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Hey, I couldn't come up with a better title considering the wide range of topics I've been thinking on as I've been reading through these forums for the past few days, and I thought it might be a good idea to have some centralized thoughts on how the various combat mechanics in the game interact with each other, and how certain changes either through scaling back already existing mechanics or adding in new ones can open up more creative options. I have an entire Friday to think about this since I've clearly nothing more productive to do.

That said, some of this might sound like a wishlist too, but at the same time, I also recognize that acting on a lot of what is to be discussed here might not be possible, perhaps due to possible limitations within the engine used for BG3 and that the developers may have deemed it too much work to overhaul the engine to include some missing features from tabletop, as long as the majority of the public and the gaming press are still happy with the end result. That is neither here nor there, and this discussion is as much aimed at the developers as it is towards people on these forums who may end up becoming future developers themselves. I don't mean to make this yet another comparison between BG3, Tabletop (and Solasta by default), and D:OS2, but those are the most direct frames of reference available.

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Combat balance tends to be a multi-faceted topic. Few people really know how to describe it, and while I will not pretend to be one of said few, I would at least like to think that I'm making an effort. At the moment, I personally feel that the game's tactics lean far too much towards pre-battle planning/setup, and once combat actually begins, there's very few options to turn a situation around if the original plan fails. The lack of certain options makes a battle highly reactive rather than encouraging anything proactive, outside of one constant mechanic as detailed below. I think a lot of the grievances about BG3's combat balance ultimately revolves around the action economy, more importantly in regards to bonus actions.

But before we get into that, we should talk about the high ground advantage/low ground disadvantage system, and how that particular design choice might be the main culprit behind many of the other seemingly problematic mechanics existing. In most other games, such a concept was largely used for controlling the field via forcing chokepoints while protecting ranged characters on high ground, and maybe extending their attack range on top of that. D:OS2 went the extra step of adding a damage modifier for characters on high ground. But BG3 is the first game I've seen that actually added an accuracy bonus to it by essentially doubling hit rate via advantage. This is highly problematic for the below reasons.

1) It is a free method of gaining advantage, in a game where other methods generally require using spell slots, a finite mid-battle resource. Even worse if said spells require concentration on top of that, such as Faerie Fire. Sure, Faerie Fire gives you advantage regardless of environmental factors, but it has a failure rate via Dexterity saves, it again requires concentration, and that means the opportunity cost of actually using it is far worse.

2) It heavily cheapens the value of buffs that increase your modifiers by a flat rate, such as Bless. Oh yeah, Bless happens to be a concentration spell too. One only needs to look at Solasta to see how the inclusion of high ground advantage affects the usage of Bless in both game's balance. In BG3, Bless is generally considered worthless, and hearing the developers say that people aren't using it because it's boring or not flashy enough isn't really something you want to be hearing from the creators of one of the most celebrated turn-based combat systems. In Solasta, it's considered one of the most powerful spells you can use, with flat modifiers being much more valuable in an environment where it is much harder to gain advantage rolls.

3) Ranged spells that target saves are inherently worse for damage purposes than spells that target AC, unless you are on even or low ground (and even then, the spells that target AC probably still have a higher success rate than saves on even ground). That said, you have plenty of reasons to be rushing to high ground ASAP, so this isn't something you'd consider unless things have already gone sideways. That said, spells that target saves usually do inflict half damage if an enemy succeeds on the saving throw (while spells that target AC would completely miss), but there aren't too many of those yet.

4) Since ranged characters on high ground essentially have permanent advantage against enemies on lower ground, all the tactical variety in the world suddenly becomes focused towards controlling that high ground as soon as possible. The value of AC suddenly has an exponential curve in such a situation, rather than a flat increasing bonus. Even worse, the encounter design knows this, from the sheer amount of encounters with easily accessible high ground points available to both players and enemies, with several enemies frequently starting on high ground themselves. At that point, your number 1 priority is to either knock them off or sneak to a higher point before a fight begins, sometimes missing out on dialogue if you really want a surprise round on top of that.

(That last part was or less what Tactician Mode in D:OS2 turned into if you wanted to be efficient due to the way encounters were designed in that game. For example, whichever party member actually spoke to Alexander at the end of Act 1 had a high probability of immediately dying afterwards once the fight broke out, as opposed to the entire party just ambushing the enemy group and skipping the dialogue entirely. Or the infamous scarecrow Alice, who usually had absurd initiative, would attack you no matter what even if you passed the persuasion checks, had crazy insane damage modifiers due to a personal buff, and usually opened up with a fireball that would immediately party wipe most players if they were to talk to her normally with all four party members present - which resulted in ridiculous tactics like having one party member talk to her to distract her while the other three party members went up the nearby ledges in the ruins to set up the field in their favor, or teleporting her to the nearby vendor who happened to be an overpowered former player character from the first DOS game. The latter is generally widely considered by the community to be the most direct way of dealing with her.)

One of the most common suggestions to mitigate the effect that this system has on this game's tactical focus would be to have high ground give the character effective +2 AC against ranged attacks from enemies on lower ground, which would act as a replacement tabletop cover system. But it remains to be seen if this is something that will happen.

Now, the devs may be looking at this and wondering how to allow melee characters to keep up. It would not be too much of a stretch to think that the backstab advantage system likely wouldn't exist if it weren't for high ground advantage. Even so, one would think that this combined with melee having the ability to threaten enemies with possible opportunity attacks would be enough to balance the relationship between the melee and ranged, right? But in terms of actual practicality, that's not the case, because of something else.

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Jump/Disengage being coupled together and being considered bonus actions. Jump is perhaps a necessary tool to handle the verticality in this game, but in my opinion, it should only be used for crossing large gaps, jumping into pits with feather fall, or jumping up/down higher ledges mid-combat. It is an utter waste of the player's time to be using it outside of combat just to go up or down a ledge with no other path existing to just manually climb without it (such as the ledge that leads to the hidden perception check hiding a ruby), but that's another topic entirely.

(I should also mention how Jump by itself cheapens the value of field effects, but at the same time, this is less of a concern now that field effects now only trigger once per turn rather than being based on distance traveled within said field, like it used to do during the initial EA launch and how it works in D:OS2.)

The bigger problem is the Disengage being tied to it, and being considered a bonus action. This means melee characters running up to a ranged enemy often doesn't mean anything like it does in most other tactical RPGs, because the ranged enemy is just going to disengage and shoot at Gale in the back without any penalty anyways. You SHOULD be punished for leaving your ranged exposed, the same way you should actually be rewarded for threatening the enemy ranged too.

Making Disengage its own ability and changing it into a standard action would suddenly change a lot of this game's tactics. Players would be a lot more careful about the positioning of their ranged, while melee characters would suddenly prioritize going after the ranged even more and actually getting rewarded for pressuring them. Using that Dash action to catch up to the enemy ranged instead of hitting the nearest enemy suddenly seems like an attractive option, doesn't it? Or pull back to chase a melee enemy going after your ranged. Actually getting threatened would give you a reason to use spells like Shocking Grasp to cancel the enemy's potential opportunity attack and safely move away (especially if there are multiple ranged party members being threatened by that one enemy, meaning that wizard only has to use one action to allow everyone else to get away for free). Or maybe you wanted to bait the enemy to run up to your ranged so that they'd be conveniently next to a ledge to be shoved off of by a different character afterwards, or for said enemy to be immediately flanked and shanked with a sneak attack by your rogue. A bonus action Disengage means such unconventional tactics wouldn't cross the minds of most people.

