Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Una Corda and Truth

      Logging in   05/10/2017

      If you had an account and can't log in as of 5/9/17, this may be because of a change in logins with new forum software. You can log in using your publicly displayed name (not your username) or your email address and the password you used before.   If you have problems with this, please ask any of the mods or admins. 
Sign in to follow this  
Golgolath

Avernum 2 combat is ruining the game for me

Recommended Posts

This is the first time I've ever encountered this with a Spiderweb Software game. I've been playing since shortly after Exile 2 was released. This might be the first game I don't finish, because it just isn't fun to me. To put it simply, the game's combat mechanics feel completely broken, for two basic reasons: damage resistance and chance to hit.

 

It is incredibly frustrating to melee a completely ordinary enemy for almost 600 damage, only to have them resist 550 of it. When I play this game, I frequently wonder why I even bother looking for weapon upgrades. When I hit an enemy for 60 (451 resisted) with an old weapon, then hit an enemy for 62 (485 resisted) with a new weapon, it becomes very hard to be excited about new gear. The percentage of the damage enemies resist is almost comical. Melee characters having to use 6-7 rounds to kill a single ordinary enemy is not exactly compelling gameplay. I know that spell casters have it slightly better in terms of damage scaling (not to mention multitarget attacks), but the basic, fundamental problem in my mind is that enemy damage resistance scales far faster than my ability to deal damage, to the point where killing basic enemies is like chipping away at a boulder unless I vastly outlevel them.

 

As frustrating as I find the damage resistance of enemies, that is nothing compared to the problem with hit chance. I remember being pretty annoyed at how often I missed enemies in Avernum: Escape from the Pit with a supposed 95% hit chance, but that is nothing compared to this game. I haven't bothered actually parsing this yet, but it is very, very blatantly clear that the "chance to hit" shown in the combat text is not accurate at all. I realize that humans are a poor judge of statistical events, but I would be very surprised if I was hitting enemies more often that 2/3rds of the time at most. Having massive streaks of Missed Missed Missed Missed 4 times in a row against generic enemies with no buffs on them makes me wonder why I'm bothering to attack at all. It is profoundly frustrating that every single ability has such a huge chance of simply doing nothing at all, even against basic mobs.

 

As a brief aside, I play World of Warcraft, and the developers of that game frequently make long blog posts explaining changes they're making. One of the more interesting posts for me was a discussion about combat mechanics. With the most recent expansion to the game, they completely removed your ability to miss mobs (unless they outleveled you or you were hit by a few specific debuffs). Every single ability works all the time, 100%. They balanced combat around the assumption that, if you were fighting level appropriate enemies, you were going to hit them. The reason they did this was because previously, every single player deliberately geared themselves so that they would never miss, never get parried, and never get dodged, which made items with +hit and +expertise mandatory. Simply put, people hate, absolutely hate, having abilities that don't work. Pressing a button and having nothing happen is one of the most infuriating things for players to experience, and it's largely unneccessary, since combat can be balanced around a 100% chance to hit and slightly reduced damage.

 

Now, coming back to Avernum 2, the way older Avernum games handled chance to hit worked far better in my mind. It was still important to focus on raising your hit chance, but you could actually get it to the point where you stood a very good chance of hitting level appropriate enemies (I barely remember missing at all in those games). In this game, when it comes down to it, the (supposed) 90% hit cap basically means that you will always have an extremely high chance of missing in combat, and that makes attacking enemies a chore rather than a pleasure. It should be fun to take a swing at a mob, or throw a spell at it. Instead, it's frustrating and stressful, because I'm constantly wondering whether a fundamental, basic piece of in-game functionality is going to magically not work. Having a small chance of something awesome happening (i.e. critical hits) is a fantastic gameplay mechanic. Having a large chance of the worst possible outcome happening (a miss) is not, at least for me.

