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Ever played Pillars of Eternity? Baldur’s gate? What about modern candy-graphics ancient world simulation piece shit like Assassin’s Creed Origins?

Well, I have. And guess what? Their approach to levelling is superior to Larian’s.

Now that I’ve catapulted that little fiery ball of controversy into the maw of the forum monster, I’d like to say a few things that – I think – make a lot of sense.

Having read various forum comments, I feel there’s unrest in the community about the melodramatic approach Larian has taken to levelling. Some modders have wisely tried to correct this, but it shouldn’t be up to modders to note the obvious. There are paid designers on Larian’s team that should have spotted the problem well before launch. And there are paid designers in more crassly generic gaming studios *cough* Ubisoft */cough* that are doing it better than our good standard-rules-don’t-apply amigos at Larian.

So faking wake up!

I’m talking about the stat explosion that occurs per level in this game. What’s the difference between a level 10 and level 15 character in DOS2? One is David, the other – Goliath.

Why?

Even if you look at Assassin’s Creed, the levels and upgrades increment you only marginally. It feels rewarding and natural, but it never feels like you’re exploding into superman. So even lower level enemies can still put up a fight. As they should.

Levelling up should be about gaining cooler, more tactically deeper abilities. It shouldn’t be about gaining an extra 2000 health etc. Pillars and Baldur’s Gate are more enjoyably balanced games, because the stats never explode. Shining Force is also another great example because it’s so similar to DOS2. I think the tiny increases per level (+2, +3 if you’re lucky) were brilliantly staged, and far more impactful than suddenly gaining +1000. And it meant the designers had an easier time coming up with more challenging battles.

Massively bigger stats != a progressive levelling system! I’d like to see a formidable end boss to DOS2 with little more than 300 HP. This would force the designers into coming up with more creative and interesting ‘level up’ perks.

As I say, you always feel like it’s worthwhile levelling things in Assassin’s Creed Origin’s, but it never gets out of hand. It’s genius. Superb design. And the only good thing, bar the artwork, about an otherwise boring game.

Same is true of Pillars and Baldur’s Gate. You never had ridiculous stats in those games, but levelling up felt far more impactful than it does in DOS2. Think about it – a smaller stat increase would create so much more meaning for the player, and would also make the game easier to design towards balanced fun.

No point making it hard on yourselves, lads! Quality over quantity as they say…

I believe in you! grin

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I agree... to some extent.

Just finished my first playthrough and I think that "more levels, less increment in between" would help a bit with the "shopping" annoyance (one of the very few points of criticism I have).

With 22 realistic levels (I put a lot of effort into perfecting this run, didn't do the deathfog trick in Fort Joy, though, this time, because after doing it like 10 times I was a bit tired of it) between "poor me is a prisoner on his way to Dallis torture chamber" and "zomg I AM SE GOD!!!11" there is not really much leeway in terms of "graduality between levels".

At some point (in my first attempt this happened in Driftwood, later it started at around level 3 in the 'Joy) I found myself simply trying to "overlevel" as much as possible to get to the point in the game where I could really see something I haven't done in former attempts (logically), which, on the other hand, led to a lot of whacking enemies with a single round (in my first playthrough I wiped 11 times - I kid you not - against the claymen).

Maybe D:OS 3 should have many more character levels and much smaller multipliers, while at the same time keeping the difference between entry and expected end game level (I think for D:OS 2 it was 20, with 23 apparently attainable, but I have no idea how) about the same as in D:OS 2.

Shopping, however, is a different topic here. I found it fun in the Joy, acceptable in Driftwood and outright annoying in Arx (because there were too few viable items and many were really stupid, like an "requires 14 intelligence" chest with "+2 Strength", which makes no sense at all, I would really LOVE to see the build which would make use of such a thing, but maybe I'm not creative enough or so).

