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#791165 26/09/21 09:57 PM
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Yep my first forum post and it's a review/ suggestions. I was advised by my viewers to post here rather than the steam review page so here goes.

First, a bit about me: I've been playing DND since the early 80's, often as a DM. I played BG1 to completion, BG2 most of the way, and I extensively created and developed mods for Neverwinter Nights. XCom2 remains one of my favorite CRPG's, and I've played it as well as DOS2. I did not like DOS2 for a variety of reasons I'll lay out below. Presently I am a part-time streamer where I play games and run sessions of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed on stream. That's where I'm coming to this from.

First, I want to say there is a LOT I like about this game. In fact I really want to like ALL of the game so I can devote all of my nonRPG stream time to playing it and exploring it. However as I played it on stream, people could easily see I was not enjoying it. It became the game I loved to hate. I finished the Early Access and thought "okay... so.. that's that". I've flirted with going back to play it again with a new character (I played through as a wizard as my personal character of choice) but each time I'm about to run an actual game stream (which is rare) I find I'd rather stream something I'm genuinely passionate about.

In particular I've found I have no real complaints with Solasta: Crown of the Magister. For a small indy studio, it's a solid game, running on a dated engine with modest graphics that gets DND "right". The story is solid, believable and the PC's behave in the cutscenes with a certain level of authenticity given the limits of the engine and the budget used.

I give Solasta a Hard Buy as a review for fans of DND and CRPGs. As of now I give BG3 a Soft Pass - it's great for huge fans of Larian games or people who adored the type of challenge in DOS2. For fans of DND they should avoid it.

So here goes with the why of that:

Elevation = Advantage.

No. That's not how it works with the ruleset you're allegedly following. Giving such a massive boost to probability of hit (often upwards of 80% hit prob) when firing down and such a massive kick to firing up (ranged combat characters getting a 30% hit prob) makes most encounters nearly impossible if one side or the other has height. It makes "taking the high ground" the single most important part of a combat. And it creates other issues with difficultly balancing.

I appreciate that are some who like this but this should be an easily found difficulty switch to toggle off as it does not fit the combat mechanics at all from the table top game.

Shove = Bonus action

This also breaks the game immensely and ties to the above. Most fights are "get to the high ground and push people off". It's not about much else other than watching your moves and your bonus actions. Add to that the fact that a character can Dash (Action and Move action) across the field, then execute a shove to push an enemy off the map makes the fights laughably trivial on either side. If I can get a push on a big bad, that's that, no muss no fuss. At the game table I would never let an enemy kill a PC in the first combat round this way.

At best, the shove action should be a full combat action or a move action. In either case it would move combat to be much more invocative of DND as it is played at the table and less like a video game "based loosely on".

Combat Cheese

This is what I call the practice of splitting the party, using stealth, etc to ensure that one character "starts" combat, while the other characters are free to move about, position, launch alpha strikes, etc. It creates a system by which, while exploring, I am encouraged to find a combat encounter, reload, split the party and then stealth into the combat encounter and ensure that everyone gets a free shot on the enemies. I found in my play through (with a fairly well built wizard as my main) that some encounters were impossible without this cheese. Walking the party into the encounter meant, quite often, that I had two characters bleeding out before ANY of my characters had a single combat action.

I saw this extensively in DOS2. I turned to FB groups for help with the difficulty on "standard" and found the advice was to split the party, have one person initiate dialogue and then, while the NPC's were frozen in place, use the rest of the party to go in, move barrels, set up ambushes. The game was "laughably easy once you figure that out" I was told. This was why I quit DOS2 about half way through it. On "Story" mode it was laughably easy; on "Normal" (whatever it was called) it was "oh look.. everyone's dead before they get an action" hard. After a few days of that kind of frustration it was uninstall territory.

Using the title of Dungeons and Dragons implies that a party shouldn't have to "break" the game to be successful. I don't have a great fix here other than to take a deep look at your stealth mechanics, your encounter set up, and maybe even something about how "surprise" is actually worked. I think that may mean dialing back some factors on "classic difficulty" and encouraging those who complain the game is too easy to instead ramp up their settings, rather than asking others to turn theirs down.

Importance of Clairvoyance

This ties to the point above. In one encounter, the reasonable thing was to enter a town. As I did my party was ambushed and everyone killed within the first two combat rounds. The enemy had high ground and there was no cover to use to approach them. I did this a few times, had a few laughs and then gave up. Instead I went around the side, and told myself that SOMEHOW my party just KNEW there was an ambush there and ambushed the ambushers.

This. Was. Lame.

In all fairness this encounter is enough to move the game into the Hard Pass review status. Why should I have to fight an encounter, lose, and then reload and go "oh... I need to KNOW that they're there". I found that the rest of the game I was wasting hours finding ways around the paths because I assumed every pass, every road was another ambush I had to somehow pre-know was coming. It sucked most of the fun out of the game.