 

With all that in mind...anyone know whether it's possible to tweak chance to hit or damage resistence by modifying the game's scripts? I compared Slartibus's mods for Avernum 1 against the game's default scripts trying to figure out what he changed and whether it would be possible to tweak things like this, but I'm worried that those calculations are handled in the game executable itself, not in any script. I'm assuming that modifying the game is considered acceptable, given that the scripts are stored in plain text and the game includes any editor. Anyone know whether something like this is possible? I want to love this game, and literally every single thing about it is exactly what I was looking for, except the two calculations governing damage resistance and chance to hit. It's sad to me that such basic things can cripple a game, but as it stands right now, this just isn't enjoyable for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't tweak game-internal formulas in any reasonably doable way, no.

 

One partial solution would be to play on an easier setting. That will make it easier to hit enemies, though the cap will still be 90%. I think it will also reduce enemy resistances, though I'm not sure.

 

Alternately, you could use the shift-D code "editor" to give yourself lots of Strength (for melee attacks), Dex (for ranged) or Int (for spells). That will increases your hit change at 5%/pop as well as increase your damage. Yes, you'll still see the very large resistance numbers, but you'll also deal a lot more damage. If you can get yourself to ignore the one line of text, this would seem to solve things. Yes, it alters the game balance of your upgrades; but you're asking for a pretty major shift in game balance, so that's going to be a thing with any solution.

 

I don't really love the universally present resistances either -- in my case because I think it makes some pretty thematically different enemies all feel similar and generic. I disagree pretty strongly about accuracy though; I think combat is a lot more interesting when you have to plan for contingencies, than when everything always goes as planned. I can understand why WoW might have made that decision, but if you're looking for MMORPG-style game balance decisions, I think this is the wrong place to look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waladil   

Another aspect that makes the game much more annoying (for me) is that certain enemies are dramatically overpowered compared to other enemies of the same "tier."

 

For example, among Empire troops, there are the following tiers of melee troops:

Rogue Fighter (shared with brigands)

Soldier

Elite Soldier/Assassin (Elite Soldiers are tankier, Assassins have higher damage output and disabling abilities, but they're about on the same level overall)

Dervish

<possibly more>

 

When fighting Empire troops, you'll find a slightly lower number of archers to back up their front-liners. There's the Rogue Archer, who is more fragile but more offensively powerful than the Rogue Fighter, and those two are about balanced. After that, however, there are the Empire Archers. Based on what I've seen, the game considers them to be about the same tier as Elite Soldiers and Assassins. They're usually paired with them, they appear in about the same numbers, et cetera. However, Empire Archers are a MUCH bigger PAIN to fight than either Elite Soldiers or Assassins. They have an effective health level on par with if not greater than Elite Soldiers and Assassins (I'm not certain the exact values but it seems to be true), they have a wide variety of abilities, including AoEs, ensnarement, and immobilization. They can do all this at a range, as well. I think the most miserable I've yet been playing Avernum is those 7-9x Empire Archer battles out west of Fort Remote -- the ones at the campsites on the worldmap where it's all like "You think they're going to let you go, but then they use you as target practice." The fights just took way too long to wear down the archers one or two at a time because as soon as the battle started they scattered.

 

And I've even got a party that's pretty good for fighting archers -- 1x Tank/melee, 1x Mage, and 2x Priest (one of which sacrifices some pure power for tankiness). So their immobilization and ensnarement don't actually worry my team too much, it just largely removes one guy, plus I've got tons of heals for their damage. If I were trying to do those fights with like 2x melee 1x mage 1x priest, I'd probably just reload and metagame to ignore their existence.

 

A similar problem is Frozen Worms. For one or two dungeons they're one of the more common enemies but are several times more powerful than all non-boss enemies, with their high-powered range, high-powered AoE, buttloads of health, and, of course, immunity to cold damage.

 

Sidebar: I'm reasonably certain something's up with the combat RNG. I'm torn between two possibilities: that enemies have a hidden defense roll similar to parry which the player just sees as "missed," or that higher difficulties change the math without showing it, similar to the hidden resistance debuffs for higher difficulties. Perhaps the game does a series of formulae to figure out the % to-hit, bounds it between 20 and 90, then generates a random number from 1-100. If the random number is lower, then it's a hit. Except on higher difficulties, the random number gets something added to it before the comparison. So your nominal to-hit is 67%, but you can only roll between 10 and 110 (lower is better), leaving an effective 57% to-hit. This hypothesis can be tested by assembling a party with a miserable to-hit (20%), but ridiculous defense and attacking enemies for a while, logging hits/misses. In fact, I think I'll do that myself.