At the same time, that would also remove the need for the ridiculous double 'Threatened' and 'Enemy Too Close' disadvantage malus, because both basically mean the same thing so why should they even be separate disadvantage penalties? Get rid of one of them, preferably 'Enemy Too Close' as Threatened is a far more specific term.

(On that note, the 'Threatened' range should really just be tied to the enemy's opportunity attack range. There is a complete lack of information in regards to exactly how far Threatened radius extends, which is just obfuscation of information in a tactical game such as this. If you're not at risk of taking an opportunity attack by moving away from a nearby enemy, you shouldn't be considered threatened. At the same time, tying threatened radius to weapon range would be a great reason to consider using reach weapons like spears too.)

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The emphasis on wanting to control the high ground means that shoving by default is quite powerful. Bonus Action Shove however is quite overkill. It is normally a risky attempt to control the fight and cause a lot of free environmental damage, if not an instant kill if you throw someone into an out of bounds area. But making it a bonus action means it's less 'risk' and more 'free potential source of damage'.

That said, shoving an enemy out of bounds also results in a loss of rewards. Maybe if shoving was a high risk factor with becoming a standard action, this wouldn't be necessary, although it's more likely to be a programming limitation thing more than anything else at the moment.

Larian wants us to be creative, but immediately punishes players that want to utilize an immediate spammable solution in this manner. If the devs want to discourage people from using that kind of tactic in every fight by losing rewards, they should seriously look at how a fight would be tuned without the existence of bonus action shove or pre-battle field manipulation such as the use of barrelmancy. Some enemies' health appear to be tuned so high that there's little apparent recourse in certain cases. One can see this play out in their most recent stream in regards to the hag fight, with a lead developer going for the shove strategy immediately and doubling down on it when it repeatedly failed instead of trying to change tactics. It is proof that there is no actual flexibility in the system, and no other clear tactical options with the way they decided to approach the fight. Sometimes when you and the enemy are given so many options in regards to the action economy, and encounters are obviously balanced around this very idea, you generally default to the same strongest tactics and ignore 90% of the other tools given to you.

(At the same time, it's also possible that the hag fight is really tuned for level 5+ characters and that it is considered one of, if not the hardest fight in the game, but seeing someone struggle that much just because of a 1 level difference doesn't bode well for the tactical future of the game.)

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There is one common thing to note about all of the above. They, along with the concept of barrelmancy and consumable items such as magical arrows and bombs being so readily available, are all things that every character, players and enemies, have easy access to. Character builds have little difference in how you use the above mechanics, aside from shove chance being tied to strength value (and even then it's 100% if you're in stealth). It is the major reason why there is criticism that classes may feel homogenized in this game. When you give everyone such powerful options, it actually limits the viability of tactical strategies you can employ, especially in regards to the bonus actions.

DnD is inherently a cost/benefit analysis system, but the 'cost' part of the balancing equation barely exists in BG3 as is. I have seen people often argue that you don't have to use such cheese options if you want to, but the problem is, the encounter balance will not operate under the same principles. You are still ultimately going to get pigenholed into securing the high ground ASAP even if you choose to ignore using disengage and shove.

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It is known that Larian lowered enemy AC, out of a belief that players missing often was a frustrating design choice. However, they increased their HP of enemy mobs to compensate, which led to the balance between spells that targeted enemy AC (and thus subject to advantage/disadvantage) and spells that targeted saves being thrown off. Sure, spells that target saving throws do half damage if an enemy successfully saves against them, but that only applies to spells that use spell slots, not cantrips like Sacred Flame - the only damaging cantrip that Clerics currently have in BG3.

DragonSnooz had a more elegant solution to this dilemma, along with further reasoning why the lower AC/higher HP design choice worked to the detriment of players in the long term.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
AC exists in tandem with proficiency+modifiers, as the player levels up, gains more proficiency or ability score improvement, there is a sense of progression.
Currently only adjusting AC down and HP up has limited the impact of player-sided spells. A sleep spell from the enemy is a lot stronger than a sleep spell cast by the player (enemies have their HP increased while player HP has stayed the same).

AC- and HP+ was a quick change that left a lot of spells in the dust.

Spell save DC was untouched and is currently nerfed, attacking spells get increased success from the reduced AC, spell save DC does not. Right now Sacred Flame isn't very viable and that puts Cleric closer to the situation of being a heal-spam class.

All spells impacted need a review, and hopefully changes to the game are implemented.

Edit: I've said this before, less spells would be underperforming if the player had been given bonus proficiency instead of the enemy losing AC.

Basically, instead of lowering AC and increasing HP, altering proficiency values would have had the same effect as what Larian tried to do *without* disproportionately affecting the efficiency of certain spells, especially in regards to how effectively players can use them VS how enemies use them. It is really not a good thing when status effect spells like Sleep are more effective against player characters than enemies. That kind of stuff is deep within the realm of jRPG design. And we should know better by now.

For the uninitiated, all player characters start with +2 to proficiency. It goes up by +1 at level 5, 9, 13, and 17. Granted, we likely aren't reaching level 13+ in BG3, so let's assume we'd end up with +4 proficiency towards endgame. Proficiency affects attack rolls, damage, and DC of spells that target saving throws (DC = Difficulty Check, an enemy has to roll higher than the spell DC to succeed their saving throw against them). If Larian had instead adjusted proficiency bonuses and the proficiency curve to, say, starting at +3 and increasing by +1 at level 3, 5, 7, and 9 (effectively giving us +7 proficiency by an assumed endgame), it would have basically had the same effect as lowering enemy AC along with increasing the success rate of spells that target saving throws at the same time. And enemy HP would not have been needed to be adjusted to compensate for anything, meaning spells like Sleep become more relevant again. And if that wasn't enough, players now have an incentive to consider using buff spells like Bless again to overcome higher enemy AC.

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Now, let's talk about the most requested missing features from tabletop in this game, and how the addition of those would actually add to the game's tactical variety without really detracting from anything else.

I suspect one of the reasons why Paladin isn't implemented yet is because Larian has not yet been able to program choice-based reactions yet, if they are even able to. Paladins at their core revolve around their ability to smite, after all. Spells like shield (which increases your AC until the start of your next turn, but you would only have the option to use it if an enemy attack overcomes your base AC to begin with, so there is no case where it'd be completely wasted) are vital to a Wizard's survivability, but the lack of it means Wizards are suddenly pigeonholed into ranged spellcasters rather than the battlemages that are possible in tabletop.

