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  1. #1
    Senior Member purpleblob's Avatar
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    Kingmaker voted 13th top 101 games in RPGCodex poll

    As title says, RPGCodex voted Kingmaker as 13th best RPG!! I wholeheartedly agree although it takes much higher ranking in my own list ;)

    https://rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=11193

    Great achievement Owlcats, and thank you for the fantastics game!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steppenwolf's Avatar
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    Agreed on both. Its a nice achievement and Kingmaker is higher in my personal list :)

  3. #3
    At the risk of sounding negative, 13th is a *very* generous ranking, or perhaps shows that there is a really big drop from the very top games to those outside the top 10.

    On the plus side - Pathfinder Kingmaker's "Bones" are amazing, their implementation of rules, graphics, open(ish) world, overall quality writing, the NPCs mostly feel pretty good.

    My biggest beef with the game is that they seemed oddly focused on weird little details -

    example Cooking - I really like the camp menus, probably the best of any crpg I've played, but I've never cooked anything that wasn't "hearty meal" I've found dozens of recipes, probably have 100+ pounds of various meat and veg clogging up my backpack but never saw the need to get away from hearty meal as the staple.

    Otoh Encounter Design lets take a trip down memory lane, BG2, Firkragg's Dungeon consisted of 3 levels - outdoors, dungeon and then the boss level.

    Encounters consisting of - Orcs, Goblins, Antkhegs, Suicide Kobolds, Rakasha, Mists, Golems, Undead, trolls, an Ogutug, Efreeti, an enemy party ambush, Elementals, werewolves, another party battle, a wizard and then finally a big freaking dragon. at least 16 different types of enemies some of which would scale based on level. a case could be made that's too much random crap thrown together into 1 dungeon... alas.

    otoh PK's Armag's Tomb, barbarian / sister fight outside, a seemingly copy pasted battle with Spectres / undead that you fight at least a dozen times, 1 golem, 1 devour thing, and the boss fight.

    The Cyclopes dungeon seemed even less varied, a bunch of cyclops, a couple mass undead fests, a demon fight or two, cephal, and mini boss soul eaters, boss vordakai.

    And those are some of the big chapter ending dungeons, the filler stuff is incredibly sparse, a typical map location has 1-3 encounters on it and that's it.

    ---

    Now let's loop back to cooking, having 40 different recipes to cook, but limited interesting encounters feels lazy and backwards, we have detail on top of detail where it makes little difference, and little detail where it makes a huge difference.

    --

    My other big gripe is pacing, the barony side game seems like a huge time / gold sink that exists only to stretch the game out further and further. Case in point my current game - I left Armag's Tomb on 1/25/4712. It is currently 1/11/4713 - that's a lot of time just waiting for the next big event to trigger. That may be faithful to what story the devs / writers wanted to tell, but as a player it makes for a very uneven play experience.

    Not to end on a sour note, everyone involved clearly put (and continue to put) a lot of work into this game, and the high points really show that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by koz-ivan View Post
    At the risk of sounding negative, 13th is a *very* generous ranking, or perhaps shows that there is a really big drop from the very top games to those outside the top 10.

    On the plus side - Pathfinder Kingmaker's "Bones" are amazing, their implementation of rules, graphics, open(ish) world, overall quality writing, the NPCs mostly feel pretty good.

    My biggest beef with the game is that they seemed oddly focused on weird little details -

    example Cooking - I really like the camp menus, probably the best of any crpg I've played, but I've never cooked anything that wasn't "hearty meal" I've found dozens of recipes, probably have 100+ pounds of various meat and veg clogging up my backpack but never saw the need to get away from hearty meal as the staple.

    Otoh Encounter Design lets take a trip down memory lane, BG2, Firkragg's Dungeon consisted of 3 levels - outdoors, dungeon and then the boss level.

    Encounters consisting of - Orcs, Goblins, Antkhegs, Suicide Kobolds, Rakasha, Mists, Golems, Undead, trolls, an Ogutug, Efreeti, an enemy party ambush, Elementals, werewolves, another party battle, a wizard and then finally a big freaking dragon. at least 16 different types of enemies some of which would scale based on level. a case could be made that's too much random crap thrown together into 1 dungeon... alas.

    otoh PK's Armag's Tomb, barbarian / sister fight outside, a seemingly copy pasted battle with Spectres / undead that you fight at least a dozen times, 1 golem, 1 devour thing, and the boss fight.

    The Cyclopes dungeon seemed even less varied, a bunch of cyclops, a couple mass undead fests, a demon fight or two, cephal, and mini boss soul eaters, boss vordakai.

