Play Examples

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Play Examples

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu Oct 04, 2007 8:06 am

I've been getting great feedback from our internal testers and wanted to share a couple amusing stories with you people:

One of the testers who is playing a Rogue uses Cat Eyes serums to give himself the ability to see in the dark without producing any light. He supplements that with a torch, which when combined with the Cat Eyes effect gives him a very bright vision radius in the darkest dungeons. Now then, when his torch is lit, he looses his ability to Hide in Shadow, but as soon as he nears an enemy he extinguishes his torch and falls back to just Cat Eyes. He can then walk past most enemies undetected, safely hidden in shadow. The funny thing is, since he has not bumped up his Move Silent skill, sometimes enemies hear him and begin following the mysterious footstep sounds in the dark. If he makes one wrong step and walks onto a tile where the ambient light is greater than his Hide in Shadows skill can be effective, they suddenly see him and then it's trouncing time!

Another tester who is a caster has regaled me with anecdotes of how he uses various spells to his advantage. As a designer I find it amusing that certain spells that I thought would be highly depended upon are occasionally ignored for a combination of other spells which I thought would be unused by most higher leveled casters. One example involved charming an enemy to fight for him and then entangling a couple other enemies so they can’t fight back or escape. This allows him to sit back and watch them kill each other and it costs much less Mana Points as opposed to assaulting enemies directly with mana-draining combat spells.

Just thought some of you may enjoy these examples of gameplay.
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Postby mrmunka » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:32 am

Very cool, thank you BW. I'm very hyped about the beta announcment, so any more info like this is more than welcomed.
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Postby Baelthazar » Thu Oct 04, 2007 12:28 pm

I am going to guess that XP is more dependent on use than on killing? Thus, I could sneak past all the enemies as a rogue and still "level up" the skills relevant to me? And as the mage, I could charm everything, let them do my killing, and not worry about being "gimped" because I don't get the kill xp?

Great gameplay examples! I guess the Rogue character uses alchemy to make those potions?

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Postby Gothmog » Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:19 pm

I love such things!
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Postby Gwendo » Thu Oct 04, 2007 6:45 pm

It's always good to know that the game offers diferent possibilities, for different gameplay styles.

I just wonder... Let's say that guy who uses stealth manages to move forward with that strategy. Would it be possible that he would reach a point where he wouldn't survive a combat because he didn't level up battling? Or is it possible to finish the game without any major battles?

Anyways, it's always interesting to hear stories. Keep them coming.
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Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu Oct 04, 2007 7:30 pm

Well, you can gain a large amount of your XP from finishing quests. If you keep plowing all your skill points into Hide in Shadow and Move Silently, yeah, you can get to the point where you are nearly invisible from everybody and you can walk through most dungeons unnoticed.

There are several confrontations in the game that you must participate in, but as always, you don't have to pick up a sword and charge straight into battle. There are so many other possibilities, such as using your environment to your advantage (powder kegs and portcullises) and various magical potions and spells (such as Charm) where you don't have to directly kill someone with your own hands.

However, this is old-school role-playing boys and girls. Combat is part of the game. You can avoid a lot of it if you want to, but that really wouldn't be very fun now, would it? :wink:
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Postby Saxon1974 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 7:35 pm

Baelthazar wrote:I am going to guess that XP is more dependent on use than on killing? Thus, I could sneak past all the enemies as a rogue and still "level up" the skills relevant to me? And as the mage, I could charm everything, let them do my killing, and not worry about being "gimped" because I don't get the kill xp?

Great gameplay examples! I guess the Rogue character uses alchemy to make those potions?

Bael


Hmm, I think he said the game was going to be old school (killing and quests are how you get XP), which I actually prefer over usage based most of the time.

So, for your example sneaking past some people would probably only benefit you in XP because it would give you access to some treasure or place that you otherwise would have had to fight to get to, and making quests easier to complete because not all battles are necessary.

This being said I could wrong though.

The "use based" XP question is an interesting one. I think it sort of makes sense for you to get XP for doing something like lock picking...however the problem I usually have with that is you tend to want to just sit there and lock pick over and over to immprove your skill which I dont really care for. Seems like just the option of being able to allocate points into lockpick skill works better most of the time.

Great stories Basilisk please send us more when you can! Really sounds like you have lots of variety of gameplay styles available which sounds great.
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Postby Grue » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:13 am

Saxon1974 wrote:The "use based" XP question is an interesting one. I think it sort of makes sense for you to get XP for doing something like lock picking...however the problem I usually have with that is you tend to want to just sit there and lock pick over and over to immprove your skill which I dont really care for. Seems like just the option of being able to allocate points into lockpick skill works better most of the time.


