Topic: More important anything else, to me

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  • #2803
    NewAgeOfPower
    Participant

    While I love this game and do not regret spending money on it (so far), I have quite the list of issues with it. However there is one issue that stands out to me more than anything else.

    I detest the lack of control one has over the starting band’s backgrounds and stats. I often end up with a daytaler and two beggars, whom are fat, disloyal, and fragile respectively, or some equally horrid combination.

    And while you could tweak the random chargen back and forth, it will never offer the same feeling as JA2’s IMP system. Instead, allowing players to choose their own backgrounds and perks based on a point-buy system would be far more satisfactory, allowing players to role-play whatever they felt like in addition to the base game.

    The amount of replayability and depth that adding an optional Character Creator system adds should not be underestimated.

    #2807
    GOD
    Participant

    Whether or not there should be character generation and what form it should take if it was implemented, was discussed pretty heavily in this thread. Suffice to say, it’s a divisive issue.

    #2812
    NewAgeOfPower
    Participant

    Ah. I just went through that thread, but it fails to present an useful counterargument, and a whole list of positions propping up my own.

    “Encourages min-maxing”

    Guess what. People who are going to min-max are going to do so regardless.

    “blah blah blah Dark Souls” [paraphrased]

    Are you joking? Dark Souls is one of the finest games made so far.

    Optional Character Generation didn’t ruin JA2- it made it an even better experience. Although, JA2 didn’t let you start with advanced gear on your new dude.

    “99% of people are going to start with triple 10th level Tauren Chieftain Badasses. Wahh” [paraphrased]

    First of all, I’ve convinced a buddy to try out the demo, and he wants to role play the most outrageous things. Like a bunch of fishermen whose boats broke and they are now somehow mercenaries. Or a bunch of drunk graverobbers [lol] who hit gold and decided to become mercenaries. So no, definitely not 99% of people.

    Secondly, you institute a point-buy system, so someone has enough points to buy 5 crippled beggars or etc et al.

    “Control of the game play experience”

    What, are you going to ban modders too? I believe the developers stated they would like the game to become a classic, and if it ever hits, say, Mount & Blade levels of popularity, I guarantee you that one of the top mods will be a Custom Character Generation Mod (if at all possible).

    Its better to do it right the first time.

    #2815
    GOD
    Participant

    Min-maxing is always going to happen, but that doesn’t meant that it’s a good idea to make it easier to do. The degree to which this is possible and what form it takes is very important to how a player learns to play the game. Right now, looking for the best possible synergy in traits and backgrounds isn’t really a thing, because it would take a long time to get it right and then your starters might die anyway. Making it easier would suddenly make it much more of a factor in how the game plays and how it should be balanced.

    The point of mentioning Dark Souls is that it is a great game that doesn’t allow everyone to play as they like. Take for example how it has no save at will and no multiple save slots for the same playthrough. You could argue that putting it there for people who want to use it couldn’t hurt, because they just want to try to play in a different way and everyone else can choose not to use it. However, this would result in a fundamentally different game with a different atmosphere to it, even if you don’t use it, because choices that cannot be taken back are different from choices that you could take back if you wanted to. You cannot skip out of restarting at a bonefire if you die. You cannot take back attacking Gwynevere. You cannot see both endings without playing the game again. This adds a weight to the actions that you take that is only possible because of how the game does not offer you a reset button, which would result in the game undermining the sense of inevitability build up with the games overall design.

    Jagged Alliance 2 is a very different game in terms of setting and how it handles recruitment within that setting. Custom characters there are essentially the player using their network to call in mercenaries that fit their needs, because you as a person are larger than the conflict that you are now a part of. It’s the difference between a player that acts more globally and a player who acts more locally. It fits the setting and kind of conflict that is central to the game (hiring foreign mercenaries), so it doesn’t clash with the design. A rough equivalent of this would be to have the player in Battle Brothers be a noble who’s sending out a mercenary company to handle the situation of the area where the game takes place, which would be a different kind of game.

