checks and damage rolls until the start of your next turn, but this is... awkward. If it simply riggers on the first creature you see to make an attack roll or ability check, that's not something you want to burn limited bardic dice on randomly... because we still cannot control our reactions. This is what many folks fared would happen, and it's not good. The fact that it is a reaction has not been mentioned at all – no hint that the promised rework to reactions is coming yet.

We also get a quick flash of another new spell – Phantasmal Force. They've done something odd with this one. The damage point of the spell has been moved from being applicable as a free action on your turn, to happening at the start of the creature's turn... but they've also changed the spell so that its damage type actually changes, and that's actually a pretty nasty nerf as well as being illogical. A creature with resistance to the damage type it just took will get free resistance to the damage from Phantasmal Force now as well – rather than taking psychic damage that it merely perceives as the other damage type. This is another lack of understanding by Larian.

They highlight Calm Emotions next; it renders targets in its area immune to charm and frighten, instead of simply suppressing those effects, which is acceptable enough. The original spell is an area and affects creatures within it of your choice; the area doesn't stay around, and the creatures don't need to stay in the area to remain affected once they are. It's unclear if the spell in game will work this way, however, as the tooltip only says 'creatures in the area'.

We move on to Valour college next; we see the expected proficiencies (medium armour, shields and martial weapons), and their Bardic Inspiration becomes combat Inspiration – it's the same but allows the inspired character to do more – namely add to a damage roll, or their AC against an attack.

Once again the wording is troublesome – 'the next attack', rather than it being something the player chooses. We'll have to see how it works in game, however, since at this stage this is looking borderline unusable with any kind of precision or control at all, and while this writer's opinion of their design is low, it's not so low that I don't expect there's something more to this that the tooltips are miscommunicating.

As they move on we also get a brief look at the level two bard feature, Jack of All Trades – adds half your proficiency bonus to any ability check you make which you are not already proficient in. This writer wonders whether Larian will be aware that a flat Strength check is still an ability check, and that rolling initiative is also an ability check. She does not believe they will, but hopes to be proven wrong.

While they run around we get a little bit of a look at the gnome body model – it's hard to get a clean read on, and I'll wait until I can test and compare in better conditions, but remarkably... it actually looks a little bit better than the current halfling models – low bar, I know, but still surprising. The iron here is that Gnomes traditionally have more exaggerated features than halflings, not less.

We are treated to look at the bard's “perform” action, which exists as a class feature in BG3, where we can seemingly start a musical performance whenever we like. Neat! Though it makes it sound as though non-bards won't be able to use instruments or perform, which would be sad. Update: They later mention that that other players can play instruments too... IF they spend one of their feat slots on it. Yeah, no, that's not a good call, Larian.

Inna jumps in to mention that this is actually part of a new UI element, in that they've sectioned off upcasting to have its own element now. Some folks will be happy about this, others will not. She also points out the ongoing efforts to improve the clarity and information carriage of the tooltips, which is appreciated.

As they are about to perform, we get a brief little flash of Bard's new Tadpole Power: It's called Stage Fright; it has a 60 foot range, lasts 3 rounds and offer a wisdom save, but the tooltip doesn't tell us the radius or AoE of the effect. Regardless, affected targets have disadvantage on attacks and take damage when they miss; they shake off the effect when they successfully land a blow. It's interesting.

What we do learn about perform is that NPCs that are free to move will come over to the bard, and may throw you money – though its obvious use as a distraction in multiplayer is pretty clear. They briefly try to demonstrate this, by robbing the children in the grove, and fail miserably at playing their own sigh-cone game.

After a brief gag involving their dot-matrix printer paper list of patch notes, we move on to the next update – Detect Thoughts, which can now be utilised more easily in conversation, by being added as a conversation cue for those with the spell available. There is still the issue that it doesn't allow surface skimming without a save, and forces you to probe directly right away (in fact it jumps directly to having you make a contested check with the target, skipping right over the passive,risk-free read, and the wisdom save probe); there's no unobtrusive way to use the spell still, but the in-conversation prompt is still a massive improvement.

Despite their focus on cutscene cinematics, they're still pretty darn janky too; the scene they showcase for this spell has the NPC's weapon go missing part way through. They have a laugh about how many bugs they've got to fix.

