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  1. #1

    Review/rant about badly planned difficulty; lost potential – weak 7/10

    I want to underline it here that I rarely write reviews and I do it here only because I think the game has huge potential.

    I still didn’t finish the game, I am about to finish The Twice-Born Warlord chapter, but I am tired of it. I don’t know if I’ll manage to do it.

    I am not going to write much about graphics, music, story even, they are all fine I want to focus on game design and features that I don't like.

    In Baldur’s Gate 2 and its expansion you could really feel like demigod which you were. There were numerous waves of enemies to exercise your might in so many ways and you could feel that you can crush them easily. Then when there was a boss coming, it was no pushover. In my first playthrough I had real difficulties to kill dragons or main bosses, but they were creatures of legends, it felt so satisfying to defeat them. (With years as I played the game numerous times, I had to increase the difficulty of the main bosses with mods like Tactics, etc… but the idea always was ordinary mobs are easy, I kill them rather for fun, and the bosses are hard!

    In Pathfinder in many cases bosses are not much more difficult than ordinary mobs and the biggest disappointment was when I killed a dragon in a cave by the bridge location in under 20 seconds with party on levels 10-13.

    My little analogy: I believe it feels much greater success when you are chosen for something from among 1000 people than 5, right? In this game winning with bosses feels like they were chosen from 5 other mobs to be a boss, not 1000.


    Also, in chapter 2 I was fighting trolls and then in chapter 3 goblins which were more difficult then the trolls, that’s crazy! Is it only me who thinks that the right difficulty progression would look something like that:

    Single goblin-alike creatures > single human alike creatures > packs of goblins > single medium size monsters > packs of humans > packs of medium size monsters > single large monsters > army of goblins supported by monsters > army of humans > packs of large monsters > single legendary monsters (like dragons or liches)?

    In this game you have packs of giant monsters that drop like flies and packs of small creatures that are as tough as big baddies.


    The enemies on random encounters are also poorly distributed, very flat. In my lands there are bandits and goblins, but neighbouring lands there are elder elementals. So, let’s say that merchants going from my lands somewhere else, on my lands they complain about bandits but when leave my lands, if they encounter something, they simply won’t have any tale to say as they will be annihilated by huge powerful monsters. It would be so much more fun if the world map was designed better like if you had some markings “The valley of death” where encounters in that valley are huge powerful monsters and it would be well known that nobody goes there because of that and in common roads regardless if it is in my starting lands or somewhere far away, there are simpler encounters like bandits.

    Second main problem is kingdom strategy level. It has 0 effect on the gameplay, it doesn’t matter if you have a village, town or city, if you have 100 or 1000 BP, a lost potential but even so flat it was fun to increase the kingdom stats as it’s a new idea in RPG game, it has so much potential and I hope that it will be better developed in other games.
    So, my main problem with that game is difficulty, not that it is too difficult because its not! The difficulty feels very generic, stupid, monotonous. It still could be worst, like in my most hated game of all times: Oblivion, where rats, wolves, etc, were levelling with you and they always posed the same threat. It is very unfortunate because story is fine, writing is good, there are plenty of throne room encounters which are super fun, that makes you feel like a ruler. That flat difficulty distribution and level scaling is terrible and kills a lot of fun in that game because it doesn't make you special that you gained 15th level, you still feel like on 5th. I don’t even mention bugs because bugs tend to be fixed with time but faults in design will stay.

    Maybe it looks like a rant, but it is only because that game would be so much fun if developed a bit better, a bit more. I could say plenty of positives about this product, but I believe those good things were said plenty of times already, so I focused on important stuff to change. Even as I didn’t finish the game, I still give it a weak 7/10. The game could be awesome, 8 or 9/10 but it has too much lost potential and horribly planned difficulty that makes you feel unsatisfied.

  2. #2
    Senior Member No One of Consequence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo100100 View Post
    Maybe it looks like a rant, but it is only because that game would be so much fun if developed a bit better, a bit more. I could say plenty of positives about this product, but I believe those good things were said plenty of times already, so I focused on important stuff to change. Even as I didn’t finish the game, I still give it a weak 7/10. The game could be awesome, 8 or 9/10 but it has too much lost potential and horribly planned difficulty that makes you feel unsatisfied.
    People all tend to think the same thing, and most only post rants, so I think focusing on the good while also telling the bad (to help the game improve) is always nice.