    Mods are fine because they aren’t part of the core game. In fact, I’d say it would make for precisely the kind of thing that modders should make. Modders don’t need to think about whether or not what they’re making fits the design, because what they’re making is not part of the core experience, so they can make things that the developer can’t. The developers, however, are the ones actually responsible for this core experience as conveyed through the design of the game. They make what everyone will play and what mods can build on, so they have to be consistent in what tone they set. They are also just a small team and need to carefully decide what features are worth the effort of implementing, because that means not spending time on something else. Custom character creation is simple nowhere near as worthwhile as some of the other things that I’ve seen them mention of considering and would undermine the tone of what they have so far.

    #2817
    Holy.Death
    Participant

    To be honest I really don’t think that being able to generate 3 starting members (or just “the player” character) would ruin the game, especially at start (which can be really daunting). The fact that my current 3 founding members are still alive after one month is something that surprises me, given that from time to time someone meets horrible death for one reason or another. If anything I think skill tree could use some re-designing in terms of how talents are grouped and unlocked.

    #2818
    Jago
    Participant

    I’ve had a few good plays already, with beggars, vagabonds and the like. It’s nothing you cannot handle, and is be no means destroying the playing experience.


    @GOD
    : That sums it up. Very well said.
    Still I support that the devs add two different modes, a campaign mode and a sandbox mode. In campaign mode, everything is random, while in sandbox you can change anything the way you want it, starting members, traits, funds, world map etc.
    However you can still change names, visual and everything that has no effect on the gameplay in campaign mode. And maybe there could be some way to reward the player for playing it the random way.

    #2819
    GOD
    Participant

    A game consists of a huge amount of small details that pile up as you play it. It’s like how adding toggable floating damage numbers to the combat wouldn’t seem to make much of a difference on their own, yet they would definitely undermine part of the battle aesthetic. Think of how Dark Souls 2 has a worse way of starting the game than Dark Souls 1 (the getting a character before you can make your character). That might seem like a trivial detail, but things like that add up, especially when it is a detail as influential as how you start the game, because it determines your baseline view of it.

    I’ve had a few good plays already, with beggars, vagabonds and the like. It’s nothing you cannot handle, and is be no means destroying the playing experience.
    @GOD: That sums it up. Very well said.
    Still I support that the devs add two different modes, a campaign mode and a sandbox mode. In campaign mode, everything is random, while in sandbox you can change anything the way you want it, starting members, traits, funds, world map etc.
    However you can still change names, visual and everything that has no effect on the gameplay in campaign mode. And maybe there could be some way to reward the player for playing it the random way.

    Thanks, it’s good to hear my effort isn’t wasted. :)

    I could see a sandbox mode taking a massive amount of effort to implement, though. Kind of difficult to justify that, since campaign mode would still very much be the main game. I’d rather see them implement mod tools that would make implementing something like that doable, while having lots of other uses.

    #2820
    Trig
    Participant

    I am on the side of those that would like to see a chargen as well.

    We already have one, it’s called restarting the game until you get the mix you like. And scum like myself will use it until getting a starting setup that is within the limits of acceptability. After all it’s my playthrough, I should be free to choose who I want in my band and who I don’t. So why not just save us some time, launching and quitting, by putting in some randomizer, selector, chargen type thing already in the new game setup?

    #2822
    Jago
    Participant

    @GOD:
    Why, yes, campaign mode would be exactly the same as the main game.

    I’d rather see them implement mod tools that would make implementing something like that doable, while having lots of other uses.

    I agree with this. Character creation or not, a comprehensive mod support is still higher up on my wishing list, AND it would do the game so much more good.
    Just by looking at XCOM-EW, Skyrim or M&B, modding is utterly crucial to have games staying relevant for a long time.
    We have to see how far the devs, can and want to take this.

