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So, with the success of the original D:OS and the fact that it truly was a great game on so many levels, I feel like I'm not seeing enough people bring up the one thing that was probably the worst thing about D:OS - in fact, for many players it was game-breaking and it most likely alienated a lot of players. But the problem is that, once you start criticizing a game that is otherwise excellent, the fanboys are there to shut you up like flies on crap.

In fact, in spite of what I'm about to say, I give D:OS a 9/10.

The Abhorrent "XP Buffer" in D:OS:

Usually, when you design an RPG game, you always want to make sure that it has a buffer of side-quests and other things that ensures that your Level is always on par with the area you're currently in. Players can still rush through the game for a greater challenge, but at least you're certain that everybody will actually get through the experience. If RPGs isn't your strong suit, or you're just unfamiliar with the character system and risks building the "wrong character", you should still be able to beat the game. These are 60h+ games, after all. Not exactly a Quarter-coin arcade.

My experience with D:OS was like this:

I created a team and I recruited the various characters and it all felt like I was mastering the game. And then slowly, I started lagging behind on my levels. At some point, I was thinking to myself that "I really hope there's some additional areas that allows me to get my Level back on par". But sadly, no such extra area existed.

When I finally got to the White Witch, I was underleveled and I knew I had done everything I could do up until that point. I even went online to look for guides etc. But the thing is, once I started talking about this to other fans of the game, they just gave me the cold shoulder and told me that "I'm not playing the game the right way" or "I made a wrong build".

Do people making these comments even have any idea about what game design is about?

Yes, I probably would've beaten the game if I had made the "right build". But when you spend 60+ hours in a game and you need the benefit of hindsight to tell you what you're doing wrong, game-breakingly so, I think any rational person should understand that there's something wrong going on here.

What's the point of a classless system if only a few methods are even viable? And yes, a game is always going to have optimal builds, but optimal does not equal viable.

A proper solution - How to Avoid this for D:OS2:

One of the biggest reasons why this whole thing frustrates me, is because the solution is so damn simple. In Dark Souls games, if you suck, you simply grind your way to higher levels so that the experience becomes smoother. I consider myself average in those games, but I've been able to kill every single boss nonetheless. This is because the total XP pool in good games is much greater than the xp you need in order to stay on par. This has been the staple solution in RPG since the dawn of computer games.

Even in games that don't have enemy respawns (i.e. a fixed XP pool rather than infinite), the developers make sure that enough side-missions and optional areas exist so that the game has what I called an "XP Buffer". They do this to make sure everyone of us gets to the end, that nobody is left out of the endgame.

However, not all developers can afford to design tons of areas outside of the main trajectory. Which is exactly why respawning enemies were conceived of to begin with.

Dear Larian Studios:

This is not me being angry at you guys. It's more about how I feel like I'm being met by fanboys when I bring up points that quite clearly and objectively have merit. This isn't just "my opinion", it's something that can have ramifications for game sales etc. And yes, 500k copies is impressive. This isn't about one feature making or breaking a game. It's about the potential for maybe selling 1M copies instead, because you made sure that the game was accessible even to the people who don't min-max and numbercrunch their characters to death and back. People who simply want to enjoy the game on their own terms.

But this isn't about dumbing down a game. In fact, I'm the first to criticize dumbing down gameplay, because it alienates the solid players. What I'm advocating here is features that open up for a wider audience, rather than swap out the existing player base with another (which is basically what dumbing down is all about - catering to a casual crowd in a way that directly impact the hardcore player's experience)

All I'm saying is this:

If nothing else, then at least make the enemies respawnable - OR - if you insist against that, for some aesthetic reason, at least make sure that there's enough ways to acquire XP to ensure that you're beating a game.

The penalty for making honest mistakes should NEVER be to have to redo 60+ hours of content. There's a reason why fail states exist in a game. For people who mess up progression, the fail state is "some additional grinding" - THAT should be my punishment if I mess up.

Another punishment in D:OS that I wholly accept, is the fact that I need to save my game before big battles and I need to reload to rethink my approach. Even if there's random things involved (God forbid), you're still just punished with a few minutes or an hour worth of progress lost.

Now compare that to having to lose 60+ hours of progress just because you made progressional mistakes that you had no way of knowing were wrong until 60 hours later.