 

EDIT: Probably not. Did 102 trials (I know it's not a huge sample for statistics but the hypothesis is guesswork anyway), and got 20 hits, which is almost perfectly within expected parameters. One humorous little thing is that I was doing attacks by two (dual wielding to both increase attack count and decrease to-hit) and the only time both hits ever struck were on the very last swing, the last 2 trials. If I omitted those and just used the first 50 attacks, 100 to-hit rolls, it would be 18 hits, still very close to the nominal 20% to-hit. So if something's weird with the RNG, it probably doesn't effect the lower-bound 20% minimum to-hit chance. Test was performed on Hard, with two characters who each had 1 strength, 50 dex, 1 int, 50 endurance, and a skill build for maximum parry/resists. It was amusing watching so many enemy misses and parries, because I found this huge group of 6 altered giants, 4 elite warriors, 3 empire archers, and a single dark cultist. They were just swarming my two testers, barely scratching them. On occasion I'd have to have one of them stop and cast Mass Healing. Like once every 5 rounds or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nim   

Playing on an easier difficulty is not going to help. I played a singleton on casual and the 90% accuracy cap and the ridiculous 85% or more damage resistances annoyed me too. I don't even get why there has to be a cap to accuracy, Geneforges were fine without.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dikiyoba   

The 90% accuracy cap when on casual difficulty (and normal too?) is awful. The cap makes most big fights ones last a round or two longer without making them more difficult (since survivability and stockpiling resources isn't an issue) or more interesting in any way. And cheating doesn't help with this issue, because you're at the cap most of the time anyway.

 

Dikiyoba.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree that the accuracy cap adds nothing positive to the game. As the OP said, there are ways to balance combat difficulty/damage that don't involve a maxed-out blademaster swinging a sword and missing a cave slime 1 out of every 10 attempts (or also in my anecdotal experience, even significantly more often, despite the "90%" display). Anyway, it was a step in the wrong direction moving from the 95% cap to the 90% cap, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The accuracy cap is definitely something that needs to be dropped, or at least backed off on. When you're only given four characters in a turn based setting, having an attack miss is a massive detriment. You've just wasted 25% of your effectiveness this round, isn't that great!? 95% might seem cliche by this point (see "D&D") but it's persisted this long because it works.

 

The other part, the notion of resistance... Even if you don't change the underlying formula, it's nothing but a really depressing reminder of how the math is slanted against you. Yes, the enemy resisted 330 damage... okay, what do you want me to do about it? Unless it's a specific instance where switching to a different element would help, reporting such occurrences only serves to discourage. It's just screen clutter that thumbs its proverbial nose at you.

 

The only real difference it makes is when your Dual Wielding Samurai Pizza Cat gets charmed and goes after your squishy squishy spellcasters. That 85% resistance to everything suddenly doesn't apply before a level of destruction and overkill Sulfras can only get really defensive and insecure about. Really, aside from monsters armed with "enrage" mechanics, Charm Foe is the deadliest thing in the game in my experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waladil   

I concur that enemy resists need to be more dramatically varied. As it stands most enemies basically have effectively the same resists to all elements, unless they're just immune or heavily resistant to one or two. The only occurrence of resists that are notably out of line without being simple immunity that I can recall are sliths (don't use fire against them. Barely does anything).

 

Heck, do stuff like Empire troops have +10% fire resist and -10% cold resist compared to Avernites (the 'standard') because they're used to the warm surface world instead of the cold underground (I know Avernum isn't that cold because of geothermal heating, but it's gotta be colder than the surface). Give all reptiles -20% cold resist (cold-blooded) and all furry creatures (like Nephils) -20% fire resist because fur burns. Have each spellcaster type specialize in an offensive damage type and a defensive damage type, with high resists to their defensive type, moderate resists to their offensive, and low resists to everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Previous SW games have tended to have those kind of resists. For some reason, now everything has been dropped except for the immunities. I suspect this wasn't really the intended effect and, maybe, that will change in the future.