    #2828
    GOD
    Participant

    You are free to do anything you want within the framework of the game. However, that framework has to be set up by the developer. The job of the developer is then to accurately assess what freedom is meaningful to the game and what isn’t. I’ve yet to see anyone talk about how they want accurate defecation mechanics, because they want the freedom to role-play an incontinent hedge-knight who soils himself in combat.
    That something is convenient also doesn’t neccesarily make it a good feature. Fast travel is convenient, but putting it into this game is a bad idea.

    @GOD:
    Why, yes, campaign mode would be exactly the same as the main game.

    I’d rather see them implement mod tools that would make implementing something like that doable, while having lots of other uses.

    I agree with this. Character creation or not, a comprehensive mod support is still higher up on my wishing list, AND it would do the game so much more good.
    Just by looking at XCOM-EW, Skyrim or M&B, modding is utterly crucial to have games staying relevant for a long time.
    We have to see how far the devs, can and want to take this.

    It probably depends rather heavily on how much time they’ll able to justify spending on the game, after release. Modding would add a lot to Battle Brothers, but the game itself would have to be good enough on its own to also be able to attract a vibrant mod-scene, so half-assing release and hoping for mods to fix it wouldn’t work. It definitely would add to the longevity of the game, wich means a steady stream of income for the developers and more sales in case they decide to release expansions.

    #2880
    Xoatl
    Participant

    I believe the end product will have an optional customization option for the founding members. The “divisiveness” comes from a vocal minority like GOD who had strict parents that never allowed fun. It only ever makes sense to have it in the game.

    #2884
    lfish
    Participant

    I get the irritation at not having character creation, since it’s one of the features I love most in rpg-style games; but overall I agree with GOD that it’s not an important or useful addition to this particular game.

    Being able to determine with any kind of specificity the attributes of your individual units undermines the feeling of being the head of a mercenary company, forced to deal with whatever recruits and difficulties come your way. In my estimation the fun and theme is not about designing any particular hero, it’s about managing a group of flawed grumbling men, and turning them into a fighting force. I would argue that, while the IMP system could be fun, it was actually damaging to the theme and consistency of JA2.

    I think the actual problem that legitimately undermines some of the game’s fun, is that you’re getting a huge and completely random difficulty spike or drop based on no choices at all in the very beginning of the game. I think that a good solution (that has already been suggested in another thread somewhere) would be to have a wide choice over the ‘flavor’ of initial recruits, and a bit more connected backstory to exactly how your mercenary company was formed, and have that choice directly determine your difficulty. There could also be a choice of purely random recruits with the generic backstory.

    Just for a couple examples, which I haven’t put much thought into:

    “Holy Warriors” (Mid Difficulty) Monks and Flagellants – mid crowns – A group of clergy and zealots that have decided prayer is no longer sufficient to protect the weak
    “Plowshares into Swords” (Mid Difficulty) Farmhands, Daytalers, Mill workers, Fishermen, Militia, Hunters – Low crowns – Upjumped peasants that have fled their lord’s land for a chance at glory and fortune
    “Professionals” (Low Difficulty) Veteran soldiers, Deserters, Militia, Swordmasters – Mid crowns – Soldiers that have abandoned or mustered out of their units for a bigger payday
    “The Guild” (Low Difficulty) Masons, Bowyers, Apprentices, Historians – High Crowns – Former craftsmen and tradesmen that first banded together to protect culture and the industry in the region from the devastation that surrounds them. Found the work more profitable than their former trades.
    “From the Gutters” (High Difficulty) Beggars, Killers on the Run, Cultists, Thieves, Poachers – Low Crowns – The low and disenfranchised, turned to mercenary work out of desperation
    “Second Sons” (Very Low Difficulty) Bastards, Disowned Nobles, Ambitious Nobles, Hedge Knights – High Crowns – Minor or former Nobility, striking out to make their fortune in the real world
    Anyway, just my two cents on the issue. I trust the developer’s instincts so far, so I’m sure they’ll make wise decisions moving forward.

    #2899
    GOD
    Participant

    I believe the end product will have an optional customization option for the founding members. The “divisiveness” comes from a vocal minority like GOD who had strict parents that never allowed fun. It only ever makes sense to have it in the game.

