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Just a personal opinion but I do not  like the idea of living tools in the game.  I would much prefer a locksmith skill where you always have a chance regardless of how small to unlock something. Living tools just occupy another space in your already limited inventory and require that you go around collecting them in the hope that you will make the right guess as to when to use them. I know you can use the save-load method on each lock but this seems to me to nulify living tools and locks entirely. To me this is not fun just frustrating. Just a small gripe on an otherwise admirable game.

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For now, if you find the the current lock system frustrating, you can almost completely remove it by setting your mechanics to 100. To do this, open "Geneforge 1 - Mutagen\Geneforge Mutagen Files\Scripts\GFitemschars" and set "cr_statistic 22 = 100;" (Note there are three of these, one for shaper, one for agent, and one for guardian).

 

Games are meant to be fun. With regards to your alternative system:

 

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I would much prefer a locksmith skill where you always have a chance regardless of how small to unlock something. Living tools just occupy another space in your already limited inventory and require that you go around collecting them in the hope that you will make the right guess as to when to use them.

 

If you heavily invest in mechanics (even without cheating), you never need to play the guessing game. You can open basically everything. One person who heavily invested in mechanics reported having 50 tools left over at the end of the game.

 

If you prefer the randomness of chance you described to the current best guess method, then you can use a random number generator to pick which doors to open. A free one is available at https://www.random.org/integers/.

 

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I know you can use the save-load method on each lock but this seems to me to nulify living tools and locks entirely. 

With your method, people could just keep saving/loading for that small chance of unlocking, which would nullify the living tools / lockpicks, locks, and much of the usefulness of mechanics (not just the guessing part of the system like the current saving/loading).
 

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To me this is not fun just frustrating. Just a small gripe on an otherwise admirable game.

To me, the suggested uncontrollable random system would be frustrating compared to the current system driven by player-made decisions. I like it when my character's choices affect things, for good or ill. It's a role-playing game. Imperfections make characters fun.

Edited by Ardent Trove
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I like the living tool system in this game quite a lot.

 

There are plenty of non-tool reasons to invest in mechanics (disarming mines, using machines, disabling spirals and whatnot) so a character with heavy mechanics who opens everything does not feel robbed even if he has 50 tools left at the end of the game.

 

Meanwhile, a character who does not want to invest heavily in mechanics does not get that annoying feeling you have in Avernum where you HAVE to pass by all the locked stuff and will never even know what you are missing out on. Rather, you have to make decisions. Do I unlock this door with 10 tools and get an Artila cannister? Or do I decide this does not matter to me enough and move on?

 

You dislike this as a "guessing game" which is fair. But I like it much better than the frustration of not even being able to know what's behind a lock if your skill is one point too low.

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1 hour ago, Iguana-on-a-stick said:

I like the living tool system in this game quite a lot.

 

There are plenty of non-tool reasons to invest in mechanics (disarming mines, using machines, disabling spirals and whatnot) so a character with heavy mechanics who opens everything does not feel robbed even if he has 50 tools left at the end of the game.

 

Meanwhile, a character who does not want to invest heavily in mechanics does not get that annoying feeling you have in Avernum where you HAVE to pass by all the locked stuff and will never even know what you are missing out on. Rather, you have to make decisions. Do I unlock this door with 10 tools and get an Artila cannister? Or do I decide this does not matter to me enough and move on?

 

You dislike this as a "guessing game" which is fair. But I like it much better than the frustration of not even being able to know what's behind a lock if your skill is one point too low.

I was not aware that mechanics was good for anything except using living tools. That's interesting, thank you.

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37 minutes ago, Mechalibur said:

I find it odd that you find the current system frustrating but wouldn't find a chance-based system frustrating? That would drive me mad.

 

That. I like the living tool system and the inventory-management they provide. Save-load before a lock would be the same. Now I have to decide where to use my limited tools. 

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This kind of resource management has been a staple of Spiderweb games since the beginning. Everyone has their own personal preferences and takes on what they find frustrating, but changing the tools system for a chance-based approach would also drive me nuts.

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Most RPG's use a skill called locksmith. You put points into this skill as you want. The more points invested the better your chance of success. But you always have a chance no matter how small. With living tools your chances are either zero or 100%.

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1 hour ago, Noman said:

Most RPG's use a skill called locksmith. You put points into this skill as you want. The more points invested the better your chance of success. But you always have a chance no matter how small. With living tools your chances are either zero or 100%.

 

I understand what you mean, I just think "either 0% or 100%" is significantly more preferable to the alternative.

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10 hours ago, Noman said:

Most RPG's use a skill called locksmith. You put points into this skill as you want. The more points invested the better your chance of success. But you always have a chance no matter how small. With living tools your chances are either zero or 100%.

 

Yeah but with a random chance, you just save and reload so your chances are always 100%

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3 hours ago, Micawber said:

 

Yeah but with a random chance, you just save and reload so your chances are always 100%

 

 

Even worse: your chances are directly linked to the player's willingness to waste time by reloading.

 

Worst offender here was the first new Wasteland game. So much of the time there was spent watching a (slow) progress bar to unlock a locker, and then either accept that you failed a 70% chance or you reloaded to get another shot and then you'd succceed to find a ball of pocket lint you could sell for a few bucks.

 

If you wanted to succeed at a 30% chance chest you could, if you spent 5 minutes watching the reload screen.