Is this fair? Especially when the XP pool could've easily been a little higher? Now, it's no small task to design large new areas to adventure in, but I KNOW that Larian knows that respawning an enemy is NOT a major programmatical problem to solve. The enemy already has a create and delete function. All you need is to refactor those criterias slightly.

Anyways, just some thoughts from me. It's all good, and I'm confident that D:OS2 is going to be a great experience. But I thought I'd spend my two cents nonetheless.

Peace.

(PS: The image verification system on this forum is REALLY bad haha)

Last edited by vometia; 11/01/17 10:17 PM. Reason: formatting

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That is an issue to my opinion. I think XP gain should grow more exponential and start from very little figures (1 xp for lvl 1 monster), but with a buffer. Respawnable enemies would do, but only within some big quest (untill you kill some raid boss). If the XP gain is very exponential and you have respawnable enemy units, with some superhard boss, its fun. In warcraft3 they put a max lvl cap on each map. Why not make an 11lvl cap on a map where the strongest enemies have lvl 9, for example.

I didn't really think about xp buffer, but offered an idea of gold buffer,. Current XP gain would work well if the classes were more balanced.

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I have real big doubts about your claim to be underleveled after completing everything you can, but lets just say for the sake of it that you are, you somehow failed every quests by mistake and that you builded a warrior with all stats in Intelligence. You can still complete this game.

If its too hard, you can switch to easy mode mid-game.
You can rebuild your characters stats, google how to and just look at some good builds, there are some pretty broken ways to play this game where 1 shotting bosses is possible.
Learning the crafting system will make your gear so good that you can be 5 levels under and you wont even notice it, you can also make loads of money with it and buy the best gear from shops.
Most bosses have strategies to defeat them or ways to cheese them. You can pretty much cheese everyboss by stacking ooze barrels and other such ways, so your level is not that important. Again google is your friend.

Personally, I think DOS1's difficulty is childish even on harder difficulties. If you have learned how to gear properly using crafting, learned how to build your characters, looked up strategies on how to win battles and still cant beat DOS1 on easy mode, then maybe there should be an auto-win mode where you can win no matter what you do.

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There probably won't be any form of grinding in D:OS 2, unless some later arena has infinite fights and always awards XP. I mean, maybe that could have something like that to help people catch up if they're underleveled and have no other choice, but it shouldn't let people level up past what they should be around there. Basically, there could be a "training" option for people at a couple points in the game, where a NPC basically notices you're underleveled and to pit fights for you to help you grow stronger, an option that players won't have if they're the normal level. And presumably there will still be some kind of respecialization option (ideally also some way to to only move a few points around instead of restarting from scratch).

D:OS 1 definitely already had plenty of an XP buffer, assuming you were even remotely thorough. In fact, XP buffers can create just as many problems as no buffer. It makes people feel like doing all the side content will make the game too easy. This is one of those perennial problems of RPG design that's super difficult to solve, level scaling being one of the most effective if nonetheless quite unpopular solutions.

Otherwise, I dunno, do they need an even easier difficulty than explorer for people? Maybe something that reduces the level of all the enemies by 1 or 2, so it's easier for players to feel on par with enemies with needing to do all the content.

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I agree that right now a big problem is that both Fort Joy Prison (and according to some people, the island as a whole) do not have sufficient XP buffers to allow players to miss some of the optional XP gains. The prison is especially bad because you have very little room for getting to level 3, and you can end up being forced to do things in a very specific order because you can only handle certain situations.

I experienced this myself. I failed to talk to Elohdi and intervene when first entering prison, and when I got back, she was dead. I missed that XP. I also was roleplaying as a lizard mage, and so when I talked to the playing kid in the grotto, I didn't choose the "playful" response, so the kid never played hide-and-seek or told me about the secret area in the grotto. If I was a first-time player doing this without knowledge, I wouldn't know about those, so I pretended that I didn't know what I missed.

Because of that, I was level 1, and I only had one quest I could do, which was to find Griff's fruit and turn Stingtail over to Griff, because I couldn't win any of those fights at level 1.

(In any case, I also didn't have enough Strength (12+) to pull the spear from Withermoor, which meant he didn't reveal a secret way into the prison.)

However, I do not think that respawning enemies is the only way to solve that, instead I'd prefer if new areas, more low-level enemies, and more low-level quests are added instead.

