I wanted to give some feedback my first Patch 5 run through. I played a female Lolth Drow Ranger (went down Bounty Hunter). To initially add some points, the removal of backstab is a HUGE plus. Now everyone isn't running around acting like a rogue all the time trying to get back stab damage. That is a Rogue mechanic, leaving it for the Rogues is the right call. And I really liking the camping supplies mechanic, it needs some tweaks, but the direction is definitely a LOT better than before. Below is a list of things that I wanted to give feedback on this specific play through:
- Playing an evil character, like a Drow, felt odd at times. There were conversations that I felt like I shouldn't be getting into (anything inside the Druid Grove felt a bit awkward, even if I assumed I was just infiltrating it like Minthara suggested to me at the goblin camp) or if I got into a conversation and had a [Lolth Drow] option, it always ended the conversation and felt like I got to miss out on a lot of stuff. But, I will say, the first time I walked into the goblin camp and they were all friendly to me when I just raised my voice or give them a dirty look, felt like I was really evil. And even going as far as allowing the goblin raid to take out the Druid Grove is very good. But, the initial goblin war party that attacked the Druid Grove, I felt forced to kill them, but maybe I could have just stayed back and did nothing. Of course, the goblins always shouting "For the Absolute" might give a Lolth Drow pause before attempting to command them as they do not see eye-to-eye. But, just felt a bit off.
- Character movement really hindered gameplay or slowed it down considerably. Having no way to select multiple characters meant that if I wanted to do something ahead of the party, I had to stop, un-group myself, then go do my thing. And then when I reattached, a lot of times, the other party members would not follow and instead stand there. Or they would move back into formation in odd directions or facings, sometimes putting the group in danger (with traps, hostiles, or other things around). Also, when you get extra followers, the follower always wants to follow the character it's attached to, no matter the situation. This is bad for player control of many situations. I would make followers for the UI mechanics act in every sense like normal PCs so they end up having the same functionality (can ungroup them, check their inventory, ect).
- Sneaking mechanic is VERY odd in how it's implemented. Because, if you are outside of combat and your sneaking, and someone gets into combat, EVERYTHING in combat is frozen for turn based combat but the sneaking individual is completely free to do whatever. This not only really breaks immersion but it allows for very nonsensical things to happen. I would suggest, if you are sneaking and you are within 30m of something in combat, you should automatically be pulled into turn-based combat, just as if you were not sneaking. If you want to sneak but not be in combat, get 30m away then end turn-based combat for that character. And this leads into my next point:
- Sneaking as a bonus action for everyone. Just like with back stab, Sneaking as a bonus action should be a Rogue mechanic, not a natural PC mechanic. Also, if you sneak while out-of-LOS and in combat, you can easily perform any said Action, then use the Bonus Action to go back into Sneak, and the AI can't do anything. Everyone can do this, but Rogues should be the only one that should be able to do this. A suggestion: Sneak = Action / Rogue -> Sneak = Bonus Action. Also, AI, if they lose a target due to any LOS breaking ability, like Fog, Invisibility, Sneak, ect, they should attempt to actively look for said target instead of just standing still in the same direction, if that is the only good target they have (if there are other targets, that is fine to go after them, you might even accidently find the missing target).
- Camping Supplies mechanic felt natural. You collect food/supplies, you get to do long rests. If you run low on supplies, you can do partial rests to still gain some stats back, but you are never hindered from story because you can still long rest at any time. This is a very positive step in the right direction. My only issue is food/supplies are WAY too plentiful. In between each long rest I did, I literally would end up finding at least 80+ supplies. Maybe because there are settlements near by and there are a lot of resources to be had (makes sense for why there are so many parties raiding and looting) but once you get more into the deep dungeons or wilderness, this might change because you have only what you bring. Just, within this part of Act 1, you would have to always be Long Resting all the time to run out of supplies.
- Reactions, in their current form, felt to limiting. Attacks of Opportunity happening at bad times, like for example. Shadowheart performs Turn Undead, only to AoO the fleeing target, taking damage, breaking Turning and having the target just reengage her. I have heard there is going to be some new work done on Reactions, so maybe this is a moot point to bring up, but I wanted to pass along that Reactions as they stand now are too simplified.
- UI completely disappearing at random times. I would just be in the middle of combat and notice there is no longer any tooltips showing up. Or the UI would completely disappear (but the hotkeys still worked).
- Of the PC back stories I attempted in this run through (Gale, Lae'zel, and Shadowheart), I think each one of them seemed good. Sure, there was some awkwardness or disconnects at times, but the overall story was there and I did feel like I wanted to know more. Even having some evil conversations allowed in there at times was nice, even if they usually just made the PC dislike me.
- 4 PCs felt a bit too limiting in party composition. I felt like I couldn't add any utility to the party and so I always felt like you should always drop the Rogue because another class can just take the right skills to perform their job. Why it's important to have the Rogue not lose anything (Sneak Bonus Action for everyone, ect) because of the 4 party limitation. I would suggest an increase in party size, at minimum, 5. This should allow for better composition and allow utility classes (Ranger, Rogue, Bard) to really be played. It also makes taking classes/PCs that can fill multiple rules almost feel like a requirement because your stuck with 4 characters. 5 would go a LONG ways to helping making it feel like you are not forced to take certain characters or classes.
- Really, really liking the new Ability Check mechanics. But, I would suggest removing the slight delay when clicking on it (seen this roll a thousand times, just give me the number so I can see if I need to use an inspiration or lock pick, ect). Also, if your using an Ability Check against a target, don't allow that same target to help in your Ability Check (example: Shadowheart allowing me to use her Guidance in an Ability Check to detect her own thoughts).
- Being high ground should not give Advantage. Advantage is too easy to gain right now. I would suggest either instead give some type of flat bonus like, +/- 1 or 2 or provide cover to the high ground target. Advantage on high ground makes so many fights feel like that is all you should be doing to win, just get above the character and you can win. Also, in the future, there are too many abilities that give Advantage that just having high ground really just takes away from those abilities.
- Animation wise, some of the spells do look a bit better. Combat animations, like taking a hit, needs some new variations. When a miss happens, it shouldn't always be a dodge animation. Maybe include some shield blocks, parries, armor blocks?
Overall, going from previous patches to Patch 5, BG3 has taken a nice step into the right direction. Just need to go a bit further with these changes.