If Larian is able to get ready actions and the dodge action working, it'd be a huge boon to the tactical variety in this game. Solasta has a very basic implementation of ready actions at the moment (restricting it to attacking the first enemy that moves within attack range), but that and the dodge action are proactive options that do wonders in making players feel as if their turns are not being wasted, because both are very deliberate actions with a potential future payoff that can occur during an enemy's turn. Right now, there are plenty of situations in BG3, especially in regards to melee characters, where you can do little but move and then just end your turn doing nothing else if there is nothing in range to interact with. Maybe BG3 could go a step further and have a character ready action a shove on the first enemy to climb that ladder in front of them, instead of otherwise climbing down that ladder in order to get swarmed by the enemies below or stay up there doing nothing?

---

Quite frankly, I don't really want to bring up the argument that BG3 is considered by a faction of the community to be a D:OS2 mod, but a lot of the design decisions outlined above make it difficult to think of it as anything but that. The ultimate proof to see if Larian can shake off this image is if they ever get to de-couple Jump/Disengage, along with implementing ready actions and proper reactions into the game. I mention Jump/Disengage because when one really thinks about it from a programming standpoint, they appear to share the same traits as the various mobility/escape skills had in D:OS2 (Tactical Retreat, Phoenix Dive, Cloak and Dagger), which let you move large distances without provoking an opportunity attack if a melee enemy was right next to you. The closest thing D:OS2 had to a ready action and reaction was the Huntsman skill Reactive Shot, which let you execute up to 3 regular shots against enemies that entered an area of effect that the player marked out, but otherwise were forced to attack the first 3 enemies moving within with no choice input.

That's not to say that the developers aren't listening, as they did get rid of cantrips generating field effects on their own. But from a realistic standpoint, getting rid of field effects from cantrips was probably a very easy thing to do within their engine, compared to everything else being suggested here and elsewhere on these forums.

That said, I also understand that Larian is placing emphasis on their homebrew mechanics because of how their previous two games turned out. The D:OS games did not have a strict build/class system, they were free-form with an action economy that had everything from movement to actions taking from the same pool of resources. Trying to force that into a system such a DnD which splits up resources between movement points, standard actions, and free/bonus actions is another thing entirely. D:OS2 encourages you to go wild with your plans (so long as the game's encounter design allows you to, at least), while DnD deliberately restricts what you can do in order for you to weigh risk/reward and come up with creative solutions in spite of those limitations.

I should make it clear that there are some things that I find problematic, but from a logic standpoint, they are extremely low on my personal list of priorities compared to everything else mentioned above. They are food healing, barrelmancy, and to a lesser extent field effects. While cheap and immersion-breaking in most cases, they are ultimately still extra tactical options at the end of the day, and getting rid of those only means removing tactical options without really changing the balance in any meaningful way in their place. It's why I have no particular strong feelings towards loaded dice since it's really just a difficulty option setting. My grievances are mostly about the game's encounter design being largely balanced around everything else mentioned above, which do far more to restrict options instead of encouraging new tactics by their very inclusion. Address the above first, and then everything else should fall into place rather neatly.

While this might seem overly pessimistic, I imagine there are people on this forum who don't see things this way, and would have reasons of their own to refute the above points and try to convince me otherwise. I would encourage them to step up and give their thoughts here.

Last edited by Saito Hikari; 21/02/21 09:43 PM.
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Again. Very well written and explained.

+1

Although I still disagree on any height advantage even if it’s only a flat bonus as any bonus in that manner still reduces the value of spells like Bless. It’s too free.

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Well, this time around, I tied elevation advantage as a +2 bonus to AC only in regards to attacks being made from low ground to high ground, therefore making it a true replacement to the cover system that is most definitely not going to be implemented in BG3. Shooting from high ground to low ground would not confer a +2 bonus to attack or a -2 reduction to enemy AC as I previously worded it in the other thread days ago.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Well, this time around, I tied elevation advantage as a +2 bonus to AC only in regards to attacks being made from low ground to high ground, therefore making it a true replacement to the cover system that is most definitely not going to be implemented in BG3. Shooting from high ground to low ground would not confer a +2 bonus to attack or a -2 reduction to enemy AC as I previously worded it in the other thread days ago.

Ah sorry. I read it wrong. Curse my old eyes and reading from my iPhone. That’s actually a fair compromise since the game does not offer cover.

That would even work with sharpshooter feat if Larian decides to include it.

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Your posts are always enjoyable to read Saito.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
I personally feel that the game's tactics lean far too much towards pre-battle planning/setup, and once combat actually begins, there's very few options to turn a situation around if the original plan fails.

I'm highlighting this statement because, yes that is one overlying issue. The player is very limited in being able to turn around a bad situation, while overpowered once prepared.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
But before we get into that, we should talk about the high ground advantage/low ground disadvantage system, and how that particular design choice might be the main culprit behind many of the other seemingly problematic mechanics existing. In most other games, such a concept was largely used for controlling the field via forcing chokepoints while protecting ranged characters on high ground, and maybe extending their attack range on top of that. D:OS2 went the extra step of adding a damage modifier for characters on high ground. But BG3 is the first game I've seen that actually added an accuracy bonus to it by essentially doubling hit rate via advantage. This is highly problematic for the below reasons.

1) It is a free method of gaining advantage, in a game where other methods generally require using spell slots, a finite mid-battle resource.

2) It heavily cheapens the value of buffs that increase your modifiers by a flat rate, such as Bless.

3) Since ranged characters on high ground essentially have permanent advantage against enemies on lower ground, all the tactical variety in the world suddenly becomes focused towards controlling that high ground as soon as possible. The value of AC suddenly has an exponential curve in such a situation, rather than a flat increasing bonus. Even worse, the encounter design knows this, from the sheer amount of encounters with easily accessible high ground points available to both players and enemies, with several enemies frequently starting on high ground themselves. At that point, your number 1 priority is to either knock them off or sneak to a higher point before a fight begins, sometimes missing out on dialogue if you really want a surprise round on top of that.
I'm going to add in that Advantage is valued around +5, so about a 25% increase in accuracy. And disadvantage is about -25%. Going from level 1 to 20 proficiency increases from 2 to 6, a +4. Advantage increases accuracy more than going from level 1 to 20. (Sure ability score improvements happen too, but that's still multiple levels). It's why I've said multiple times it would have been easier to adjust proficiency. Add +3 to proficiency and then give higher ground +2 to hit. (For example, have proficiency be +5 the whole game)

*Proficiency also improves spell save DC, so spells such as Sacred Flame can benefit from increased chance of success as well.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
One of the most common suggestions to mitigate the effect that this system has on this game's tactical focus would be to have high ground give the character effective +2 AC against ranged attacks from enemies on lower ground, which would act as a replacement tabletop cover system. But it remains to be seen if this is something that will happen.
I'd support that as well. or even if it scaled by how much higher the verticality is to mirror cover.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Now, the devs may be looking at this and wondering how to allow melee characters to keep up. It would not be too much of a stretch to think that the backstab advantage system likely wouldn't exist if it weren't for high ground advantage. Even so, one would think that this combined with melee having the ability to threaten enemies with possible opportunity attacks would be enough to balance the relationship between the melee and ranged, right? But in terms of actual practicality, that's not the case, because of something else.

