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Bloat sucks

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by JarlFrank, May 11, 2020.

  1. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    I'd pay good money for an Aftermath! game:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath!

    It's got extremely complex rules and would be perfect for a CRPG. In pen and paper, it's pretty tedious to play since you have to do a lot of dice rolling, record keeping, calculating etc. If all that is done by a computer, however, the tedium would be gone but the deep tactical fun remains.

    Just look at that number of hit locations:
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Location 12

    :prosper:
     
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  3. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
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    Aftermath's description sounded great, until I reached the Learn-by-Use bit. I will wait to see if Colony Ship improves my opinion on that, because right now...
     
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  4. the mole Educated Shitposter

    the mole
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    The King is back
     
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  5. Arbiter Educated

    Arbiter
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    Hacked the Codex to restore your account?
     
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  6. the mole Educated Shitposter

    the mole
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    yes, I'm the supervillian

    as much as you hate me you need me

    like the batman needed the joker
     
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  7. EldarEldrad Learned

    EldarEldrad
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    Not the Joker, more like the Jester
     
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  8. Gangrelrumbler Arcane Patron

    Gangrelrumbler
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  9. Falksi Arcane

    Falksi
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    Bloat is the biggest killer of modern games. Take the best bits from Kingdoms of Amalur, Witcher 3, Skyrim, etc. and trim them down to a 30-40 hour experience, and you'd have some good games worth playing.

    As they are they're a real slog which have to be played manipulatively to get anything really enjoyable from.
     
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  10. Funposter Arbiter

    Funposter
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    remember when dark souls solved bloat and the only thing devs learned from it was that the player should be able to roll?
     
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  11. Citizen Arcane

    Citizen
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    yeah bros, sitting home most of the day and eating junk food, I"M FUCKING BLOATED AND IT SUCKS
     
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  12. Atlantico ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Patron

    Atlantico
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    It's merely that you don't know how to build a character in the game and/or think you should be able to solo an enemy 5 levels above you. Or something, because I have no problems wiping out enemies at higher levels. At the highest levels its stupidly easy, in fact.

    But the bottom line is that you don't know how to make a character build in AC Odyssey, but don't realize that you don't know. Dunning-Kruger effect in action.
     
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  13. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Odyssey is known to be a grindy game though, where you have to do a lot of sidequests to catch up with bloaty enemies. Requirement of grind is also bloat in a way.
     
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  14. Atlantico ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Patron

    Atlantico
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    I'm not saying you have to like the game, clearly you don't. But its bloatiness has more to do with whether you like the game or not. Fallout 4 is a much better example, with zounds of elite boss enemies with bajillion hit points. It's commonplace there. That's bloated.

    But Odyssey is actually more like classic RPGs than people would like to admit.

    For example, playing through Ultima V is grindy and bloated if you don't like it, even though there are just 9 character levels. You have to grind a stupid amount of Gazers, Mimics, Ettins, Orcs, Skeletons, Gremlins and Sharks, just to be able to go into a dungeon, which leads to a stupid amount of grind to reach the Underworld, which leads to so much grind the grind before seems trivial by comparison. Just to catch up with those bloaty Shadowlords. Still I thought it was a lot of fun and the game world rewarded all that grinding and exploration. Same with Odyssey.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Odyssey is a much more classic RPG than people would like to admit, probably because it has that stupid name "Assassin's Creed".

    Odyssey has a really big world open world and there are 99 character levels. But outside some very optional quests, there are no "elite bosses" with bajillion hit points. If you are level 20 and fighting someone who is level 20, you will have a good chance - even if your build sucks. You'll one-shot enemies if your build is optimized, otherwise you'll fight for a few seconds and then win.

    If your build is really good and you are good at the game mechanics, fighting someone 5-10 levels above you is absolutely possible.

    As it should be, in D&D if you are fighting someone 5-10 levels above you, it is very hard to win. Even fighting NPCs 2-3 levels above you is challenging in D&D.
     
