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Originally Posted by Zarna
Originally Posted by Rack
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.
But how does it affect your single player game if someone else does this in their single player game? Some people do it way too much but they do not make us do it as well.

Did you check out the link I posted? Because that's really not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is it's risky to let people choose to make the experience less enjoyable for themselves. What is the correct amount of save scumming? I think it should be pretty much zero, if people are reloading to deal with bugs or have either died or backed them into an unwinnable situation that's fine. If people are reloading to get out of suffering negative consequences then I'd argue that's pretty much always a problem. If the game can prevent or disicentivise this it won't affect people who don't use saves in this way and will improve the game for people who do.

The upside is if people are using save scumming to get around other design flaws. This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check. If it is then save scumming isn't the solution, instead skill checks need to be revised or removed.

The other upside is what about players who just don't ever want to suffer bad consequences? If we can trust players to make this decision (which is risky) then save scumming is a really inelegant solution. Maybe we can give players infinite inspiration, or have an option for it. We can make NPCs immune to death or able to be targetted by revivify or raise dead. This has the dual advantage of making fixing these problems simpler and making it explicit to the player what they are choosing. Players tend to have a lot more resistance to selecting an easy mode than making the game easier by abusing saves.

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Originally Posted by Rack
This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check.
Disco Elysium!

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Originally Posted by DiDiDi
Originally Posted by Rack
This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check.
Disco Elysium!
Am eagerly waiting for the enhanced edition before I get stuck into it.

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Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Thats why other games have XP per Quest and not XP for kills to minimize the tempation and control the Player Level.
The same with a Traders and no random goods. Because the player feels punished with a only bad offers.
Thats why social skills and magic never works when competes with combat magic because the people will have Tradeequip or Sleep to learn a Open Lock Spell because time is no factor.

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I already mentioned a while back that the best way around save scumming for story elements at least, is to make outcomes of your choices only transpire further down the road.
The immediate consequence of a decision promotes save scumming as it becomes obvious what is "good" and what is "bad", Give me grey and then later on let me find out what that decision meant, either way.

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That was one of the things the Witcher games did that was always pretty effective. I haven't spoiled myself for BG:3 but I've observed people talking around things in Act 1 that might have bigger ramifications in later Acts.

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Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

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Originally Posted by Rack
The reason why save scumming is a problem is that given the opportunity players will optimise the fun right out of a game. There's no point putting points into conversation skills if players never fail a conversation check because success is just a quick press of F9 away. It's not really a minority most people will end up acting this way when you make reloading to avoid ever suffering consequences too easy.


Ignoring any issues I may have with the article itself (or how it is less applicable for narrative RPGs), its conclusion and advice is basically what Larian is looking to implement.

The premise of the article is that fun is removed due to players doing tedious, repetitive tasks due to their compulsion to optimize. The recommended solve from the article (coloring is mine for emphasis):

Quote
If possible, designers should provide the ability to turn an exploit on or off, giving the players control over their worst instincts. For example, most games with save/load functionality can be abused by players to improve their odds; an RPG in which smashing a box produces random loot can be reloaded as many times as necessary until the best possible weapon or armor appears.

If the worry is specifically about save scummers ruining the game for themselves due to tedious reloading, Larian is also planning for this with a loaded die options.

People who want more extreme anti-reload options will have ironman mode, which is basically an industry standard at this point. The only other thing I can think of getting Larian to add, is maybe a "soft ironman mode", where dying doesn't lead to save-deletes (you only get 1 save and need to load from it).



If anything, the article warns us that trying to control the player experience and forcing some sort of exploit-removal doesn't really work. From the article again:

Quote
With Civ 3, we introduced a feature that preserved the game’s random seed in the save game file, guaranteeing that individual combats would play out the same way regardless of how many times the player reloaded the game. No longer were players tempted to reload every bad combat result, which could slow the game to a crawl.

However, the community response was not what we anticipated. Although some players appreciated that they were no longer tempted to reload combats, many others were frustrated that one of their old tricks disappeared. Indeed, some angry fans actually felt that the game was cheating on them by always reproducing the same combat result!