Jump/Disengage being coupled together and being considered bonus actions. Jump is perhaps a necessary tool to handle the verticality in this game, but in my opinion, it should only be used for crossing large gaps, jumping into pits with feather fall, or jumping up/down higher ledges mid-combat. It is an utter waste of the player's time to be using it outside of combat just to go up or down a ledge with no other path existing to just manually climb without it (such as the ledge that leads to the hidden perception check hiding a ruby), but that's another topic entirely.

(I should also mention how Jump by itself cheapens the value of field effects, but at the same time, this is less of a concern now that field effects now only trigger once per turn rather than being based on distance traveled within said field, like it used to do during the initial EA launch and how it works in D:OS2.)

The bigger problem is the Disengage being tied to it, and being considered a bonus action. This means melee characters running up to a ranged enemy often doesn't mean anything like it does in most other tactical RPGs, because the ranged enemy is just going to disengage and shoot at Gale in the back without any penalty anyways. You SHOULD be punished for leaving your ranged exposed, the same way you should actually be rewarded for threatening the enemy ranged too. At the same time, this bonus action disengage being a thing

Making Disengage its own ability and changing it into a standard action would suddenly change a lot of this game's tactics. Players would be a lot more careful about the positioning of their ranged, while melee characters would suddenly prioritize going after the ranged even more and actually getting rewarded for pressuring them. Using that Dash action to catch up to the enemy ranged instead of hitting the nearest enemy suddenly seems like an attractive option, doesn't it? Or pull back to chase a melee enemy going after your ranged.

At the same time, that would also remove the need for the ridiculous double 'Threatened' and 'Enemy Too Close' disadvantage malus, because both basically mean the same thing so why should they even be separate disadvantage penalties?

(On that note, the 'Threatened' range should really just be tied to the enemy's opportunity attack range. There is a complete lack of information in regards to exactly how far Threatened radius extends, which is just obfuscation of information in a tactical game such as this. If you're not at risk of taking an opportunity attack by moving away from a nearby enemy, you shouldn't be considered threatened. At the same time, tying threatened radius to weapon range would be a great reason to consider using reach weapons like spears too.)
I didn't think of Threatened being there to dilute the benefit of being able to avoid all opportunity attacks with Jump/Disengage. If it is there to impose restrictions on ranged casters, that's an intended nerf that I really would not want in the game. The caster avoided the attack of opportunity, but now has their ranged attacks with disadvantage. While fighter, ranger, and rogue don't have such a restriction.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
The emphasis on wanting to control the high ground means that shoving by default is quite powerful. Bonus Action Shove however is quite overkill. It is normally a risky attempt to control the fight and cause a lot of free environmental damage, if not an instant kill if you throw someone into an out of bounds area. But making it a bonus action means it's less 'risk' and more 'free potential source of damage'.

That said, shoving an enemy out of bounds also results in a loss of rewards. Maybe if shoving was a high risk factor with becoming a standard action, this wouldn't be necessary, although it's more likely to be a programming limitation thing more than anything else at the moment.

Larian wants us to be creative, but immediately punishes players that want to utilize an immediate spammable solution in this manner. If the devs want to discourage people from using that kind of tactic in every fight by losing rewards, they should seriously look at how a fight would be tuned without the existence of bonus action shove or pre-battle field manipulation such as the use of barrelmancy. Some enemies' health appear to be tuned so high that there's little apparent recourse in certain cases. One can see this play out in their most recent stream in regards to the hag fight, with a lead developer going for the shove strategy immediately and doubling down on it when it repeatedly failed instead of trying to change tactics. It is proof that there is no actual flexibility in the system, and no other clear tactical options with the way they decided to approach the fight. Sometimes when you and the enemy are given so many options in regards to the action economy, you generally default to the same strongest tactics and ignore 90% of the other tools given to you.

(At the same time, it's also possible that the hag fight is really tuned for level 5+ characters and that it is considered one of, if not the hardest fight in the game, but seeing someone struggle that much just because of a 1 level difference doesn't bode well for the tactical future of the game.)
Level 5 is a big power bump in general, this is where an adjusted proficiency table could also remedy this, smooth out some of the power spike from level 4 to 5.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Now, let's talk about the most requested missing features from tabletop in this game, and how the addition of those would actually add to the game's tactical variety without really detracting from anything else.

I suspect one of the reasons why Paladin isn't implemented yet is because Larian has not yet been able to program choice-based reactions yet, if they are even able to. Paladins at their core revolve around their ability to smite, after all. Spells like shield (which increases your AC until the start of your next turn, but you would only have the option to use it if an enemy attack overcomes your base AC to begin with, so there is no case where it'd be completely wasted) are vital to a Wizard's survivability, but the lack of it means Wizards are suddenly pigenholed into ranged spellcasters rather than the battlemages that are possible in tabletop.
The way game design has gone for BG3, I'm predicting Smite will be a guaranteed hit. I'd really like to have a true reaction system either way, especially since it will allow ranged casters to be more enjoyable to play. Ranged casters need their reactions to be impactful. (Monk too, etc.)

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
If Larian is able to get ready actions and the dodge action working, it'd be a huge boon to the tactical variety in this game. Right now, there are plenty of situations in BG3, especially in regards to melee characters, where you can do little but move and then just end your turn doing nothing else if there is nothing in range to interact with. Maybe BG3 could go a step further and have a character ready action a shove on the first enemy to climb that ladder in front of them, instead of otherwise climbing down that ladder in order to get swarmed by the enemies below or stay up there doing nothing?
This would definitely make combat more engaging.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
I mention Jump/Disengage because when one really thinks about it from a programming standpoint, they appear to share the same traits as the various mobility/escape skills had in D:OS2 (Tactical Retreat, Phoenix Dive, Cloak and Dagger), which let you move large distances without provoking an opportunity attack if a melee enemy was right next to you. The closest thing D:OS2 had to a ready action and reaction was the Huntsman skill Reactive Shot, which let you execute up to 3 regular shots against enemies that entered an area of effect that the player marked out, but otherwise were forced to attack the first 3 enemies moving within with no choice input.
100 percent, jump/disengage is the same as tactical retreat, etc. It's a shortcut Larian took.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
That said, I also understand that Larian is placing emphasis on their homebrew mechanics because of how their previous two games turned out. The D:OS games did not have a strict build/class system, they were free-form with an action economy. Trying to force that into a system such a DnD which splits up resources between movement points, standard actions, and free/bonus actions is another thing entirely. D:OS2 encourages you to go wild with your plans (so long as the game's encounter design allows you to, at least), while DnD deliberately restricts what you can do in order for you to weigh risk/reward and come up with creative solutions in spite of those limitations.
DnD does incentivize having the party collaborate, while Divinity OS2 allows the player to be a solo contributor. I think it's okay for Larian to have mechanics that let players in Baldur's Gate 3 play as a solo contributor. However it should not limit the player's choices in combat.

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Originally Posted by spectralhunter
Ah sorry. I read it wrong. That’s actually a fair compromise since the game does not offer cover.

That would even work with sharpshooter feat if Larian decides to include it.

Yeah, don't worry, it's an easy thing to get lost in the wording.