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  15. Dramart Learned

    Dramart
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    Imagine the enemies in Dragon Age 2 with less HP. The game will last only fifteen hours.
     
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  16. the mole Educated Shitposter

    the mole
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    I prefer forum bard
     
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  17. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Imagine playing good RPGs.
     
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  18. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Proof that bloat sucks.

    Why do I want 15 hours of playtime to be stretched into 40 with something that is fundamentally un-fun?
     
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  19. Dramart Learned

    Dramart
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    And that is on normal difficulty, on hard and nightmare it takes more time. I think is not a bad thing if bosses have it, but with normal enemies is annoying. A game that does this well is Diablo II, normal enemies die fast and bosses have much more HP.

    What's wrong with min-maxing?
     
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  20. Alrik Literate

    Alrik
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    This is something that has bothered me since I started to play TTRPGs in my teens. I understand why DnD has such simple combat rules, but when cRPGs eliminate the tedium that was the innate restriction the weapon/armor dynameics cease to make any sense. Most of the weapon variety is, aside from a few relatively unimpactful instances, just flavor and serves no meaningful purpose - it's mostly a guessing game on your first playthrough which weapon category will be most powerfully itemized in the game and then when you know what to expect you choose the same weapon every time. E.g. you would probably pick Bastard Swords in BG2 (to dual weild with Belm) to go Foebane +3 -> Jhor the Bleeder -> Foebane +5 (Jhor and Foebane +5 are stupidly overpowered) or Flails to use FoA (+3 -> +5) throughout the game. Or maybe you think some specific weapon is cool, so you use that one and it's not necessarily much worse than the alternative and it works just about as well in every single encounter no matter the opponent - so the distinction is ultimately meaningless. Weapons don't have strengths and weaknesses, they are just better/worse across the board and maybe some cool ability that usually doesn't make much sense to begin with.

    The weapons are based on IRL counterparts which were developed for very specific circumstances, but these dynamics are not reflected in the game at all. Full plate mail would make you virtually invulnerable to any one-handed cutting weapon and thrusting weapons require the equivalent of a critical hit to do anything at all, but a halberd (always insanely underpowered in every DnD edition) would be a serious threat. At least in 2E there were some type-sprecific modifiers (though full plate was still not nearly good enough), but in 3E some dumbfuck with two Kukris can bring down a knight with ease. When these dynamics don't exist, why do things like halberds exist at all? If we compare halberds to greatswords; they have the same proficiency requirement, the same crit threat (halberds are 20/x3, while GS are 19-20/x2), greatswords have significantly better base damage 2d6 vs 1d10 and the only outright benefit of halberds is that they can deal piercing damage which AFAIK NEVER comes into play in NWN since armors don't have specific AC modifiers and IIRC there are no enemies that are vulnerable to piercing but resistant to slashing. There is NO mechanical reason to use a halberd over a greatsword. Compare to IRL where a skilled warrior had to be a master of many weapons since each one had significant drawbacks in many situations.

    I've been toying around with an idea of creating an NWN module with totally revamped combat mechanics along these lines:
    • Slashing damage would be by far the most powerful, but most armors would offer significant resistances (both in terms of AC and outright damage reduction). For example: a full plate mail would be impervious to slashing damage, have exceedingly high AC against piercing (but no damage reduction) while having low AC against force damage, but with some damage reduction. This also requires that full plate mail is exceedingly expensive and needs to be tailor made for a person - making it rare and undroppable among NPCs and an endgame item for the PC.
    • Every weapon would deal some amount of "blunt" damage (force damage). Blunt weapons deal purely force damage, halberds and axes deal more than swords etc.
    • Straight swords would akin to halberds be able to deal piercing damage as well as slashing (reflecting the differences between curved and straight swords and why the two types exist to begin with).
    • Conversely, curved swords would deal more slashing damage and be more powerful against unarmored or lightly armored opponents (which is why they were much more popular in regions where heavy armor was rare, like the Orient and East Asia).
    • HP only minimally increases throughout the game, everyone is 1HD (levels are abolished for a pure use-based system) only boosting your constitution can increase it. This ensures that the low-early midlevel danger is ever present through the game and maintains some realism.
    I think the dynamics of such a system could be interesting. Groups would be much more powerful unless someone has heavy armor (like IRL), shields would be an absolute necessity unless you have heavy armor. Two handed weapons (or blunt + shield if you don't have the armor to back up a two hander) are a must against heavy armor whereas cutting weapons are just as dangerous against a lesser armored opponent (if not more since they are, or rather should be, faster). Since one good hit is a death sentence, initiative is much more important. It's no longer a DPS race, but a race to get the killshot.