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I agree with the OP, but I only found XP meagre in the beginning of D:OS. This creates a difficult barrier for new players, and is far from ideal in any kind of game. Witcher 2 also made the mistake of a reverse difficulty curve (cliff) and later rectified it somewhat through rebalancing.

A lack of available XP early on results in most encounters being out of reach of the player unless they do every single quest available. This is especially problematic because the early area in the game is set up as an "open" area with multiple paths and solutions. What's the point of all these choices if the player has to scrounge the entire map to do every quest they can find anyway?

If anything this problem is even more acute in D:OS2. I am literally stuck on 2 separate playthroughs because I am unable to get enough XP to level high enough to enter the fort. The lack of XP is pretty much game breaking.

Last edited by HyprJ; 12/01/17 11:19 AM.
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Originally Posted by HyprJ
If anything this problem is even more acute in D:OS2. I am literally stuck on 2 separate playthroughs because I am unable to get enough XP to level high enough to enter the fort. The lack of XP is pretty much game breaking.


You can enter the fort at level 1.

And you can pretty much leave the fort without even fighting anyone...

I suggest you learn how to position yourself before a fight, lure enemies to more advantageous grounds, prepare traps for the enemies(barrels) before starting a fight.
Focus fire 1 at a time.
You can dmg and bunch up enemies if you teleport 1 of them on another.
Use grenades if your dmg is too low, you can make them with broken bottles or nails.
You can run from battles after killing a few.
Look at the enemies armor to see if the enemies are easier to be stunned/frozen or knocked down so that they cant attack.
You can get a free hit if you initiate the fight before ending the dialogue.
Healing potions are really easy to make if you dont have healing spells, there are some other good potions to look for, mostly just combine any plant with a empty potion bottle to see the result.
You have plenty of advantages to use against the enemies, plz dont just rush in there blindly.


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Originally Posted by Finito
Originally Posted by HyprJ
If anything this problem is even more acute in D:OS2. I am literally stuck on 2 separate playthroughs because I am unable to get enough XP to level high enough to enter the fort. The lack of XP is pretty much game breaking.


You can enter the fort at level 1.

And you can pretty much leave the fort without even fighting anyone...

I suggest you learn how to position yourself before a fight, lure enemies to more advantageous grounds, prepare traps for the enemies(barrels) before starting a fight.
Focus fire 1 at a time.
You can dmg and bunch up enemies if you teleport 1 of them on another.
Use grenades if your dmg is too low, you can make them with broken bottles or nails.
You can run from battles after killing a few.
Look at the enemies armor to see if the enemies are easier to be stunned/frozen or knocked down so that they cant attack.
You can get a free hit if you initiate the fight before ending the dialogue.
Healing potions are really easy to make if you dont have healing spells, there are some other good potions to look for, mostly just combine any plant with a empty potion bottle to see the result.
You have plenty of advantages to use against the enemies, plz dont just rush in there blindly.



This is the problem. The advice you've just given wouldn't look out of place in in a guide for a difficult mid game or end game scenario, but this is the start of the game we're talking about!

To ask this much of players this early in the game is unreasonable no matter how challenging the game is supposed to be and is just bad design.

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Originally Posted by Stabbey
Because of that, I was level 1, and I only had one quest I could do, which was to find Griff's fruit and turn Stingtail over to Griff, because I couldn't win any of those fights at level 1.
You need to explore more. There are plenty of places you get XP from without fighting anyone. If you sneak around aimlessly you can get to level 3 without fighting anyone at all if you wish. Eventually.

If you leave the prison for the marshes you can get to level 4 without fighting anyone but you're pretty much obligated to after that if you want to progress.

Originally Posted by Stabbey
(In any case, I also didn't have enough Strength (12+) to pull the spear from Withermoor, which meant he didn't reveal a secret way into the prison.)
You don't need to pull it out. You can break it if you don't stumble across items that give you a strength boost. In any case there are numerous other ways into the prison such as up the ladder behind the necro saleswoman or through the cave with the fireslugs all of which give you varying amounts of XP, are not mutually exclusive and don't require you to fight anyone


Originally Posted by Stabbey
(However, I do not think that respawning enemies is the only way to solve that, instead I'd prefer if new areas, more low-level enemies, and more low-level quests are added instead.
I agree with you there. IIRC there is only one level 1 fight - the freshly buried corpse. Perhaps the voidwoken are level 1 also I can't remember. Not many in any case. The game tries to coax you into fighting the crocs straight off which can be pretty suicidal.