One major difference between the BG3 and Solasta communities is how the Solasta community is generally focused on discussing the combat. Although that's really all Solasta has over BG3, but regardless, I bring this up because you get amusing rule lawyering debates here and there, just like in tabletop DnD.

There used to be a pretty crazy bug with the Solasta Greenmage. For the uninitiated, it's a homebrew Wizard archetype that gets access to the Archery fighting style, shortbow and light armor proficency, and can add several Ranger spells to their spellbook such as Faerie Fire, Goodberry and Hunter's Mark. This makes Greenmage a scary competent arcane archer, something that doesn't really exist in 5E except through the fighter archetype of the same name (which doesn't get access to spells at all, but has a bunch of magical arrows instead). Greenmage going off of feedback is by far the most popular Solasta archetype, some going as far as to say that they wish it was an actual official archetype, even if Shock Arcanist is a much stronger blaster archetype.

Anyway, since Greenmage had access to Hunter's Mark, there was a point in the earliest phases of Solasta EA where Hunter's Mark actually interacted with spells that made attack rolls. By tabletop rules, it wasn't supposed to. However, Solasta's wording of the Hunter's Mark spell lead some to believe that this was an intended change and a perk of Greenmage (it did not specify that the bonus damage die would only apply to weapon attacks), so some brief rule lawyering debates broke out about that in the otherwise quiet Solasta discord until the lead developer came in and said it was a bug.

And all doubts on it being a bug were blown away when I discovered a ridiculous interaction between Hunter's Mark and Scorching Ray in that game.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachme...85101568/Scorching_Ray_L4_HM_VS_Boss.png

That was an upcasted level 3 Scorching Ray one-shotting the hardest boss during that EA phase. What happened was that *each ray* was rolling *4* Hunter's Mark die, because 4 of the base rays hit the boss, turning what was supposed to be 4 damage rolls into 20. The game could not fit this total absurdity onto the screen, let alone the normally highly informative combat log.

Programming is hard, ya'll.

And yeah, I would love for Sharpshooter feat to be in the game (I want to play a Sharpshooter College of Valor Bard), but I suspect it won't be implemented as long as high ground advantage is a thing. Otherwise it'd be WAY too powerful when the -5 accuracy penalty may as well not even exist while you're on high ground.

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Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
I'd support that as well. or even if it scaled by how much higher the verticality is to mirror cover.

At the moment, I'm just going with a flat +2 AC bonus, as I'm not sure the game's programming has a way to track exactly how much higher you are relative to an enemy attacking below you beyond a 'yes/no' interaction past a certain threshold like the high ground advantage/disadvantage system. A scaling bonus would be preferable, but I suspect the developers really wouldn't want to mess with that too much, judging from the crazy grenade throw distance that some of the goblins seem to be capable of.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
DnD does incentivize having the party collaborate, while Divinity OS2 allows the player to be a solo contributor. I think it's okay for Larian to have mechanics that let players in Baldur's Gate 3 play as a solo contributor. However it should not limit the player's choices in combat.

Hmm, that is true. That is an argument that I had not considered. However, as you've said, BG3's current design does allow characters to be solo contributors, but at the moment, it's at a big cost to the amount of viable tactical choices you can consider.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
However, Solasta's wording of the Hunter's Mark spell lead some to believe that this was an intended change and a perk of Greenmage (it did not specify that the bonus damage die would only apply to weapon attacks), so some brief rule lawyering debates broke out about that in the otherwise quiet Solasta discord until the lead developer came in and said it was a bug.
Phew, imagine communication.

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+1

Really great feedback. Well said.

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Originally Posted by marajango
Phew, imagine communication.

To be fair, the Solasta discord tends to be rather quiet. It's easy for a small developer working on their first game to keep an eye on what happens in there and pop in to answer questions, though they do have their own forums that is largely dedicated to bug reports at the moment (and they tend to respond to most threads in the weeks after a major patch). My thread about the scorching ray/hunter's mark bug in particular had a dev response along with the dev showing up on the discord afterwards to talk about it there too, since we were... Still kinda rule lawyering over there.

https://forums.solasta-game.com/for...-mark-is-rolling-up-to-12-damage-numbers

Otherwise, they sometimes post stuff like this in the discord. With a caption of One Australian Spider at a time.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/583281506739290133/801022104442109982/unknown.png

Yes, that is a critical hit on disadvantage. A couple of other people, including myself, responded by posting screenshots of ourselves crit failing on advantage from various other games, cRPG or tabletop or otherwise. In particular, I have THIS gem from my tabletop group.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachme...058/cae4d5c9fa0f4d4bcfec0abb8bad61ae.png

That's a triple crit failure on an advantage roll AND our archer attempting to reroll using Elven Accuracy. If there was ever a situation where loaded dice were needed, it was that.

Larian's discord in general tends to be a bit more chaotic in comparison, though thankfully most potential toxicity appears to have been purged from their discord channel and rather contained to other corners of the internet like Reddit and Steam forums. Most of the conversations in the Larian discord appear to revolve around lore speculation and role play in comparison, though there's a couple gameplay discussions revolving around companions (especially in regards to Shadowheart's stat spread).

The REAL chaos happens at the Owlcat/Pathfinder discord, but their discord is literally the only way those developers get to interact with the community, in comparison to Larian who has these forums as well.

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Oh, Solasta once had a different bug in regards to one of their homebrew cantrips and the 'Ready Cantrip' action. Like I said, Solasta's implementation of ready actions is rather simple at the moment, you either select a melee, ranged, or a cantrip attack to hit the first enemy that moves within your attack range. The Cantrip part however doesn't let you choose which one to use. The homebrew cantrip in question is called Sparkle, and it works by allowing you to illuminate up to 3 environmental items such as torches or magical orbs as a bonus action. But it was programmed to make an attack roll in order to do so, so the 'Ready Cantrip' action incorrectly considered Sparkle to be an offensive spell, which led to players trying to throw non-damaging pretty lights in an enemy's face. The devs told everyone not to pick up the Sparkle cantrip until the bug was fixed.

Like I said, programming is hard.

On the topic of Sparkle, that leads to another interesting analysis for Solasta. That game has 4 light-based cantrips, two of them being homebrew.

1) The basic Light cantrip that we all know and love. Costs a standard action to cast, and its range is limited to a party member. You can easily prepare it outside of combat beforehand.
2) The Dancing Lights cantrip, which summons a glowing orb that requires concentration to maintain. In Solasta, the orb can be moved using your bonus action. In tabletop, you can summon up to 3 lights, but it's one giant orb in Solasta because the devs outright admitted that they couldn't program 3 separate controllable orbs at once (and the effort to try and remedy this was, quite frankly, not worth it due to their limited budget and that it was hardly a high priority issue).
3) The homebrew Sparkle cantrip, as mentioned earlier. It uses your bonus action to cast, but its range is restricted to the environment itself.
4) The homebrew Shine cantrip, which is a standard action that outright targets an enemy to illuminate. The enemy can make a dexterity save to avoid it, but IIRC it doesn't require concentration like Dancing Lights does.

They all have clear downsides and upsides, and preference is largely up to player choice.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
One major difference between the BG3 and Solasta communities is how the Solasta community is generally focused on discussing the combat.

