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Interview Eschalon: Book II - Not Just Clicking

Jason

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Tags: Eschalon: Book II

<p>The just released <a href="http://basiliskgames.com/eschalon-book-ii" target="_blank"><strong>Eschalon: Book II</strong></a> is the subject of a Q&amp;A session with Thomas Riegsecker at <a href="http://rampantgames.com/blog/?p=493" target="_blank">Tales of the Rampant Coyote</a>.</p>
<blockquote>Rampant Coyote:&nbsp; Combat in Book I &ndash; well, for me &ndash; was often a bit more of a slug-fest interrupted by potion-drinking. Have you made any improvements to the combat system for the sequel?<br /><br />Thomas Riegsecker: In keeping with old-school RPG tradition, combat tends to still be about exchanging blows with your enemy until one of you is drained of Hit Points, which is true for every RPG ever made. However, in Book II we&rsquo;ve added a few elements to make this more strategic for players. You can now select your combat style, such as Power, Finesse, or Parry, which improves your ability to inflict damage, strike, or defend against various opponents. Numerous other factors such as weapon wear, weather, darkness and much more also factor in to combat, so you really need to do more than just click the mouse to be successful.</blockquote>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
 

RampantCoyote

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Knights of the Chalice spoiled me, I think.

Had a great time playing the game last night. Definitely better than the first one. I even chose to take the food & water restrictions, in spite of bad memories of Ultima VII party members constantly mewling for more food.... but I digress.

Excellent game, and congrats to Basilisk Games.
 

Castanova

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He sounds a bit defensive and his examples of combat depth are lame. He should get someone to consult on combat design for the third one.
 

Sceptic

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Divinity: Original Sin
GarfunkeL said:
But it is still nothing but a click-fest :(
What about playing as a spellcaster? I'm assuming this adds more choices (I know, Captain Obvious) but does it also make the combat more tactical and less of a click-fest, or at least a click-fest where you have to pause and think about what you're doing between clicks?
 

golgepapaz

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Sceptic said:
GarfunkeL said:
But it is still nothing but a click-fest :(
What about playing as a spellcaster? I'm assuming this adds more choices (I know, Captain Obvious) but does it also make the combat more tactical and less of a click-fest, or at least a click-fest where you have to pause and think about what you're doing between clicks?


Nah it's about the same, you just wait for your mana to refill in between, and since nobody is quicker than you, you just blast them from range, run around in circles a bit, then blast them again. Only time when i needed to think when i was trapped in a magick shop storeroom while trying to strip it its valuables and three skeletons conjured. That was fun though.

Combat needs to be worked out, at the moment it doesnt provide any challenge and AI is very dumb,enemies often stuck at obstacles,land pretty much just rushes at you.

Other than that , game is beautiful and there are much todo to have fun
 

Sceptic

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That's a shame. Oh well, demo's downloaded, I'll try it myself this weekend. Thanks for the comments.
 

Fez

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RampantCoyote said:
Knights of the Chalice spoiled me, I think.

Had a great time playing the game last night. Definitely better than the first one. I even chose to take the food & water restrictions, in spite of bad memories of Ultima VII party members constantly mewling for more food.... but I digress.

Excellent game, and congrats to Basilisk Games.

Thanks to whomever mentioned this here (possibly you) and led me to getting the demo at last. It had slipped by me until I tried recently. The demo was punishingly hard for a beginner. Do they ease you in slower for the full game? I like the Ultima looks and the combat options. Very nice.
 

RampantCoyote

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You mean Knights of the Chalice?

It's been a while since I played the demo (or the beginning of the full game), but while there was a little bit more of a tutorial and you were only first level (what was the demo?), it still wasn't trivial or anything like that. I think the first mandatory combat did have you assisting friendly forces, though, so you at least didn't have to bear the full brunt of the attack.

So maybe a little easier? But it still tossed you into the water to teach you to swim as I recall.

But KotC was one I kinda ignored while it was in development, and it kinda slapped me upside the head when I finally played it a couple of weeks after release. Quickly became one of my all-time favorite indie RPGs, and favorite RPGs in general.
 

Fez

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There's no campfire and you're tossed straight into an area with several group combats. Also, pre-generated characters which is a shame, as character generation would be good to see in the demo.
 

RampantCoyote

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The character generation in that game (and to be fair, in the Eschalon games as well) reminded me of how Character Generation used to be part of the fun of these games. That got lost somewhere in the last decade, and became something to be avoided because players want to beat crap up within 10 seconds of starting the game or something.
 

VentilatorOfDoom

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Fez said:
There's no campfire and you're tossed straight into an area with several group combats. Also, pre-generated characters which is a shame, as character generation would be good to see in the demo.

But it's a balanced party and serves its purpose. The game is easier than the demo since you most likely are better equiped etc. That does not mean it'S easy though. Especially the first time without knowledge what's to come:) For the demo: you're not forced to make all encounters on the surface immediately, go underground, give a gem to the elementals and they let you rest in their room. Or kill them and use their campfire.
 

Fez

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Does the game rely on a lot of such luck or reloading to do things the 'right' way and avoid disaster or hitting a dead end?

I can see now that heading underground first was the better way of doing it. My party was pretty badly beaten up and it took a few tries to get past the witches without losing too many.
 

RampantCoyote

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Yes and no.

