I read many posts saying that devs should care about save scumming and avoid it at all costs.
I really don't understand and reading articles about it doesn't really help.
According to me save scumming is just a way of "cheating" to write the story we want.
I'm not the biggest save scummer (?) but sometimes I'm doing it. In exemple when playing games like XCOM or The Darkest Dungeon because I don't want my high level character dead.
I also do it sometimes in RPGs when the event takes a path I don't like.
In BG1/2 I also do it sometimes if one character is perma dead, or if 5 characters out of 6 die in battle.
I just reload and do it again.
In Total War I'm ALWAYS saving before any battle and I reload the auto save before each turns A LOT.
I guess that's what's call save scumming.
I could also do it in BG3 in exemple if I miss a roll that leads to a combat when I was planning a pacific solution.
As I understand it, save-scumming isn't about reloading to try to do better or exploring different options - save scumming is about abusing RNG to cheat your way through the content, and not engaging with design in intended way. So less about reloading battle until you do well enough, and more about spamming finger of death that you have no chance of landing until you roll 20. Not playing iron-man is not the same as save-scumming. Bypassing mechanics through abuse of RNG: is.
I think people who will complaint about save-scumming are people who are susceptible to it, and don't enjoy it. How game design influences players is something devs should very much consider, though of course it is impossible to make a tailor-game made game for everyone. If we talk about skill-checks things few things to consider would be:
How many people reload if they fail a check?
Is failing a check our character is highly proficient with in some way engaging? Is winning a check we have little chance to succeed in rewarding?
Does RNG in skill checks make playthroughs more varied, or do players gravitate toward the same path, as their character choices are being bypassed through save-scumming?
Personally, I had a fine experience with BG3 skillchecks - most of them went as expected, there were few unfortunate failures, and few unexpected wins. With straight 20 roll, it is a matter of luck, and I can see things going terribly wrong for someone (assuming it is a flat 20d roll - FiraXCOM1&2 cheats quite a bit with their percentage, and players still complain about those few misses - something that I didn't find that commong in my many, many playthroughs. Some people will just dislike RNG). More importantly, I don't recall BG3 failing me into an instant failure state - having things go into unexpected direction is A-OK in my book, killing me (I mean pernamently - game over/try again) for rolling a wrong number is not.
As I stated earlier in this thread, it isn't about people's option to save/reload until the game works out the way they want it to and more about the underlying designs that encourage save scumming. As Yahtzee Croshaw once said: "You can't blame someone for breaking a window if the only door is in the roof."
This typically comes with 2 elements; one is that the is a 'right' and a 'wrong' outcome to a skill roll, usually involving the player being locked out of content or rewards simply for having bad luck instead of being locked out because of player choice. The other is when several of these dice rolls happen in a short amount of time and failing any one of them leads to the 'wrong' outcome, which drastically stacks the deck against the player. The Zhentarim are particularly annoying to deal with, not just because there are many skill checks in a row, but because failing any of said skill checks have a fair shot of simply killing your party because they blow up the room you're in.
There are very simple ways to fix these problematic elements, some of which are already present in the game.
1: More class based dialogue options bypassing skill checks. They are usually really neat to have from a world-building and roleplaying perspective too. My Ranger calling out the tiefling wizard apprentice who wants to flee by saying something like "I AM the hunter, NOT the hunted" was a fun option to get. Or the Rogue interacting with the kids grifting passersby.
2: Proficiency based options bypassing skill checks. Makes sense to me for someone with proficiency with Persuasion to get to skip some (not all) dice rolls that goes on that skill.
3: Don't have a lot of checks required for a single outcome. 1 will usually do when we're rarely above 65% chance of succeeding the harder ones. Having a dice roll followed by having to pick a dialogue that can still screw it up still works fine. Having more than 1 should be reserved for very special encounters, IMO, because of the % chances the D20 system tend to work with. I am not counting dialogue perception checks in this, those seem to largely be fine.
4: Don't have people blow up the room you're standing in for failing a dialogue check. It feels very unfair that a bad dice roll during a dialogue can lead to Xd6 worth of unavoidable fire damage that I won't even get a chance to react to. Lock the doors, set things on fire and all of that, but give me a chance to get out of the way and treat it as a realtime "escape" encounter.
5: And most important of all, try to always have a narrative outcome other than just 'you failed' for whenever a dialogue check is called for. Like Raphael sending someone to free you if you can't do it on your own, because it is in his best interest that you feel like you're in his debt. A debt he will almost certainly come to collect, which adds tension and anticipation to the story going forward. A dice roll should decide which story paths you have available, not block them off without alternatives.
Personally, I don't mind the chance to 'fail' as I go along. It can make the story interesting and add replay value, but I do mind when the rolls are set up in a way that encourage save scumming because it feels so obvious that not succeeding was the wrong outcome. Not an alternate path or a setback, just the wrong outcome.
Is this the case with all of the dialogue checks in the game? Nope. But there are enough of them to notice and since we're in Early Access, this is the best time to call attention to the parts in the system we want improved. I think we can all agree that we don't want a system that encourages save scumming, even if doing it remains an option.