 

I don't really understand the complaint about having stronger and weaker enemies working together. I mean, isn't that only realistic? At least that involves variety, rather than a zone full of 30 enemies, all of 3 types :p

 

If I had a dollar for every time someone claimed the RNG was suspect... including me, hehehe... I'd be rich. It always looks fine when it's tested empirically, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nim   

If Jeff really wants a cap do it like this

 

Casual: no accuracy cap

Normal: 95%

Hard: 90%

Torment: 85% :p

 

Tho I would rather want it gone.

 

And we need differentiation between enemy types re damage resistance, why are empire archers resisting around the same % than their frontliners ? They certainly don't look well armoured.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The good thing is, these issues can be partially addressed in the remix.

 

I say partially, because I don't think the automatic, generic resistances can be disabled. (Though I do have a thought or two, now... not quick fixes though.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't tweak game-internal formulas in any reasonably doable way, no.

 

One partial solution would be to play on an easier setting. That will make it easier to hit enemies, though the cap will still be 90%. I think it will also reduce enemy resistances, though I'm not sure.

 

Alternately, you could use the shift-D code "editor" to give yourself lots of Strength (for melee attacks), Dex (for ranged) or Int (for spells). That will increases your hit change at 5%/pop as well as increase your damage. Yes, you'll still see the very large resistance numbers, but you'll also deal a lot more damage. If you can get yourself to ignore the one line of text, this would seem to solve things. Yes, it alters the game balance of your upgrades; but you're asking for a pretty major shift in game balance, so that's going to be a thing with any solution.

 

I don't really love the universally present resistances either -- in my case because I think it makes some pretty thematically different enemies all feel similar and generic. I disagree pretty strongly about accuracy though; I think combat is a lot more interesting when you have to plan for contingencies, than when everything always goes as planned. I can understand why WoW might have made that decision, but if you're looking for MMORPG-style game balance decisions, I think this is the wrong place to look.

 

Darn, disappointing to hear that there's no way to tweak those kinds of formulas from scripts, although I'm not really surprised that core combat mechanics are done in code instead of scripts. One can always hope that Jeff raises the accuracy cap at some point. I don't mind planning for unexpected events in combat, pretty much every action taken by an enemy is an unexpected event, but having a huge chance to miss on every attack is quite frustrating, and doesn't really add much depth or complexity in my mind, since there is no way, through gearing, strategy, or buffing, to mitigate the effect of it (any competently geared character fighting reasonable opponents is going to be at the hit cap most of the time anyway). It just makes the game a little more frustrating to me, but I suppose not everyone will feel that way.

 

Shame. I'm not about to try decompiling the Avernum 2 executable, so I guess I will have to hope future Avernum games have a less irritating hit cap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind planning for unexpected events in combat, pretty much every action taken by an enemy is an unexpected event, but having a huge chance to miss on every attack is quite frustrating, and doesn't really add much depth or complexity in my mind, since there is no way, through gearing, strategy, or buffing, to mitigate the effect of it (any competently geared character fighting reasonable opponents is going to be at the hit cap most of the time anyway).

No, there are lots of ways to mitigate the impact of it: that's what I meant by contingency plans, fallback plans. What you are asking for is a way to prevent if from ever happening in the first place, which is very different. I get it: it's frustrating when you expect something to happen and then you have to change your plans. It's not an accident that computer RPGs started out with systems where you miss a lot -- taking their cues from reality and pencil-and-paper RPGs -- and gradually shifted to systems where you rarely to never miss. That shift is the result of player preferences as the CRPG-playing demographic expanded, and started overlapping more with action gamers and less with role-players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, there are lots of ways to mitigate the impact of it: that's what I meant by contingency plans, fallback plans. What you are asking for is a way to prevent if from ever happening in the first place, which is very different. I get it: it's frustrating when you expect something to happen and then you have to change your plans. It's not an accident that computer RPGs started out with systems where you miss a lot -- taking their cues from reality and pencil-and-paper RPGs -- and gradually shifted to systems where you rarely to never miss. That shift is the result of player preferences as the CRPG-playing demographic expanded, and started overlapping more with action gamers and less with role-players.