Inna jumps in quickly here to talk about improvements to the spell book – we can see more UI changes that make it easier to clearly see what spells you know, their levels, which ones you have prepared, which ones are always prepared, and it looks like the ability to search your known spell lit too. Up top your casting ability, save DC and to hit bonus are also more visible, and there's a widget for Wizards to scribe new spells form those they have access to in scroll form, showing you what they known and don't, as well as the scribing cost. All nice updates for clarity – it looks like wizards can still scribe spells outside of their class, though, including healing and raising spells, etc., which is a pity. It would be nice if the known spells for scribing had also worked its way into the shop UI, to make purchases easier to manage, but we'll see.

They begin to scatter-shot some more patch notes - Familiars and Ranger companions now stick around, rather than dispelling when your rest, and will heal along with your party; about time. More language support for Brazilian Portuguese, Shovels can now be used to dig for treasure – those familiar with the mechanic from D:OS2 will recognise it as more or less lifted wholesale. The chest they dug up looked to be one that was previously on the surface anyway, but presumably many more will be hidden about for those interested in the treasure-hunt mini game.

After that, they throw over to Edouard Imbert, their lead combat designer, to talk about something that they're excited to talk about called “Swarm AI” … which, if I'm utterly frank and honest, really just looks like they applied shared initiative rules to enemies (up to four at a time; it uses the same graphical signifier and everything), and it doesn't need a fancy name or a big back-pat session. While Edouard gets pulled away by a rabid zombie horde of other developers acting simultaneously, another team member drops in to mention that crit-cam zooms are back for ranged attacks and spells, too.

As expected we have some bard-specific interactivity in various areas of the game; it seems as though each new class has more of these class-specific points than the last, making many of the original classes feel under-represented. Here's hoping that they'll balance this out by the end of production. In this case, we get to watch the bard use her music to counteract a certain dangerous song. I wonder if those nipples were censored on YouTube?

They do a little bit of the combat and showcase that Cutting Word, despite being a reaction and taking your reaction, is actually something that you have to select and use on your turn, targeting a specific enemy in advance. What a reaction. The more cynical individuals called out that this was how they'd do this, a few days ago... and I'm sad to have been more or less right.

They go through the whole process of demonstrating Cutting words without mentioning the word 'reaction' even once. It's almost like they're actively avoiding mentioning reactions, at this point.

We get to watch some more buggy combat – thrown gnomes, harpies flying places, then ducking back so that the creatures they passed can take belated opportunity attacks, then flying forward again, etc. - none of this looks like it's been tuned up this patch, unfortunately.

During this section, Inna jumps in again... you know, I feel like I've said that a lot, this synopsis. Turns out, I have... The reason being that Swen, David and Nick pass the conversation back and forth to each other as they talk, handing off points and calling each other by name, throughout this stream, but they never, literally never, hand the conversation to Inna – she always has to jump in with the information she's there to talk about, when she can find a space to do so – and each time gets maybe a handful of seconds to get out what she wants to say before the boys pull the dialogue back again. It might be a small thing, but I've really started to notice it as the stream goes on. It's getting uncomfortable.

Anyway, Inna jumps in here to highlight some updates that have been made to consumables and other inventory items, such as enhanced arrows, to make their function, damage and use clearer and more in line with the way spells are displayed, as well as the fact that now there's a button in the UI that shows up to jump your view to the character whose turn it currently is, if you're selected on one whose turn it isn't.

After they finish off the harpies, Swen wants to talk a bit about how the game has matured – by which he means, in this instance, how much they've improved the cinematics. This time it seems as though they've taken at least a little bit of cinematic shooting advice, and have changed up some of the styles of the shots to better line up with the scene that's being conveyed, as well as increasing the detail on some elements of those shots (such as Gale's emergency pouch). Mostly in minor ways, but it's something. They've also tweaked conversations so that actors will maintain whatever emotional state they are meant to be in during dialogue selection. The clips they show of this are of Shadowheart in a number of emotive poses... though this writer was severely not compelled by what she was seeing. I didn't think they looked good at all; holding the expression for longer didn't enhance the experience for me, personally. Your mileage may vary.

