After I finished DOS 2 the first time, I set it aside for a long while. It was only after picking it back up and trying to work on different builds that some aspects I hadn't noticed my first time began really frustrating me.
The theoretical DOS 3 will no doubt be quite a bit different from DOS 2, if only because the when Swen comes along to ask the design team "so what are you working on," he probably won't be happy with the answer "since DOS 2's mechanics were so good, we're going to do nothing but waste time on the Internet for the next two and a half years". They're going to have to *something* to look busy. So I figured I would help them out and give them something to be busy with.
With that, in no particular order, some ideas:Give back a second selectable Talent Point at character creation Why?
- Right now you get 1 Talent point at levels 1, 3, 8, 13, then 18. The change from 2 selectable Talents at char creation in the first DOS to 1 selectable in DOS 2 was probably meant to be compensation for the new Racial Talent. But the side effect is that it feels like it slows down progress on a build far too much. Conversely, by the time you get the level 18 talent, the game is practically over and the Talent is not going to be that effective.
There is a reason why Free Pet Pal is the most subscribed Talent in DOS 2 by over 36,000 users over the next-most subscribed one, and yet Free Pet Pal is completely missing from the list of DOS 1 and DOS 1 EE mods. I think that reason is because the second starting Talent was removed between games, thus drastically slowing character development.
Pet Pal is one you get a lot of benefit from taking early at level 1 or 3, as it gives some much-needed Fort Joy quest XP.
Opportunist is another one which warriors can't do without. How many enemies with a melee attack do NOT have Opportunist? I imagine it would be a very small percentage. Fighter PC's need to take it as well or else they'll be ineffective.
You don't get enough selectable Talent points at the start of the game, but that doesn't just mean giving a sixth Talent point to players for free. Think about the Talent point you get at level 18. Level 18 is about the start of Arx, roughly 75% of the way through the game. You have made it that far, without your level 18 Talent. By definition, whatever you spend that Talent point on will not be critical to the build. It's just a bonus extra. At level 18, that Talent point doesn't really matter, but it would matter a LOT at level 1. Suggested Change: Give a second Talent point at level 1. If you feel that would be too powerful, remove the one at level 18. This won't merely make the game easier though: Enemies will be able to have a second Talent early too, and that can lead to greater diversity in enemy abilities and strategy.
************************************************Remove Opportunist Talent, make Attacks of Opportunity universal Why?
- In the vanilla game, I tried making a 2H warrior without Opportunist, instead using Unstable and Morning Person, but it was extremely frustrating. Enemies would ignore me and go for the backline, walking casually right past my warrior. I gave up and using the Fort Joy Respec mod, switched out Morning Person. I tried making a warrior build outside of the normal cookie-cutter builds and it did not feel fun to play until I respecced back into the cookie-cutter one.
Opportunist is not merely good, it is effectively mandatory, and Larian knows it. That's why every single enemy that I know of with a melee attack has Opportunist. The change to a single Talent on character creation merely highlights how restrictive a Talent it actually is.Suggested Change: Leaving the immediate area of any enemy who has a melee weapon equipped provokes an AoO, no Talent required. Due to universal Opportunist on enemies, they already work that way, this change merely levels the playing field. And it opens up chances for enemies to have an additional Talent as well, increasing their challenge and adding variety to them.
The Opportunist Talent can be replaced with a new Talent: Counter. When attacked, you have an X% chance (TBD) to counter with a regular attack. This is usually only done for melee weapons, but it could also apply to ranged weapons like wands, bows, and staves (Staff of Magus).
************************************************ Increase the amount of Civil points given out, cap base amount per stat based on level Why?
- I did like DOS 2's splitting of Combat and Civil points, but the amount you get overall discourages splitting them. The linear progression of the game means that there are few to no situations where a civil check attempt can't be achieved until you return later, so it's a steady progression from easy attempts to harder attempts. So what ends up happening is that you stack all your points into one stat because you'll usually fall behind if you split them. You don't really have the option to invest into something else.
This most notably leaves behind abilities like Sneak and Telekinesis. Thief characters can't afford to NOT pump Lockpicking each time they can, so even if they want to Sneak, they can't do much about that. Telekinesis is even worse, only a gimmick used by specialized Barrelmancy builds.Suggested Change: Increase the amount of Civil points the game awards you in an average playthrough from 6 to, oh... let's say 10. One new Civil point will be awarded at every even level, so new points will appear at levels... 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. But don't just leave it at that, as that will lead to stacking points even faster. That is a legitimate problem, and my idea for dealing with it would be to cap the amount you can invest into a single Civil ability.