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Originally Posted by lx07
You need to explore more. There are plenty of places you get XP from without fighting anyone. If you sneak around aimlessly you can get to level 3 without fighting anyone at all if you wish. Eventually.


Maybe so, but that only reinforces the point of feeling like you need to scrounge up every morsel of XP to make progress, or feeling like you need to do things in a very specific way.

I'm getting old, I don't have the patience to wander around aimlessly for hours. I have better things to do with my time and I'd be more likely to consider that a flaw with the game than "working as intended".

If you mean the 600 XP in the frog cave you can find for standing in a random spot, I'm actually going to recommend the devs remove that and tie it to opening the chest in that cave.


Quote
You don't need to pull it out. You can break it if you don't stumble across items that give you a strength boost. In any case there are numerous other ways into the prison such as up the ladder behind the necro saleswoman or through the cave with the fireslugs all of which give you varying amounts of XP, are not mutually exclusive and don't require you to fight anyone


See, that's a neat tip. I didn't know about the spear.


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Originally Posted by HyprJ
This is the problem. The advice you've just given wouldn't look out of place in in a guide for a difficult mid game or end game scenario, but this is the start of the game we're talking about!

To ask this much of players this early in the game is unreasonable no matter how challenging the game is supposed to be and is just bad design.


Those are tips for players who cant bother to do quests correctly, dont know what exploring means, have no notion on how to fight battles and cant progress even if playing on easy.

I did my first playthrough just barging in and starting fights everywhere I could on normal difficulty and there wasnt any need for tactics or preparation at all, just plain basic RPG mechanics understanding.

This game doesnt have a design flaw, unless you consider that the game needs to be designed in order to accomodate any kind of player who doesnt want to play how the game is supposed to be played, a tactical RPG.

Maybe they should add those console cheats like in Pillars or Tyranny for people who want to play the game however they want.

They could also add to easy mode some kind of map pointers to guide players or more tip text on how to play the game for new people.

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Originally Posted by Stabbey
If you mean the 600 XP in the frog cave you can find for standing in a random spot, I'm actually going to recommend the devs remove that and tie it to opening the chest in that cave.
There is that place, yes. There is also
going into the back corner of the room with the caged dog, teleporting into the broken cell where you get the necklace (by the Houndmaster), going into Orvids Chambers up the ladder, into the fire-slug cave and so on.


Originally Posted by Stabbey
I'm getting old, I don't have the patience to wander around aimlessly for hours. I have better things to do with my time and I'd be more likely to consider that a flaw with the game than "working as intended".
I don't know what is intended at all. You can leave the prison at level 1 (you then level up to 3 immediately). You can then just go straight to the final fight after stealing a purging wand and try it at level 3.

You most likely won't win at that level unless you are remarkably lucky but you can skip almost all the content if you want to.

I'm terribly slow and being very old have lots of spare time... I've never finished this bit in less than 30 hours so god knows how long the whole thing will take me. Weeks probably.

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Originally Posted by Madolite

I created a team and I recruited the various characters and it all felt like I was mastering the game. And then slowly, I started lagging behind on my levels. At some point, I was thinking to myself that "I really hope there's some additional areas that allows me to get my Level back on par". But sadly, no such extra area existed.

When I finally got to the White Witch, I was underleveled and I knew I had done everything I could do up until that point. I even went online to look for guides etc. But the thing is, once I started talking about this to other fans of the game, they just gave me the cold shoulder and told me that "I'm not playing the game the right way" or "I made a wrong build".

Do people making these comments even have any idea about what game design is about?

Yes, I probably would've beaten the game if I had made the "right build". But when you spend 60+ hours in a game and you need the benefit of hindsight to tell you what you're doing wrong, game-breakingly so, I think any rational person should understand that there's something wrong going on here.

What's the point of a classless system if only a few methods are even viable? And yes, a game is always going to have optimal builds, but optimal does not equal viable.

What were you doing, building a 4-character party of rogues with boosted intelligence, loremaster, telekinisis and shield mastery, or what?
Didn't read your post further, sorry, had enough b/s by this point.
Because, sorry, I'm about to give you another could shoulder - those (hypothetical) rogues were, ye, the "wrong" way to play.
I literally can't imagine how wrong a way you must go to become underleveled and underpowered in D:OS1, original or EE.
Soooo... Just git gud and quit whining? Or play at explorer mode ffs?