Swen also talks about how the companion peanut gallery has been improved to be a more present part of the scene in interactions, rather than being invisible or standing around staring gormlessly. To illustrate this, we are shown a variety of videos that show the party going through a variety of well known scenes, with the lead character in front, while the others stand around behind you gormlessly, not interfering. They're a little more emotive about their surroundings, though, and a little more animate as they do so. If this is not what we were supposed to see, then they likely could have chosen better scenes to showcase.

We do get a look at the group performance synchronising, after this, and it's pretty cute. They load up a save file where every party member has spent their level 4 feat on the instrument proficiency, and one by one each character jump into the performance at different times and layers in, and it's a pretty cool little thing. Watching Gale pull a lyre out of literally nowhere and start going at it made me smirk. Swen comments that Bard is a really hard class to sell to people (this is news to me; it's probably hard to sell to Swen, because it doesn't have explosions and massive damage-dealing, and is characterised as a support class), but that he thinks they've done a really good job of it.

They begin winding down the stream, and talk about running out of time, but Swen invites David to talk about the reworked Elf animations; Previously they used the same animation set as humans, but have now been given their own custom animation set (we're still waiting on halflings to have fully distinct animations for numerous things, and not inherit anchors from larger models, by the way...). We don't get any in-stream demonstrations or videos of this however.

As they talk about their process, Swen mentions that they're very close being being feature complete now – just a few months off, he says. This writer finds this statement terrifying.

Swen wraps up the panel by talking in brief about the numerous things in the new patch and encouraging folks to try it; he promises that there's a lot still being worked on, and a lot coming, and many more surprises in store for us, before inviting David and hunter to perform another piece, to advertise their new album which they're working on. Classy, guys.

Swen signs off as they get the stage ready, and the stream closes out with another performance from Hunter, and a repeat of the Bard intro trailer. That marks the end of another PfH!

Take care folks!

-Niara

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Originally Posted by Niara
Swen comments that Bard is a really hard class to sell to people (this is news to me; it's probably hard to sell to Swen, because it doesn't have explosions and massive damage-dealing, and is characterised as a support class), but that he thinks they've done a really good job of it.

It doesn't seem like a hard sell to us, but it's absolutely a hard sell to the wider gaming community, whose only real knowledge of Bard is limited to all the 'fuck everything that moves' stereotypes surrounding the class, along with how it is a support class with most implementations in other games being on the experimental side.

Even now you can go on the Steam forums and see complaints about Larian adding in a 'joke class' over Paladins or Monks. Or, really, don't waste your time going there, for obvious reasons.

---

So I will explain how Cutting Words and Combat Inspiration actually works in-game.

Cutting Words affects ALL applicable rolls that the target makes until the start of the start of the Bard's next turn. This is both a huge buff and a slight utility nerf - the tabletop version of it only works on one parameter at a time and one applicable roll. The BG3 version of it essentially massively neuters an enemy reliant on non-saving throw-based physical attacks for their whole turn. The utility nerf is when you consider that you have to pre-cast it, which means you need to predict exactly what the enemy is going to do in the upcoming turn.

It's only listed as a reaction because the act of casting Cutting Words actually uses your reaction resource for that turn, even though the way you use it in BG3 is nothing like what you'd expect from a reaction ability. Awkward, eh?

Combat Inspiration, as a consequence of basically being an upgraded Bardic Inspiration, basically got kicked down and shot in the head in comparison. Let's go over how Bardic/Combat Inspiration works in BG3.

1) A party member that is given a Bardic Inspiration/Combat Inspiration die has the option to toggle which parameters they want to expend the die on.

2) The saving throw and AC boost effects actually share the same toggle.

3) The toggles to boost attack rolls and ability checks are toggled on by default. The boost to damage rolls and saving throws/AC are toggled off by default. This remains if you recast Bardic Inspiration on the same character and even if your toggles may have been different on the previous use, meaning the game will not record your previous preferences for these toggles.

You also cannot swap to that character holding the die while it's not yet their turn to toggle how the inspiration die is used (which may have been possible in earlier patches, but someone brought this up in another thread, so I went out to test this. it appears it's no longer possible to do this, if it ever was).

This actually presents an extremely awkward situation in regards to using Combat Inspiration defensively. If you intend to use Combat Inspiration to increase a party member's AC in an effort to save them from an attack that might knock them out, and an enemy moves before that party member's turn rolls around, the AC/saving throw increase effect toggle being turned off by default means that Combat Inspiration actually can't do anything to mitigate an incoming attack or spell from the enemy in this situation. Even more if you're really unlucky, an enemy can simply move away from that party member and trigger an opportunity attack, which will eat the die as it is automatically expended on the attack roll, all before you get any control over how you want to use that die.

