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Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
I would invite you to explore this 'sentimental-thinking' and make sure you are not using it excessively in your decision making. It can be very destructive.

Haha I'll politely decline the invititation, since I reject this pejorative assessment of the value of sentiment, both on general philosophical grounds, and specifically regarding computer game sequels. Especially one that is so clearly trying to capitalize on nostalgia as its whole point for existing. I'd rather be tender about it I guess, but that's not because I'm incapable of analytical thought. Thanks anyway, though

Best Elk

Unfortunate. The philosophical discussion of sentimentality is the most interesting. Our society celebrates it now because - as you mentioned - there is a whole "Nostalgia" industry around it where industry profits on the sentimentality of others.

I will leave you with this great paragraph from an article in The Vancouver Sun

"But there can be a sharp downside to sentimentality. It is not always as tied with goodness and warmth as many think. Indeed, sentimentality can be dangerous to our health, well-being and collective future.

We normally associate super “nice” women and men with sentimentality. Their feelings have a way of seeming innocuous and pre-packaged. But sentimentality also arises in creepy people, including demagogues, oligarchs and murderers."

https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/the-dark-side-of-sentimentality

“To make up for its lack of a moral compass, the British public is prey to sudden gusts of kitschy sentimentality followed by vehement outrage, encouraged by the cheap and cynical sensationalism of its press. Spasms of self-righteousness are its substitute for the moral life,” says Dalrymple, author of Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 23/07/21 02:52 PM.

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Perhaps I was being a little flippant and dismissive of the point blackheifer was making. I mean I get it. The essential irrationality of wanting the new thing to be just like the old thing, or for it to capture some fleeting feeling from 20 some odd years ago (trust me, we're all old by now lol.) But honestly, they opened the gate on this one, when they decided to make a sequel in a beloved franchise, instead of just creating "New D&D game X."

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Originally Posted by CJMPinger
To the whole nostalgia thing. BG3 exists because people have nostalgia for BG1 and 2, as well as there being many people, such as myself, finding the games very enjoyable in the modern age. Generally, when you make a sequel in a series, you want it to feel somewhat like the previous game, feel like a part of the series. And currently BG3 doesn't have that yet because of many reasons. The first being that 5e is fundamentally different from 2e. The second being that larian has a much different feel than age old bioware or even beamdog. The story as of yet doesn't feel connected enough but we have been assured that it will eventually. And the last reason is a ton of small tonal differences that add up. The party size is one of those differences, and while small is also significant enough to warrant 23 pages of discussion. Ultimately, moving to 6 would in fact allow BG3 to feel more as a part of the series. And would allow it to stand out amongst many 3d story driven RPGS, as Bioware's Dragon Age has only party sizes of 4, and DOS2 only had a party size of 4. In fact, a party size of four or smaller is a product of limitations after going into 3d, because games and I genuinely believe we have moved past those limitations. Dragon Age Origins would genuinely run worse if you had more companions, to the point where that final battle is very glitchy in my experience. Similar for ME if you mod it in, KOTOR as well if you increase the size (at least in experience). So ultimately the conclusion of my rambling is that a party size of four is in fact a relic of limitations that we have clearly moved past, and that we can easily achieve the numbers the 2d games had, and that something being old or nostalgic doesn't devalue it in any way.
But comparisons to the DA and D:OS games specifically are inappropriate, because many (myself included) have pointed out that those games have a fundamental difference with D&D, namely that they are classless (or at least having only weak pseudo-classes, and also just a few such classes at that), whereas D&D is the quintessential class-based cRPG system out there. As such, with a great many, largely different classes that make up fundamental gameplay, not to mention such things as subclasses, archetypes and multiclassing, there is a rationale for party size 4 being acceptable for DA and D:OS while party size 6 being a better fit for D&D.

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I would also like a party size of 6 but am aware that it will alter the balancing of encounters. It feels like 4 is becoming more standard for a TT game (possibly due to trying to minimize scheduling conflicts as the player base gets older), but as a single player TTRPG it feels like you should be able to do 6 pretty easy, especially in turn-based stuff.

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We really need Larian to limit party size to max 4 players with the ability to have 2 origin characters traveling with. For multiplayer purposes, 6 makes sense.

So, to fix balance issues, single player should also allow 6. Main+5. Then, if the game is balanced around 6, it works every time whether 4 players or 1, you can still have at least 2 origin characters in the party at all times for story content purposes.

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There are a lot of classes, races and subclasses in D&D 5th.

- With 4 party members, having a cleric as MC makes Shadowheart redundant in the party, same goes to wizard, warlock, fighter and rogue.
So, depending on the class the player chooses to use as MC, it end up disencouraging the usage of some companions in the group.

And depending on the companions the player likes, it end up limiting the options to make the MC character.

- With 6 party members, there's enough to spare at least 1 spot to try different tactics with different classes, encouraging players to experiment more with varied classes/multiclasses.
Not only that, but failing attacks and being knocked down is easier to accept because it's easier to the player to recover from that.

I would like to see how a party with 5 members work first, and depending on the feedback, a 6 members party.