Well, as much as I like Solasta, it's because that's all it really has, although I must admit their homebrew world is growing on me.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
And yeah, I would love for Sharpshooter feat to be in the game (I want to play a Sharpshooter College of Valor Bard), but I suspect it won't be implemented as long as high ground advantage is a thing. Otherwise it'd be WAY too powerful when the -5 accuracy penalty may as well not even exist while you're on high ground.

At the moment, I'm just going with a flat +2 AC bonus, as I'm not sure the game's programming has a way to track exactly how much higher you are relative to an enemy attacking below you beyond a 'yes/no' interaction past a certain threshold like the high ground advantage/disadvantage system. A scaling bonus would be preferable, but I suspect the developers really wouldn't want to mess with that too much, judging from the crazy grenade throw distance that some of the goblins seem to be capable of.

I think your idea is an elegant compromise and solution to implement SS. The more I read the forums and the more I played the game, I realized how hard it actually is to get penalties in BG3. Almost everything is in your favor. At least your method provides an added reason to select SS beyond the -5/+10 portion of the feat. I also wouldn't raise the AC bonus past +2. More than that, high ground becomes effectively too important to give up and we're back to the same problem we have now.

I also thought the reason paladin wasn't implemented was due to how to handle smite and I see I'm not the only one. Without reactions, it's going to be a pain to program. It can't be a toggle since on a hit, not only do you decide to smite, but also what level spell you are willing to expend for smite. I suspect, in the end it will be a toggle with a preset choice which means a lot of micromanaging so you don't waste a valuable spell slot or just a base damage bonus per level. I think the latter will happen.

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Originally Posted by spectralhunter
I think your idea is an elegant compromise and solution to implement SS. The more I read the forums and the more I played the game, I realized how hard it actually is to get penalties in BG3. Almost everything is in your favor. At least your method provides an added reason to select SS beyond the -5/+10 portion of the feat. I also wouldn't raise the AC bonus past +2. More than that, high ground becomes effectively too important to give up and we're back to the same problem we have now.

Hmm, you're right about that. There are really no penalties at the moment besides trying to shoot at things beyond a certain attack range, and ranged characters being too close to an enemy, but it's also noticeable that threaten range is way too large for whatever reason. (Perhaps the extreme threaten range is supposed to be a poor compromise for the high ground advantage system? But that's yet another supporting theory for how that particular mechanic is basically the main factor behind most of the other design decisions.)

To be fair, there are hardly any penalties in tabletop DnD either. We just don't see the majority of things that impose disadvantage in BG3 because there's no bright light/dim light/unlit system in regards to accuracy (and there probably shouldn't be, because that's another balancing nightmare in itself), and we haven't run into any enemies using spells like Darkness or anything that blinds us yet.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Originally Posted by spectralhunter
I think your idea is an elegant compromise and solution to implement SS. The more I read the forums and the more I played the game, I realized how hard it actually is to get penalties in BG3. Almost everything is in your favor. At least your method provides an added reason to select SS beyond the -5/+10 portion of the feat. I also wouldn't raise the AC bonus past +2. More than that, high ground becomes effectively too important to give up and we're back to the same problem we have now.

Hmm, you're right about that. There are really no penalties at the moment besides trying to shoot at things beyond a certain attack range, and ranged characters being too close to an enemy, but it's also noticeable that threaten range is way too large for whatever reason. (Perhaps the extreme threaten range is supposed to be a poor compromise for the high ground advantage system? But that's yet another supporting theory for how that particular mechanic is basically the main factor behind most of the other design decisions.)

To be fair, there are hardly any penalties in tabletop DnD either. We just don't see the majority of things that impose disadvantage in BG3 because there's no bright light/dim light/unlit system in regards to accuracy (and there probably shouldn't be, because that's another balancing nightmare in itself), and we haven't run into any enemies using spells like Darkness or anything that blinds us yet.

Color Spray is in and that blinds us. I know because one of my guys got hit by one from one of the skeletons in the crypt. Ethel uses Hold Person.

I think a lot of disadvantages come from spells and abilities which brings me to another observation: the enemy hardly uses any debuffs. I mean there's Bane from that one goblin but they don't debuff. This whole game is about big explosions and escalating damage. Maybe if the enemy actually used more debuffs, we would see more tactics?

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Spell Save DC and AC reduction

I'm adding this in here as well, as it pertains to the discussion at hand.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
Originally Posted by Nouri
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Hm. Well, nice to meet an actual designer on these forums, but I still respectfully disagree with your approach. Sorry if I sounded hostile earlier, most suggestions in these parts are usually made in some kind of bad faith, and at least you're consistent in your reasoning.

Maybe instead of looking at Firebolt in a vacuum, we should consider all of the other cantrips too? I think one of the other formerly unvoiced issues I had with the firebolt suggestion in particular was how it'd basically invalidate the use of most other cantrips, and the differing amount of value we place in the source material.

For one, I would prefer to be closer to the source material by simply reverting enemy AC and HP back to something closer to tabletop, and knowing that DnD largely runs on a cost/benefit analysis system more than anything else. But if the developers continue insisting on the lower AC/higher HP design, player damage probably does need some kind of buff somewhere, because the action economy is currently heavily stacked against the player as it is with the amount of fights where you're grossly outnumbered on top of that (and putting far too much emphasis on controlling the high ground and turn 1-2 ambush tactics).


It is not desirable to change a bunch of spells because one is underperforming. Its a expensive, and often unneeded approach.

I think the current approach to hp/ac is good for the most part, especially if we consider what other classes role will be. Having AC lower provides immense value to defensive buffs that come from classes like cleric, paladin, bard, etc. Shifting classes in general in a way to large amounts of ac (or damage reduction) would essentially invalidate those classes. it would effectively put cleric into a "heal, damage spam" mode, as opposed to its other current options like crowd control, and buffing. This is highly undesirable (imo) and would result in such classes being more "useless" and less "enjoyable". The game needs to stay in its current direction for now, but look at ways of reevaluating some of the "rules" of table top dnd, and looking for ways to improve over all class functionality and enjoyment.

Examples of things I consider "Rules" are things like the dice rolls, AC, etc.
Examples of things I consider "rules" that should be "suggestions" are things like "if companion can be used in combat or not".

It's only enemies that had their AC nerfed, we'd have to be fighting clerics, paladins, etc. for those to come into effect.

AC exists in tandem with proficiency+modifiers, as the player levels up, gains more proficiency or ability score improvement, there is a sense of progression.
Currently only adjusting AC down and HP up has limited the impact of player-sided spells. A sleep spell from the enemy is a lot stronger than a sleep spell cast by the player (enemies have their HP increased while player HP has stayed the same).

AC- and HP+ was a quick change that left a lot of spells in the dust.

Spell save DC was untouched and is currently nerfed, attacking spells get increased success from the reduced AC, spell save DC does not. Right now Sacred Flame isn't very viable and that puts Cleric closer to the situation of being a heal-spam class.

All spells impacted need a review, and hopefully changes to the game are implemented.

Edit: I've said this before, less spells would be underperforming if the player had been given bonus proficiency instead of the enemy losing AC.