    What I’m emphasising is the need for good, tight design. That’s how you make a great game, rather than a forgettable one (people still play HoMM 2 and 3, while HoMM 4 is barely mentioned). A feature that seems fun on its own can ruin the kind of play experience that you’re trying to create. I’ve yet to see anyone actually address my arguments regarding that, just that they think it would be a fun addition. There’s tons of things that I think would be fun to add on their own, but that I wouldn’t want to see implemented because they don’t suit the game, would take too much effort and ultimately make it less enjoyable. Stuff like having a group of eldritch abominations drive the populace of a city mad, so you have to kill them or the city turns into a new faction of twisted monstrosities. Having party members who turn undead be recruitable. Recruitable werewolves. Recruitable necromancers. Undead Roman legions rising from their graves to cull the living. Language mechanics for all the different spoken dialects. Orc mode – work your way up to chieftain of all the Orcs and make the human lands burn. Necromancer mode – carefully build up your undead horde; levels and skills of the raised transfer to your minion so finding powerful graves to use or slaying mighty enemies becomes vital. Ally yourself to one of the enemy factions and defeat both the humans and the other factions. Undead Alexander with his army wants to conquer the world once again – highly tactical and well-equipped undead that are always at confident morale, with a powerful leader. Long play games – games that take decades of in-game time and that can have you play as the descendants of your original band; new technology gets introduced as time goes by and new cities will rise and fall. Be a freedom fighter who has to balance undermining the rulers, while stopping the enemy from killing you all (intentionally letting bandits kill a caravan transporting a noble). Start as a small company and build yourself up until you are an army, with scaling gameplay (from individual control to unit control). A far larger world map that shows multiple nations which function as separate factions. Far more diversity in the enemy units – different Orc tribes should actually be different from each other and have different units and fighting styles. Cultural effects that spread and affect things like unit choice, aggression and gear worn (an Orc base that has been next to humans for a long time establishing minor trade and using some human style weapons and tactics, or humans that taken to the hunter-gatherer ways of the Orcs). Lots of other stuff that I think would be really cool, but you get the point.

    I get the irritation at not having character creation, since it’s one of the features I love most in rpg-style games; but overall I agree with GOD that it’s not an important or useful addition to this particular game.
    Being able to determine with any kind of specificity the attributes of your individual units undermines the feeling of being the head of a mercenary company, forced to deal with whatever recruits and difficulties come your way. In my estimation the fun and theme is not about designing any particular hero, it’s about managing a group of flawed grumbling men, and turning them into a fighting force. I would argue that, while the IMP system could be fun, it was actually damaging to the theme and consistency of JA2.
    I think the actual problem that legitimately undermines some of the game’s fun, is that you’re getting a huge and completely random difficulty spike or drop based on no choices at all in the very beginning of the game. I think that a good solution (that has already been suggested in another thread somewhere) would be to have a wide choice over the ‘flavor’ of initial recruits, and a bit more connected backstory to exactly how your mercenary company was formed, and have that choice directly determine your difficulty. There could also be a choice of purely random recruits with the generic backstory.
    Just for a couple examples, which I haven’t put much thought into:
    “Holy Warriors” (Mid Difficulty) Monks and Flagellants – mid crowns – A group of clergy and zealots that have decided prayer is no longer sufficient to protect the weak
    “Plowshares into Swords” (Mid Difficulty) Farmhands, Daytalers, Mill workers, Fishermen, Militia, Hunters – Low crowns – Upjumped peasants that have fled their lord’s land for a chance at glory and fortune
    “Professionals” (Low Difficulty) Veteran soldiers, Deserters, Militia, Swordmasters – Mid crowns – Soldiers that have abandoned or mustered out of their units for a bigger payday
    “The Guild” (Low Difficulty) Masons, Bowyers, Apprentices, Historians – High Crowns – Former craftsmen and tradesmen that first banded together to protect culture and the industry in the region from the devastation that surrounds them. Found the work more profitable than their former trades.
    “From the Gutters” (High Difficulty) Beggars, Killers on the Run, Cultists, Thieves, Poachers – Low Crowns – The low and disenfranchised, turned to mercenary work out of desperation
    “Second Sons” (Very Low Difficulty) Bastards, Disowned Nobles, Ambitious Nobles, Hedge Knights – High Crowns – Minor or former Nobility, striking out to make their fortune in the real world
    Anyway, just my two cents on the issue. I trust the developer’s instincts so far, so I’m sure they’ll make wise decisions moving forward.

