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The terms "tactics", "tactical" and "strategy" get thrown around way too often by many of today's youth - and most of the time incorrectly.

This game teaches you real tactics and strategy (at least if you put it on classic difficulty or better in the future). This is because trying to face-tank all the fights and just trade blows until either your opponent or you, are dead, will result in you losing 95% of the time in this game. It forces you to use your head in most fights and that's a good thing.

Today's youth have this strange (and innacurate) notion about "fairness" in fights. They use terms like "camping" or "cheesing" with negative connotations because they don't consider it "fair". The greatest warriors and generals in history are considered great because they won in completely unfair fights - because they used their heads. Thinking that fights have to be "fair" is such an entitled, stuck-up, idiotic attitude toward fighting that is certain to get you killed, unless you forget those silly notions and adapt. Plan. Think.

Let me remind you all of a very wise saying: "All's fair in love and war". The only rule in killing is that the one left alive is the victor. Period.

This game series provides you plenty of ways to do things - and plenty of ways to win any fight. Remember, anything that you can do within the confines of the game world IS FAIR and LEGITIMATE. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll realize that most if not all the fights in this game are super easy.

To any who disagree. I suggest you read 2 books: "Ender's Game", and "Ender's Shadow".

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While I agree with you on the notion that a large part of fun in DOS lies in gaming the system and coming up with unintuitive ways to win at impossible odds, it should be noted that "cheesing" refers not to innovative tactics but to taking advantage of limitations that your opponent has no way to deal with. This is mostly caused by the fact that the large amount of enemies you face in the game are controlled by AI and as such cannot hope to assess all situations correctly. Example: placing 10 oil barrels around Bishop Alexander in order to one shot him with a flame arrow. If Bishop Alexander is controlled by an actual human being you think he'd stay there for you to put even 2 oil barrels around him? That's why it's called cheese -> it's not a tactic. It's just a sure way to win because the AI has no hope of understanding what's happening. As Sun Tzu once said, "all warfare is based on deception". Strategy and tactics are interesting because you and your opponent are constantly trying to trick each other. Unfortunately, AI as we have in DOS doesn't quite have the abilities to draw proper conclusions dynamically based on evolving situations and past experience. So it's only natural that when we find the one "deception" that always works on a dumb opponent like the AI, we stop calling it a winning strategy but only referring to it as cheese.

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Defeating a weaker or less competent opponent in no way illegitimizes your victory. The impetus lies not on you, but on your enemy (or those creating your enemy in this case) to compete competently.

I find the term "cheesing" as it is used, with all its connotations, to be a grossly invalid term on principle.

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The point I am trying to make is, imagine trying your amazing strategy (that always works on AI) in Arena. Do you expect it to carry you to the top of a competitive tournament? If not, well, that's not a good strategy, period. At best it's a cheese that deserves the attention of the AI programmer.

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The best tactics is having the best gear.

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Originally Posted by M3SS3NG3R
The point I am trying to make is, imagine trying your amazing strategy (that always works on AI) in Arena. Do you expect it to carry you to the top of a competitive tournament? If not, well, that's not a good strategy, period. At best it's a cheese that deserves the attention of the AI programmer.


Every tactic and strategy is legitimate for the opponent it defeats.

Using a tactic or strategy on an opponent you know it won't work against isn't cheesing or not cheesing. It's just stupidity.

If you have a nail and a screw (opponents). And you choose to use a hammer on the nail just because it's more effective and easy than using a screwdriver - that doesn't make using the hammer cheesing or not cheesing.

If it's effective, then it's legitimate and good.

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Originally Posted by Fyrestorme
If it's effective, then it's legitimate and good.



Let's say hypothetically, the AI we have literally is just a placeholder. It issues no commands and just stands there. When I play the game I find out I can roll in face first and kill everything with a naked character with no weapons. Thus I should declare naked chars + no weapons to be an "effective" therefore "legitimate and good" strategy?