I would like to see:

* More character levels with smaller scaling in between, but about the same relation between level 1 and expected end game level as in D:OS 2

* Crafting instead of shopping, making it a virtue... so you get your own, handcrafted "super staff of the Firesong" if you really put effort into it (this could include optional quests as well)

* Shopping only for very basic items, skills, crafting materials and vanity items (how about transmogrification?)

OT, but this comes really from the heart:

* Not being forced to decide between "helping everyone on the Merryweather" and "getting my companions civil abilities a bit less unusable until we get our own ship" (which is a major thing for me... I play with "Fort Joy Respec Mirror" mod now, and I use it once after companions are gathered so I can have them in useful roles out of combat as well, instead of crawling on the skin of my teeth financially through the first act)


Larian, please improve QoL / UX.

And give us Halsin as companion, please.
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Do bigger stats make you really feel like a god?

Your enemie has bigger stats too, so he is pretty much as godly as you.

Having 24 AP per turn from turn 2 on in DOS not-EE, that made you feel really like a god.

But in DOS2 you start with 4 AP at level 1 and end with 4 AP at level 20+, your damage numbers are bigger, but that is all. And skills don't get cheaper to use either over time. So every combat will most likely be the same chain of skills over and over to maximise your little pool. Very repetative.

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I didn't read your entire post, but I'm guessing you're complaining that the character and equipment power increases far too much with each level. If that is indeed your point, I fully agree.

The power level increase per level is on an exponential curve, and it gets out of hand fast. Even in the early teens, I'd upgrade my legendary weapon to another legendary weapon one level higher, and my damage output from that alone increased by 25%. That's ridiculous! Fights that were nigh impossible are suddenly cakewalks just because I'm one level higher. That shouldn't be.

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Smokey,

You have a great point. The leveling in this game is too restrictive and really cripples the ability of doing things out of a specific order. It is also why I decided to STOP supporting Larian in further kickstarters...as they've strayed too far from what I used to like about them.

In Sword of Lies, leveling up wasn't as huge of a deal. I was able to really do things out of order in a big time way after the first act and before the last act. Every time I play that game, I can do a different path to being a guard for Janus.

Doing what I can do in Sword of Lies (or Divine Divinity) is next to impossible in this game as the enemies are too over powered. I'd have to see major changes in the game fixes for me to want to come back and start from act one... again.

In DOS:1, I bitched heavily on this. Larian did very little to repair this issue.
In DOS:2, Larian totally disregarded everything and gave me a big middle finger to my suggestions.

I haven't gotten very far in DOS:2 as it just pissed me off so much. I got to a boss in a cave that when released from a coffin she summoned these ice wolves that just destroyed my party. After hours of trying to kill the boss, I did. I went to the NPC that gave me the quest, he started a fight and I killed him without coming near to death. It was an NPC in a mansion in a cemetery. Fought him down in the basement.

The balance of bosses was too problematic for me to want to tolerate any further.

And about the leveling thing, advancing one level shouldn't feel like advancing 10. That compounds an already unbalanced boss system.

Last edited by LightningLockey; 10/02/18 11:55 PM.

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Originally Posted by Kalrakh
Do bigger stats make you really feel like a god?

Your enemie has bigger stats too, so he is pretty much as godly as you.

Having 24 AP per turn from turn 2 on in DOS not-EE, that made you feel really like a god.

But in DOS2 you start with 4 AP at level 1 and end with 4 AP at level 20+, your damage numbers are bigger, but that is all. And skills don't get cheaper to use either over time. So every combat will most likely be the same chain of skills over and over to maximise your little pool. Very repetative.


I really don't feel it's repetitive, but I'm sure it entirely depends on how you build.
if you optimize a small skill core it might be, but my guy has a wide variety of skills that give me a variety of choices in every fight.
generally speaking, I value flexibility in these games over raw power.

my co-op buddy is using Beast, and he's pretty badass, but a lot more focused than my main guy.

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can't delete?

