UI, Controls, QoL : Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
, Part 5
Roleplay, Story, Immersion : Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
Mechanisms : Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
COMBAT AND SPELL CASTING
There are obstacles we have to fight during combat, in addition to the enemies. All in all, I win my encounters, but I feel they are artificially made harder because of the UI and controls. Action bar vs hotbar location, unnecessary icons. The off-hand attack should probably be among the basic actions (Jump, Dash, etc).
Indeed, off-hand attack is a basic action. Also, it should not be found in the spellbook. The spellbook is for spells. Off-hand attack is not a spell. It's not even a class ability. It's a basic, attack action. Coming from the second weapon. (Note : the "spellbook“ should really be renamed if it ends up hosting anything more than just spells.) Spell or abilities improving an attack should have a single icon (not a melee icon and a range icon).
This includes spells like the Ranger's Ensnaring Strike or class abilities like the Battle Master's Pushing Attack (for Sneak Attack, see below). These should simply apply modifiers to the next attack (very much like applying poison to a weapon, but with a duration of N turns or M attacks, depending on the spell or ability). And they should only require one icon, not two.
Even with an improved UI that wouldn't suffer from the addition of icons the way the present hotbar does, the current system creates two very similar-looking icons, thus requiring more attention when selecting one of them. I think that this is not user-friendly and it does not have to be this way. Sneak Attack should be automatic, and not require an icon.
Yes, I could
try to remember to use Sneak Attack every time my attack is eligible. But it is tedious and, I feel, not the kind of player skill this game should assess. I can also use the Sneak Attack icon all the time, and simply let the game not add the bonus damage when the attack isn't eligible. But then this is very poor UI : why is my Rogue's now-standard attack button not located like that of the others, and why do I have to click Attack then click on the enemy when the other classes can just click on the enemy ?
There is a popular saying by Sid Meier that a strategy game (which BG3 is during combats) is a series of interesting decisions. Choosing between normal Attack and Sneak Attack is the antithesis of an interesting decision to me. The Rogue's Dash should not be a separate icon.
The Dash icon should be updated to cost only a Bonus Action for Rogues. Again, the choice of using Standard Dash vs Rogue Dash, that is to say spending an Action or a Bonus Action to do the same thing, is clearly not an interesting decision (as I discuss elsewhere, we should certainly be able to spend an Action as a Bonus Action).
And after Rogue Dash has been used, the Dash would be updated to cost an Action, for when a Rogue uses Dash a second time in the turn (which is currently possible, I don't know if this is the intent). The action bar should be the same for all controllable creatures.
This includes characters and, in particular, summoned creatures. Fly is the same as jump, and should be in the same place. Hide should be in the same place as the normal Hide. Same for Dash. Having to re-focus attention on the action bar for different types of creatures is simply not user-friendly. Just grey-out or leave blank the actions that the creature cannot take (e.g. Help). Opportunity Attacks and Threatened range. Please make it less easy to accidentally suffer an Opportunity Attack.
Currently, a red arrow indicates that, yes. But as movement can be a bit clunky, I too often incur an OA when the move I intended to do didn't have
to trigger one. A typical example is when one of my melee combatants wants to go around the enemy while remaining in melee range, but doesn't (for auto-pathing reasons usually).
I don't want have to use my dexterity with the mouse to fight the excessively large space taken by creatures (which prevents me from clicking too close) or the sub-optimal path-finding. Using Disengage should not make me suffer an Opportunity Attack !
Does that title sound absurd ? Yes. But that's a very real possibility at the moment. When I click Jump/Disengage and my character moves before jumping, they take an OA. I believe that Jump should be separated from Disengage. And Disengage, very much like Dash, should not cause movement. Alternatively (or additionally), auto-positioning could be revised, and perhaps even dropped. The exact solution doesn't matter.
The fact is, when the result is the exact opposite of what I intended, I feel there's something very wrong with the UI or controls.