 

I've been a role playing game enthusiast since I was 5. I have disliked missing since the first time one of my characters took a swing at an imp and missed in Final Fantasy 1 :)

 

As for Avernum 2:

 

How to work around enemy that melees extremely hard: Attack from range, apply debuffs, use knockbacks when they get close, have someone with high defense tank

How to mitigate enemy that spawns lots of other mobs: Use terrain to funnel enemies and the properly shaped AOE spell to deal large amounts of damage. Daze/stun if they aren't resistant

How to survive situations where you have to run past large numbers of enemies while being chased by Quickfire: Cast Haste until you get battle frenzy, enter combat, run each player individually, avoid entering melee range of enemies where possible

How to survive enemies that are far too strong for you: use the above strategies if possible, try to take on enemies individually, use debuffs, reload saves where needed, or just plain run

How to avoid missing enemies 10% of the time no matter how powerful you are: ...

 

There are ways to deal with all the other scenarios, so that they do not become a problem, and don't significantly detract from your gameplay experience. Nothing, nothing at all, can mitigate the 10% miss rate. Maybe this is just a semantics argument, but I see a fundamental difference between encountering obstacles that force someone to play intelligently to survive difficult encounters, and being continually annoyed by a random number generator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lilith   

When fighting Empire troops, you'll find a slightly lower number of archers to back up their front-liners. There's the Rogue Archer, who is more fragile but more offensively powerful than the Rogue Fighter, and those two are about balanced. After that, however, there are the Empire Archers. Based on what I've seen, the game considers them to be about the same tier as Elite Soldiers and Assassins. They're usually paired with them, they appear in about the same numbers, et cetera. However, Empire Archers are a MUCH bigger PAIN to fight than either Elite Soldiers or Assassins. They have an effective health level on par with if not greater than Elite Soldiers and Assassins (I'm not certain the exact values but it seems to be true), they have a wide variety of abilities, including AoEs, ensnarement, and immobilization.

 

empire archers being super tough in comparison to the other enemies you find them with is probably a deliberate design decision: they've been that way ever since exile 2. i'm not saying it was a good decision but it did make me feel nostalgic at least

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lilith   

They are still better than the magic casting infiltrators that use the archer graphic.

 

tbh i found the infiltrators would usually waste their turn summoning something weak and then die

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are ways to deal with all the other scenarios, so that they do not become a problem, and don't significantly detract from your gameplay experience. Nothing, nothing at all, can mitigate the 10% miss rate. Maybe this is just a semantics argument, but I see a fundamental difference between encountering obstacles that force someone to play intelligently to survive difficult encounters, and being continually annoyed by a random number generator.

"Play intelligently" means "I have to move quickly so I'll cast Haste"? I mean, I'm glad the game includes the scenarios you mentioned: that's variety, it's good. But let's not overstate the interestingness going on there.

 

More to the point: you don't say "How to never encounter situations where you have to run past large numbers of enemies while being chased by Quickfire" -- you say "How to survive" those situations. You adapt your tactics to meet the needs of the situation -- casting Haste and so on. But you bring a different lens to the table when the accuracy cap is concerned: you say "How to avoid". Why can't you say "How to survive" or "how to respond effectively to" the cap? Why can you adapt your tactics in the other situation, but not this one?

 

The accuracy cap makes you think. I can't just cast Icy Rain and assume that it will take out the enemies threatening my low HP character: it might miss a key enemy, so I have to come up with a more robust plan instead. It seems to me the only "fundamental" difference here, is between approaching an obstacle with the idea that you can adapt to overcome it, and approaching an obstacle with the idea that it's annoying.