    As for me, I have stopped playing for a while, but it has little to do with the game itself. I think thet meeting Goblins that are stronger than dragons (or Linnorms, as is the Dragon-related worm you meet in a cave by the bridge, and you may have found it easy, but many people didn't, especially those who did not have the right weapon to definitively kill it) is a nice refresher. That said, only a few exceptionnal Goblins should be so, probably not a whole tribe that nobody has heard of. But no, I don't mind seeing Goblins stronger than Trolls. They are more cunning anyway, so they can train better, I say. :p

    About random encounters, I would say that I have met powerful monsters in my region, and people complained that powerful random encounters while you're low-level is horrible game-design, so the devs tuned them down, that's probably why you don't meet anything stronger than bandits in your area anymore. It used to be wilder (not much, mind you). ;)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Naliamegod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo100100 View Post

    In Pathfinder in many cases bosses are not much more difficult than ordinary mobs and the biggest disappointment was when I killed a dragon in a cave by the bridge location in under 20 seconds with party on levels 10-13.
    Yeah, that isn't unheard of for a PF game. If you have a Paladin in the party, they essentially make dragons and demons crap their pants because they are pretty much made for nuking them. In general, single big boss enemies can be either really easy or really hard depending on your party makeup and luck. High level PF is often described as rocket tag, because victory often is decided on who just makes the first move. Doesn't help that the Dragons major ace in the hole ("I CAN FLY MOFOS!") is negated in PC games too :(

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    Welll, it's true that Pathfinder is not made for "boss" battle.

    But there is a solution for that : Cheating on HP. That's what I always do as a GM. My player make huge damages, therefore, I often do a HP *2 to HP *5, in order for the boss fight to be longer.

    I think that's what Owlcat should do. Yes, we want something that's feel like pathfinder tabletop, but this is not a tabletop game, and everybody like a good (and long) boss fight, am I right ?

  5. #5
    Senior Member No One of Consequence's Avatar
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    I don't...

  6. #6
    You are talking about the crag linnorm fight in the cave. I think i was 7th or maybe 8th level when i did that fight on my first play through, so yeah 10-13th should be a 20 second (4 rounds) fight. At 7th it was a nice tough boss battle, winnable because i had cold iron weapons to prevent regeneration and spells to protect from fire and poison. The other dragon fights were more interesting simply because they were not alone.

  7. #7
    Senior Member No One of Consequence's Avatar
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    The Crag Linnorn when you don't have Cold Iron weapons is almost not winnable, since it cannot die (unless you're very lucky and it misses its save against a save-or-die spell). However, one can always sneak through all the treasure inside the cave and leave the Linnorn alone. Some people did that. I could not, since it always ended up detecting my Rogue through a high Perception roll.

    That said, when you're prepared (some resistance to fire, and cold iron weapons), the Linnorn is indeed easy. But you could say that of most fights. If you have the rights tools to prevent the enemy to deal damage, and if you have the right tools to kill it and use its weaknesses, then the fight will be easy.

  8. #8
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    Single boss enemies are relatively easy in3/3.5/Pathfinder (the pen and papers games). The action advantage of having multiple assailants against one target is uge.
    In this game, we often have multiple NPS managed by the AI, so they benefit greatly for action advantage. The player, instead, is one and manage 6 characters, so his action advantage, when figthing multiple enemies, is lessened, as it is easy to miss the right moment to start channelling to heal the friends or cast a new spell.
    That is what makes the mob fights harder than aspected.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Naliamegod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    Welll, it's true that Pathfinder is not made for "boss" battle.

    But there is a solution for that : Cheating on HP. That's what I always do as a GM. My player make huge damages, therefore, I often do a HP *2 to HP *5, in order for the boss fight to be longer.

    I think that's what Owlcat should do. Yes, we want something that's feel like pathfinder tabletop, but this is not a tabletop game, and everybody like a good (and long) boss fight, am I right ?
    That will just make the fight longer though, and not harder though. The best way to toughen up the fight in PF is to have mooks or other enemies in the fight.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Naliamegod View Post
    That will just make the fight longer though, and not harder though. The best way to toughen up the fight in PF is to have mooks or other enemies in the fight.
    I'd add enemies that work together to that. A group that has a cleric blessing their own, a mage debuffing your party, fighters engaging your frontliners while ranged attackers snipe from behind (alchemists and rogues are well suited for this) has more potential than a single enemy bloated on hps.

    Baldur's Gate took advantage of this. The final battle wasn't just the big bad; Sarevok was accompanied by his trusted companions, which included an archer, a mage and a brute fighter, plus the area was trapped.
    Last edited by wilczajagoda; 12-22-2018 at 10:22 AM.

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