Dice

Cody A Young
Level 3
2 months ago (edited)

So mechanically, mathematically, I am sure your RNG does a great job. . .But it fucking sucks on the user end of game play. I should mention there is going to be some profanity. Its not anger, its emphasis, think of each vulgarity introducing something I think worthy of your consideration.

Anyway, let me share my latest experience, which has been in line with my total experiences to date,

I have a fighter. He has an 18 in strength because where else would he use that stat. He has a bonus of 6 to hit. At the moment he is level 4. He is fighting six ghouls with the help of some other useless scags. I tried running the encounter straight and was annihilated by some rather unlucky dice and don't want to dick around with an unimaginative and uninteresting fight  forever so figured its save scumming time. 

Lets just pause here for a moment and reflect on something else though. This encounter is an ambush outside the gates of a castle which, by all appearances, seems to be inhabited by the undead. To arrive at this ambush, I have to first clear the courtyard of eight to a dozen skeletons of varying quality which wasn't terribly difficult, but also wasn't what I would call effortless. And then I was confronted by some large type asshole whom, through two back to back lucky rolls (that almost never happens), I persuaded to ignore me (but whom I imagine would have ignored me no matter what I rolled given how unrewarding the dialogue was that constituted a success). After which there were a few small batches of ghouls numbering no more than half a dozen each which I had to dispatch in the general vicinity. All of this with only a single small rest before arriving at the gates, launching me into a cinematic and then an ambush. An ambush by spawns. Spawning units is such an archaic, bullshit, and gimmicky way to initiate an encounter. Nothing more effectively lets a player know that their experience is entirely on rails and that the story is happening to them rather than because of them like literally pulling shit out of thin air and throwing it at them to deal with regardless of how cautious, careful, attentive, or well they may have played. Spawns always let your players know they are just rats in your maze rather an equal partner in the experience. But I digress.

So this fighter, and his enthusiastic if ineffectual friends, having been ambushed by foes with a two to one advantage already, opts to burn an ability he can only use at most once in a single combat and perhaps even fewer times than that should he be barred from any opportunity for a short rest. This ability allows him a second attack. So the first hits but the second misses. We saw how this worked out the first time and that is why we are save scumming, so lets reload that and get this previously damaged ghoul out of the way. Two swings, one miff. Reload, same results. Did this a dozen times. Seeds are off, this is purely RNG and who could complain about an RNG this reliable. Never two misses, never two hits, always 50 50, fair as fuck right? Sure, it would be, if I were doing this every turn with a talent I could consistently count on, but this is a one time shot. For a fighter as optimized as he can be for his level in a class which specializes in combat on an encounter balanced (presumably) for a non optimized party.

Since combat makes up the majority of the content I have seen thus far, cinematics being the close second and exploration a distant third, for fucks sake do something so that it doesn't all boil down to whether or not the goddamn dice are with you. Its not fun, its not interesting, it certainly isn't new, and it sure as hell ain't worth paying for. 

While I am bitching. Immediately prior to this I had a random encounter with a mage of some type and a Warlord. The mage was annoying, popping a shield to avoid magic missiles, forcing me to send someone out to bludgeon them properly, but not really a concern (Hoorah 12 str cleric). The Warlord though? This Warlord (which has twice the hit points of my entire party combined) deals his two attacks per turn (and three to kick things off) averaging 10 damage a hit and a slightly better than 70% hit rate against my woefully outclassed fighter who requires two other party members to simply keep him standing under the assault. Tough, but manageable, and at level three I was super excited at the prospect of leveling after this encounter and grabbing that dudes full plate armor once I dispatched him. And helmet. I haven't see any helmets in the game yet.

Well, I got the level anyway, and a scroll and a potion off the mage, but the Warlord? Disappeared into fucking smoke as he died leaving nothing. That is bullshit. It is like spawning in reverse and twice as shitty. And this isn't the first encounter which has done this, only the one which really really annoyed me. In fact it seems any time I vanquish something of obviously higher level in a random encounter it fails to drop its loot. If this is working as intended, it reads like a pretty clear fuck you to the player.


So in short, I suggest you consider a few things in regards to combat. To wit:

Spawns are cheap.

Dice should offer variability, but should not be the primary element determining a successful outcome. Skillfulness should always trump randomness

Don't introduce enemies with equipment which they can use which the player cannot acquire.