Last edited by Saito Hikari; 08/07/22 10:21 AM.
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Thanks for the write up Niara. Beautiful as always, although I expected you to be a bit more harsh and vicious in your critique.

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Eh, I don't want to be mean for the point of it - and I think I'm too jaded to be deeply upset or surprised by anything. I tried to stick to what was factual, and where possible, mention why certain things were bad choices or disappointing... And where possible give thumbs up to the good things.

The panels are getting shorter and the productions smaller - so either they're running out of money, or they've decided to put those resources into useful things, and keep their panels at least a little bit more focused around the content, which they honestly tried to do this time, at least somewhat. Although I guess it may just look that way - spending 40 minutes talking about your patch in a 1:10 stream looks better than spending 40 minutes talking about your patch in a 3:50 stream.

Their on-set interpersonal behaviour just kind of creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable a lot of the time, to be frank, but attacking that isn't going to achieve anything, and just detracts from giving the actual information to the folks who didn't want to watch the stream itself.

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It helps me to ignore the false advertising of "D&D," and just think of this as the sequel to DOS2 with a few more things stolen from TSR/WotC. Then, hearing things like "feature complete" isn't so tremendously disappointing.

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Tis this time of year... This is getting seriously ridiculous lol.
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Seeing these PfH has helped me tremendously with my decisions regarding BG3:

1) I will enjoy watching my favorite content creators play it.
2) I will never ever play this game myself.
3) I will never ever buy a past or future Larian game.
4) I hope that once this is over Larian never ever touches the D&D franchise again.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Even now you can go on the Steam forums and see complaints about Larian adding in a 'joke class' over Paladins or Monks. Or, really, don't waste your time going there, for obvious reasons.

I know that this attitude is really pervasive, and has been for a long time, Bards are a "joke", and Gnomes/Halflings are also a "joke", so I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I'm still let down.

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Thank you for the synopsis, Niara. I agree with most of that (although I do liek Alfiras song - in the original version, not the metal one). And I'm glad, I'm not the onyl one to notice, how they just ignored the only female in the panel - this made me uncomfortable too.
I'm sad about the rections, although, I'm not surprised anymore. I do hope, there will be a rework ... maybe.

And you answered a question I had in teh other PfH thread, about what you think about the gnomes. I agree, that they look betetr than the halflings and hope, that halflings will get a bit of rework.

And as for the bard class: it's my favorite class and a lot of fun. I don't get, why people think, bard is a joke class. My bard in our D&D campaign is one of the most useful characters.

Last edited by fylimar; 08/07/22 12:41 PM.

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Point of order, Bardic Inspiration doesn't necessarily have to used on your next anything, specifically. You can turn off the 3 reaction toggles and squirrel it away for later use. However, once toggled on, particularly for saving throws, it's usage is at the mercy of the AI, going towards whatever saving throw is triggered subsequently. If the player is judicious and games the situation just right, they can use it where it really counts and not just to avoid getting slowed when stepping on a surface by accident, the worst case scenario.

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Originally Posted by Eagle Pursuit
If the player is judicious and games the situation just right, they can use it where it really counts and not just to avoid getting slowed when stepping on a surface by accident, the worst case scenario.

You can turn them off... so long as you still have the inspiration when your turn comes around, which you may not, given how enemy AI seems increasingly cavalier about provoking opportunity attacks from you. You also can't use it judiciously for the right situation if those toggles are turned off, because then you won't use it at all... and the moment you turnthem on again, your back at the mercy of the AI deciding not to eat it on a minor thing between the end of your turn and the important moment you were saving it for... which means you can only really use it with deliberacy for attacks you make on your own turn.

Also, a quick test in the intro lets me add to this: The bardic die is used Whether It Is Necessary Or Not.

This means that if you, for example, Inspire Lae'zel so that she's got better odds of hitting that Zhalk, which she is going to do on her next turn... and the imp in between flies up to, then away from Lae'zel on its turn first, provoking her reaction for seemingly no reason other than to do so... and Lae'zel swings at he imp, rolling a 19 on the die and being a certain hit even without the bardic die... the bardic die will Still roll itself and add it to her attack roll against the imp... so then ,when Lae'zel's turn comes around, that Inspiration you gave her is already gone, and the whole thing was utterly outside of your ability to control it at all.