Indeed. Even though used based experience is all well and good in PnP RPGs, I've yet to see it implemented well on CRPGs, where it usually leads to just doing something repeatedly, for no reason but to increase the skill. Point buy systems work the best in CRPGs, IMO, and I'm glad that Eschalon uses one.
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Postby almondblight » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:29 am

Personally I prefer quest based XP, which allows you to go through a quest how you want and not just hit on things for experience. However, it sounds like you can get a lot of XP just from quests so I'm happy.
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Postby PaSquall » Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:34 pm

Grue wrote:
Saxon1974 wrote:The "use based" XP question is an interesting one. I think it sort of makes sense for you to get XP for doing something like lock picking...however the problem I usually have with that is you tend to want to just sit there and lock pick over and over to immprove your skill which I dont really care for. Seems like just the option of being able to allocate points into lockpick skill works better most of the time.


Indeed. Even though used based experience is all well and good in PnP RPGs, I've yet to see it implemented well on CRPGs, where it usually leads to just doing something repeatedly, for no reason but to increase the skill. Point buy systems work the best in CRPGs, IMO, and I'm glad that Eschalon uses one.

Ditto. I remember I already had this gripe with Dungeon Master 20 years ago, where you just had to repeatedly try to cast a spell to raise in level... Very boring.
IMO XP for quests and monsters beaten is enough, you just have to find a good balance between them.
But respawning monsters must be avoided in this case, though (or count for just the first time killed).
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Postby PhilosophiX » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:50 pm

I think the use based experience system is certainly a lot better than the kill based experience system. I like being able to decide whether or not I want to get involved in combat at a particular time, and not feel that I've got to kill everything in sight just to level up. Worse still is the kill based experience in a party situation where your strong characters are taking a pasting, and not fighting while you try and get your weaker characters to actually hit the d*** thing, just so they can level up. Thankfully that won't apply to Eschalon: Book I since it's a single character adventure. I'm looking forward to seeing how this is implemented in Eschalon, but from everything I've read so far it sounds as if the team have managed to find a good balance with quest experience helping alleviate some of the problems inherent in both.
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Postby Grue » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:44 pm

PhilosophiX wrote:I think the use based experience system is certainly a lot better than the kill based experience system. I like being able to decide whether or not I want to get involved in combat at a particular time, and not feel that I've got to kill everything in sight just to level up.


I don't think anyone was advocating a "kill everything in sight to level up" approach. As BW said above, in Eschalon you gain a large amount of your XP from finishing quests. So the balance between Quest XP and Kill XP is greatly in Quest XP's favour (if I interpreted BW's comments correctly). And that's how it should be, IMHO. To simplify, finishing quests makes you level up.

What I meant by not yet seeing a good use-based XP system in CRPGs, is that those systems do not necessarily work that well (in CRPGs). They rarely take into account, for example, how you sneak - it is enough to just sneak everywhere, everytime. You get skill experience for sneaking, even if you were just sneaking back and forth a lone alley alone or a busy markeplace. Another example is Acrobatics skill - if you just jump all the time, even in place, you will eventually get skill experience in Acrobatics (test this e.g. in Oblivion). I don't think that is a very good or workable system. The best workable system I can think of (for CRPGs) is the one where you get XP from quests (and maybe some from kills, but also from "successful" conversations and whatnot) and once you level up, you get points to spend on your character's attributes, skills etc. This way you actually get to advance a character teh way you want with the least amount of hassle. IMHO, of course.

Usually (AFAIK), in a party-based CRPG with kill XP, the XP you get is for the whole party to divide evenly, not the one landing the killing blow or the one "tapping" it (to use an MMO term). So the weaker characters should benefit from combat, even if they were just hanging back.
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Postby PhilosophiX » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:35 pm

Regarding Eschalon Book I, that's what I said only I said it in fewer words: I'm looking forward to seeing how quest based experience works. It seems to solve many of the problems inherent in both kill based and use based XP. I'm well aware that no one is advocating a 'kill everything in sight to level up', rather it is my assertion that that is what happens (everything in sight must die). I've only just finished playing Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. While I did do a lot of bouncing around to level up aerobatics, it's just my humble opinion that it's better than just magically improving at lock picking without ever actually having to use a lock pick, just because I'm murdering everything in sight. If Oblivion is anything anything like Morrowind then no one is actually putting a gun to your head and forcing you to bounce around to level up aerobatics, you can just as easily achieve the results you desire by killing everything, selling the booty and paying for training, which means that although it's use based XP, you can still turn kills into levelups and need never repeat an action just to level up. Certainly in Morrowind, you're able to smite the main boss after 15 minutes of play, and therefor the training you can buy is easily more than enough.

However forgetting all that we could debate this topic forever and not get anywhere. The truth is there's a middle ground where the advantages of both can be played up and the weaknesses played down. I can't wait to play Eschalon because from what I've read so far the developers have gone to a lot of trouble to balance it in such a way that the thing we are hotly debating doesn't matter, and we can get on with playing it however we want.
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