Knights of the Chalice doesn't go out of its way to prevent you from getting in over your head with no reasonable recourse but to reload. I entered the wrong dungeon once, a bit higher level than me, and was locked inside and didn't realize I only got one use of a campfire before it went away. Unfortunately, I'd saved over all of my recent saved games before discovering how screwed I was.

(I went back to where the campfire had been, pretty much totally out of spells and hitpoints with some NASTY battles left... and said, "Uh, where'd the campfire go? Where is my last save point before getting here? Oh, crap!")

So yeah, that part sucks and I'd like to see some better ways of addressing it in the sequel. You do need to make sure you keep multiple, rotating save games. But it's rare that it's a problem - mainly it's just getting through some pretty tough combats that require a few reloads.
 

VentilatorOfDoom

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Fez said:
Does the game rely on a lot of such luck or reload

If you rely only on combat tactics - yes. If you optimize your overall strategy (character build & equipment) you can keep the luck factor to the bare minimum. Wands and scrolls are always cast on caster level which pretty much breaks all resource management, because that's just unlimited magic, if you have the crafting feats. Otoh it's almost entirely necessary to make your way thru certain areas. However, the luck based design is one of the weaknesses of this game. You cannot prepare before combat, so what are you gonna do when the enemy gets a surprise round and your wizard and/or cleric get hit by a slaying arrow and fail their save? Reload.
 

Fez

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spacemoose said:
that is a p sweet av you have, babyarm

It's truly breathtaking. A thing of beauty. We can only hope that the artist was gifted wonders in return and promised the heaven and earth and anyone that stole such a thing would be cursed for all time to be stalked and raped by transexual furries.

After playing through the demo for KOTC and I do like it. Impressive in many ways. I wish it would allow you to arrange your party though as often it's crippling when your mage goes down in the first turn because he's too near enemies and you have no way to do anything about it. Likewise with the inability to do any preparation for a battle other than heal.

I realise you may not be familiar with the demo but:

Is the lich in the underground doable in the demo (aside from spectacular luck)? Seems to be incredibly tough and with overwhelming henchmen that often take one or two members of the party down before I get to move. I can't retreat from it either. Not sure if that is there because it is a slice from the main game that you are meant to come back to later or if it is something I am meant to be able to tackle at the demo levels and therefore I am making a mistake. Other than that I've got the option of ending the demo by leaving through the exit after the troll shaman, iin which case it was a fine little adventure anyway.

I'll be keeping this game in mind for a future purchase. Not many like it around.
 

Gragt

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Get KotC already, Fez. It has all you want that the demo has not and then some more.

The area in the demo does not appear in the main game. It is possible to kill the lich though you certainly need a good amount of luck (at least I did). One good hint: the troll shaman at the exit wields a mace of disruption which has the chance of destroying an undead in one hit, and the lich is no exception provided it fails its saving throw. Since it is used by a large creature, its size won't match your heroes but your mage should have the Reduce Weapon spell …

That said, get the full game. It has its quirks and issues but the good parts make up for it and it is certainly impressive for a first game. I'm definitely waiting for whatever (likely KotC 2) its creator decides to hit us with next.
 

Fez

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Will do, Gragt. The level of attention and love it seems to have poured into it has won me over. It's rare to see such things now. Feels like I'm playing a golden oldie.

Thanks for the tips too.
 

Andhaira

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Yes with Knights of the Chalice and its upcoming sequel, and Eschalon I, II and its upcoming sequel, plus Jeff Vogel about to make a brand new game we are in indie rpg heaven!
 

thesheeep

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Wtf?

I don't know any non-party RPG where combat is more than clicking on the enemy until it dies. The variation, IMO, comes with the preparation before the battle. But even that is limited to the choice of weapons (,MAYBE in some games other equipment, too) and buff spells in all RPGs I know.
The depth in combat itself is never more than probably making a good choice on selecting where to place your character, which enemy to take out first and with which weapons/spells.

I don't see a way where there could be more to combat than this.
And I really want to know in which of these things Eschalon II supposedly fails.
 

PorkaMorka

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thesheeep said:
Wtf?

I don't know any non-party RPG where combat is more than clicking on the enemy until it dies.

Play dungeon crawl stone soup - melee combat consists of walking into your opponent, but you will end up with so many tactical options between spells, god powers, scrolls (awesome in this game), wands and potions that it would rival the number of abilities possessed by a party in some other games.

And you'll need the large majority of them to survive.

Roguelikes > single character turn based RPGs with mediocre plots

DCSS > Roguelikes
 

thesheeep

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PorkaMorka said:
thesheeep said:
Wtf?

I don't know any non-party RPG where combat is more than clicking on the enemy until it dies.

Play dungeon crawl stone soup - melee combat consists of walking into your opponent, but you will end up with so many tactical options between spells, god powers, scrolls (awesome in this game), wands and potions that it would rival the number of abilities possessed by a party in some other games.

And you'll need the large majority of them to survive.

You've got a point. But I don't think that ASCII/Tile-based Roguelikes can be compared with... everything else that is not a Roguelike.
Making content for Roguelikes is pretty easy once the major features are programmed.
This is different for games that actually have to produce "real" assets for abilities, spells, etc.

So, yeah, Roguelike combat is deeper, but that is not a fault of devs of other genres.
(Not that you wanted to say that, but I just wanted to clarify ;))
 

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