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Game News Torment Kickstarter Update #47: Thomas Beekers on Alpha Progress, Adam Heine on Party Death

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Adam Heine; Brother None; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

    It's now been just over a month since the launch of the Torment: Tides of Numenera Alpha Systems Test. Two and a half weeks ago, the alpha was updated with the new B0 module which includes exploration of Torment's first few areas and dialogue with two companions, Aligern and Callistege. In today's Kickstarter update, inXile's Thomas Beekers (AKA Brother None) re-announces the alpha's release for those backers who hadn't noticed, and also tells us a bit about how it's been going and what's coming up next. I won't quote the entire thing, but the last two paragraphs are of definite interest:

    So what's next? We have one more AST planned, called C0. This will be the first look at our Crisis combat system, and several team members including our Crisis Design Lead Jeremy Kopman and programmer Matthew Davey are working hard to bring this to completion, though realistically it'll take a bit longer than it took from A0 to B0. We're very curious to see what our backers think of this next AST.

    If you're not already an alpha backer, it's still possible to get alpha access by upgrading your reward level or buying the Alpha Systems Test add-on for 1,000 points ($10) on the Torment website. Check out the backer shop if you're interested! We’ll be removing this option on Friday, September 25th, so if you want to get in on the alpha, now's the time.
    Adam Heine also has a part in this update, where he explains how the team has chosen to deal with the matter of player and companion death. Here's an excerpt:

    The world does move on when the player dies. Sometimes the player can return to a Crisis to try again, but just as often things have changed. A crime lord may have increased her guards (or decreased them, thinking that the threat was over). The Last Castoff may have been dragged away by his enemies to some new location (or posthumously arrested, for those that know what he is). These branching "failures" are designed to encourage players to continue on after a defeat, if only to see what happens.

    The death of party members is a little trickier. Some companions are castoffs themselves—or are hard to kill for other reasons—and so they can get back up after most battles. But the Ninth World holds no resurrection for mortal characters. When a mortal companion dies, it's permanent.

    This presents a problem with our "interesting failure" guideline. I imagine there are only a small percentage of gamers who would play through a beloved companion's death, knowing that a happier storyline lay only a reload away. At the same time, if we just let the defeated companions get up at the end of a Crisis, it would take away a lot of the tension of keeping your party alive – despite your player character’s near-immortality, we don't want combat to be a low-stress, "nothing that happens matters" affair.

    Our solution (pending playtesting) is an adaptation from Numenera core rules called Lasting Damage. When a mortal companion drops to zero in all three Stat Pools, they're out of combat but not dead. When the Crisis is over, the companion will get up but they will be scathed with a Lasting Damage fettle.

    The specific effects of this fettle and how to remove it will be tweaked as needed for balance, but in general:
    • The fettle will have some severe effect, on the order of making all tasks more difficult by two steps.
    • The fettle will go away after the party Sleeps X times. The player can choose to Sleep until it's gone, but doing so will have other effects on the game.
    • There will usually be a skilled chiurgeon of some sort nearby who can remove this fettle immediately for a number of shins. Sometimes this NPC may be hard to find, or their healing might not be available right away, but the player should be able to heal before most major Crises.
    With balancing, the Lasting Damage fettle should present a challenge while not being so negative that most players reload. (Some players will reload anyway, of course, but the balance of this fettle is about minimizing that number as much as possible—again, we aren't going out of our way to discourage savescumming; we're just trying not to encourage it).

    This design allows the player to choose whether they want to spend time or money to remove the fettle, or whether they want to just deal with the fettle until it goes away naturally. There is a cost whichever way they choose, but there is enough choice that players should feel empowered rather than frustrated, encouraging them to play on despite setbacks and to forge their own story.​

    "Sleeping X times" in Torment probably isn't something you'll want to do all at once. What happens when a character with the Lasting Damage fettle gets knocked out again, though?
     
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  2. Shammy Learned

    Shammy
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    Very interesting stuff. I wonder how deep and varied they're planning to make this "failure" system, and if it'll actually encourage players to roll with the punches instead of just reloading.
     
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  3. Turok Erudite

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    More i read, more i love it.
     
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  4. Kalin Arcane Zionist Agent

    Kalin
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    So death is "permanent" in Numanuma, but mortal party members only really die after getting magically "knocked out" and "fettled" a bunch of times.

    Yeah manbros, this all sounds supah hardcore! Just like Supah Mario and his extra lives! :lol:
     
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  5. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Well, it's more hardcore than PS:T.
     
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  6. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    If you didn't exhaust Deionarra's dialogue tree, you could miss that "resurrect party members" abiility. :M
     
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  7. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    I have never seen that....:oops:
     
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  8. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    P. dumb. Maybe they should have written the story accounting every companion to be immortal too.
     
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  9. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

    GarfunkeL
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    So basically Dragon Age: Origins when it comes to companions.

    Also, I don't really get why devs have such a hate-boner on the Load Game button.
     
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  10. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Yeah, it's just a pointless effort.
     
