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Avadon 3: The Warborn, Changes and Discussion

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Replaying Avadon 2 right now, there is a little thing that I miss from Geneforge games: the message box showing how much EXP is gained (right now it only shows the amount momentarily on the characters at the end of quests, unless I'm missing something).

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Avadon 3 will autosave every 10 minutes when not in combat. I think this is a good balance between keeping people from losing hours of play and giving a little time to load a saved game after a mistake.

 

Showing the path you will take when you move in combat is in. (If you see the path and don't like it, you will need to break your movement into several smaller, more precise moves.)

 

Proper right-click functionality is in. (For example, in inventory, you can right-click an item to equip or remove it.) This is for Windows AND Macs.

 

I am working on difficulty now. On higher difficulties, enemies will have lower health than before, but most AE effects will do friendly fire damage.

 

Fatigue is completely reworked. It now rapidly refills when not in combat, but abilities use more fatigue. You won't be able to spam high end spells, and it will be much harder for tinkermages to create two powerful turrets. When a character goes unconscious, its maximum fatigue will drop a little until you return to town.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Replaying Avadon 2 right now, there is a little thing that I miss from Geneforge games: the message box showing how much EXP is gained (right now it only shows the amount momentarily on the characters at the end of quests, unless I'm missing something).

I strongly agree.

I am working on difficulty now. On higher difficulties, enemies will have lower health than before, but most AE effects will do friendly fire damage.

 

Fatigue is completely reworked. It now rapidly refills when not in combat, but abilities use more fatigue. You won't be able to spam high end spells, and it will be much harder for tinkermages to create two powerful turrets. When a character goes unconscious, its maximum fatigue will drop a little until you return to town.

This is very interesting. I have no idea whether I will like it or not, but it will be interesting to see what you've done, for sure.

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Fatigue is completely reworked. It now rapidly refills when not in combat, but abilities use more fatigue. You won't be able to spam high end spells, and it will be much harder for tinkermages to create two powerful turrets. When a character goes unconscious, its maximum fatigue will drop a little until you return to town.

 

- Jeff Vogel

This will promote potion usage to spam high end spells and turrets for boss fights. It will end tinkermages creating the two most powerful turrets for every fight.

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This will promote potion usage to spam high end spells and turrets for boss fights. It will end tinkermages creating the two most powerful turrets for every fight.

 

Of course. Assuming, that is, that potions to restore fatigue are common enough and powerful enough to enable this. It will be doable, but not easily or often.

 

Fatigue will work much like in spell energy in Geneforge, FWIW.

 

Requested feature added: Tooltips for skills now say what base stat it depends on. I reworked all of this so that the stats abilities depend on make sense. For example, for tinkermages, melee depends on strength, missile abilities depend on dexterity, and turrets depend on intelligence. (So have fun training up that Int, tinkermage fans.)

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... and turrets depend on intelligence. (So have fun training up that Int, tinkermage fans.)

I know from the first Avadon that you can do intelligence, dexterity, and endurance for poison, acid, and cold, but eventually you reach a point where you have to pick one to deal with monsters healing themselves faster than you can deal out the damage. I guess a high intelligence tinkermage will have to use evasion to avoid damage and hope his turrets can do the damage for him.

 

This will also mean damage dealing scarabs will be less effective since there are usually dexterity based.

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Some other things that come to mind while replaying Avadon 2:

 

- Many times, specially while inside small indoors, it's confusing to know which doors lead to another part of the same map or to a diferent one (subsequent trial and error tries leads to unnecessary loading screens). Maybe some kind of hint while hovering the mouse over the door/exit?

 

- Preventive summoning (specially for shamans) is annoying due to the summoned beasts "free will". Not sure if this is intended to prevent preventive summoning, but personally I would find better to have direct control over them, even outside battle.

 

- A map of the kwown lands, for refreshing lore while in Avadon. There are lots of world maps in the game, why not make some of them clickable to look at the map that shows the pact/farlands borders? Maybe inside the ibrary?

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This will also mean damage dealing scarabs will be less effective since there are usually dexterity based.

For Tinkermages, yes, but not Dexterity-based for all classes. (Which is still an unfortunate mechanic that should be changed.)