So the maximum base points you could have in any single Civil ability would be capped at 2 for levels 1-5, 3 for levels 6-9, 4 for levels 10-13, and 5 for levels 14+. That exactly matches the progression you would get in DOS 2 if you invested in a single Civil Ability from the start, so it would not increase the power the player has, but it would allow more flexibility in builds, and that could lead to situations where you might not have enough points into something because you chose to invest into something else. This is basically the same thing Larian did with Lone Wolf in DOS 2 DE - forced point spreading.
************************************************The problem with Warfare is that it reduces build variety, NOT that it is powerful Why?
- It's been a long time since the FextraLife interview was posted, and it took me a while to mull over the argument Larian made, which was basically "gosh it's okay if some of our stuff is unbalanced because people like having fun." It's a reasonable argument, but I disagree about using it dismiss any complaints about Warfare out of hand. If your Warfare is not yet 10, you are not playing optimally if you are putting points into one of the following:
- One Handed
- Two Handed
Three abilities are completely obsolete because of Warfare. Three others are useless beyond minimum points needed for skill unlocks. That is going too far.
The argument also pretends that Larian has not changed things in the past which people considered too powerful. They have done that a lot. Look at the changes from DOS 1 to DOS 2: Sneak was nerfed into the ground with a 4 AP cost which nerfs Guerrilla as well. Between the DOS 2 beta to DOS 2 full release, Wits and Initiative were neutered with the change to a round-robin turn order. In this very release, in fact, with Lone Wolf's power being reigned in. Suggested Change: This is perhaps the worst part: There doesn't need to be much tweaking done at all. Simply but a few limitations on its power: Warfare now only boosts Physical damage for Warfare skills (including Bouncing Shield), two-handed weapons (except staves), and one-handed melee weapons (daggers excepted). If this change is made, also add to Necromacer a bonus of +5% damage for Necromancer skills per level to compensate for the loss of the Warfare bonus.
The result would be that Scoundrels would have an incentive to put more points into Scoundrel, or One-Handed, or Dual Wielding. Rangers would have a reason to put points into Huntsman and Ranged. Necromancy would be raised past 3-5 for specialists. Warriors would consider boosting One and Two Handed. Builds would have more variety again, instead of it being flat-out WRONG for Rogues, Necromancers, and Archers to do anything except max out Warfare ASAP.
************************************************ Revamp the Armor system in DOS 3 Why?
- The Armor system was very contraversial to say the least, producing a lot of anger, and it led to the meta of all physical or all magical parties, and certainly made a 3/1 mix bad. Part of the contraversy is that many people hated the idea of there being no randomness in whether a status lands or not. I am not one of them, so this suggestion won't help with that, but it will make mixed parties of any configuration viable.Suggested Change:
0. Change the name of "Armor" to "status protection/resistance" so players won't think that it should block damage to vitality.
0.A Or Physical Armor is renamed "Bodybuilding" and Magical Armor is renamed "Willpower".
1. Keep both armors, but armor only blocks status effects, NOT damage to vitality.
2. Damage does the same amount to both vitality and armor.
An example of how this would work:
- Enemy Alpha: Vitality = 400 || Physical Armor = 100 || Magical Armor = 250.
- Player 1 hits Alpha with a physical attack that deals 50 damage and can inflict Bleeding.
- Alpha loses 50 Vitality and Physical Armor is also decreased by 50, but because Alpha still has physical armor left, Bleed is not inflicted.
- Enemy Alpha: Vitality = 350 || Physical Armor = 50 || Magical Armor = 250.
- Player 2 hits Alpha with a magical attack that deals 75 damage and can inflict Shock.
- Alpha loses 75 Vitality and Magical Armor is also decreased by 75, but because Alpha still has magical armor left, Shock is not inflicted.
- Enemy Alpha: Vitality = 275 || Physical Armor = 50 || Magical Armor = 175.
Even though neither status landed, both attacks still were productive since they directly damaged health.
This system also preserves the notion of some enemies being more vulnerable to one type or another. It's even possible to make enemies almost immune to one or both types of status effects by setting armor to match or exceed health.
- Enemy Beta: Vitality = 400 || Bodybuilding = 100 || Willpower = 400. Takes damage from both physical and magic, can't be affected by magic statuses, unless Willpower is stripped by a a skill that does no vitality damage.
- Enemy Gamma: Vitality = 600 || Bodybuilding = 2000 || Willpower = 400. Takes damage from both physical and magic, can't be reasonably affected by physical statuses at all.Modding the new system
Since all damage is to vitality, Piercing is no longer a damage type, but instead becomes a "checkbox" which applies to skill effects or skills. When checked, this allows skill effects to ignore armor and apply.