 

Okay: or maybe there's something about the obstacles that shifts your approach -- and that it's not just the preconceived prejudices you've carried since you were five ;) But I'm not sure what that is, really. Maybe you don't like being surprised, or you don't like worst case scenario planning, or maybe it's easier to take a miss personally than it is to take Quickfire personally... I dunno. There's some difference behind this, surely -- but calling it fundamental doesn't make it fundamental.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dikiyoba   

I think the accuracy cap is really only apparent when dealing with trash mobs, which is why it's a problem. "How will I survive?" is not a question asked in easy battles. It's "how much longer will this take?" or "how awesome and powerful can I be?" An accuracy cap provides less satisfying answers to those questions, which is why it is so annoying. Of course the accuracy cap exists in hard battles too, and maybe it does some good there, but you don't really need it. Hard battles have so many other things going on that you question and plan for your survival without needing to worry about missing occasionally. So the accuracy cap provides minimal gains in hard battles and noticeable losses in easy battles. That's not a good reason to keep it around. If the occasional miss turns out to make difficult combat better, just make major bosses and/or enemies on high difficulties sufficiently difficult to hit.

 

Dikiyoba.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vee   

Do foes have the accuracy cap, too? It feels like they don't suffer from that, but I can't be sure. I know one thing that frustrated the daylights out of me was casters "breaking the rules" on summon caps in Ornotha Ziggurat. On the last floor in the training area, there are a pair of mages who are capable of summoning at least three beasts apiece. Combined with the limited approaches to the room, I had to re-do that section six or so times before I was able to eventually succeed at bumrushing the jerks. There's another pair of mages in the dining area who do the same thing. If the enemies are subject to the same mechanical restraints as I am, then it doesn't feel too unfair. However, if they're not only stronger but adhere to completely different rules, it gets frustrating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair, I think the 90% cap is actually working as intended, both for player characters and enemies - I have seen 3 misses in a row all display a "90%" hit chance, but that only happened maybe twice in 20 hours so far; overall, it does seem to average 9 out of 10 hits when 90% is displayed.

 

That said, the persistent notion that "RNG = RPG," and "No RNG = dumbed-down action game for the masses" is pure poppycock. Many fine "real" RPGs have somehow struggled through without relying on the RNG Cheese Factor. True, AD&D games (great as they are) use an RNG system, but those aren't the only RPGs out there.

 

Poppycock, I say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"No RNG" absolutely does not equal dumbed-down... and I don't think anyone here has suggested that it does! "Action games" don't mean dumbed-down either. But have mainstream CRPG trends over the last 25 years involved shifting emphasis from certain mechanics onto others? Absolutely. Does that correlate in some way with changing (expanding) CRPG audiences? I think so; certainly developers, including large companies for all of that time period, are paying attention to what their audience responds well to. (Their ability to interpret that might not always be 100%, but overall, trends definitely follow the popular reactions.)

 

That SW games have gone through some but not all of these shifts is one of the reasons SW frequently describes their games as "retro" and "niche".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slarty, I was actually thinking of stuff I've read on other forums - I wouldn't call just your one post in this thread "persistent"! ;) I'm also not saying you're implying "dumbed-down," but many I've seen elsewhere have said that. And I agree about shifting emphases over the past few years in CRPGs to meet changing market preferences. All's I'm saying is, RNGs aren't necessary components of a good RPG, IMO, and I've consistently disliked them in my 25 years of playing RPGs (yeah, I'm old).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lilith   

Do foes have the accuracy cap, too? It feels like they don't suffer from that, but I can't be sure.

 

They absolutely do. I've seen enemies that massively outlevel me get lucky misses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"No RNG" absolutely does not equal dumbed-down... and I don't think anyone here has suggested that it does! "Action games" don't mean dumbed-down either. But have mainstream CRPG trends over the last 25 years involved shifting emphasis from certain mechanics onto others? Absolutely. Does that correlate in some way with changing (expanding) CRPG audiences? I think so; certainly developers, including large companies for all of that time period, are paying attention to what their audience responds well to. (Their ability to interpret that might not always be 100%, but overall, trends definitely follow the popular reactions.)

 

That SW games have gone through some but not all of these shifts is one of the reasons SW frequently describes their games as "retro" and "niche".

 

I'd argue that RNG means the exact opposite - deliberately placing something at a specific point requires thought and decision, consideration and rationality, even if it's only a token amount. RNG, meanwhile is a blind dice throw.