And it did not feel like DND. At all. At the table, when the party sits and says "I check the next 10x10 square for traps / Rolls/ I check... / rolls" I start to say "I'm not having fun, let's move on".

Camp Supplies appear un-splitable

I sent all my camp supplies to camp. I went to get them out of the box at camp but couldn't split the stack and couldn't pick up the stack because of it's weight. So all of my camp supplies were wasted. If there was a way around this, I don't know. But it was like 'Oh wow... another major bug they left in the game".

Rogues don't work

Rogues get back stab damage on any target that is also engaged with an ally of the rogue.
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Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe’s distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon.

You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

I imagine this isn't how it works because that might be hard to code, or it might "feel wrong". And frankly, it DOES feel a little wrong. Why does the rogue do all this damage just for being near a friend? But that's how DND5E is balanced. It puts some power back to the rogue when finding a hiding spot over and over again is simply time consuming. When controlling the rogue I kept finding myself trying to get hidden, and pop back out again to get the appropriate bonus damage that I would have NATURALLY gotten if this had been coded correctly.

Summary

If I wrote a review for Steam today it would be "Soft Pass" as my recommendation, with a clear note that fans of DOS2 will enjoy it, fans of BG1,2 NWN, Neverwinter and DND Table Top likely wouldn't. Things like the Shove as a bonus action, and the massive benefit to elevation feel completely unbalanced and out of sorts for a $60 AAA title that claims to be DnD. If this was from an Indy studio that was asking $20 to keep the lights on while they work I'd be far more forgiving; but this isn't. I'll keep watching this (I bought it on Stadia as my computer won't run it on Steam well enough to stream it), but if some of the above doesn't change by official release I would consider it a "Hard Pass" review.

It just breaks too many tenants of Dungeons and Dragons 5e design and balance to bear the name.

If this were Divinity Original Sin 3 I'd be much kinder and the more I think on it, the more I wish it was.

Lantern Noir

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Thanks for your feedback,

I would also suggest that you leave a Steam review, I guess Larian values Steam and Reddit more than their own forum.

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Brilliant. Agreed.

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In regards to combat cheese - to be fair Wrath of the Righteous suffer this too. Might just be a general D&D thing since PC has no DM.

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Hey there! Thanks for taking the time and effort to to write this up and add your voice. Most of what you talk about are things that many of us here have reported on, and for a large part you'll find little disagreement here.

Despite what Larian says, it seems as though their claim to have started with pure D&D 5e and then tweaked back must only have been done on paper or in theory, because the game itself, in its earliest builds was very clearly built in its majority on the D:OS2 engine and system. Since then, they've actually moved quite a few things closer to 5e rules, and have shown a willingness to listen, at least in some cases, to the EA tester feedback about doing so... so there is hope that it may start to feel like D&D eventually before release. The best things any of us can do is to continue to report on the areas that feel wrong and keep the pressure on for them to relinquish their broken homebrews one by one.

If you can spare the time and energy, I'd strongly encourage you to also submit this post to Larian's direct feedback form, so it goes right to them. You can find that (Here).


Originally Posted by Lantern Noir
Elevation = Advantage.

No. That's not how it works with the ruleset you're allegedly following. Giving such a massive boost to probability of hit (often upwards of 80% hit prob) when firing down and such a massive kick to firing up (ranged combat characters getting a 30% hit prob) makes most encounters nearly impossible if one side or the other has height. It makes "taking the high ground" the single most important part of a combat. And it creates other issues with difficultly balancing.

This is a big one here on these forums – you'll find very few who genuinely think this homebrew should stay. Most who talk about it are in your position. Until one patch ago, they also used to hand out Advantage for standing behind the enemy – which you could do every turn all the time just by literally stepping around them, no other expenditure (They haven't implemented proper reactions, and didn't use actual facing rules, so the attacked character had no tool for denying the silly 'I step around you while it's my turn then take my free advantage' bit. It just happened, constantly). It was ridiculous. They've since removed that backstab advantage, but haven't caved in on high ground advantage yet.

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Shove = Bonus action

This also breaks the game immensely and ties to the above. Most fights are "get to the high ground and push people off". It's not about much else other than watching your moves and your bonus actions. Add to that the fact that a character can Dash (Action and Move action) across the field, then execute a shove to push an enemy off the map makes the fights laughably trivial on either side. If I can get a push on a big bad, that's that, no muss no fuss. At the game table I would never let an enemy kill a PC in the first combat round this way.