And also. . .Why do undead get wisdom saves? I mean, its only +2, but I don't really see them having the presence of mind to question the validity of a psychic dagger flying toward them and dispatching it with the power of their disbelief.


silverblade
Level 8
2 months ago

Out of curiosity did you uncheck Preserve Random Seed in the game settings? I believe if you don’t your saves also include the dice rolls. It’s to discourage save scumming.

You can disable it but it’s set as default.

This might explain why you keep getting the same results. 

2 months ago

I was literally about to type that. The game, by default, preserves the random seed precisely so that you can't save scum. You have to disable it.

As for the rest - it's D&D, the dice are often unforgiving. That's part of the experience, and honestly their adherence to 5e rules as written pretty accurately reflects the 5e tabletop experience. Do you play D&D, out of curiosity?

Cody A Young
Level 3
2 months ago (edited)

I did de-select the seed function, which is why I was honestly surprised how consistent my results were. I perhaps over emphasized that bit where I was getting one roll above ten and one below without any deviation -which I write off as anomalous because I haven't noticed that sort of behavior anywhere previously, but mentioned it on the off chance it may have perhaps been a baked in aspect of whatever algorithm is being used to produce their variables, but it is definitely atypical -most notably with the Warlord who kept getting devastatingly good rolls. And with my first foray against the ghouls also the dice were against me without any apparent pattern (aside from the obvious, in that my rolls were terrible).

Honestly, I don't have a problem with the RNG itself, only that the RNG seems to have greater influence than skill and attributes combined in a game which is supposed to be deterministic and subject to player agency and that is poor design for an RPG in my opinion. If this were a sandbox and one could go where they wished this wouldn't present a problem, as it could be circumvented or corrected by players padding their levels to compensate but its not. Its a very on rails experience and heaven help the unoptimized player who is a little subpar. Bad luck is going to happen, and victory means nothing if failure is not possible, but victory is also meaningless if one has little influence or control over the events taking place. When the dice matter more than player designs then the game is in trouble.

2 months ago

The thing here is that this is specifically trying to implement tabletop RPG mechanics, and I know at least when I play D&D that we specifically build around mitigating bad luck. Pushing your luck and suffering through bad luck is literally essential in replicating the tabletop feel.

D&D is not a skill-based game. It rewards cleverness to an extent, but the game is always subject to the whims of the dice. It sounds to me like you want a more conventional cRPG than something that is faithful to tabletop.

I do agree that the "on rails" plot is a bit of an issue here, but I also don't think it would be good to try to make this completely open-world. I go back to Dragon Age as my example of this: the game was not "on rails" in that you could explore what and where you wanted to, but it was linear in that it couldn't advance until you did specific things. The issue I see in Solasta right now is that we have the core mission but none of the "bulk" around it that would make it feel more engaging.

Cody A Young
Level 3
2 months ago (edited)

DnD started as Chainmail, which was a strategic game and has since its conception honored that heritage. You are intended to think in tactical and strategic terms, that is why mechanics are preserved through all editions for resource management, it is also why combat is such a quintessential aspect of the game. Yes one must push through bad luck, but fortune alone should not be what dictates outcomes. 

If it does, the player is unnecessary and the game has no point. To that end, it may as well be a Telltales adventure 

1 month ago

Chainmail was also heavily dependent on luck of the dice, and literally every single edition of D&D and AD&D have been as well. I don't know what else to say. I honestly disagree with your assessment of the dice outweighing meaningful choices. In any given moment, maybe, but that's the entire point of the dice - they create drama in the moment, but over time the characters succeed.

What do you propose as a solution that would make "skill" matter more?

Cody A Young
Level 3
1 month ago

To start with, I neither sought nor solicited your agreement or approval. They mean nothing to me

Second, this is feedback. The development team is less than twenty people from what I understand and I haven't the slightest clue what is feasible for them, what is currently in development, or their ultimate vision for the game. I found these particular aspects problematic and wished to see Tactical Adventures successful so shared my concerns. I don't know what your motivations are, but you have said nothing persuasive and I don't see any profit in further discussion.


KillerRabbit
Level 5
1 month ago

Anyway, not here to get in a fight but I'll put out there that I prefer truly random dice rolls.

Even it means I need to reroll my character 20 times ;)

1 month ago

To start with, I neither sought nor solicited your agreement or approval. They mean nothing to me

You're on a discussion forum. Your ideas are up for discussion. This is the conceit of posting.

Consider my replies to you to be my own feedback to the devs on this exact topic, if you'd prefer.