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Many good points raised here already, but 3 things that I think need to be considered:

1. Why limit to 8 quick use slots? With so many people playing on high-res, wide screens, there is a ton of unused real estate in the action bar. Why not add more slots? If the problem is with assigning quickkeys to these slots, how about allowing shift to add 8 more slots? While I realize these extra slots will not be available to some players (mostly on iPad), they would greatly improve the UI for most of us.

2. Regarding AOE friendly damage, I think it does not gel well with the way enemy AI usually works in Avadon games. What tends to happen in large fights, is that the enemies swarm your characters (mostly your fighters), and they are surrounded by enemies. This is exactly when AOE spells become more useful, since taking all these attackers one by one will take many turns. If we basically remove this option, three things will happen: AOE spells will only be useful on the first turn, before enemies get a chance to move, mob fights will be much longer, and spellcasters will be considerably less useful. I don't think these are good things, so in my view, to make this a good change, the whole flow of battle need to change (this is somewhat different in games with a larger number of PCs, since they can form a "wall" preventing enemies from surrounding the group, but this is not how it is in Avadon).

3. You mentioned that you want to make positioning matter, and I think that is great. I think one easy and fun way to achieve that is to increase the usefulness of flanking. If instead of just being a nice bonus, it becomes a game-changer, worth taking extra risks for, than the whole way players approach positioning changes.

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I heartily endorse keeping health low. High health does not make combat harder, it just makes it more tedious. A few additional suggestions:

 

1. I really don't like that the Sorcerer status effect spells are centered on the caster. Sorcerers are squishy and should stay away from combat. As is, status effect spells, in order to be maximally effective, require the Sorcerer to charge into battle, where they can cast their spell and then get slaughtered. As a result, I tended to ignore the Sorcerer's status spells, which makes me sad because I love status spells. Also, as it is now, I can't see which enemies will be affected by say status effect spells, because as soon as I select it the Sorcerer casts it.

 

2. Please for the love of all that is holy have a special boss autosave that saves between the end of the pre-combat dialogue and the beginning of boss fight itself. I have no problem with challenging boss fight encounters. I have a serious problem with having to slog through the same dialogue half a dozen times because the boss keeps kicking my butt. Not only does it waste my time, but it also seriously erodes any impact that the dialogue may have on me. I think allowing me to try a boss fight again without going through the pre-combat dialogue over and over again would enhance my enjoyment of the game more than anything else.

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Regarding friendly AOE...have you thought about 2 types....magic based could be enemy only, but something elemental or pot related like fire on the ground could do friendly damage as well.

 

Mr. V - I cannot express in words the appreciation I have for you and the games....I have been around since the beginning..and am just as old if not older! I have enjoyed all of them and played them multiple times...since getting an iPad, I have played them once again and enjoying them all over again. Looking forward to Av3!!

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I always thought it weird when area effects and spray attack spells animation would play and would hit everyone besides my characters in the center.

 

I'm glad to see you're taking a different route with Torment this time around, Jeff. I always hated when I was forced to wilt away thousands of points of health for dozens of turns. (Remember the slitherikai from Avernum 6 on Torment? Pure horrors). Anything that makes the game more difficult without making it more tedious is a plus in my book.

 

Anything you do to make the game more realistic is going to up the difficulty. You've started with spells but you can include other things too. For example you could make characters have a penalty to dodging when flanked by two or more enemies. (I don't care how much dexterity you have. If I'm surrounding you on all for sides, I'm going to hit you. 5% chance my foot). Or you could give a penalty to characters with low health to their damage dealt, dodging ability, and mental resistance. Like 100% health would allow you to do full damage but 1% health would mean you only do 50% damage. It is kind of weird that you can do full damage no matter how close you're to death.

 

Also a smarter AI could make things a lot harder. For example, on normal archers and mages hiding in the back would target everyone. On tricky, they'd target spell casters. On Torment, they'd focus fire on the single character with the most spell levels. They could use the terrain more, like blocking off passages while their ranged attackers pelted you instead of a head on charge.