We solved this problem by turning this feature into an option on game start. Players who want the chance to reload a particularly unlucky roll can use the old exploit, but the game, by default, discourages this work-intensive strategy. Ultimately, the designer can’t go wrong putting the player in control of his or her own experience.

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Originally Posted by Rack
Did you check out the link I posted? Because that's really not the point I'm making. The point I'm trying to make is it's risky to let people choose to make the experience less enjoyable for themselves. What is the correct amount of save scumming? I think it should be pretty much zero, if people are reloading to deal with bugs or have either died or backed them into an unwinnable situation that's fine. If people are reloading to get out of suffering negative consequences then I'd argue that's pretty much always a problem. If the game can prevent or disicentivise this it won't affect people who don't use saves in this way and will improve the game for people who do.

The upside is if people are using save scumming to get around other design flaws. This isn't an ideal situation but shouldn't be completely ignored. If there's no interesting consequences for failing actions and important plot points are permanently locked behind skill checks. This is an old GM rule of thumb of "don't make players roll dice unless you're prepared for them to fail" The game shouldn't be worse if players fail a check. If it is then save scumming isn't the solution, instead skill checks need to be revised or removed.

The other upside is what about players who just don't ever want to suffer bad consequences? If we can trust players to make this decision (which is risky) then save scumming is a really inelegant solution. Maybe we can give players infinite inspiration, or have an option for it. We can make NPCs immune to death or able to be targetted by revivify or raise dead. This has the dual advantage of making fixing these problems simpler and making it explicit to the player what they are choosing. Players tend to have a lot more resistance to selecting an easy mode than making the game easier by abusing saves.
I read the article but I am having trouble putting myself into the shoes of someone who thinks like that. Even if I optimize the crap out of one character and breeze through a game it is easy for me to play the next time with a character who cannot do these things. I have no temptation to switch back to the easy method on them. Some of the examples given also seemed to make sense for efficiency and removing them because a few felt compelled to always use them seems silly to me. I despise handholding and railroading just because others are apparently weak willed. I think having an easy mode for the chronic savescummers and a toggle for the anti savescummers should be fine for this game.

Originally Posted by Riandor
I already mentioned a while back that the best way around save scumming for story elements at least, is to make outcomes of your choices only transpire further down the road.
The immediate consequence of a decision promotes save scumming as it becomes obvious what is "good" and what is "bad", Give me grey and then later on let me find out what that decision meant, either way.
This would be great. I especially like options where the good choice leads to bad results and vice versa. However some people will look up what is supposed to happen in online guides and make decisions accordingly. :P

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Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

Its not a question when you active cheat or make a Savegame for a another Storyline.
Save Scumming is a problem when the player expection and the game drift apart and the player feels betrayed.

Example:
When you find a Trader and buy a very good armor but you are killed a few minutes later.
You reload a older Savegame but now the Trader has no good Armor.
Now you Save Scumming to bring your armor back.

Or in Divinity when Traders have new Items after Level UP, no Stealing before a Level UP means the goods are forever lost.
Or Traders have the "wrong" class Books etc. ...

Save Scumming is a problem when fundamental Game elements like Items are random generated and you see no Developer intervention for a "good" and balanced experience.
Random Loot is viable for Diablo with infinity number of monsters or Roguelike Games like Risk of Raind but not a Party RPG.

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Originally Posted by Caparino
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by Caparino
Save Scumming is always a problem.
Loading means that the game and the player drifting apart.

Seriously ?

What if I want (sometimes) to create new rules when playing any tabletop game ?
Why shouldn't I ? Because it's not written in the book ? Because I'm not playing the game as it was created ?

Who care except me ? (and those playing with me)

And who cares if I'm cheating when playing a gamebook with my fingers to remember where I was before I die ?

This is the same with video game.

As soon as it doesn't affect ANYONE except the player that CHOOSE to savescum... Why should it be a problem ? Because a few players can't control themselves ?

I'm still waiting the good arguments... At the moment it looks like savescum is not really a problem except in a few heads.

Its not a question when you active cheat or make a Savegame for a another Storyline.
Save Scumming is a problem when the player expection and the game drift apart and the player feels betrayed.

Example:
When you find a Trader and buy a very good armor but you are killed a few minutes later.
You reload a older Savegame but now the Trader has no good Armor.
Now you Save Scumming to bring your armor back.