 

"Don't worry, head. The computer will do our thinking now." ~ Homer Simpson

 

Granted I definitely feel there's a time, place, and all but unquestionable use for RNG, but lately it feels too many developers are leaning harder and harder on it. Absence of chance and luck would make things incredibly boring, as would too much scripting, but the balance seems to be sliding too far in the opposite direction overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hobo Elf   

I don't mind the 90% hit chance cap. Sometimes you hit, sometimes you don't. It's annoying when you go through many rounds of consecutive misses even at 90%, but I just buckle down and deal with it. The one thing that really does irritate me is the high resist rate against melee attacks. I made the unfortunate mistake of taking a dual wielder and a polearm guy in my party and oh boy did the end game game start to wear me down with its tedium due to how long it took to whittle down all those highly armored empire troops. Early on they did fine, but after I left the Vahnatai region their usefulness plummeted. There was a slight incline in power once I got the Flame Sword, but it was a little comfort and didn't even work against all the enemies due to immunities. The game is too biased towards Magic-Users.

It's no fun to clear a room full of enemies who take 20-50 non-crit damage per hit and have 300-500 HP. It's even less fun when you keep doing it dungeon after dungeon, room after room.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dave s   

This sounds painful. I have been playing through Avadon 2. I've owned it for months but I start and stop a lot because the constant combat grind get so tedious. If A2 is worse, maybe I won't pick it up. which is sad, I remember Exile very fondly and Avernum originals as well. But it gets harder to enjoy the world and story when the trash fights slow down the game so much. I like the interesting fights. But the constant 'Another pack of rats/soldiers/goblins/whatever' encounters adds nothing to the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exile 2/Avernum 2 were my favourites in the old series and I liked the new Escape from the Pit but yeah, I'm fairly deep into this and I've had to set the difficulty back down to normal. Combat on higher difficulties doesn't feel that dangerous (except when charm spells are involved), it's just a slog. The high enemy resistances also bug me because they don't imply any decision (other than "use magic instead" I guess). It's my own fault for taking two melee characters for old time's sake.

 

I do think it would be nice to see melee characters have more stuff to differentiate dual wielding/polearms beyond one being strictly better for damage; give polearms a bonus against heavily armoured enemies or make polearms users stickier or something, anything. It really feels like controlling enemy movement, debuffing, and damage output need to be spread out between a wider variety of skills/builds rather than having magic be the best option no matter what you're trying to do. I'm enjoying revisiting the setting but I'm really not wild about the combat, which kind of surprises me because I've generally enjoyed the newer Spiderweb stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on a spiderweb bender the past few years, playing everything on torment. But AV:CS is definitely the first game, apart from perhaps Avernum 5, where trash mobs have bothered me. You can't walk two steps in a dungeon without having to kill 6 monsters at once. And you can't open a door without having to kill 4 bassilisks (or some other enemy). Which sucks, as for most of the game on torment, you will have to buff to survive those battles. The secret slith layer in the eastern gallery was a great example. It was packed with so many slith enemies that I have no idea how their sprites even fit in the level.

 

Like, what are their living arrangements? I know they are fire resistance, but how do they get out if there is a fire? That whole secret base was a total health code violation.

 

This game is long enough that I don't think it needs all the combat padding. 1-2 large groups of enemies per dungeon at points of interest would be sufficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stranger   

Why don't heals and buffs have 10% miss chance (more if you are debuffed)? What about battle disciplines?

Wouldn't it be more interesting to plan for contingencies if your heal doesn't work or you don't get more actions?

 

Does enemy evasion, level difference, parry, buffs etc lower hit chance further than you own hit chance?

Does this explain lower than 90% hit chance when you've been putting only Strength on your melee character?

If so, can your 20% hit chance go lower than 20%?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lilith   

Why don't heals and buffs have 10% miss chance (more if you are debuffed)? What about battle disciplines?

Wouldn't it be more interesting to plan for contingencies if your heal doesn't work or you don't get more actions?