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Quote
What were you doing, building a 4-character party of rogues with boosted intelligence, loremaster, telekinisis and shield mastery, or what?


You're exaggerating. In D:OS1 there is one clear optimal party and it is nothing like other RPGs. A new player might reasonably start with a melee character and an archer and recruit the wizard NPC and rogue NPC thinking that it will be a balanced party.

Doing that in a game like, say, Baldur's Gate would be optimal. In D:OS1 it is a terrible party, especially for an inexperienced player, even if you (accidentally) manage to build the characters optimally. A new player can't know this in advance (without reading a party guide).

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Hey guys, I wanna just thank y'all for pitching in on your thoughts. I feel like this community might be right up my alley. Only one obnoxious reply and the rest of you make good solid points to think about, so I don't feel I need to defend anything or elaborate. I appreciate that.

Peace. smile


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After having done about 4 complete playthroughs of this current patch, (loving it so much) my only real issue game play wise is that early on there is a very specific order of things you need to do to be at level with all fights up until you hit level 5, at which point you can complete any fight on the island, sans the final fight, in any order you want. If there were just a few unavoidable level one and two encounters fairly early on this would cease to be an issue. Another solution would be to increase the exp given from completing certain quests.

Last edited by Damashi; 14/01/17 03:18 AM.
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Originally Posted by Yonjuro
You're exaggerating. In D:OS1 there is one clear optimal party and it is nothing like other RPGs. A new player might reasonably start with a melee character and an archer and recruit the wizard NPC and rogue NPC thinking that it will be a balanced party.

Doing that in a game like, say, Baldur's Gate would be optimal. In D:OS1 it is a terrible party, especially for an inexperienced player, even if you (accidentally) manage to build the characters optimally. A new player can't know this in advance (without reading a party guide).

On my first playthrough Roderic was (starting as) a wind wizard and Scarlett a rogue.
Recruited only Madora, didn't like Jahan at all (he's a dull as***le), later in the game (at somewhere in the 15+ lvls) got an archer henchman just for fun - 20+ AP per turn with lots of crits and those 2 AP arrow shots. By that time I understood the mechanics and seen the potential of an archer, and didn't have one in party, so just wanted to try it out. Not that my 3-man death squad had any problems at all.
For inexperienced players Larian added an Explorer's mode in EE, and it will be accesible from the start in D:OS2. Others are plain whiners.
Actually I'm replaying NWN1 (for like a 10th time) out of boredom and waiting for another patch, and I should say D:OS1 is much easier and much less punishing. (by any means I don't say D:OS is bad, it's a great game with an old-school spirit). Saying that D:OS is hard, well, you should consider playing Sims then, IDK.

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Quote

Saying that D:OS is hard, well, you should consider playing Sims then, IDK.


Yeah, thanks for the sage advice but I didn't say it was hard. I said that your claim about a party with four rogues was an exaggeration.

4 wizards (built correctly) is an 'I win' button for this game and anything else is worse. (Though, as you point out, archers get good later in the game if they are built correctly.) Based on your comments, I don't think this comes as news to you which is why your initial comment looks like an exaggeration.


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Originally Posted by Yonjuro


Quote

Saying that D:OS is hard, well, you should consider playing Sims then, IDK.


Yeah, thanks for the sage advice but I didn't say it was hard. I said that your claim about a party with four rogues was an exaggeration.

4 wizards (built correctly) is an 'I win' button for this game and anything else is worse. (Though, as you point out, archers get good later in the game if they are built correctly.) Based on your comments, I don't think this comes as news to you which is why your initial comment looks like an exaggeration.


Well, if some nasty invisibility bugs get fixed, I can beat your 4-wizards party in the arena with 4 rogues hands down, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
With the addition of grenades, rogues actually can be much more potent than mages (well, yeah, no 1-shot-kill-all blizzards and meteors, but still).
On one of my EE playthroughs killed the void dragon with a rogue when he got his turn to move, in one turn, no problems.
So ye, git gud and stop whining. I won't be tired repeating that. I don't know how randow lvl-uping you must become to mess up character progression so you'll feel underpowered in D:OS1. I guessed that example with intelligence-based rogues fits the idea.
And if you ARE that *ahem*retarded*ahem* there IS an explorers mode, ffs!

Last edited by JJ_Judge; 14/01/17 07:49 PM.
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