Last edited by smokey; 11/02/18 04:28 AM.
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There are some things I really like about divinity's levelling system in general: the complete freedom you get in building your characters.
However, as it was noted before, the exponential curve in the strength differences between levels is somewhat offputting and just doesn't feel natural, I competely agree. Especially as it forces you to spend hours and hours of stealing and shopping for your whole party -- and this, especially in MP is extremely boring and annoying right from the get go, as obviously only one person's character would specialize in bartering (.. Which ring d'ya want? The heinous one, third from the left? And which wand was it again? ...)
I really wish there was some way to either upgrade your items to your character level -- maybe with some crafting skills as it used to be in DOS1, or maybe develop some mechanism to level gear automatically. Especially as item stats seem to be completely random, so more often than not you will end up with some useless boni (who needs +STR and +INT on a FIN item??? Bonus to 2H on a 1H sword??? That just feels like trolling...)

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Didn’t mean to reply, then couldn’t delete the reply – ah wells…

I saw this thread and realised someone else started a much more epic conversation on the stat issue.

The biggest problem imo? It’s the HP bars. If you think about it, whether it’s 10000 or 100, it doesn’t make any difference – because at the end of the day, it’s just a bar that gets depleted by X% when it’s hit.

The problem is that the game’s entertainment value hinges around how long it takes for that X% to become 0%. And it’s much easier to balance smaller numbers than colossal 10000+ numbers.

The designers are only making it harder on themselves by inflating stats to ridiculous levels.

The problems with shopping etc could all easily be fixed if they just followed the Assassin’s Creed Origins formula, and only increment stats by a fraction each time. I understand they’re trying to make people feel more godlike, but there are more creatively impressive ways of achieving that goal.

Personally, I think enemies of all levels should be able to put up a fight, but your higher level should just give you access to cooler abilities that make you more of a tactical powerhouse, rather just a bullet sponge tank.

Either way, it seems the modding community simply has much better ideas than Larian's in-house design team. I don't mean to sound 'scaldy' about the topic, but when hobbyists are doing a better job than your paid design team, there's some serious issues right there.

I hope Larian can put ego aside and will take note of the often brilliant improvements modders are making to the game. There's no shame in that. The game is a flawed masterpiece. It needs only a slight nudge towards a <cough> enhanced edition expansion pack </cough> to take the throne as the best entertainment a group of humans has ever honestly achieved.


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I don't really understand these complaints cuz on the one hand ppl complain about the stat bonuses from levels being op, but then on the other hand they complain that gear isn't op enough.
I'm currently ~level 15 and this entire game some of my gear has been sh*t cuz I either don't have funds or don't want to powershop every store.

if the stats are making you so powerful you shouldn't need max'd out gear in every slot.

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The argument isn't as simple as inflated stats = overpowered characters.

It’s about game balance, and how it’s easier to make the game more entertaining and balanced if the stats aren’t ludicrously exploded per level for both character and gear.

The fact that there’s such a severe difference between a level 14 item and a level 15 item is precisely why there’s a problem. By your own account, you don’t enjoy that – the game is about entertainment, not frustration.

Gear is part of the stat explosion problem because it also explodes your damage dealing and HP so massively that you’re at a disadvantage unless you’re constantly shopping. Shopping is boring.

If the stat inflation was reduced for levelling up, and also for gear, then you would only need to shop if the item had some cool ability.

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wat....don't put words in my mouth --- I enjoy the sh*t out of this game

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personally, I think the idea that you need to loot every vendor would make this game superboring as your gear would be too op

I like the idea you have to live on a budget and make choices and sacrifices

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Did I say ya didn't?

Fucking forums.

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Then again, trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone who writes 'wat' instead of 'what' and 'cuz' instead of 'because'.

Just going to leave that there.

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Originally Posted by smokey
Did I say ya didn't?

Fucking forums.


yes, you did


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By your own account, you don’t enjoy that

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Jaysus, pedant. If we're to lower ourselves to that level, I was talking about the shopping aspect of the game. Read the previous sentence. 'You clearly don't enjoy the shopping' is what I wrote.