    And those are some of the big chapter ending dungeons, the filler stuff is incredibly sparse, a typical map location has 1-3 encounters on it and that's it.

    ---

    Now let's loop back to cooking, having 40 different recipes to cook, but limited interesting encounters feels lazy and backwards, we have detail on top of detail where it makes little difference, and little detail where it makes a huge difference.

    --

    My other big gripe is pacing, the barony side game seems like a huge time / gold sink that exists only to stretch the game out further and further. Case in point my current game - I left Armag's Tomb on 1/25/4712. It is currently 1/11/4713 - that's a lot of time just waiting for the next big event to trigger. That may be faithful to what story the devs / writers wanted to tell, but as a player it makes for a very uneven play experience.

    Not to end on a sour note, everyone involved clearly put (and continue to put) a lot of work into this game, and the high points really show that.
    Many critiques of this game are pure crap, but this critique is actually very thoughtful and accurate. I also am somewhat baffled by the things the devs chose to put a lot of emphasis on versus other things they didn't. I think as an overall summary critique, what I'd say is that whereas so many games claim they want to deliver a "tabletop gaming experience" but end up falling short, and usually very short, this game goes too far in the opposite direction. It goes too far in trying to be a DM made and run game. But without an actual DM things become problematic and frustrating, for example some encounters that are ridiculously hard to win where if you had a (good) DM they would quietly modify stats behind the scenes to keep the party from being totally wiped out.

  5. #5
    I mostly disagree. Electing not to cook anything except the hearty meal, for example, is a mistake because you're giving up the chance to customize rest bonuses based on what you believe you'll encounter after resting. That said it is a strength of PK, not a weakness, that you're allowed to go the always-hearty-meal route if you'd rather not take the time to explore the cooking system.

    Encounter design would fall into a similar category, at least for me. Usually when you enter an area with a tough encounter, there are warning signs you may be outmatched, whether they be bones or a "magnifying glass" or even an NPC warning you about what is to follow. Electing to ignore those warning signs and instead charging into battle isn't a good idea, especially if you don't adequately buff or monster-summon beforehand. But it is a mistake the game allows you to make if you so choose.

    I also don't fully follow why it is bad for a dungeon to have too many different types of monsters but also bad if others like the cyclops dungeon aren't varied enough in their populations. For dungeons that lore-wise fell into ruin, it makes sense that a large variety of monsters would populate its various levels just as a large variety of animal life can populate real-world villages that fall into ruin. Even more so for dungeons that are deliberately designed by someone to keep adventurers out, because a wide variety of monsters ensures at least one batch of foes will hit any party's weak spots. Whereas if there is a dungeon designed by and for cyclopses, for example, it would make a lot less sense to populate it with random foes rather than cyclopses. The Depths are admittedly a big exception to this rule, but I'm not sure how much one should count them since they are designed to give people a randomly-generated-dungeon experience.

    However I would at least partially agree on the pacing critique. It's sometimes not clear whether you have 1 week, 3 months, or unlimited time to accomplish particular quests. While I think most players are on board with there being choices and consequences in an RPG, it's more than a little frustrating to not know a quest has a time limit only to suddenly be told you have failed it because you were doing a different quest that seemed more time-sensitive. Hopefully in PK2 there will be clear countdown clocks for all time-sensitive quests, or at least a note somewhere in the quest that it will automatically fail if not soon addressed.

    I'd have personally put PK in the #6-#10 range rather than #13 but I don't think it is an unreasonable placement for Owlcat's debut product. Here's hoping PK2 will do well enough to merit a place at the top of the list!
    Last edited by jsaving; 08-06-2019 at 10:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Phew, this voting had a strong nostalgia bias - at rank 1 to 12, the youngest two games were from 2015 and 2010. And it continues that way, until #22. So given this kind of voting, #13 seems to be even better than it looks at first glance.


    Cooking got a lot of attention in the game, true. Not my cup of tea, but might be cool for explorers, roleplayers and powergamers alike. At least a few recipes are mechanically strong (fast healing 1 over hours) and depending on taste, some are flavorful. It's an unique mechanic that sets the game apart from most (?) competitors.


    Encounter design is a different story. Owlcat decided for many encounters between levels, way more than you would do at pen and paper. As a GM, I send my players through maybe 15 encounters and they make it to the next level. At this computer game, it feels like 50 or even way more. And with more encounters it becomes more challenging to keep them diverse and interesting.