Ultimately, I want this turn-based combat game to evaluate my tactical and strategic decisions, not my player's dexterity. Character who have a melee weapon could perhaps be able to do an opportunity attack even if I left them with their ranged weapon ?
Otherwise ... well, I could
tediously switch back to melee weapon at the end of each turn of my ranger attacker, just in case an enemy were to pass by them, and switch back to ranged weapon at the beginning of the next turn. It's not ideal. It is also possibly a bit cheesy, relying on the ability to switch weapons at will. See next item. Switching weapon should probably be limited during a turn.
Currently, my archer can switch to melee-weapon-and-shield for the AC bonus at the end of each turn and switch to ranged weapon again at the beginning of their turn. This is cheesy but also immensely easy : not only is it a very natural equipment combination to have, but the game's default settings give me a hotkey for switching. This is a mechanical exploit, and I could abstain from abusing it, but it's one key stroke away.
Of course, one reason why it's made so easy to switch is because switching is currently needed to obtain information on my ranged attack without committing to shooting an arrow.
I think that the UI (switching weapons to access information) should be decoupled from the combat mechanism of switching weapons. For example, our range and ranged-hit-chance could be shown when using left-Shift. Wasting actions.
It would be great if the game didn't let us take an action when it is a clear and total waste. Shooting projectiles when the path is interrupted is frustrating.
We cannot swing a sword at the enemy if they are too far. So why can we shoot in the pillars ? I know, there is a yellow message on screen. Generally. But after wrestling with the camera or the auto-positioning ghost, I believe I have found an angle and ... it doesn't work.
Could we please work under the assumptions that our characters are not too stupid ? Please, let characters shoot arrows with more than one trajectory.
When I have an archer on an elevated gallery (possibly with a wooden parapet up to the waist, possibly not), I sometimes cannot target enemies that are too close to the base of the wall.
According to my eyes and general experience of real life, this would be an ideal situation for an archer : you lean over the balcony if needed, shoot down, then crouch to get cover. According to the game right now, this is the worst situation : I can't shoot the target at all, I can just shoot at the ground. There's a bit of a dissonance there. So, of course, it's frustrating. If one Magic Missile can hit the target, all Missiles should hit the target.
It is currently possible for some of the Magic Missiles to hit the target while some others, with same target, go into a wall. But they are Magic Missiles ! They have a navigation system to guide them and guarantee that they hit the target. They absolutely don't have
to take 3 different trajectories : if one trajectory works, let them all take this one. Maybe fire them in succession instead of simultaneously. Whatever ! This is frustrating because the reason for the miss is not bad roll (there's no roll to hit) or the caster not having the target in line of sight, it is only because of the clumsy way you have implemented the trajectories of the Magic Missiles. Please, let Magic Missiles have more than one projectile trajectory.
If one enemy B is behind another enemy A, I cannot hit the one behind with a Magic Missile : it says that the "path is interrupted" by the enemy A. But when these enemies are goblins without even a small shield and my caster is a tall Gale, I very certainly have enemy B in line of sight. So a Magic Missile should be able to hit. A hitting trajectory could go above, or around enemy A. It doesn't matter. It should hit. Don't let us Hide when we're in line-of-sight of an enemy.
I know, I can use left-Shift to visualise enemy lines of sights. But sometimes Hiding in combat still fails when, from what I can see, I'm not quite in the red zone. Also, having to left-Shift all the time isn't super convenient. It would be better to prevent the character from taking the Hide action if it's a waste. Information about combat. The combat log should always show the bottom-most lines, by default.
If I open it, it's generally to check what has just happened ... not what happened 15 turns ago. The Advantage/Disadvantage indicator isn't always as useful as it should.
First of all, let me call this an absolutely excellent idea. Instead of just showing us the chance of hitting, it tells us whether we have Advantage/Disadvantage and, more importantly, why. That is to say, it teaches us and reminds us of the rules.