 

Oh, a pet peeve of mine. Could we start off with pants on all our characters? While its high amusing to think my character(s) is strolling around in his underwear, it's also kind of ridiculous to be strolling around for the first two hours of the game looking for a pair of pants.

 

Man, this game has barely been announced and it already sounds awesome.

Keep up the good work Jeff! And thanks for taking feedback from your fans!

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Oh, a pet peeve of mine. Could we start off with pants on all our characters? While its high amusing to think my character(s) is strolling around in his underwear, it's also kind of ridiculous to be strolling around for the first two hours of the game looking for a pair of pants.

 

For what it's worth, I always thought armor slots were what your characters wore over their regular clothing. Otherwise, in the latter two-thirds of the game they'd all be walking around in greaves and tights.

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For what it's worth, I always thought armor slots were what your characters wore over their regular clothing. Otherwise, in the latter two-thirds of the game they'd all be walking around in greaves and tights.

Yeah, ouch, I agree on the practicality of that. Which would be perfectly fine, if ordinary pants were not also an equippable item. And shirts, for that matter.

 

Trouble is, as much as it would make sense, I don't want basic clothing to be eliminated from the game. A Spiderweb game without pants is like, well, think of a thing that usually has pants and then take them away. That's what it's like.

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Yeah, ouch, I agree on the practicality of that. Which would be perfectly fine, if ordinary pants were not also an equippable item. And shirts, for that matter.

 

That is, at the shirt and pants stage, your characters are wearing shirts and pants over their own clothing because they're too poor to use real armor, and that extra layer kind of sort of blunts incoming blows. Maybe.

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Jeff,

 

Thank you for asking for feedback. I do have a couple of suggestions.

 

1. Make higher levels of skill in summon skills do something useful.

 

Right now, a wolf summoned with lvl one call wolf is exactly as strong as a wolf summoned with lvl eleven call wolf (the same is true of all other summon skills). This is not what the tooltips say and is a bit confusing. My personal suggestion would be to have each skill level alternate between increasing summon duration by 25% of the base summon duration and the level of the summoned monster. So, for instance, a wolf summoned at level one skill would have no bonuses, at level 2 it would have 125% of base summon duration, at level 3 skill it would have 125% of base summon duration and the wolf itself would be a level higher, at level 5 skill it would have 150% of base skill duration and the wolf itself would be two levels higher, and then levels 7 and 8 would increase both summon duration and wolf level (in keeping with how levels 7 and 8 work with other skills), so that a wolf summoned at level 8 in the skill would have 225% of the normal summon duration and +4 levels to the wolf itself.

 

2. The Summon skills at the top of the skill tree should be stronger than the summon skills at the bottom of the tree are when the skill levels in both skills are equal. So a salamander summoned at skill level one would be stronger than a wolf summoned at skill level one,etc. The only difference between the top of the skill tree creature summons and the bottom of the tree summons is the activated ability the summoned creatures have. Their health, armor, chance to hit and attack damage are equal. This seems odd.

 

3. Scarabs should work off from the character's highest attribute. This would offer the highest level of flexibility for how players could build their characters. Don't know how technically feasible it is, but it'd be really cool.

 

4. I may well be the only person on earth who cares about this, but I think it'd be really cool if the scarab Summon Major Aid was effected by the Shaman passive skill Beast Focus. The role player in me thinks that my Shaman with level 8 beast focus should be able to call a much stronger monster with that scarab than a Blademaster or something could.

 

5. On skills that are too strong/too weak, call the storm always seemed kinda lousy to me. And the duration on the shaman thorns skill was too short for it to be useful.

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The ability to control where enemies are is incredibly powerful, especially when combined with ensnaring abilities. Call the Storm isn't exciting as a damaging ability, but it doesn't need to be. It should probably be described and sold more for its wind effect, than its damage, though.

 

J, you know pants were not a thing in Exile or Exile II, right? That's why Anaximander's whole pants-free deal was so particularly poignant.

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"Not even the slithzerikai, wise as they are, have discovered the joy to be found in a truly well-tailored pair of pants" - description of pants

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Multi-selection of objects to speed up moving them between inventory, junk, and other party members

Something that would make managing the inventory easier is to support a multi-selection of items and then a way to drag them into the junk bag. And/or give us a key shortcut to toggle things from junk to inventory. The multi-selection would also be nice for giving stuff to another party member -- i.e. "Here's all my armor, go to the battle!" instead of one little piece at a time.