 

The designers wanted you to just accept the failed result and move on, but that's contrary to the in-game incentives.

 

Such mechanics are disrespectful of players' time, and given that many people who play games like these started when they were young and now have jobs and children and not that much free time, that's generally not a great thing to add to your game. It made me drop Wasteland, that's for sure. (And in some other games I just installed mods/cheats to get rid of the chance element.)

 

Avernum's system (you need minimum skill X to open lock Y) is much better. Either 0 or 100, but no time is wasted.

 

And Geneforge's system is my favourite by far because it becomes a resource management game. You make the cost-benefit analysis and make a decision how to spend your skillpoints, your tools and your treasure and get something out of it either way. It's the only one I actually enjoy using.

 

(Final option, which nobody suggested, is a lock-picking mini-game. Those can be okay but mostly are also a waste of time. Less boring than watching a progress bar, but if it's a bad mini-game it becomes a headache.)

Edited by Iguana-on-a-stick
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14 hours ago, mikeprichard said:

This kind of resource management has been a staple of Spiderweb games since the beginning.

 

Not really since the beginning.  It's just Geneforge and Avadon that have had this system.  I can't really think of any equivalent manage-this-non-renewable-resource-in-order-to-access-stuff mechanic in Exile, Nethergate, or Avernum.

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Yes, Exile has lockpicks that can break and even then only can unlock weak locks. You can bash in weak doors too, with Strength skill, which risks injury. Stronger locks require the Unlock spell which can also fail over and over, and some doors act like you can unlock them but you actually can't. Unlocking doors in Exile is a matter of saving and reloading. At least it's nearly instantaneous to save and to reload.

I wonder if open-source BoE designers could come up with an optional alternative for new scenarios, which is more fun and less random. Maybe someday.

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Basilisk Games' Eschalon-Book 1 gave you more experience for unlocking things and removing traps with a lower skill level chance. So if you had the patience to repeatedly scum save and load, it paid to have the minimum skill and just keep repeating until you succeeded even with that 1% chance.

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Really, it could easily have been made useful in BoE if Special Nodes were allowed to check for Lockpicking skill. Disarm Traps and Poison were equally useless; use Dexterity instead of Disarm Traps, and the Envenom spell instead of weapon poison. Allowing for checking any statistic would have been useful. OpenBoE enables that, at least. It's still not done being developed though.

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1 hour ago, Invisible Glove said:

Not really since the beginning.  It's just Geneforge and Avadon that have had this system.  I can't really think of any equivalent manage-this-non-renewable-resource-in-order-to-access-stuff mechanic in Exile, Nethergate, or Avernum.

 

14 minutes ago, mikeprichard said:

OK, so I guess I was right in that this kind of thing has been around since the beginning, without really remembering for sure, lol.

 

No.  The resources that unlock doors in Exile -- lockpicks and SP -- are infinitely renewable.  SP, in particular, are very easy to renew, and are so much better at unlocking doors that many (most?) people didn't bother with lockpicks at all.  (This was especially true since lockpicking required its own investment of skill points, whereas Unlock was investment-free functionality for every magic-user.)

 

What makes the Geneforge/Avadon system actual resource management (however mild) is the fact that living tools are finite.  If you don't manage them at all, it will permanently limit your ability to open doors -- which is why the OP was forced to "guess" when to open doors and when to conserve his resources.  There is nothing like that in Exile, Nethergate, or Avernum.

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15 minutes ago, nikki. said:

...and here I am, just thankful that we no longer have to click and use each living tool one-by-one

Even that could (irrc) be exploited a little bit when combined with the unlock spell.  Save & start using tools until you got down to about five needed & cast unlock with every tool used.  Eventually you'd get in a tool or two before you could be expected do so with either unlock or tools (or maybe it was a few tools before you were told what would work...).  Reload & use tools until you were right at that sweet spot, put the extra saved tools back into your pack & loot away...whee

 

Yeah, I don't miss that drudgery.  The dumb things I did way back when when I was younger & goofing off time wasn't so precious.

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Just now, TriRodent said:

Even that could (irrc) be exploited a little bit when combined with the unlock spell.  Save & start using tools until you got down to about five needed & cast unlock with every tool used.  Eventually you'd get in a tool or two before you could be expected do so with either unlock or tools (or maybe it was a few tools before you were told what would work...).  Reload & use tools until you were right at that sweet spot, put the extra saved tools back into your pack & loot away...whee

 

Yeah, I don't miss that drudgery.  The dumb things I did way back when when I was younger & goofing off time wasn't so precious.

Yep! Each level of the unlock spell and whatever school it was boosted the power of it I think, so you would use tools until you were two or three away, and then cast unlock. It was tedious and I'm so glad it's gone.

On the other hand, I do not like how my abilities shift around as I unlock new ones/get new items. It's very disconcerting 😛

 

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6 hours ago, mikeprichard said:

Sorry to continue this tangent, but how were lockpicks "infinitely renewable" in Exile? Was there an infinite supply in merchants, or did they not get used up? Again, don't remember that far back.

In addition to what ADOS said, the Unlock spell by itself did everything lockpicks did -- you didn't need lockpicks on top of it, and in fact couldn't combine them.  So even if money was finite (it wasn't), you could handle doors entirely with SP (which regenerated on its own).

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