But sometimes it is not as useful as it should, when it just says "player has Advantage/Disadvantage on target". %CHECK : THERE IS ANOTHER STANDARD SENTENCE
If it's because of a spell, no problem : there will be too many spell sources of Advantage. But, for instance, it doesn't say "enemy is prone", when I target a prone enemy with a ranged weapon. So there are still a couple of basic rules that it doesn't relay to us. Information about movement. The distance estimator does not account for difficult terrain.
In combat, turn-based mode and Hide mode, the path-visualiser gives me the amount of movement it will cost, and it highlights the difficult terrain sections in yellow, but it doesn't take them into account. So if my character can move 9m and I click on a point 9m away from me through difficult terrain, I do not reach the point I clicked. It would be more useful to be given accurate information about how far I can go. "Speed" vs "movement" budget.
What characters have each turn should probably be called a budget of movement more than a budget of speed. Because after you have consumed 8m, you have 1m left. Those are distances, not speeds. It's far from being the topmost gaming priority, but it doesn't sound like it costs much either. Targeting with attacks and spells. Please let us select a target by clicking on portraits.
We should be able to select a target for an attack or spell by clicking on a portrait (both in the lower-left corner and, during combat, in the initiative track). Choosing a target in combat : better portrait highlights.
If I hover over a portrait, the creature is highlighted : that's great. If I hover over the creature, the portrait is very slightly highlighted. But it is quite hard to see. I'd like it to be way easier to see which portrait is highlighted. Often, knowing who will play at what time is as important as where they are on the battlefield. Combat involves both the spatial aspect and the initiative track. Could the Hex spell be streamlined ?
I find it cumbersome to have an intermediary selection between selecting Hex and selecting a target. I'm using Hex for extra damage, and thus I rarely find the intermediary decision of which set of skills to curse to be an interesting decision (... actually, I don't think I have ever Hexed someone for a Disadvantage on a set of skill checks).
For example, Hex could give Disadvantage to no skill checks. This is weaker than the RAW Hex. Or Hex could give Disadvantage to all skill checks. This is stronger than the RAW Hex. But how often will the target be required to make many different skill checks before dying ? We are not even talking about Saving Throws, but skill checks, which are much less frequent in combat. So I feel that the difference between the weaker and the stronger version is pretty minimal.
Guidance was streamlined so that we don't have to choose which skill gets boosted : it rolls and add independent d4 to each skills. Meaning that if I have a choice between Intimidation and Persuasion, and find during the conversation that I rolled +4 to Intimidation and +1 to Persuasion, I may choose the Intimidation option. So Guidance has been made stronger (except that ... it doesn't work, but that's another story). And it doesn't feel like it's breaking the game. So I doubt that streamlining Hex would break the game either. "Invalid target" is not the same as "not enough space".
This is often encountered with Invoke Duplicity or Find Familiar. If the issue is the need for more space, it should say "not enough space" (though, as I explain elsewhere, creatures should take less space). Accidentally triggering combat. Casting buffing spells should not give away my presence.
If I'm out of enemy visual range, perhaps I should be out of hearing range too, no ?
If I'm Hiding, it stands to reason that I don't want to be heard. I know that some spell require some verbalisation. So you must not be completely silenced (by magic, gagged, have had your tongue cut out, etc). But there's a spectrum between not being able to speak and shouting to make your presence heard miles around.
For example, in the underground passage under the Druid Grove, I can cast an insane amount of spells to destroy the Guardian Statue. The sounds may echo through the cave. The head of the statue may roll down the path. The goblins don't notice me. That's fine. But if I cast Bless closer to them, while Hiding, now they can hear me ? I have difficulties with that. Going to sleep should not trigger combat.
- On the harpies' beach, I went to sleep on the cliff, out of the red zone (visible with left-Shift). When I came back, combat !
- In the underground passage under the Druid Grove, I was in position to start the fight. I went to camp to recover my spell slots. Upon coming back, bam, combat !