 

I also miss avernum's ability to use the same spell a few times (with spell points) rather than the present "once only" type of approach. It makes me weary of avadon.

 

On a pure egotistical matter, it would be nice if NPC's at least acknowledged your party's amazing feats when you meet them later. A little hero-worship is good for the soul after slogging it out for hours!

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"Not even the slithzerikai, wise as they are, have discovered the joy to be found in a truly well-tailored pair of pants" - description of pants

 

I suppose for Role playing purposes, I shouldn't let my slithzerikai wear pants next time I play Avernum or maybe mine are just enlightened to the joy of a truly well-tailored pair of pants.

 

"Fellow Slithzerikai of Gnass! I come to you from a long distance to tell you I have worn pants and they are awesome!"

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J, you know pants were not a thing in Exile or Exile II, right? That's why Anaximander's whole pants-free deal was so particularly poignant.

Nope, didn't know that. I never played Exile, but my comment stands.

 

Also, I fail at similes.

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I have been silently working on Avadon 3: The Warborn for a few months now. I'm old and slow, so the work is not brisk. Still, I am optimistic about a mid-2016 release of the final game in the trilogy.

 

I think Avadon 2: The Corruption was a worthy game in many ways. However, in some ways, it was underbaked. Some flaws in the engine should have been addressed, but weren't. I am making major improvements for the final game in the trilogy.

 

I'm still working things out, so I am posting this to let people know how things are going and to welcome random feedback.

 

Here are some of the current changes/ares of debate:

 

* Sounds and Spell Effects

 

Will all get a massive overhaul.

 

* Quick Use and Ability Preset Buttons

 

I am strongly considering changing to 3 Quick Use buttons and 5 Ability Preset buttons. Feedback welcome.

 

* Difficulty

 

My games have long dealt with difficulty by making foes have more health and do more damage. I want to handle this in a smarter way.

 

I am strongly considering having area of effect spells do friendly fire damage on Hard and Torment level. I want combat positioning in my games to make a difference, and this will be a key part of that. I will also make the more nasty foe abilities (like charm and fear) be more common on higher difficulties.

 

Feedback welcome.

 

* Skill Tree

 

Will be completely redone. There will be three separate trees instead of three inter-connected trees, and skill prerequisites will be massively cut back. This will allow a lot more freedom in character builds and less spending skill points on things you don't want.

 

I am also massively tweaking abilities for all classes and adding new abilities. If a particular ability has proved to be utterly useless or way overpowered, I'd like to know.

 

* Tinkermage Balance

 

I don't usually care too much about balancing character classes against each other. This isn't a PVP game. If shamans are tougher than shadowwalkers, or whatever, that isn't a big deal.

 

However, it is a problem when one class is so much tougher than the others that it makes it impossible to balance the game. In this spirit, tinkermages will be getting a mild nerfing.

 

* Right-Clicking

 

I will be implementing better right-click functionality and making it work on Macs too.

 

I won't be posting much in this thread, because that's how I am, but I will be sure to read everything in it as long as it is stickied.

 

- Jeff Vogel

 

I am TOTALLY gonna buy this game! Based upon Avadon: Black Fortress and Avadon 2, I recommend this! So excited!

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I don't think there's anything brought up so far that I'd find grounds to object to.

 

A clearer indication of what does what for skills, right mouse button support, clear pathing indicators, more autosave, more quick use slots...

 

Skill tree revamp? Prerequisites are fine in moderation, but leveling the skill you want vs. another skill to someday level the skill you want will always be more rewarding. Thumbs up there.

 

I'm fine with friendly fire in terms of AoE, just so long as it works both ways - if we can't lob spells into the midst of our enemies without vaporizing our own guys, that needs to be true for said enemies as well.

 

Letting some air out of the Tinkermage? Yeah, it's true when you're talking single player it's not as important as a multiplayer competitive thing, but... the Tinkermage was just so head and shoulders above everyone else, anything else felt like I was handicapping myself, which is bad.