If Larian keeps the "100% chance for X status", and allows that to be modifiable, that means a modder can change
Skill X = "100% Chance to inflict Burning for 1 Turn" to
Skill X = "Pierces (Magical) Armor. 35% Chance to inflict Burning for 1 Turn"
That allows for mods to be made which add back in random chance to inflict status effects.
************************************************Add more Talents that diversify builds Why?
- Talents have always been an issue in both DOS 1 and DOS 2. Many Talents are underwhelming or just plain bad, while some others are "must haves" or so powerful there's no reason not to take them. Talents are not living up to their potential - something to build a playstyle around.
In DOS 2 there are very few mage Talents worth taking, just the 'no-brainers'.Suggested Change: Add more Talents, with a mind to focus a build around them. Some brainstorming ideas (numbers can be tweaked):
Berserker – Your damage increases the lower your health is under 50% health. Does not stack with Death Wish.
Counter Strike – A 35% chance to counter any melee attack, retaliating with a normal attack. Only works if you have a melee weapon equipped (OR maybe also works with any weapon). This could be “fun” to give to some enemies as well! The counter can be blocked, dodged, or counted.
Demon (Revised) - (Requires Pyromancer 3) If Burning at the start of your turn, active skill cooldowns are reduced by 1 turn to a minimum of 0. If Wet or Chilled at the start of your turn, active skill cooldowns are increased by 1 turn. Incompatible with Ice King.
Duelist - When equipped with a one-handed weapon and nothing in the offhand, gain 1.5 Movement per AP and 5% dodge. Requires Single-Handed 5.
Escapist – (Requires Scoundrel 1) – Avoid attacks of Opportunity, and you can flee combat even with enemies right next to you. Replaces Duck Duck Goose, and changes the requirement from Huntsman 1 to Scoundrel.
Essence of Mist – (Requires Aerothurge 3) +2% Dodge Chance per point into Aerothurge. Total Dodge chance is increased by 3 times if inside a cloud (capped at 95%). Incompatible with Unbreakable.
Five Star Diner – No changes to this Talent, but change food and drink to now heal the stated amount each turn for three turns, but you can’t eat/drink another item until you’ve finished the first one. Food and Drunk cooldowns are separate. This IS compatible with Glutton.
Glutton – Food and Drink cost only 1 AP to consume and you can eat or drink two items to stack the effects, but due to your bulbous mass, healing potions are now only half as effective. This IS compatible with Five Star Diner.
Harvester of Souls – (Requires Necromancer 5-7) Killing an enemy gets you a bonus of +X (25%?) to your highest primary attribute for 3 turns. Further kills do not stack the bonus, but reset the duration.
Ice King (Revised) – (Requires Hydrosophist 3) Your Healing spells are 33% more effective. When wet or chilled, any effect on you which restores your Magical Armor is increased by 40%. Incompatible with Demon.
Master Morpher – (Requires Polymorph 5-7) Most alterations to your body last an additional 1 (or 2) turns. Affects: Bull Horns, Spread Your Wings, Spider Legs. Medusa Head, Flaming Skin, Icy Skin, Jellyfish Skin, Poisonous Skin.
Punchable Face – the opposite of Stench. Enemies are more likely to target your character. Armor is 40-50% more effective on you.
Sensitivity - Increases the duration of all status effects on you, both positive and negative by one turn. Incompatible with Walk It Off (for obvious reasons).
Shield Bash – Blocking an enemy melee attack gives you a 100% chance to retaliate with a bash, dealing 50% of your weapon damage as crushing damage. The bash can be blocked or dodged.
Shield Expertise – Attacks with a shield and 1H weapon now only cost 1 AP. Also you get an additional 10% chance to block.
Unbreakable – (Requires Geomancer 3) +4% Physical Armor per point into Geomancer. When standing on oil or poison surfaces, any effect on you which restores your Physical Armor is increased by 33%. Incompatible with Essence of Mist.
Walk it Off (revised) - Decrease the duration of negative status effects by 1 turn per 5.0 meters moved. Can completely remove status effects. If under multiple negative status effects, only one can be removed per 5 meters moved.
Weapon Master - Once per turn, you can switch your equipped weapon for 0 AP. (Maybe requires a second weapon loadout like Diablo 2, which normally costs 1-2 AP to switch in combat)
You Shall Not Pass - Increases Attack of Opportunity range by 30% and regenerate 15% armor at the start of combat if character did not move in the previous round.