Edit.: Choosing classes, races and subclasses have much more meaning in BG3 because it's based on D&D, than it did in DOS 2 (which was basically a character background that could expand and allow any kind of customization possible - which, btw, would be fine if BG series were based on GURPS, and not D&D). A wizard can't learn a lot of fighter skills, a druid can't learn wizard spells, and so on.

Every class has a specific role in DnD5th, that's why, IMO, only having 4 spots limit players choice.

Last edited by Melkisedeck; 27/07/21 12:26 PM.
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6 party would work best. It fits better all the way around. With a 4 player multiplayer game, that allows 2 origin characters in the party. For solo players who only want to create 1 character, you can have all the origin characters in the party. No one is left out. It's almost like they designed it originally for 6 but then decided to restrict us to 4. Makes no sense.

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I wonder if its possible to have the game auto-balance to 6 party size - or if they would have to go back and re-balance all the encounters for the larger group.

Like the Gith fight, you would need to add 3 more Githyanki for a 6 person party to account for synergy.

OR they could make that the easy mode, where if you select Easy or Story Mode you get a 6 person party. Would that be a fair solution? Upside, no extra dev time needed.


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Or, they could just not balance the game at all for party size more or less than 4. Don't understand why this is a hard concept to grasp.

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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
I wonder if its possible to have the game auto-balance to 6 party size - or if they would have to go back and re-balance all the encounters for the larger group.

Probably, and in theory not even that hard. Make a couple of NPC scale in limited level range (i.e. the brigand leader can go from level 6 to level 8), add a couple of random mooks to a fight, etc.

But it's not really that important. The game being "super tight" with its balance is not really something worth fussing over. Especially since it won't be anyway, according to whoever you'll ask.

And "rebalancing everything" really reeks of false concern to begin with, when hardly anything is set in stone yet.

It's also somewhat stupid to worry about it while ignoring that Larian always had multiple difficulty settings in most of their games.
Which makes vaguely perplexing when people pretend concern about "all the extra work" this could require.

Why a "Story mode for wimps" and a "super-hardcore masochist mode" are supposed to be a fine use of their time but addressing the request to have an extend party would be the worst waste of their life?

Last edited by Tuco; 27/07/21 02:56 PM.
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If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them?

I have no issue with a party of 6 just saying that I do think it requires additional work: I don't think that simply levelling up more slowly for a larger party would 'auto-balance' encounters. You can't know that without play testing, and the vast majority of testing has been with 4-person parties. The game is already quite doable with 4 or less PCs. 6 would make it a cake walk, all those extra turns would make a huge difference, even if the characters are lower level. And people would complain about how easy it was. I think they need to decide on what the canonical party size is and design around that. Maybe that should be 6, given the history of BG, but I don't have a strong opinion on this and it's not a deal breaker for me.

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Originally Posted by booboo
If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them? .
It's not that it can't", it's simply not important.
Let it be MY problem if I'm fine playing "easier encounters", in the same way you don't worry if someone plays "Story mode".

I'd prefer the game to be balanced for my ideal party size? Yes. I'm all for a bit of challenge? Yes.
I will still take the "six men mode as an easy mode" over being forced to stick with four characters, given the choice.

I'm not even making a random guess about "what I think I would like". I *already* played this alpha hacking a savefile to play with a full party of six (as it was already discussed in the past pages, but we are doomed to going in circles apparently) and it was a fucking blast.
I had more fun than with any of my other three playthroughs.

The pacing of the combat was better, the loot distribution was better, having more people interjecting in dialogues and bantering with each other at any given time was better.
The only thing that took a marginal hit was the challenge, but that's my problem. As I said, I'll take that over playing with a shitty restriction that doesn't enhance my enjoyment.

Last edited by Tuco; 27/07/21 03:09 PM.
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Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
I wonder if its possible to have the game auto-balance to 6 party size - or if they would have to go back and re-balance all the encounters for the larger group.

Probably, and in theory not even that hard. Make a couple of NPC scale in limited level range (i.e. the brigand leader can go from level 6 to level 8), add a couple of random mooks to a fight, etc.

Why a "Story mode for wimps" and a "super-hardcore masochist mode" are supposed to be a fine use of their time but addressing the request to have an extend party would be the worst waste of their life?

I think "Scrubs" is the more modern term for "players of low skill level". Although I have also heard "Casual" used, but that might be MMO's only.

And yes please on the Super-Masochist Mode.


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Originally Posted by booboo
If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them?
Each character in a 6 person party will have 4/6 as much exp as characters in the 4-person party. Game auto-balances itself.
If this doesn't do a perfect job of auto-balancing for different party sizes, Larian can adjust the exp formula for differently-sized parties.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by booboo
If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them?
Each character in a 6 person party will have 4/6 as much exp as characters in the 4-person party. Game auto-balances itself.
If this doesn't do a perfect job of auto-balancing for different party sizes, Larian can adjust the exp formula for differently-sized parties.