    I'm programming a combat simulator to see how the system would play out and how to balance it before I dive into implementation, so hopefully it's not just ideas that seem to make sense in my head (and not just an RNG-based orgy of savescumming). I've been wanting to play an RPG system with low HP dynamics since I was 14 and me and my older brother made an attempt at a homebrew that was rejected by the rest of our D&D* group.

    *Drakar och Demoner, Swedish TTRPG that at least had separate HP pools and the way we played leveling was extremely slow, don't think anyone in our group ever went above level 3.
     
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  21. Gangrelrumbler Arcane Patron

    Gangrelrumbler
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    Yeah it sucks when you weight 452,902 kilograms and burgers have over million calories each just because it's the endgame.
     
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  22. thesecret1 Arcane

    thesecret1
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    For me, the sign of good, tight progression instead of bloat is that even low level enemies can pose a danger. See some low level schmucks and decide to just charge in instead of using any tactics whatsoever? You ought to die or at least get heavily injured. Sure, player might be able to get more HP as he progresses, but it should never become overwhelming – there's plenty of other stuff to gain from a level up than just a larger HP pool, so why not focus on that instead of making the character tankier? It makes the game more immersive too, at least to me. If some villager comes running to me crying about terrible goblins, it's a lot better if I actually perceive them as a legit threat rather than thinking "the village guard is level 15, just ask him to kill them all, they literally cannot harm him, are you stupid?" This tends to become an even larger issue as the bloat progresses - the game mechanics become completely dissociated from the setting. Neverwinter Nights can serve as an example: at start of the game, the city is plagued by several calamities and cannot help but rely on random adventurers to save it. Okay, cool. But by game's end, war starts, and you see Neverwinter troops fighting Luskan and see how tough everyone is... so why, instead of relying on random murderhobos, didn't they simply ask a single damn soldier from their army to save the city? He wouldn't even break a sweat given his stats! Or another extreme where everyone in a city is some level 0 commoner – how can anyone even survive in such a world when a generic random encounter you meet outside the city gates ought to be powerful enough to wipe the whole city out? The game world starts losing its logic due to the massive dissonance between what the player sees and is told, and what he actually experiences with the mechanics. With a proper, bloat-less system, none of this is ever an issue because the danger posed by the enemies lore-wise matches the danger they pose mechanically. I liked this in Gothics quite a lot – yeah, sure, a guard in heavy armor can take out the wolves no problem. But such a guard is not here. And you, as a player, have experienced just how incredibly deadly a pack of wolves can be to you, so it makes sense why a hunter would ask your help with them. Or Orcs – dangerous, not unbeatable, but would cause casualties even to a group of paladins, so the siege situation makes perfect sense. Another matter I liked was that one of the biggest gaps in power wasn't getting a particular level, but getting a new cool armor – that was very realistic and made perfect sense. Of course animals can't do shit to me when I'm in heavy plate, but I can still easily understand why someone without such protection would be afraid of them.
     
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  23. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Use paragraphs, you mongoloid
     
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  24. Johannes Arcane

    Johannes
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    It's pretty obvious that most of combat relies on whether your weapon damage is enough to do more than 1 dmg to an enemy, nothing hidden about this shit
     
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  25. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    No one gives a flying fuck about those.
    +M
     
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