How the fuck does me saying you don't enjoy the shopping = me saying you don't enjoy the GAME. The shopping is 0.1% of the thing!

Piss off! You're a nit-picking gnat. I don't even care if you think I'm saying you don't enjoy the game, but that's not what I wrote.

Happily, the majority disagree with your assumption that all is well with the balance. 'Cuz' ya know, eh, it really isn't - simples as that, so it is.


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I enjoy the shopping so wtf are you on about?

maybe you should stick to opining on your own preferences and not the rest of the world's

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You told me I wrote that you don't enjoy the game. I spelled out that I wrote I was only talking about the shopping.

I then said shopping does not equal the game.

Do you understand?

Are you fucking retarded?

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I'm showing everyone here in the gaff your comments, and we're all laughing at you...

I don't know how you even managed to figure out the submit button for posting a comment. You can't add up shit, mate.

Tell you what, if you want to meet for a chat in person, I'm well game. Sallins, Kildare, Ireland. I'm always around. I'd really love to talk to you in person, man.

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flying over now -- wait right there

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PMSL!!!

I cannot wait to meet you buddy!

Will defo take a pic tomorrow and post it on my profiler so you know who you need to look for.

I love a good rumble! Haven't lost yet.

Last edited by smokey; 11/02/18 11:44 PM.
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That does not look like an intelligent conversation at all.

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Well, you must be a genius to have figured that out.

Sometimes you need to drop down a few gears to slug it out with the chimps. I'm not saying it's the best approach, but unfortunately it's the only approach when you're conversing with the human equivalent of a turnip.

By all means, pick my brain if you think you can. I've worked as a programmer, an artist, and a fiction writer - I'd say my IQ is more than a few points above room temperature. I've made more money with all that in one month than you'll likely ever see in a lifetime, amigo. I'm also a big mutha fucka to boot. So I know that when someone's too fool to retort with words, I can always go primitive and still fucking floor them.

Pro tip - don't jump into the middle of an argument you're not involved in and a give a snooty little comment when the dust has settled - makes you look like a right little snot indeed.

Last edited by smokey; 12/02/18 02:23 AM.
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Originally Posted by smokey
my IQ is a few points above room temperature

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You obviously never heard the phrase, turnip. Still a pedant, I see. Clear sign of an idiot - can't tackle the bigger picture, so focuses on the low hanging fruit. And still manages to shoot himself in the foot.

I've thrashed you with words. Everyone here is still in disbelief anyone could be as retarded as you are. You live in the basement of your mother's social housing hovel in the backwater of some improvised East European no man's land.

GTFO. You couldn't afford a flight to Ireland if you spent your savings, your mother's savings, and sold everything you own.



Last edited by smokey; 12/02/18 01:33 AM.
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Will two stop fighting? It is not helping the cause at all. Learn to either agree to disagree or just ignore each other.


Every time there I run into trouble on the road, there is always a dwarf at the bottom of it. Don't they know how to drive above ground?
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Come on guys, no need for further arguing about semantics, although I must say reading you both made me chuckle.

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Keep it civil, guys. By which I mean the next one to add to this jolly little conversation gets suspended.

Thank you.


J'aime le fromage.
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[img]https://photos.app.goo.gl/mJW31LlGP2sR7cWJ3[/img]

No prob. Conversation over. Just leaving the above for my new amigo: I did say I'd post a pic in case there was an intention to hang out in Sallins with me and the boys and our beautiful Irish girls - have a few beers with us, because we're great craic. That was what all the above was about, in case it was misinterpreted as anything else. Irish sense of humour, maybe? Can be dark and quirky, I suppose.

Anyways, I'd hate for anyone to think I'm lying about being a big mutha fucka. Big meaning muscle, not fat. Lots of big talk on the auld internet, but trust me, I'm more than just a big brain.

And I don't talk through me hole.

Cheers.


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My god you are toxic as fuck

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