Bingo.
Since we are back to repeating the usual talking points, quick reminder that BG2 was tailored around a party of six and STILL people completed it with parties of any size, including in solo.
One of the virtues of the scaling exp rewards.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by booboo
If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them?
Each character in a 6 person party will have 4/6 as much exp as characters in the 4-person party. Game auto-balances itself.
If this doesn't do a perfect job of auto-balancing for different party sizes, Larian can adjust the exp formula for differently-sized parties.

Yeah, I undertand the XP splitting, but I suspect it is not quite that linear in practice? A large group of goblins (if they win initiative) could still take out a 4th level party for example. I've been surprised (weirdly) once or twice and quite badly mauled by low level goblins before I even got a chance to counter attack (I was surprised rather than them...somehow). Maybe it's not an issue....but I would rather they just say 'hey, parties are now six!' and give us a chance to play test that. I would enjoy playing with 6 party members - did that in BG/NWN/PF:Kingmaker etc. Perhaps they are concerned about not having enough origin characters, if they don't allow us to roll up more than 1 character?

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Originally Posted by booboo
Yeah, I undertand the XP splitting, but I suspect it is not quite that linear in practice? A large group of goblins (if they win initiative) could still take out a 4th level party for example. I've been surprised (weirdly) once or twice and quite badly mauled by low level goblins before I even got a chance to counter attack (I was surprised rather than them...somehow). Maybe it's not an issue....but I would rather they just say 'hey, parties are now six!' and give us a chance to play test that. I would enjoy playing with 6 party members - did that in BG/NWN/PF:Kingmaker etc. Perhaps they are concerned about not having enough origin characters, if they don't allow us to roll up more than 1 character?
Sure, it's likely not linear, but it's much easier to tweak a single formula than it is to adjust every single encounter in the game.

Currently there are 5 origin companions, so you only need a single OC to fill up the party. Or you just play with <6 characters for a little while, which is not that terrible (especially with scaling exp). Or Larian just needs to release one more origin companion, which isn't unlikely.

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About origin characters being added in Act 2 onwards, as it would be necessary to have more options in a game with 6 party members:

My thoughts about this is that it's not mandatory to have a very complex and deep origin story for all future companions.

For most NPCs developing their personalities, range of emotions (not the 50 shades of arrogance like DOS 2 have), backgrounds and making them appeal to players while adding one/two specific mission is enough.

All NPCs should have specific roles, and being considered a great addition to the party, while being very different from each other, and possibly having their own unique thing (being a vampire, like Astarion).

Working into personality is important, so the player doesn't have this artificial feeling that the NPC was there just for gameplay reasons.

Last edited by Melkisedeck; 27/07/21 04:34 PM.
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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by booboo
If they suddenly shift to a 6-person party - given that all encounters are presumably intended for 4-person parties - how can this not affect encounter design/difficulty? Surely encounters will be too easy so you'd need to rejig them?
Each character in a 6 person party will have 4/6 as much exp as characters in the 4-person party. Game auto-balances itself.
If this doesn't do a perfect job of auto-balancing for different party sizes, Larian can adjust the exp formula for differently-sized parties.

Yes, but why are we even having this discussion? Nobody's asking for Larian to "shift to a 6-person party." That's a completely false claim. What we're asking for is the OPTION to have a 6-person party, which is fundamentally a different thing. It is an option, and people can CHOOSE whether they want to use that option or not.

When games come with multiple difficulty settings such as story, easy, normal, hard, brutal, do people actually believe the game is optimized and balanced for each of those settings? In every single such instance, the game is only balanced for the normal setting, and it is understood by EVERYONE that if you the player opts to select one of the other difficulty settings, you are essentially playing an "unbalanced" game. This is the very definition and essence of something being OPTIONAL.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Yes, but why are we even having this discussion? Nobody's asking for Larian to "shift to a 6-person party." That's a completely false claim. What we're asking for is the OPTION to have a 6-person party, which is fundamentally a different thing. It is an option, and people can CHOOSE whether they want to use that option or not.

When games come with multiple difficulty settings such as story, easy, normal, hard, brutal, do people actually believe the game is optimized and balanced for each of those settings? In every single such instance, the game is only balanced for the normal setting, and it is understood by EVERYONE that if you the player opts to select one of the other difficulty settings, you are essentially playing an "unbalanced" game. This is the very definition and essence of something being OPTIONAL.
It very much matters that game difficulty is made roughly independent of party size. Otherwise, if playing with 6 characters is strictly easier than with 4 characters, then for example the final Tactician Mode will be a joke with 6 players. In such a case, players wouldn't be able to enjoy playing with 6 characters (for the character interactions and party flexibility) AND play a very challenging game. Unless Larian balances Tactician Mode expecting that players will play with a 6-person party, which...I don't really like either for similar reasons.

I don't agree that games are "only balanced for the normal setting." Developers definitely tweak the properties of each difficulty mode to achieve some desired gameplay experience. I can point to DOS2's Tactician Mode where Larian DID balance and optimize the game (particularly the AI) for that mode. Sure, not as much work is put into fine-tuning additional difficulty modes as is put into tuning the normal difficulty, but not as much work does not equal zero work. What is your definition of "balanced"?

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