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Ah, yes. I knew I had forgotten something important, the relationship between AC/HP/Saving Throws and how Larian's changes to that threw off encounter balance, and subsequently the usage of certain abilities that target AC versus targeting saves. There's just a lot of balancing grievances that it's hard to keep track of them all.

I'll add my own thoughts to the OP regarding that topic later, when I have a bit more time. I'm about to leave on a trip for a few hours.

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Very interesting, Saito!


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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Hey, I couldn't come up with a better title considering the wide range of topics I've been thinking on as I've been reading through these forums for the past few days, and I thought it might be a good idea to have some centralized thoughts on how the various combat mechanics in the game interact with each other, and how certain changes either through scaling back already existing mechanics or adding in new ones can open up more creative options. I have an entire Friday to think about this since I've clearly nothing more productive to do.

That said, some of this might sound like a wishlist too, but at the same time, I also recognize that acting on a lot of what is to be discussed here might not be possible, perhaps due to possible limitations within the engine used for BG3 and that the developers may have deemed it too much work to overhaul the engine to include some missing features from tabletop, as long as the majority of the public and the gaming press are still happy with the end result. That is neither here nor there, and this discussion is as much aimed at the developers as it is towards people on these forums who may end up becoming future developers themselves. I don't mean to make this yet another comparison between BG3, Tabletop (and Solasta by default), and D:OS2, but those are the most direct frames of reference available.

---

Combat balance tends to be a multi-faceted topic. Few people really know how to describe it, and while I will not pretend to be one of said few, I would at least like to think that I'm making an effort. At the moment, I personally feel that the game's tactics lean far too much towards pre-battle planning/setup, and once combat actually begins, there's very few options to turn a situation around if the original plan fails. The lack of certain options makes a battle highly reactive rather than encouraging anything proactive, outside of one constant mechanic as detailed below. I think a lot of the grievances about BG3's combat balance ultimately revolves around the action economy, more importantly in regards to bonus actions.

But before we get into that, we should talk about the high ground advantage/low ground disadvantage system, and how that particular design choice might be the main culprit behind many of the other seemingly problematic mechanics existing. In most other games, such a concept was largely used for controlling the field via forcing chokepoints while protecting ranged characters on high ground, and maybe extending their attack range on top of that. D:OS2 went the extra step of adding a damage modifier for characters on high ground. But BG3 is the first game I've seen that actually added an accuracy bonus to it by essentially doubling hit rate via advantage. This is highly problematic for the below reasons.

1) It is a free method of gaining advantage, in a game where other methods generally require using spell slots, a finite mid-battle resource. Even worse if said spells require concentration on top of that, such as Faerie Fire. Sure, Faerie Fire gives you advantage regardless of environmental factors, but it has a failure rate via Dexterity saves, it again requires concentration, and that means the opportunity cost of actually using it is far worse.

2) It heavily cheapens the value of buffs that increase your modifiers by a flat rate, such as Bless. Oh yeah, Bless happens to be a concentration spell too. One only needs to look at Solasta to see how the inclusion of high ground advantage affects the usage of Bless in both game's balance. In BG3, Bless is generally considered worthless. In Solasta, it's considered one of the most powerful spells you can use, with flat modifiers being much more valuable in an environment where it is much harder to gain advantage rolls.

3) Ranged spells that target saves are inherently worse for damage purposes than spells that target AC, unless you are on even or low ground (and even then, the spells that target AC probably still have a higher success rate than saves on even ground). That said, you have plenty of reasons to be rushing to high ground ASAP, so this isn't something you'd consider unless things have already gone sideways. That said, spells that target saves usually do inflict half damage if an enemy succeeds on the saving throw (while spells that target AC would completely miss), but there aren't too many of those yet.

4) Since ranged characters on high ground essentially have permanent advantage against enemies on lower ground, all the tactical variety in the world suddenly becomes focused towards controlling that high ground as soon as possible. The value of AC suddenly has an exponential curve in such a situation, rather than a flat increasing bonus. Even worse, the encounter design knows this, from the sheer amount of encounters with easily accessible high ground points available to both players and enemies, with several enemies frequently starting on high ground themselves. At that point, your number 1 priority is to either knock them off or sneak to a higher point before a fight begins, sometimes missing out on dialogue if you really want a surprise round on top of that.

(That last part was or less what Tactician Mode in D:OS2 turned into if you wanted to be efficient due to the way encounters were designed in that game. For example, whichever party member actually spoke to Alexander at the end of Act 1 had a high probability of immediately dying afterwards once the fight broke out, as opposed to the entire party just ambushing the enemy group and skipping the dialogue entirely.)

One of the most common suggestions to mitigate the effect that this system has on this game's tactical focus would be to have high ground give the character effective +2 AC against ranged attacks from enemies on lower ground, which would act as a replacement tabletop cover system. But it remains to be seen if this is something that will happen.

Now, the devs may be looking at this and wondering how to allow melee characters to keep up. It would not be too much of a stretch to think that the backstab advantage system likely wouldn't exist if it weren't for high ground advantage. Even so, one would think that this combined with melee having the ability to threaten enemies with possible opportunity attacks would be enough to balance the relationship between the melee and ranged, right? But in terms of actual practicality, that's not the case, because of something else.

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Jump/Disengage being coupled together and being considered bonus actions. Jump is perhaps a necessary tool to handle the verticality in this game, but in my opinion, it should only be used for crossing large gaps, jumping into pits with feather fall, or jumping up/down higher ledges mid-combat. It is an utter waste of the player's time to be using it outside of combat just to go up or down a ledge with no other path existing to just manually climb without it (such as the ledge that leads to the hidden perception check hiding a ruby), but that's another topic entirely.

(I should also mention how Jump by itself cheapens the value of field effects, but at the same time, this is less of a concern now that field effects now only trigger once per turn rather than being based on distance traveled within said field, like it used to do during the initial EA launch and how it works in D:OS2.)

The bigger problem is the Disengage being tied to it, and being considered a bonus action. This means melee characters running up to a ranged enemy often doesn't mean anything like it does in most other tactical RPGs, because the ranged enemy is just going to disengage and shoot at Gale in the back without any penalty anyways. You SHOULD be punished for leaving your ranged exposed, the same way you should actually be rewarded for threatening the enemy ranged too.

Making Disengage its own ability and changing it into a standard action would suddenly change a lot of this game's tactics. Players would be a lot more careful about the positioning of their ranged, while melee characters would suddenly prioritize going after the ranged even more and actually getting rewarded for pressuring them. Using that Dash action to catch up to the enemy ranged instead of hitting the nearest enemy suddenly seems like an attractive option, doesn't it? Or pull back to chase a melee enemy going after your ranged. Actually getting threatened would give you a reason to use spells like Shocking Grasp to cancel the enemy's potential opportunity attack and safely move away (especially if there are multiple ranged party members being threatened by that one enemy, meaning that wizard only has to use one action to allow everyone else to get away for free). Or maybe you wanted to bait the enemy to run up to your ranged so that they'd be conveniently next to a ledge to be shoved off of by a different character afterwards, or for said enemy to be immediately flanked and shanked with a sneak attack by your rogue. A bonus action Disengage means such unconventional tactics wouldn't cross the minds of most people.