There is a HUGE difference between something effective and something legitimate. Many things are effective, few are legitimate. The test is simple: if it works well on a human competitor under similar conditions, then it's legitimate. Why? Because the holy grail of AI programming is something that's at least as good as a human mind. However, what we really have is an inferior, limited approximation. There's no guarantee that whatever works on the AI will also work on a human. For example, stacking barrels is certainly effective in campaign. But when doing the same thing to a human opponent only gets you laughed out of the tournament, do you really want to call it "legitimate" or does it simply highlight a case when the AI deviates from human intelligence? What if you wait till the GM mode comes out and see how much your GM is gonna fall for the same trick twice? I am not saying "oh you cannot stack barrels". I'm saying that's when you stop and say to yourself, "hmm the AI should've dealt with this better, like how a human would". That's when you realize the strategy you are so proud of is a cheese and probably needs the AI programmer to take a second look at it. If we don't acknowledge its limitations, how can Larian have relevant feedback on its weakness, come up with potential fix and inch closer towards the holy grail of AI? If you call everything effective to be "legitimate and good", how can you make the AI better since doing so is just gonna stop players from doing something "legitimate and good"?

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Originally Posted by M3SS3NG3R
There is a HUGE difference between something effective and something legitimate. Many things are effective, few are legitimate. The test is simple: if it works well on a human competitor under similar conditions, then it's legitimate.


This is not correct, a strategy's legitimacy is always determined by it's end goal. Nothing else matters.

For example: If I wanted to finish the campaign as fast as possible (ie. speedrun) then a lot of what you just described as "cheese" would in fact be the optimal strategy's to use. And had I tried to use "multiplayer tournament tactics" in a speedrun I would have been laughed off the stage.

Beating Alexander by stacking barrels is, whether you like it or not, definitely a legitimate strategy if your end goal is to defeat him as easily as possible within the context of the campaign. Saying its not legitimate because it wouldn't work in a tournament setting makes no sense, because you are just cherry-picking standards by which you judge the strategy out of personal preference. Therefore, the only objective way to judge the legitimacy of any strategy is to see how well it achieves it's stated end goal.

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Originally Posted by GepardenK
Originally Posted by M3SS3NG3R
There is a HUGE difference between something effective and something legitimate. Many things are effective, few are legitimate. The test is simple: if it works well on a human competitor under similar conditions, then it's legitimate.


This is not correct, a strategy's legitimacy is always determined by it's end goal. Nothing else matters.

For example: If I wanted to finish the campaign as fast as possible (ie. speedrun) then a lot of what you just described as "cheese" would in fact be the optimal strategy's to use. And had I tried to use "multiplayer tournament tactics" in a speedrun I would have been laughed off the stage.

Beating Alexander by stacking barrels is, whether you like it or not, definitely a legitimate strategy if your end goal is to defeat him as easily as possible within the context of the campaign. Saying its not legitimate because it wouldn't work in a tournament setting makes no sense, because you are just cherry-picking standards by which you judge the strategy out of personal preference. Therefore, the only objective way to judge the legitimacy of any strategy is to see how well it achieves it's stated end goal.


Then we agree to disagree. Let me lay out two assumptions I am going to make:

1. Given the choice of having an AI GM or a human GM, a human GM is likely to provide a better experience for all players involved.

2. The better experience is largely due to the human GM having the flexibility to respond to the various challenges the players pose to him strategically.

So if I am the AI programmer and I learned that people are stacking barrels to get rid of enemies they can't beat otherwise, the first thing I do is to figure out a way to code the AI into behaving similarly as to what a human GM would do on the receiving end (ie: run away/destroy barrels when they see them being moved over). This, as we have argued already, will most likely stop the barrel abuse altogether. At the very least it would have challenged the players into figuring out how to utilize barrels to the next level before the GM catches up to what they are doing. Thus as an AI programmer my end goal is for my AI to behave as closely to a human GM as possible. Not to artificially pose a restriction on how things like barrels can be used, but to have the AI behave realistically and intelligently in order to avoid going down the same pitfall again and again. Achieving that would have provided players better challenges and better overall experience. Sure it would have taken out the fun in figuring out the cheese to abuse, but like I explained, they are called "cheese" for a reason. It's nothing more than exploiting a repeatable behavior problem in the computer code. It might be fun for the first couple of times when you found out it worked. By the time you do it for the 100th battles it might as well be called the "skip this fight" button.