A large majority at least feel similarly to you on this score, too. Most seem to feel that returning shove to 5e standard, and having it replace an attack, would be ideal – so martials with extra attack can still shove then attack or attack then shove if they want. That's part of the value of extra attack, and shouldn't be diminished by handing freebie bonus shoves out like candy to everyone. We also used to have bonus action disengage for everyone, and we still have bonus action hide for everyone (Rogues literally just got bonus action dash as their cunning action, with nothing else). Disengage, at least, has been restored to a full action for non-rogues, as of the latest patch.

The decrease in ranges for spells and ranged weapons plays into this as well – movement has not been decreased, but ranged weapons and spells have been crippled, so range just does not matter in this game, because your enemy can always close to you on their turn, regardless. This couples with the point you make below about stealth cheese and combat braking – because if you are undetected when you shove someone, it's an automatic success, even if you'd have no chance of succeeding at all normally. It's just 100% guaranteed, if you're stealthed when you shove. It's very broken and very silly.

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Combat Cheese

[…]

Importance of Clairvoyance

The “I doesn't feel like playing D&D” come sup from a lot of other commenters as well, so don't worry – you're not alone here. The people who like these mechanics are generally the people who come from earlier Larian games and enjoyed them there. I'm not one of those people. I hated it in D:OS2, and I don't want to see it here, in a game that is being advertised as D&D. I'm here to play dungeons and dragons, that's what was advertised... and this isn't it.


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Camp Supplies appear un-splitable

To be fair to Larian here, Camping supplies were introduced as a mechanic last patch, because prior to this every single food item that you found (and the game is drowning in food items everywhere) could be eaten as a bonus action for healing. Often not minor healing either – we're talking a pig's head healing a level 3 character for 16hp or more. Unlimited bonus action healing for everyone all the time, basically. They've stopped the eating of food items now and replaced them with these camping supplies things, and it's interesting, but there are still bugs in it... it's a recent addition though, so I'm happy to give them a patch or two to iron it out. Others have reporting the splitting problem

In reality... this issue is not to do with camp supplies themselves. It's to do with Larian's inventory system. The camp supplies problem only highlighted it to more people. You cannot take something out of a container if it wold over-encumber you. You cannot split something that is in a container without taking it into your inventory first. Things automatically stack up and add their weight together if you send them to the same container. This is a really simple logic problem that should never have made it into the first beta of the game in the first place... but it endured because it didn't come up very often and before camp supplies there were few things that you could stack up enough to create the problem easily. Now the issue is more visible, so, hopefully, it'll get fixed.

The Larian fix will probably actually be NOT fixing the issue itself, and creating a work around... Which probably means that next major patch, the camp supplies check will be able to see and use camp supplies that are in the camp chest directly, circumventing the problem without fixing it.

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Rogues don't work

I imagine this isn't how it works because that might be hard to code, or it might "feel wrong". And frankly, it DOES feel a little wrong. Why does the rogue do all this damage just for being near a friend? But that's how DND5E is balanced. It puts some power back to the rogue when finding a hiding spot over and over again is simply time consuming. When controlling the rogue I kept finding myself trying to get hidden, and pop back out again to get the appropriate bonus damage that I would have NATURALLY gotten if this had been coded correctly.

So, this is another one that has been around since the early days, but it wasn't really noticed by most people until recently. Previously, using the sneak attack button (ugh) would make a normal attack regardless, so the game wasn't telling you when it wasn't applying sneak attack, and there was no signifier for it doing so or not.

Just recently, they did two things: removed backstab advantage, and made sneak attack error if its conditions weren't met, according to the game. What this has done, is highlighted ore clearly the fact that the way the game is assessing whether the rogue has advantage or not, and whether it counts you as having an ally in a suitable position, is simply not working properly. You don't notice it when you have advantage all the time anyway, and when the skill goes off all the time anyway, even if the game doesn't think the conditions are met. Now that those things aren't always the case any more, this error of computation has become more visible. Here's hoping it leads to a fix soon.

===

Thanks again for your feedback, and for takinghte time to give it! More well thought-out posts are always a good thing here. Again, I'd like to encourage you to submit it to Larian directly. For some of the issues, I'd also encourage you to consider using their formal bug reporting form too, if you can spare the time and energy, because every independent report, from distinct voices, they get matters in this regard. You can find hteir formal bug reporting form (Here).

Good luck with your streaming ^.^

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Originally Posted by Lantern Noir
This ties to the point above. In one encounter, the reasonable thing was to enter a town. As I did my party was ambushed and everyone killed within the first two combat rounds. The enemy had high ground and there was no cover to use to approach them.
Misty Step is a great way for a wizard to get to high ground quickly. I have a lot of fun with it! smile

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I found in my play through (with a fairly well built wizard as my main) that some encounters were impossible without this cheese.
Out of curiosity which are they?