Or in Divinity when Traders have new Items after Level UP, no Stealing before a Level UP means the goods are forever lost.
Or Traders have the "wrong" class Books etc. ...

Save Scumming is a problem when fundamental Game elements like Items are random generated and you see no Developer intervention for a "good" and balanced experience.
Random Loot is viable for Diablo with infinity number of monsters or Roguelike Games like Risk of Raind but not a Party RPG.
In your example save scumming is not the problem. Your are talking some other problem that is then resolved by save scumming. But the save scumming is not the root cause and nothing needs to corrected in save mechanism itself.

In these cases save scumming statistics can be used to identify the root problem. But what devs should care is the root problem. Not get hung on the save scumming.


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But to accept Save Scumming as a normal viable Gameplay element make the devs lazy because "you dont like it? Reload" attitude.
Its the same like the Barrelmancy discussion. You dont like the barrels dont use them.

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I think there's a difference between accepting Save Scumming as a gameplay element and accepting it as something that's just there in the came. I mean, save-scumming is tedious and boring. So is going into the games code and figuring out secrets and hacks from there. That doesn't mean the devs should actively stop players from doing it, for no other reason than trying would be a headache and there's a decent chance that doing so could make the game as a whole worse (I think, I know nothign about coding). The point is, devs should accept that save scumming is a thing that a game with a save option will probably allow you to do, and don't obsess about finding ways to stop it, just like they shouldn't assume that that save scumming is going to be an active method that should be used.

I thinnk the Barrelmancy issue is actually slightly different because the barrels are actual gameplay elements consciously left throughout the gameworld and they're meant to be used in-game, whereas the save function is just a technical convention of these kinds of games and exist in basically all RPGs.

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Originally Posted by Zarna
I read the article but I am having trouble putting myself into the shoes of someone who thinks like that. Even if I optimize the crap out of one character and breeze through a game it is easy for me to play the next time with a character who cannot do these things. I have no temptation to switch back to the easy method on them. Some of the examples given also seemed to make sense for efficiency and removing them because a few felt compelled to always use them seems silly to me. I despise handholding and railroading just because others are apparently weak willed. I think having an easy mode for the chronic savescummers and a toggle for the anti savescummers should be fine for this game.

I think there's at least some common ground here. My philosophy on games design holds that the most fun way to play and the most efficient way to play should be the same. That said I don't think we need to agree on the best way to design a game to agree on how to approach the issue. I might ideally I'd have an option where you couldn't manually save and the game autosaved whenever the player fails a roll but that isn't actually practical because of the risk that poor luck or a bug would create an unwinnable situation.

In reality I'd want something like:

1) Seed dice rolls. If you reload because you rolled a one then retry the same action you're gonna get that one.

2) Have an options menu labelled as "Cheat Options" In here you can deactivate seeded dice rolls, toggle NPC immortality, allow unlimited use of inspiration in dialogue and auto roll 20s in dialogue.

That's pretty similar to what you said should be fine, it's really only different in terms of framing.

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Maybe if they avoided using terms like "Storytime" or "Easy" or "Hardcore" or "Ironman" which tend to lump everything together, but instead just presented individual settings that inform some kind of overall score, then perhaps players would experiment more with the settings? Even something as simple as the name of the difficulty setting can have an impact. Like if the game is overly patronizing and baiting the player by saying things like "So are you a story time carebear ready for bedtime, or a badass ironman?!" And pretty much everyone is going to go with "Normal" or "Core rules" because they don't want to punk themselves out in their single player game lol. I think "cheat" is problematic because it does have a way of making it much less likely that a player explore those options, even if they might vastly improve their enjoyment of the game.

A scored playthrough might be a better approach than gatekeeping it from the initial launch, but done in such a way that its not an either/or zero sum type thing. Just to use an example from the BGEE games, some players might enjoy a more difficult enemy AI for the combats, but maybe they don't care about scribing scrolls into a spellbook. Or maybe someone likes the idea of more monsters, but isn't as interested in monsters doing 200% damage or having twice as many hitpoints or whatever other random idea they introduce to make for a more punishing homebrew. Maybe some players pine for rest/save restrictions, but not the other stuff. It would be cool if the options you selected had some kind of default range to let you know how hard/easy you were making things on yourself, but without using any of the charged terms that tell the player they are holding themselves to a lower standard hehe. Like basically they just need to lie to us a little about it, so their can the player is encouraged not to judge themselves overmuch for playstyle preferences.