 

Most of all, difficulty being a question of AI rather than health and damage bonuses is a great direction to be going in. Enemies which work together, combining their abilities, and maximizing their effectiveness is a lot more interesting than just grabbing a slab of digital meat and pumping in steroids

 

Great stuff all around.

 

What can I add? Hmm... The Junk Bag. Phenomenal storage powers!!! Itty-bitty Interface. I suggest giving it its own window, and maybe some sort capacities.

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How have I overlooked this topic for so long? Goodness. Well, I have to say I'm very surprised - pleasantly surprised - that you are doing a feedback thread, Jeff.

My #1 issue has already been adressed: tooltips for what skills scale off of. Hat's off.

I will replay the Avadon games and try to formulate some meaningful feedback. Until then, friends. :)

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What can I add? Hmm... The Junk Bag. Phenomenal storage powers!!! Itty-bitty Interface. I suggest giving it its own window, and maybe some sort capacities.

Isn't the Junk Bag meant to be a dumping ground for things you don't want, so that you can sell them later with a single click? I don't think something like that needs sorting or more interface space.

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Isn't the Junk Bag meant to be a dumping ground for things you don't want, so that you can sell them later with a single click? I don't think something like that needs sorting or more interface space.

There's a weird conflict here. Yes, the junk bag is in principle for one-click selling. At the same time, nothing stops you from storing extra items that you do want to keep in there, as long as you move them out before you sell everything in the junk bag and put them back in right afterward. Personally, I don't use it that way because it's too inconvenient to do so — but is that optimal? It seems a little odd for there to be an apparently accidental feature that is inconvenient to use.

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This also gets to a question of whether the characters need individual inventories at all, outside of their quick-use slots. Personally, I find the individual inventories annoying; if I'm storing a variety of gear, it simply increases the odds that it won't be available to me in the field (since 3 of 6 inventories will normally be inaccessible). Also, organization, while not annoying, is sort of an unnecessary time sink.

 

Having a single party inventory that is automatically sorted by item type would, frankly, be great.

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The argument against the automatic sorting was players have different ways that they arrange items.

 

You need individual inventories for consumable items needed in combat beyond the available quick use slots. Potions, wands, and scrolls become important in boss fights especially when you need to raise during combat and the dead character has the only scroll. I know passing items between characters take no action points, but most players don't think about it.

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About the individual inventories, I'd say that probably, a unified inventory could work better. It's as other people had said: individual inventories are not very inconvenient, but uncomfortable nonetheless. I have just recompleted Avadon 2, and in the last moment, before the chance of battle you-know-who, a unified unique inventory would have done my life much easier. Especiallly if you want to fight that battle without sacrificing certain fort.

 

Auto-rearrange items sounds cool to me. Not necessarily automatic, though. Maybe only when pressing a button, on the side of the inventory, the items auto-reorder themselves. I have seen this in other games, although I don't remeber which ones rgiht now.

 

Anyway, I'm eager to know more about the next installment. I hope the changes turn out to be great :)

 

P.S. - After recompleting Avadon 2 I'm only going to add one more thing: I reached the level cap the first time I encountered Vardegras. Sorry to insist in this point, but I think it's important to rethink this for the next game. Too much time spent without the chance of leveling.

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P.S. - After recompleting Avadon 2 I'm only going to add one more thing: I reached the level cap the first time I encountered Vardegras. Sorry to insist in this point, but I think it's important to rethink this for the next game. Too much time spent without the chance of leveling.

Jeff's solution is to increase the experience points needed at higher levels so you go up slower. He does try to balance it for those that don't do every side quest.

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GAH! Have we learned nothing from the way experience-modifying traits function in Spiderweb games??? Taking twice as long to go up a level (whether because you earn half XP, or need twice as many -- same difference) means it'll take twice as long to gain one level... but after a few levels of advantage, given how sharp SW's XP adjustments are, it falls away. All that will do (unless it's super extreme) is delay reaching the level cap by the equivalent time of a couple of levels. And you hit the level cap in Av2 with a lot more game left than that.

 

There is a very simple solution, though, if he wants to balance that way: make sidequests give significantly less XP than main quests. (And that means the whole quest, not just the quest reward XP.)