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  11. SausageInYourFace Codexian Sausage Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Seems like a pretty much irresolvable problem to me. I really like the 'interesting failure' concept.. However, the penalties as they are do not seem particularly severe by being able to just sleep them off. And as soon as you start introducing more severe and lasting penalties for the companions, you are back to reloads instead of playing out failiures.

    A better solution may be to not (only) introduce stat penalties but focus on reactivity. The companions could get scars that other characters address, they could change their personality (eg become angry or distrustful with the Castoff), their portrait could change, the ending could change, branching storylines, stuff like that.

    It could keep the tension of combat high ('Gee, screwing up here may have a huge effect on the story!') while maintaining the will to keep playing ('Oh shit, I screwed this up, lets see what happens next!')

    Anyway, I appreciate that they think about stuff like that, lets see how it plays out.
     
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  12. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    The controlling nature of rpg devs shows itself again.
     
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  13. AngryKobold Cipher

    AngryKobold
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    Save & load restrictions are one of things I vehemently hate with the fire of thousand suns. Dumb mammals get away from it! I'm gonna save and load whenever I want. After all, I know better than you when I need it or not.

    Still, devs have a point there.

    From that point of view ability to revert game state makes some of the gameplay features utterly useless. Basically all negative but not game- ruining consequences of player actions:
    - continuation after permanent or semi- permanent (high resurrection costs, arriving to specific place ) death of companion
    - continuation after main character death (if possible)
    - continuation after critical failure (if possible)

    A SERIOUS problem when ANY of those has been actually DESIGNED to significantly affect the gameplay, provide alternative plot branch, etc. A game featuring immortal protagonist? A nail to the coffin of PC's immortality. Hell, any basic save system is THE immortality.

    Moral of the story: for the player nothing is over if there's no game over... or so the devs like to think.
     
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  14. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

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    Some players will cheat and exploit, others will save-scum - you can't prevent them and worrying about it is a complete waste of time and effort. We had a poster here who rested in BG after every fight. Literally every fight. If he got random monsters, he loaded and rested again. Massive waste of time of course but people will always do that kind of shit.
     
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  15. tripedal Savant

    tripedal
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    You can't prevent them, but you can design the game in a way that doesn't promote savescumming. WL2 was a catastrophe in this regard.
     
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  16. AngryKobold Cipher

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    WL2 being a casastrophe is hardly anything new. But what exceptional was there about the savescumming?
     
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  17. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

    FeelTheRads
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    Seems to be the new obsession like if the player reloads you failed as a game designer or something. And it's fully supported by the modern "cool gamer" who can't comprehend failure in a game.
     
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  18. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I believe the "obsession" is something more akin to:

    "Anything I put in this game, I want there to be a reasonable chance of the player being willing to suck it up and continue playing when he encounters it. Otherwise, we might as well just throw a game over for the death of any companion."

    ("Reasonable chance" doesn't mean "the player will never reload")
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  19. Harg Harfardarssen Cipher Patron

    Harg Harfardarssen
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    It seems like it's fine, but also potentially inneffective unless the pseudo-death opens up other play options. If the fettle is weak enough, players will just power through it. If its too strong to power through, they will just reload like they would for character death. It seems like it would come into play when you've forgotten to save for a while and the inconvenience of replaying a chunk of the game outweighs the inconvenience of dealing with the fetter.

    Maybe if the chirurgeon visit was a quest unto itself it would be interesting in its own right and worth playing through.
     
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  20. Tao Learned

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    I dont understand too. Like the obsession now to "balance" everything... even in an offline game. :balance:
     
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  21. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    This is a non-filler RPG with just 12-15 major battles in the entire game. Once you've won a particular battle, there probably isn't going to be anything more to "power through" for quite a while.
     
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  22. Jim the Dinosaur Arcane

    Jim the Dinosaur
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    Wouldn't not knowing whether or not something can be powered through for some time make a reload even more likely? For me at least the whole AoD philosophy of simply accepting that you can't win a lot of the tougher fights left me wondering when I'd hit a bottleneck due to never having had the phat loot and xp from those fights.
     
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  23. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    You pretty much do know, though. There won't be anything more to power through.

    Seems to me that it could go in two ways, depending on the whims of the player:

    1) "This climactic Crisis is the only battle I'm going to have for hours, so I can afford to take the time to get it perfect. RELOAD!"

    2) "I'm going to have hours of conversation and questing in towns after this. The time of battles is now done, so who cares if one of my guys got wounded. Fuck it, let's just keep playing."

    Ultimately, they just don't want companions falling in battle to be a game ender. Everything else is just details.

    BTW, this mechanic may also be inspired by Adam Heine's favorite, The Banner Saga, which does a similar thing when one of your companions falls in battle.
     
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  24. Athelas Arcane

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    If companions can assist in stat/skill checks (not strictly dialogue, but also stuff like disarming traps), you will care. Also, we don't know how Crises work, maybe 'solving' them in a certain way can reveal story bits (which is the most important thing in a Torment game). And if skill/stat checks are random, there will be plenty of save-scumming regardless.
     
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  25. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I'm going to assume it works like PoE (and well, PS:T) where your main character does all or almost all dialogue checks until I see otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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