At the same time, that would also remove the need for the ridiculous double 'Threatened' and 'Enemy Too Close' disadvantage malus, because both basically mean the same thing so why should they even be separate disadvantage penalties? Get rid of one of them, preferably 'Enemy Too Close' as Threatened is a far more specific term.

(On that note, the 'Threatened' range should really just be tied to the enemy's opportunity attack range. There is a complete lack of information in regards to exactly how far Threatened radius extends, which is just obfuscation of information in a tactical game such as this. If you're not at risk of taking an opportunity attack by moving away from a nearby enemy, you shouldn't be considered threatened. At the same time, tying threatened radius to weapon range would be a great reason to consider using reach weapons like spears too.)

---

The emphasis on wanting to control the high ground means that shoving by default is quite powerful. Bonus Action Shove however is quite overkill. It is normally a risky attempt to control the fight and cause a lot of free environmental damage, if not an instant kill if you throw someone into an out of bounds area. But making it a bonus action means it's less 'risk' and more 'free potential source of damage'.

That said, shoving an enemy out of bounds also results in a loss of rewards. Maybe if shoving was a high risk factor with becoming a standard action, this wouldn't be necessary, although it's more likely to be a programming limitation thing more than anything else at the moment.

Larian wants us to be creative, but immediately punishes players that want to utilize an immediate spammable solution in this manner. If the devs want to discourage people from using that kind of tactic in every fight by losing rewards, they should seriously look at how a fight would be tuned without the existence of bonus action shove or pre-battle field manipulation such as the use of barrelmancy. Some enemies' health appear to be tuned so high that there's little apparent recourse in certain cases. One can see this play out in their most recent stream in regards to the hag fight, with a lead developer going for the shove strategy immediately and doubling down on it when it repeatedly failed instead of trying to change tactics. It is proof that there is no actual flexibility in the system, and no other clear tactical options with the way they decided to approach the fight. Sometimes when you and the enemy are given so many options in regards to the action economy, you generally default to the same strongest tactics and ignore 90% of the other tools given to you.

(At the same time, it's also possible that the hag fight is really tuned for level 5+ characters and that it is considered one of, if not the hardest fight in the game, but seeing someone struggle that much just because of a 1 level difference doesn't bode well for the tactical future of the game.)

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Now, let's talk about the most requested missing features from tabletop in this game, and how the addition of those would actually add to the game's tactical variety without really detracting from anything else.

I suspect one of the reasons why Paladin isn't implemented yet is because Larian has not yet been able to program choice-based reactions yet, if they are even able to. Paladins at their core revolve around their ability to smite, after all. Spells like shield (which increases your AC until the start of your next turn, but you would only have the option to use it if an enemy attack overcomes your base AC to begin with, so there is no case where it'd be completely wasted) are vital to a Wizard's survivability, but the lack of it means Wizards are suddenly pigenholed into ranged spellcasters rather than the battlemages that are possible in tabletop.

If Larian is able to get ready actions and the dodge action working, it'd be a huge boon to the tactical variety in this game. Solasta has a very basic implementation of ready actions at the moment (restricting it to attacking the first enemy that moves within attack range), but that and the dodge action are proactive options that do wonders in making players feel as if their turns are not being wasted, because both are very deliberate actions with a potential future payoff that can occur during an enemy's turn. Right now, there are plenty of situations in BG3, especially in regards to melee characters, where you can do little but move and then just end your turn doing nothing else if there is nothing in range to interact with. Maybe BG3 could go a step further and have a character ready action a shove on the first enemy to climb that ladder in front of them, instead of otherwise climbing down that ladder in order to get swarmed by the enemies below or stay up there doing nothing?

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Quite frankly, I don't really want to bring up the argument that BG3 is considered by a faction of the community to be a D:OS2 mod, but a lot of the design decisions outlined above make it difficult to think of it as anything but that. The ultimate proof to see if Larian can shake off this image is if they ever get to de-couple Jump/Disengage, along with implementing ready actions and proper reactions into the game. I mention Jump/Disengage because when one really thinks about it from a programming standpoint, they appear to share the same traits as the various mobility/escape skills had in D:OS2 (Tactical Retreat, Phoenix Dive, Cloak and Dagger), which let you move large distances without provoking an opportunity attack if a melee enemy was right next to you. The closest thing D:OS2 had to a ready action and reaction was the Huntsman skill Reactive Shot, which let you execute up to 3 regular shots against enemies that entered an area of effect that the player marked out, but otherwise were forced to attack the first 3 enemies moving within with no choice input.

That's not to say that the developers aren't listening, as they did get rid of cantrips generating field effects on their own. But from a realistic standpoint, getting rid of field effects from cantrips was probably a very easy thing to do within their engine, compared to everything else being suggested here and elsewhere on these forums.

That said, I also understand that Larian is placing emphasis on their homebrew mechanics because of how their previous two games turned out. The D:OS games did not have a strict build/class system, they were free-form with an action economy that had everything from movement to actions taking from the same pool of resources. Trying to force that into a system such a DnD which splits up resources between movement points, standard actions, and free/bonus actions is another thing entirely. D:OS2 encourages you to go wild with your plans (so long as the game's encounter design allows you to, at least), while DnD deliberately restricts what you can do in order for you to weigh risk/reward and come up with creative solutions in spite of those limitations.

While this might seem overly pessimistic, I imagine there are people on this forum who don't see things this way, and would have reasons of their own to refute the above points and try to convince me otherwise. I would encourage them to step up and give their thoughts here.


Religiously good post! Agree FULLY!!!

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I got back home and added two more sections to the post, regarding DragonSnooz's idea about increasing player proficiency values instead of lowering AC/increasing enemy HP along with a different thing I noticed while browsing through the general section of the forums (about how most of the homebrew stuff is too overbearing precisely because they are tools readily available to characters regardless of any build variety).

I should also mention that there's a reason I've decided not to go too in depth about Barrelmancy. To Larian's credit, they made it slightly harder to take advantage of it in the latest patch, and it IS a tactical option, albeit still busted but also harder to set up compared to literally everything else I've gone into. It's just not very high in the list of priorities of things that should be addressed on a practical level.

Last edited by Saito Hikari; 20/02/21 07:41 AM.
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Great post and analysis, OP. I especially like your comparisons with combat in D:OS.

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+1 to OP. Great summary of core issues and suggestions to improve combat.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Great post and analysis, OP. I especially like your comparisons with combat in D:OS.

I was trying to figure out where I remembered your name, and then I realized we used to butt heads quite a bit over on Obsidian forums about the inclusion of turn-based into POE2. While an interesting experiment, it sadly didn't result in the sales boost I thought it would.

That said, the inclusion of turn-based in Pathfinder really did help out a lot, although that was probably because the source material was turn-based to begin with and the systems were so convoluted that it DID need turn-based for some people to understand the systems there. And I am pretty confident in my belief as a beta tester that PF: WotR is going to be the best RTwP game released in the past decade, if not all time.

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