    Repetitive encounters can be a boon, too. They give players the chance to learn when they encounter specific threats and apply the lessons to the next encounter. It gives a cool feeling of advancement if you struggle against a type of enemies first, only to easily crush them later, thanks to your insights. It's not that easy to hit the sweetspot for the majority of players.

    Areas with 1-3 encounters can be considered empty, sure. But they give you a break from crowded dungeons, allowing you to use more x times per day abilities without a second thought. And with less fighting, the scene and story might get more attention.

  7. #7
    Senior Member purpleblob's Avatar
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    I absolutely loved the cooking aspect of the game - not only it added extra immersion for me but I also found buffs from food very useful too.

    I do agree that I would have liked a bit more variety of monsters/enemies for certain dungeons to make the encounters more interesting.

    Kingmaker is #3 on my list and here's hoping Owlcats second game will top that! :)
    Last edited by purpleblob; 08-07-2019 at 01:28 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jsaving View Post
    I mostly disagree. Electing not to cook anything except the hearty meal, for example, is a mistake because you're giving up the chance to customize rest bonuses based on what you believe you'll encounter after resting. That said it is a strength of PK, not a weakness, that you're allowed to go the always-hearty-meal route if you'd rather not take the time to explore the cooking system.
    Perhaps I wasn't clear, Cooking as it is currently is fine as long as the rest of the game lives up to that level of detail.

    Encounter design would fall into a similar category, at least for me. Usually when you enter an area with a tough encounter, there are warning signs you may be outmatched, whether they be bones or a "magnifying glass" or even an NPC warning you about what is to follow. Electing to ignore those warning signs and instead charging into battle isn't a good idea, especially if you don't adequately buff or monster-summon beforehand. But it is a mistake the game allows you to make if you so choose.
    For the staged encounters this is mostly true, at lower levels there are a few things you can stumble into that can be pretty gnarly, (Fangberry swarms, Linnorn by the bridge, a pack of wererats...) but usually Pathfinder does give you a bit of warning and plays fair in that regard.

    Around release I remember some of the wandering encounters could get messy fast, beat up party wanting to get home and rest and then you stumble into some huge elementals or something equally gross. I've not seen that in my current run so either it was patched or I'm getting better as a player - or both.

    I also don't fully follow why it is bad for a dungeon to have too many different types of monsters but also bad if others like the cyclops dungeon aren't varied enough in their populations. For dungeons that lore-wise fell into ruin, it makes sense that a large variety of monsters would populate its various levels just as a large variety of animal life can populate real-world villages that fall into ruin. Even more so for dungeons that are deliberately designed by someone to keep adventurers out, because a wide variety of monsters ensures at least one batch of foes will hit any party's weak spots. Whereas if there is a dungeon designed by and for cyclopses, for example, it would make a lot less sense to populate it with random foes rather than cyclopses. The Depths are admittedly a big exception to this rule, but I'm not sure how much one should count them since they are designed to give people a randomly-generated-dungeon experience.
    Too much different stuff can be an issue if you're getting the entire Monster Manual thrown at you every time you walk in a cave. Regardless that's a problem Kingmaker stays far far away from.

    There is a happy medium where you have enough variety of encounters so it isn't quite so grindy and dull, but also allowing the player to build on their own experience - Trolls are an example of this done well, game establishes that they are weak vs Fire and Acid, makes a huge plot point that they are possibly immune to fire now, and then you get enough attempts at killing them to make investments in acidic weapons worthwhile.

    I'd have personally put PK in the #6-#10 range rather than #13 but I don't think it is an unreasonable placement for Owlcat's debut product. Here's hoping PK2 will do well enough to merit a place at the top of the list!
    kingmaker is a really good game and I hope as well that Owlcat learns as much as they can from this experience and makes an even better game next time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
    I absolutely loved the cooking aspect of the game - not only it added extra immersion for me but I also found buffs from food very useful too.

    I do agree that I would have liked a bit more variety of monsters/enemies for certain dungeons to make the encounters more interesting.

    Kingmaker is #3 on my list and here's hoping Owlcats second game will top that! :)
    I absolutely agree. I love having cooking in the game and the whole camping mini-game. My point is that just like with items and equipment, so too with the meals you can cook, it would be better if one choice wasn't clearly superior to all other choices so that we have valid reasons to opt for those other choices.

  10. #10
    personally i dont give a shit about a games tenure in years when it comes to how much i like it; if its a masterwork game in quality its obviously earned it, through the hard work of the people behind it. As far as I'm concerned it deserves its spot in that codex. its up there with some big names, good to see. good on owlcat.

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