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Originally Posted by GepardenK

This is not correct, a strategy's legitimacy is always determined by it's end goal. Nothing else matters.


i can agree to this, and if you always like to win easy by choosing the best strategy you could stack oil barrels as mentioned above, but imo this doesn't feel like a win at least for me since in order to place oil barrels you lock alexander in a conversation while your other characters just run around the place with no consequenses from the other NPCs and that at least for me feels kinda cheap. sure it works and you get and easy kill with a winning stratergy and thats a fact, but it feels like a hollow victory for me.

but then again every player has the right to play the game as they wish ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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While many truths are spoken of in this thread, I feel like this is a bit too heavy to apply to a video game. As to the whole "Does cheesing count as strategy?"....Well, yeah, it does. You can have any opinion you want on a strategy. Most people hate Hitlers political move to make the Jews a scapegoat, but it's universally accepted as brilliant and effective. It was also considered very simple and straightforward. So......technically, Hitler "cheesed" politics in a way.

Cheesing in and of itself is generally only given bad reputation cause lots of people would consider it a hollow victory when the point of buying and playing a game such as CIV or D:OS or mortal combat is to challenge yourself so that your skills are sharpened. Generally, players than go on to face each other if the game has some PvP of a kind.

As a player and individual, I would never consider cheesing a bad move, but I would also avoid over reliance. As an opponent, I'd see it as a crutch to be knocked aside since it's indicative of lack of true skill if my opponent is a one trick pony. As a developer, I'd try to make my game as anti-cheese as possible since "cheese" strategies mean that I've somehow failed to develop a well made AI opponent or difficulty for the player....unless the game isn't meant to be taken all the seriously at an intellectual level and creating an inherently and scalable challenging game wasn't the goal: like explorer mode isnt meant to challaeneg anything

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Like I stated in another post, the biggest problem with these cheese oil strats is that for now the AI doesn't have any answers to you just walking up to them while chatting. Yeah you can place oil barrels, sure. But also note that you can place a 2 handed character, buff it, rage and then smack Alexander or whatever other enemies before they can react. That is not as effective as stacking oil barrels, might be less cheesy, but it still is. All they need to do is make a proximity trigger to these hostile npcs while in conversation so you can do that. You could then try to sneak in a ranged attack or spell, and that's ok. But straight up walking all over them with a melee character and dancing around is a huge oversight and I hope it does not make into the final game.

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Thank you for creating this thread. So many people seem to have forgotten what really challenging games were like. When I grew up it was an achievement to have beat a game at all. There was no easy faceroll "normal" mode and then possibly a challenging hard mode. Normal mode was hard mode.

I'm not saying games should not have casual modes, my point is simply that its refreshing to see games that go back to having a mode that stomps you hard in an unfair way and really punishes you when you fail to beat the unfair odds. So thank you Larian for making honor mode. Please make it even harder than in the last Divinity game. ^^

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My opinion:
At the moment the game is very unbalanced and a lot of things will be changed before release.

Why?
"Cheesing" is ok if the game is designed around it. A good example is Age of Decadence. In AoD combat is so difficult, that your only chance to win is to use absolutely every possibility the game gives you in order to have a chance. Focus on one type of weapon and combat style, poison your weapon, aim your attacks according to the enemies armor and stats, use nets and grenades to CC them, positioning and so on. You must use all of this and more, just pressing attack will be your death. Bad players (like me) have no chance in combat (I finished the game as pacifist). Good players will find this game difficult and it feels rewarding if you win any battle. Very good players can "cheese" so well that even this game is easy for them and this is the kind of cheesing that may feel very rewarding (sorry, I have never experianced that).
All of this is true for a game that is designed to have very difficult combat from the start. This is also very limiting because you have only a very limited selection of useful chars. You can be a blocker (strengh based weapon+shield, heavy armor, lots of points in weapon and block skill) or a dodger ( dex based weapon + dodge skill). All combat chars should have crafting and alchemy to create powerful poisoned weapons. If you leave this cookie cutter build, your life will get extremely harder.

now to D:OS2:
Larian games are designed in a way that you can play the game with whatever char you want. A rogue with fire spells, a mage who knows some basics in all schools of magic or a fighter who is married only to his 2hsword. You can do all of this and more and it will work. Some chars are better than others, but you do not need an optimized char to finish the game. The games are not designed around maximum combat difficulty like AoD, but around exploration, story and humor.
At the moment, some combos are completely overpowered (elf+ranger+sneak+sniper+guerilla+rage+adrenaline and maybe dual wield dagger+backstab+guerilla+elf+rage+sneak, and don´t forget leadership and encourage).
You do not need those chars to finish the game but doing so makes the game extremely easy.