True story ^.^

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Originally Posted by Niara
Swen mentions that they're very close being being feature complete now – just a few months off, he says.
Once again a great summary, @NIara! Thanks so much.

And that line above is exactly my most terrifying line from the panel as well. Seems like all of the major issues that have been discussed in this forum for a very long time, from reactions to party movement to companions and immersion and gameplay option settings among so many others, everything's pretty much already set in stone and our thousands of posts here don't matter one bit. I have to wonder if even one major issue that was raised in this forum mattered to Larian in the end. It has even occured to me that perhaps Larian has gone out of its way to say 'no' to any issue that was especially raised in this forum, because for them this forum is a joke and a target for mockery. frown

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Originally Posted by Niara
Eh, I don't want to be mean for the point of it - and I think I'm too jaded to be deeply upset or surprised by anything. I tried to stick to what was factual, and where possible, mention why certain things were bad choices or disappointing... And where possible give thumbs up to the good things.

The panels are getting shorter and the productions smaller - so either they're running out of money, or they've decided to put those resources into useful things, and keep their panels at least a little bit more focused around the content, which they honestly tried to do this time, at least somewhat. Although I guess it may just look that way - spending 40 minutes talking about your patch in a 1:10 stream looks better than spending 40 minutes talking about your patch in a 3:50 stream.

Their on-set interpersonal behaviour just kind of creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable a lot of the time, to be frank, but attacking that isn't going to achieve anything, and just detracts from giving the actual information to the folks who didn't want to watch the stream itself.
If I may ask, what about their behaviour creeps you out? I find it fine myself. Kind of playfull small jabs at eachother and not to serious. I dont see anything particulary weird about it smirk

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Thanks so much @Niara, you make something that otherwise I couldn't stand, very palatable.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Originally Posted by Niara
Swen comments that Bard is a really hard class to sell to people (this is news to me; it's probably hard to sell to Swen, because it doesn't have explosions and massive damage-dealing, and is characterised as a support class), but that he thinks they've done a really good job of it.

It doesn't seem like a hard sell to us, but it's absolutely a hard sell to the wider gaming community, whose only real knowledge of Bard is limited to all the 'fuck everything that moves' stereotypes surrounding the class, along with how it is a support class with most implementations in other games being on the experimental side.

Even now you can go on the Steam forums and see complaints about Larian adding in a 'joke class' over Paladins or Monks. Or, really, don't waste your time going there, for obvious reasons.

---

So I will explain how Cutting Words and Combat Inspiration actually works in-game.

Cutting Words affects ALL applicable rolls that the target makes until the start of the start of the Bard's next turn. This is both a huge buff and a slight utility nerf - the tabletop version of it only works on one parameter at a time and one applicable roll. The BG3 version of it essentially massively neuters an enemy reliant on non-saving throw-based physical attacks for their whole turn. The utility nerf is when you consider that you have to pre-cast it, which means you need to predict exactly what the enemy is going to do in the upcoming turn.

It's only listed as a reaction because the act of casting Cutting Words actually uses your reaction resource for that turn, even though the way you use it in BG3 is nothing like what you'd expect from a reaction ability. Awkward, eh?

Combat Inspiration, as a consequence of basically being an upgraded Bardic Inspiration, basically got kicked down and shot in the head in comparison. Let's go over how Bardic/Combat Inspiration works in BG3.

1) A party member that is given a Bardic Inspiration/Combat Inspiration die has the option to toggle which parameters they want to expend the die on.

2) The saving throw and AC boost effects actually share the same toggle.

3) The toggles to boost attack rolls and ability checks are toggled on by default. The boost to damage rolls and saving throws/AC are toggled off by default. This remains if you recast Bardic Inspiration on the same character and even if your toggles may have been different on the previous use, meaning the game will not record your previous preferences for these toggles.

You also cannot swap to that character holding the die while it's not yet their turn to toggle how the inspiration die is used (which may have been possible in earlier patches, but someone brought this up in another thread, so I went out to test this. it appears it's no longer possible to do this, if it ever was).