A game that comes to mind is Master of Orion 2, where the player could create a custom race with certain bonuses or penalties, but where you had to offset or balance the bonuses with penalties and bring the total back to zero, or else it influenced the potential overall score for that match. I'm not totally sure how that would work in a D&D game, since its basically introducing another meta point that attaches to the character or to the playthrough beyond just XP/loot that we expect. Clearly it would have to be more compelling than just a steam achievement. If selecting more challenging options provided some in-game incentives beyond just the joy of more punishment, or a badge that flashes across the bottom of a screen for half a second, but I'm not sure what that should look like for this particular game.

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Not sure if anyone mentioned this, but I've had some moments where I actually enjoy save scumming. Reloading a save to get a certain item that only drops from one chest but it's a low chance, trying to proc a certain reward after a quest turn-in or reloading to check a vendor's new items (diablo 2 for instance). Not everyone's experience is "ruined" by save-scumming. I know devs have a tendency to try to control exactly how the player is having fun but why? If save-scumming is disabled completely, then I won't have the type of fun the devs want me to have, i'll just not play.

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Games are supposed to be fun for the people who buy them. Some people like a save-anywhere/anytime function--some people prefer checkpoint saves. So developers should support both types of saves, of course. (But if they have to choose, I much prefer the save anywhere/anytime.) I've never understood the people who think saving anywhere/anytime is something they are forced to do against their wills just because it is an option in a game. Yes, it is fun to try different approaches to obstacles to see the result or which approach they find most satisfying. Saving and restoring allows that kind of freedom in gameplay--checkpoint saving does, too, but it also forces a lot of repetitive gameplay on the player for the privilege of trying different solutions to a problem.

The term "save scumming" is a pejorative expression, imo. It attempts to cast negativity on games which merely provide an option for saving anywhere and anytime. It's a very dumb expression, imo. The only kind of game that doesn't allow so-called "save scumming" is a game without any save-game function at all and I've never seen one of those...;) Such a game wouldn't be much fun, I imagine.


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Originally Posted by Waltc
The only kind of game that doesn't allow so-called "save scumming" is a game without any save-game function at all and I've never seen one of those...

You could argue that online games such as MMOs fall into this category. The player's current game state is saved upon logout and/or at predetermined intervals, but the player can't go further back to a previous game state - they can only resume from where they last left off.

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I don't think this needs to be heavily addressed ATM. This is largely due to the fact that currently it is early access and there are issues that comes with that. Crashes, glitches, bugs, etc... This may cause people to save-scum to get back the roll they had before the crash. (this has happened to me a few times.)

I think alternate ways to get the outcome you desire should also exist for many situations (obviously not all if you fail to convince someone not to attack you hard to find an alternate solution to a fight there.)

Certainly later in development they can look at the data and decide if things should be changed on a case by case basis.

Personally on my playthroughs I like to go with the rolls and live with the consequences however there are examples where this is not the case. (although funny, when failed, some rolls require save scumming. those would be the kind that lead to death an example would be failing to resist the Mind Flayer in the beginning...) Those could more or less be avoided if your teammates didn't just sit there and watch you die like nitwits but hey.... There are also some rolls I refuse to accept on a specific type of playthrough because screw those results. admittedly 95+% of the rolls are not like that.

On a side note, as discussed previously, some classes/races should have the ability to skip a roll altogether. Much like how a Githyanki does not need to roll a Arcana check to determine that the brain in the tutorial section is an intellect devourer, some classes should be able to skip rolls. (not that it is out yet but for example the bard should be able to skip the performance check when playing the lute for that tiefling, I mean what kinda bard can't play the lute...) =P

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Originally Posted by Maximuuus
According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.

Man, i want rule the game but not the game rule me.
It's annoyng when you cannot persuade ordinal NPC and to get what you want. So, what i suppose to do then unless to save scumming?

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