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The problem is that Jeff wants the Avadon games to cap at level 30. He is a poor judge of how quickly players level up so he keeps tweaking the game to slow us down. Beta testing is a pain because to truly balance the game, testers need to go back to the start to see if we can still get past the boss fights with fewer levels.

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Not a gameplay comment, but more about tone:

 

One of my favorite things about Spiderweb games has always been the dry humor, and I had high hopes that the allies in Avadon would add some fun to the proceedings. I feel like for the most part they've been kind of bland and dour, even whiny (I did appreciate the bloodthirsty teen mage in Avadon 2!) If there's one thing I'd like to see in the next game, it's some more compelling sidekicks.

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I am also adding ground effects like in Avernum. There are a bunch of them, that damage or bless/heal, or curse those who cross them.

 

I've done a ton of adding skills and rebalancing additional ones. There are a lot of new skills. Weak ones are stronger. Non-tinkermage abilities got a lot of buffs, to help other classes catch up. Shadowwalkers have melee abilities that do way more damage (and are immune to friendly fire). Taunt effects are much stronger.

 

Experience is rebalanced, so people will hit max level much later. However, characters who do all side quests becoming overpowered for the main quest is pretty much a feature of computer RPGs. (I've tried a ton of them this year, and ALL of them are like that.)

 

- Jeff Vogel

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However, characters who do all side quests becoming overpowered for the main quest is pretty much a feature of computer RPGs.

 

I am okay with this.

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I am okay with this.

 

I am as well, I thought that part of my reward for doing the side quests was becoming more powerful making the game easier.

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I am as well, I thought that part of my reward for doing the side quests was becoming more powerful making the game easier.

Ditto. That's why I do side quests in the first place.

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I'm perfectly ok with being overpowered because I did all secondary quests. Many RPGs do that, and it's supercool. Even rewarding.

 

But if that overpowering implies reaching the level cap way too soon... well, then no. I don't like that. But I'm glad to read that would not be the case for Avadon 3 ^_^ Thanks for replying in this thread.

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Ah, ground effects... good.

 

I've been playing a lot of Divinity: Original Sin here lately and Larian... overdoes it something fierce.

 

That's thankfully never been a problem in any of Spiderweb's games, and I've always been a supporter of bringing back classical goodness that fell out of the boat.

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I'm okay with doing all the sidequests making you overpowered... in normal difficulty. Being at optimal power should be borderline mandatory for torment, I think.

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In the inventory, pressing a button that opens the window now closes the window. (So pressing 'g' twice opens then closes inventory. Same with 'i'.) I resisted this change for a long time because Escape is always the default Back Out button, but it's been requested so many times.

 

Also, items on ground now sort so that items that are worth something are moved to the front of the list.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Also, items on ground now sort so that items that are worth something are moved to the front of the list.

 

- Jeff Vogel

Before or after unsellable trowels. :)

Part of the fun was moving the cursor over each item to figure out what to take. Then finding out later that the common looking item was actually the most valuable thing in the room.

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Somebody probably already asked for this, but could we please have the junk bag sort the most recent stuff to the top? So tired of having to click through a million screens to get the thing I accidentally put in there.

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In the inventory, pressing a button that opens the window now closes the window. (So pressing 'g' twice opens then closes inventory. Same with 'i'.) I resisted this change for a long time because Escape is always the default Back Out button, but it's been requested so many times.

- Jeff Vogel

 

Awesome! When showing the items on the ground, will it skip g and i on the item list on the ground (in other words, will the shortcut to pick up items go a/b/c/d/e/f/h/j?) Same with abilities; will the list of abilities just start with b?

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Awesome! When showing the items on the ground, will it skip g and i on the item list on the ground (in other words, will the shortcut to pick up items go a/b/c/d/e/f/h/j?) Same with abilities; will the list of abilities just start with b?

 

It will just skip g and i.

 

I'm really not sure about doing the same thing with the abilities window. 1. Starting the list with 'b' seems really weird to me. 2. I've had a million requests for the inventory window change, but this is the first time I've seen someone ask for the Abilities windows change. I think this is because the vast majority of the time, people close that window by picking an ability.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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