This actually presents an extremely awkward situation in regards to using Combat Inspiration defensively. If you intend to use Combat Inspiration to increase a party member's AC in an effort to save them from an attack that might knock them out, and an enemy moves before that party member's turn rolls around, the AC/saving throw increase effect toggle being turned off by default means that Combat Inspiration actually can't do anything to mitigate an incoming attack or spell from the enemy in this situation. Even more if you're really unlucky, an enemy can simply move away from that party member and trigger an opportunity attack, which will eat the die as it is automatically expended on the attack roll, all before you get any control over how you want to use that die.

This information is actually VERY important to Larian if they plan on keeping the current Reactions system. Reactions need to have a default value that can be set, either remembering what it was last set to or an option to set the default, or allowing Reactions to be changed for characters not on their turn.

Having an ability that can do two things but one of them can really never get used because of how the game plays seems like a very poor implementation and HAS to be an oversight on their part, of course, we know how the current Reaction system is going compared to how it is suppose to work.

Last edited by Zyllos; 08/07/22 03:19 PM.
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Originally Posted by Doomdrake
Seeing these PfH has helped me tremendously with my decisions regarding BG3:

1) I will enjoy watching my favorite content creators play it.

I think this is the biggest flaw of BG3, they really built it as for the cut scenes / for twitch streamers and not a a great game to play!

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Originally Posted by Demoulius
If I may ask, what about their behaviour creeps you out? I find it fine myself. Kind of playful small jabs at each other and not to serious. I don't see anything particularly weird about it smirk

I'm going to guess that you didn't really notice the disparity of treatment between how Swen treated Nick and David, compared to Inna, until it was pointed out. No offence intended, of course - if you didn't that isn't your fault, after all.

I don't want to phrase it 'just' in terms of women on set, because it's very much not 'just' that - it's broader than that, but I'd rather not get into it too much, to be honest; I do pick out bits and pieces of it throughout my other synopses of the other panels, and in a couple of other places where Swen's on-screen behaviours and his treatment of his colleagues in particular is discussed, and I do talk about it a bit in those places, if you want to have a look. Generally speaking, though, folks who haven't had to deal with being on the negative end of it don't see it happening as easily as those who have, and are faster to dismiss it and make apologetics for it. In a situation like this, banging on about it won't benefit anyone, but if you're genuinely curious about why, have a skim through my other synopses posts, and some of my follow up comments in those threads.

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Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by Demoulius
If I may ask, what about their behaviour creeps you out? I find it fine myself. Kind of playful small jabs at each other and not to serious. I don't see anything particularly weird about it smirk

I'm going to guess that you didn't really notice the disparity of treatment between how Swen treated Nick and David, compared to Inna, until it was pointed out. No offence intended, of course - if you didn't that isn't your fault, after all.

I don't want to phrase it 'just' in terms of women on set, because it's very much not 'just' that - it's broader than that, but I'd rather not get into it too much, to be honest; I do pick out bits and pieces of it throughout my other synopses of the other panels, and in a couple of other places where Swen's on-screen behaviours and his treatment of his colleagues in particular is discussed, and I do talk about it a bit in those places, if you want to have a look. Generally speaking, though, folks who haven't had to deal with being on the negative end of it don't see it happening as easily as those who have, and are faster to dismiss it and make apologetics for it. In a situation like this, banging on about it won't benefit anyone, but if you're genuinely curious about why, have a skim through my other synopses posts, and some of my follow up comments in those threads.

People overanalyzing human interaction during a video game presentation is a lot creepier than anything Swen or others on the PFH did. smile

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edit: nevermind, i'm not arguing in Niara's thread

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Generally speaking, though, folks who haven't had to deal with being on the negative end of it don't see it happening as easily as those who have, and are faster to dismiss it and make apologetics for it.
People overanalyzing human interaction during a video game presentation is a lot creepier than anything Swen or others on the PFH did.

Assembled individuals, Exhibit A.

See what I mean? Without getting into the full discussion with all the references and evidence, there's just no point. I was asked, I answered, I've spoken my piece to that and directed those curious towards where I spoke of it further. Enough.

This thread is just for the synopsis itself, for those who didn't want to, or couldn't, watch the stream. Drath has another thread discussing the actual patch that we received, and folks should feel free to discuss the panel here as well, but I'd rather not derail it further.

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