Romances in RPGs brought us to this
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Great post OP.
Lots of players here would agree with you on everything !

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Originally Posted by Lantern Noir
I finished the Early Access and thought "okay... so.. that's that". I've flirted with going back to play it again with a new character (I played through as a wizard as my personal character of choice) but each time I'm about to run an actual game stream (which is rare) I find I'd rather stream something I'm genuinely passionate about.
Just to be sure ...
Do i understand this sentence corectly that you finished single gameplay and never returned? O_o

I must admire your self control. laugh

But believe me or not, i believe you lose the best this way.
Maybe i was simply too blind in my previous gameplay so i missed some clues that are obvious for DnD veterans ... but what i personaly like about BG-3 is the fact that i have 460h played, and yet in every next playthrough i find something i missed previously. laugh
Sometimes its hidden path, sometimes its just some note that gives me new perspective, sometimes its magical item i never thought to search there ...

My point is, asuming i understand you corectly, and you really played this game only once ... take my advice, and try it again, but differently this time. smile

Originally Posted by Lantern Noir
In particular I've found I have no real complaints with Solasta: Crown of the Magister. For a small indy studio, it's a solid game, running on a dated engine with modest graphics that gets DND "right". The story is solid, believable and the PC's behave in the cutscenes with a certain level of authenticity given the limits of the engine and the budget used.

I give Solasta a Hard Buy as a review for fans of DND and CRPGs. As of now I give BG3 a Soft Pass - it's great for huge fans of Larian games or people who adored the type of challenge in DOS2. For fans of DND they should avoid it.
You are not the first one saying that ...

Personaly i never quite udnerstanded why people do ... Solasta is allready there, if that is your perfect experience then simply play Solasta and you should be happy enough, no? O_o

There are people out there (myself included) who concider Solasta to be ... well, average (personaly i would say slightly below average) game at best, it would be nice if we would also be allowed get perfect game to play ... laugh
Speaking for myself, Larian and BG-3 take the right road ... so personaly i would certainly appreciate if they would not make this "just another Solasta with better graphic". -_-


Short coment on my English. smile

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Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Speaking for myself, Larian and BG-3 take the right road ... so personaly i would certainly appreciate if they would not make this "just another Solasta with better graphic". -_-
Agree!!!

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Originally Posted by Icelyn
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Speaking for myself, Larian and BG-3 take the right road ... so personaly i would certainly appreciate if they would not make this "just another Solasta with better graphic". -_-
Agree!!!
On the other hand, it would really not look good if they end up giving us just another DOS game. And I feel like that's increasingly what we seem to be having in store. And if that's what they want to make then why involve the Baldur's Gate franchise?

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I dunno ...
I never played any Divinity games, bcs they seemed hideous to me. :-/

If they are so similar to BG-3 as you people say, maybe i should. laugh


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Originally Posted by Icelyn
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Speaking for myself, Larian and BG-3 take the right road ... so personaly i would certainly appreciate if they would not make this "just another Solasta with better graphic". -_-
Agree!!!
Have you ever NOT defended a terrible suggestion on this forum?


Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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Just now she did. :P laugh


Short coment on my English. smile

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I don't understand the point of making a game using D&D 5E if you're not going to use the rules from D&D 5E. "Homebrew" is the role mods should fill, not the base game.

It's a shame that Larian gets so much wrong because the game itself can be quite fun.

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That should not be hard to explain ...
Larian conciders some rules to be boring, and try to improve them.


Short coment on my English. smile

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Originally Posted by Lantern Noir
In particular I've found I have no real complaints with Solasta: Crown of the Magister. For a small indy studio, it's a solid game, running on a dated engine with modest graphics that gets DND "right". The story is solid, believable and the PC's behave in the cutscenes with a certain level of authenticity given the limits of the engine and the budget used.

Importance of Clairvoyance

This ties to the point above. In one encounter, the reasonable thing was to enter a town. As I did my party was ambushed and everyone killed within the first two combat rounds. The enemy had high ground and there was no cover to use to approach them. I did this a few times, had a few laughs and then gave up. Instead I went around the side, and told myself that SOMEHOW my party just KNEW there was an ambush there and ambushed the ambushers.

This. Was. Lame.

Just 2 things:

I really like Solasta, BUT: the Story is a wild mess. Its a great DnD combat simulator. The story / world / dialogues and all that are absolutely not excusable by "being a small studio". Good writing would have been possible even within the engine and technical limitations.

The town encounter seems to be a big gripe of yours and thats fine. But it is also not that though of an encounter. Its a handfull ob goblins, which you can reach easily. Also: there is a perception check right before the town, where you realize more often than not, that you are about to be ambushed. Even without that check the worldbuilding is telling you as much. A bridge with corpses and right in front of the town even more.


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