Remember that at the moment we have only easy and normal mode, harder difficulties will come. I think at normal mode you should be able to create whatever char you want and finish the game without the need to use extreme cheese.
I also think the devs should disable some ways to use extreme cheese (not sure how) and they should reduce the power of some abilities so that the game is a bit more balanced.

Since there will be changes to the stat system, lots of balancing has to be done anyway.


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I think there is some confusion here about strategy.

Let's start with the classic game of tic-tac-toe. When you're a young child, it seems like a rather complex game. However, as you get older you realise that the game is broken. There is only one way to play the game. If the first player knows this technique, he can never lose. If both players know the technique, then neither can ever win. The game just repeats in the same cycle with the exact same game being played over and over again and ending in a draw. At that point, it's no longer a game. Learning to walk is a fun challenge until you've mastered it.

You can then advance to more advanced tiers of games such as checkers, and later chess. Again, there are very specific ways to play these games, although in the case of chess, even human grandmasters have not fully mastered it and so they have been dominated by the raw processing power of computers.

At the highest tier of strategy are games such as Go. This game is exceptionally complex, and even grandmasters of this game play by using intuition as much as actual strategy. Often, these grandmasters can't fully explain their strategy. There are certain configurations of the pieces that simply look "beautiful". Computers finally defeated the grandmasters of this game after programmers designed a new technology based on "neural networks" that imitate this human intuition.

Video games such as D:OS2 ideally want to reach the same level of strategic complexity as Go. Even if we're not an advanced player, the goal of a strategy game is to train our ability to analyse a situation and train our skill and intuition in order to select the best strategy.

The problem with "cheesy techniques" is that they expose parts of the strategy game, or the strategy AI that are broken. Suddenly, when you begin stacking barrels next to an opponent to keep them trapped, you find yourself locked in the mindless repetition of a game of tic-tac-toe. There is nothing left to learn. The only winning move is not to play.

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@Ayvah
Nicely said, although I'd say that a single combat encounter is a question of tactics, not strategy. Strategy e.g. determines the way you level up a character, it's about the long run. Stacking barrels in a combat encounters is a tactic. But yeah, such cheesy tactics can also influence your strategy.

The real question every player has to aks themselves is whether they want to play an RPG with tactical combat or whether they want to play a tactical combat game with RPG elements. If roleplaying is your major motivation cheesy tactics won't even spoil the experience for you. If you primarily play the game for the tactics, it's a different kind of breed. But naturally, these two player types are hard to combine. The former loves the barrel tactic as an option. The latter hates it as an obvious min-max strategy.


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Thanks.

The distinction between strategy and tactics is generally about scale, and this distinction isn't clear in every game. Does Go emulate a single battle, an entire war, or just a philosophy?

Anyway, my personal taste is that I want strong RPG and strategic/tactical elements. It's possible to be great at both.

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@LordCrash

Combat encounters test your strategy and tactics; by your own definition, a single encounter must test your strategy. How you execute your strategy within those encounters can be called tactics.

For example, my entire strategy is to exploit high ground and always end fights before the first round ends; so my tactics are usually going to involve advancing into high-ground regardless of who occupies it and also exploiting Warlord talent as often as possible.

If you then fail to beat an encounter it means your strategy did not take into account those variables (e.g. you never put points into endurance skills but one fight can only be done through endurance so everything you have built is for naught).

But yeah, this is just nitpicking, strategy is totally the way you build your characters (it's just that most people don't think of it that way) as well as -- if there is a consumable limit -- the consumables you use as well as the gear (which is a sub set of how you build your character). Other strategic elements are how you treat characters not in your party etc.

@Ayvah
Pretty sure that war is philosophy.

And until they start stressing the economics side of things (consumables, items, other logistical things, the role of characters not in your primary party), it'll be hard to get that strategic element and it's more common in games like Final Fantasy Tactics/Super Robot Wars/Fantasy General etc.


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