today I want to talk about a gameplay-mechanic that is rather important to me personally: Rewards (especially exp) for avoiding combat
Now one thing to say beforehand, as far as I understood there will be random encounters, so there will theoretically be ways to "grind" for exp. but if I am wrong here, or said "grind"-exp are held low (maybe to discourage grinding) there is one huge thing that must be considered: What rewards does a player get if they avoid combat.
Why is this important to me? I (and many others) have played the Divinity games, and something that bugged me to no end in my Divinity II playthrough was, that the game really encouraged me to fight everything. Lets say there is a quest where I have to retrieve Item X but I have to get past guards.
First Option: I could sneak past the guards and get the 100xp for the quest.
Second Option: I could Persuade/Deceive/Intimidate/etc. the guards and get 50xp for the social interaction and 100xp for the quest.
Third Option: I could just defeat all of the guards and get 100xp for the fight and 100xp for the quest.
Now I do not mind different rewards for how you complete the quest, even if some of them are better, thats just unavoidable if you have different rewards, but what was really frustrating in divinity was, that when I played in on a high difficulty, missing exp could REALLY mess you up. Being just 1 level below what you should be in a fight can be huge, and it sucks if youre like "man I dont have any encounters left that are easier where I could get some exp, but if I reload and do that one quest again, I COULD murder everyone instead of choosing the peaceful option, so I get more exp".
Now the "this fight is insanely difficult because im missing a level" part is probably restricted to higher difficulties, but even in easier modes it can suck if you feel like youre being punished (by not getting rewarded) for choosing the peaceful/non-combat options.
I think in 5e it even says somewhere that exp is rewarded for "completing" an encounter (or something like that) not for killing all the enemies, so as a DM you should give the same amount of exp to the party that fought all of the guards to get the item, as to the party that cleverly bribed the guards to look the other way.
I dont know what the best approch for a computer game would be, maybe award the exp value for the encounter when the party has managed to sneak past (but dont award it again if they come back afterwards and fight). I think the best way to describe it is actually the way a friend of mine put it that actually murders everyone after theyre "useless" in divinity, not because he likes to, but because he just hates missing out on stuff. Hes played the game so much he can actually run past npcs like "oh yea that one can live he doesnt give exp", now of course that fear of missing out is a whole other problem, but for me it would be enough to just not feel like I am being rewarded for being merciless and brutal, just because "killing gives exp".
What are youre opinions on this? Does someone have experience with games that handled this in a different way?