 

Well, I mean, some do. A lot of support spells have additional effects at level 3 that have a random chance of working. If you're trying for Haste's battle frenzy effect, then you've effectively got a "miss" chance of 70% with it.

 

Does enemy evasion, level difference, parry, buffs etc lower hit chance further than you own hit chance?

Does this explain lower than 90% hit chance when you've been putting only Strength on your melee character?

 

Dual-wielding and wearing encumbering equipment both lower your hit rate. It's probably only worth it to start dual-wielding once you're able to hit reliably even when doing so, and you shouldn't be picking armour based on just an extra few percentage points of protection at the cost of not being able to hit things. If you're not doing either of those things and still having accuracy problems, you're probably facing enemies outside your level range and might want to explore elsewhere for now if you can.

 

If so, can your 20% hit chance go lower than 20%?

 

No, you always have a minimum hit rate of 20%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mogatsu   

I definately felt the hit cap thing and I also agree that it feels like there is either a bug or more to it than the 90% it's showing.

I'm not that great with numbers, but the chance of successively missing 4 or 5 times in a row with a 90% hit chance should be pretty low, but I've seen chain misses like that happen more a few times already and I've barely started playing. (and now, as far as I can remember, the things I was hitting weren't blessed or shielded or things like that)

 

Also the magic missing is jarring as well, I don't remember if it could miss in AEFTP but I"m pretty certain it couldn't miss in previous games.

I don't know if its feasible or something even worth considering in regards to damage resistance but I wouldn't mind seeing 2 types of melee damage being used as an alternative to flat damage resist especially on monsters that are supposed to be heavily armored like empire soldiers, golems and things like that. A blunt or piercing type that works better on armored monsters and your normal bladed type working better on unarmored types. I know exile 1 (maybe 2 and even 3) had at least 2 skills for different weapon types but I i don't think they did different sorts of damage.

 

All that being said, loving the revamped avernum series and Ruined World can't get here soon enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerakeen   

At least in CS, a dual attack gets two separate to-hit rolls. IIRC, missing one attack in AEFTP meant missing both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Offensive magic has been able to miss for forever, it just has high enough hit chances that you don't see it happen often.

 

The odds of a number of players experiencing something that is statistically very unlikely are actually pretty high. Say you have a 1 in 10,000 chance, like the chance of missing four attacks in a row with a 90% hit rate.

1) How many attacks does your party make in one playthrough? Depending on the party, difficulty level, and sidequest completion rate, I'll estimate somewhere in the are of 2000 to 8000.

2) Now consider that a chain of 12 attacks doesn't give you three chances for this to happen, but a bit more, since you could have 1-2-3-4, 5-6-7-8, or 3-4-5-6 or any other combination. These are not totally independent chances in this case, but this does up the odds slightly.

3) Just based on that math probably a good 20%+ of players experience this once during a playthrough. Many probably don't notice. But now consider how many players there are... tens of thousands at least, judging from the last time we heard numbers, and maybe more. Multiply that in: there will, in fact, be a lot of people who experience this remotely unlikely event -- or most any other remotely unlikely event. For something as repeatedly done as an attack, the odds could be 1 in 10 million and you're still likely to have some people experiencing it.

 

And of course there's observation bias. The many players who don't experience this are certainly not going to think "gosh, I've never missed four times in a row!" Nor are they going to post about it here.

 

This is why many of us are skeptical when somebody says "look, this extremely rare combination of events happened -- clearly it must not be extremely rare and the stated probabilities must be off!" Maybe, but it's consistent with the stated probabilities that some people will experience it... and that some of those people will make that post about it here ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lilith   

Offensive magic has been able to miss for forever, it just has high enough hit chances that you don't see it happen often.

 

well i mean not literally forever, it definitely couldn't miss in the exile trilogy and i don't think it could in the first avernum trilogy or nethergate. it definitely could from geneforge onward though

 

1) How many attacks does your party make in one playthrough? Depending on the party, difficulty level, and sidequest completion rate, I'll estimate somewhere in the are of 2000 to 8000.

 

if anything that's an underestimate: my statistics screen as of the end of my first playthrough shows 5343 foes slain, and the vast majority of those took more than one hit to kill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×