    It’s usually one of my favourite parts of the game too. Loads of fun to look at all the options you have and come up with all sorts of different characters to play. Then come back once you beat the game and try something else. Really looking forward to Serpent in the Staglands for that kind of thing. However, I can definitely see why this game doesn’t have it.

    Can’t you already influence that difficulty though by choosing the difficulty you start on? So far I’ve found that it is your starting gear that is more influential on how difficult the start is, rather than your traits (unless they’re utterly abysmal, which rarely happens). The difficulty setting changes nothing beyond your starting gold, so you’re essentially deciding how good your start is going to be. I’ve been finding myself appreciate that more and more. It’s a very elegant solution.

    #2906
    Sky
    Participant

    I’m with GoD on this. Without a doubt. The equipment is far more influential at the very start than it is at the very end. If you make the charactes in a generator you will be attacherd to them more than for their fairly weak starting members perk. I can even imgaine how many people will reroll the game just cuz they lost one of their custumized starters who they had big plans with. And this will happen at any part of the game. You are playing not as one (tho you definetely can RP that) but as a whole group of mercenaries who didn’t become this way because they like it, but had to. Just by reading the backstories it is quite obvious that most of them aren’t the mercenary material. This game is not about heroes, it is about mercenaries. The expendable kind. Death and gold are your companions, you are no heroes, you do all the stuff for money, even when it does not seem like that. This is not the MLP land, this is the harsh and bloody dark ages.

    The mercenary life IS your LAST resolve, if this will not work out you can just go and die, nothing else is there in the world for you. That is the reason your people gather up, be whoever they were before. Ultimately it does not matter. What only matter is who you become if you survive and prosper. Tbh i’d even bound some of the backgrounds to a minimum party level so you can not recruit the combat experienced people too soon. As the player you would have a lot of time to get used to dying sellswords, lack of resources, fearsome enemies. The moment my group leveled up to lvl 8ish it was not so much fun anymore, there were rare encounters that could make me rotate someone to the back of injuries, and even less when I did lose someone. At that point it all became an OP group of dudes. Ofc that was only because the state of the game at this point. Besides had no time for games this weekend.

    PS. That comment about strict parents and no fun made me rotfl. Why do I have the feeling that you will be the first to cry when your beloved custom character bites the dust? And… Just for lolz, what do parents have to do with a game preference and fun? Wouldn’t it be exactly the opposite when you break out of that stricnes every possible way and always have fun?

    #2938
    lfish
    Participant

    Can’t you already influence that difficulty though by choosing the difficulty you start on? So far I’ve found that it is your starting gear that is more influential on how difficult the start is, rather than your traits (unless they’re utterly abysmal, which rarely happens). The difficulty setting changes nothing beyond your starting gold, so you’re essentially deciding how good your start is going to be. I’ve been finding myself appreciate that more and more. It’s a very elegant solution.

    I think that the difficulty also changes the cost of items overall throughout the game, but I’m not certain about that. Difficulty right now only really affects the early game, since after a few large battles you get to a point where the starting conditions become irrelevant. There’s not really enough content and focus to the game at this point to know how hard it will end up being, so discussions about difficulty balancing are probably premature.

    I do think that having a little more choice about starting conditions would help quell some of the dissatisfaction people have with a random start, without hurting the game’s theme too much. I do agree that it’s probably ultimately unnecessary though; more a concession to modern expectations about game design than a required feature.

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