Zeroed In - Requires Huntsman 5. Increase your damage by 10% per consecutive normal attack on the same enemy. Caps at +30%. Bonus carries over to next turns (Maybe a "Zeroed In" status icon). Saving AP or moving normally does not reset the bonus, but switching targets, fleeing the battle, using a skill (including racial and movement skills), special arrow, scroll, or grenade instantly cancels the bonus back to 0 before damage is calculated (no bonus damage for those actions). (Killing the target also resets the bonus back to 0, but after the kill.)
************************************************ Add a specially-coded Vendor for crafting items Why?
- You can have the most detailed and complex crafting system in the world, but it won't be much good without ingredients to use. This is a really big oversight in the crafting system which cripples it.
I remember in the late game, Arx, trying to craft some scrolls, but even with my compulsive hooarding giving me three maps worth of STUFF, I could only make a few of them, because I had a lot of different ingredients, but not all that many of the ones I was specifically looking for. There are so many different ingredients that the crafting system suffers.
The lack of respawning enemies means that I don't have any options to go farm for others. And asking every random NPC to trade is far too mind-numbingly tedious to be a practical option, especially since you need to wait an hour with the game running doing nothing before they refresh.
Some ingredients are just plain ridiculous to find. Peace of Mind scrolls require Crab Claws to craft. In all of DOS 2, I found a total of TWO crabs. Two. One in Fort Joy, the other on Nameless Isle. Why does this recipe even exist.
Other ingredients get completely lost as you move farther. Some things require normal Stardust or normal [Element] Essence, but those things stop appearing as you move farther, being replaced by higher level ingredients which don't work in the old recipes.
Crafting is just plain not well thought out.Suggested Change: My solution is to add at least one special crafting ingredient-specific merchant to each act. This merchant has a constantly-rotating inventory of about 20 different crafting ingredients in various small quantities. By "constantly-rotating", I mean the merchant is specifically coded to refresh their inventory each time you start a trade with them, instead of once an hour or after levelling up. This allows players to have the opportunities to use the crafting system more easily.
If you're worried about that allowing players to make too much money, there are solutions for that too. The merchant could act as a kind of gold sink, by jacking their prices up to about triple the amount per ingredient you'd get elsewhere. Additionally, player-crafted items could sell for 0-1 gold so you couldn't make infinite money by farming the crafting merchant.
************************************************ [MODDING] Redesign the cobbled-together Talent system code and to allow for modding of Talents Why?
- Here's something for your dedicated modding team to do, or at least ask for: Talents are hugely impactful things, they can make and break a build. And yet they are almost impossible to change with mods, and adding new Talents can only be done with an odd workaround which lets you learn Talents through special books.Suggested Change: I understand that many Talents have code changes, and as such can't be modified. So I only wish for modders to be able to create and modify Simple Talents. Simple Talents do not modify code. They should be able to modify attribute/ability numbers and spell effects. Complex Talents would be unmodifiable. I understand that it might be required to just rip out the existing Talent System code, but it's something worth considering to make modding even more flexible.
************************************************Boost the potency of food items Why?
Food is just very underwhelming. Great you can cook a lot, but none of it is really worth using compared to other methods.Suggested Change: Food should heal the stated amount PER TURN for the duration, not just a single one-off heal, but with the downside that you can't eat another item until the duration has expired. Drinks would be a separate thing as well, with it's own "can't consume another until first one is done" limit, so you can have one food item and one drink active and get the bonuses from each.
That alone would do wonders. And fix the bug with some upgraded food items like Dwarven Stew/Dinner which REDUCE the amount of health it restores compared to base food items. This would make Five Star Diner a much more attractive Talent even for those not doing challenge runs.
************************************************Telekinesis should be more than just a gimmick Why?
- Telekinesis was born as a gimmick in DOS 1's alpha. It was something which you get and "oh look, I can pick up that item from slightly farther away", and it remained in that state for two games. Sure, it can be used to create a Barrelmancer build, crushing enemies using a heavy barrel, but that's really it. Telekinesis could be so much more.Suggested Change: Putting a point into Telekinesis (not applicable when you have only 1+ from items) give you the 0 Memory skill Telekinesis Hand. This allows you to interact with items (but not NPC's) at maximum Telekinesis Range. This skill lets you trigger traps, press touchplates, pull levers, open doors, move and/or pick up items and so on. It gives you so much more utility than "slightly longer pick-up distance", and actually lets it compete with other civil skills better. Right now it's just not something anyone (other than a barrelmancer) will put points into.