Enjoyed early access, but did not enjoy the changes to lighting

6 months ago

Absolutely loved the early access. I only heard about Solasta recently, and didn't realise how much I wanted a rules faithful game. My experience was very positive, I've got a few gripes but they are mostly things which are an artefact of EA or actions in combat needing a confirm dialogue, or warning about item interactions.

Playing blind (no pun intended) the implementation of lighting in the mechanics, and how it is handled is about the only major issue I had with the game. I registered mainly to say it wasn't rules accurate, but read it was by design. I don't really think it's a good change, but in addition it could be handled a bit better.


Bullet pointing why I don't think it's a good change:

-It's more impactful as a change to strategy, it doesn't really add depth there it just makes some choices more valuable

-From a tactics perspective it hurts player action economy but I'm not sure it actually adds depth. You can't regularly attack at disadvantage so you just either have to accept being lit entering combat and having a disadvantage from range, or eat the action cost of lighting enemies.

-It purely disadvantages the player, there's not really any scenario in EA when they can turn the change to their advantage that I can see. Ultimately the player's goal is to bypass the mechanic, which probably means it's not that interesting in the first place.


Why I don't think it's handled well:

-The player isn't really warned, cantrips like light and dancing light are more valuable. Playing blind you don't know that and they at creation. And they aren't on the recommended list when you auto select.

-The first encounter it comes up in is already a massive difficulty spike. It is collectively a much larger HP pool than you've had to deal with. There's the shove to death mechanic where a successful enemy shove is much more impactful on reaching a game over than a player shove is to winning the encounter (the ground seems to be lava and feather fall does nothing). So ranged is massively important, making lighting an emphasis for the first time there felt bit much.

-The first opportunity to get cantrips and try and deal with the issue is level 4 so it's a fair while until you can start to correct.

-A lot of the time it's not visually telegraphed you are even in low light.


It could be handled better, then it would be less of an issue, but I'm not convinced it can be a net positive to making the game interesting. If there were more ways to light an environment tactically it would be better. But it's still just eating player actions to deal with a disadvantage (both literally and abstractly). It's not really a trade off you are making a decision about, you just have to do it until you have the resources to bypass the mechanic.

Still, I'd take it over surfaces everywhere all the time.

Had a great time with the game and looking forward to playing more when its completed!

Trazzm
Level 8
Steam Link Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Armorsmith (Gold)
6 months ago

I have similar issues with it, though I prefer the surfaces of BG3 much more than the lighting homebrew of Solasta.

I also think the lighting homebrew penalizes rogues and archers much more than other characters.

Maximus
Level 5
6 months ago (edited)

Run a fighter up to enemy....light up his shield and then attack same enemy from rear and you'll have advantage.

ekimami
Level 6
6 months ago (edited)

While I had the same experience with the lighting change that you did, I actually found it a very nice change of pace, and one that accentuates the value of Darkvision races vs. Humans (who suck even more now).

Strategically, you can use lighting to your advantage, as enemies will also attack *you* at a disadvantage if they don't have superior darkvision (like ghouls and skeletons for example). So using a simple cantrip like Dancing Lights and placing it 5-10 ft away from your frontliner (so the monster is in Dim Light and your frontliner is in "darkness") will give you a massive leg up over the enemy by forcing them to attack your frontliner with disadvantage while you attack them normally. This makes Dancing Lights superior to the Light cantrip IMHO.

Turn the lights off on yourself, and turn it on on them. This small change was one I very much liked as it made, as you mentioned, cantrips that rarely, if ever, get this much use in tabletop 5e a major reason to bring a Wizard or at least a High Elf along.

coredumped
Level 5
6 months ago

I'm not familiar to how lighting works in tabletop 5e, but I have to say that while at times it did seem that the focus of the battle was placing lights where needed, I actually did enjoy the mechanic a lot. As ekimami said, I was constantly trying to find ways to give myself an advantage and the enemy disadvantage precisely by making use of the dancing lights cantrip. It worked out rather nicely and felt like the mechanic mattered, in a good way.

goumindong
Level 8
6 months ago

I'm not familiar to how lighting works in tabletop 5e, but I have to say that while at times it did seem that the focus of the battle was placing lights where needed, I actually did enjoy the mechanic a lot. As ekimami said, I was constantly trying to find ways to give myself an advantage and the enemy disadvantage precisely by making use of the dancing lights cantrip. It worked out rather nicely and felt like the mechanic mattered, in a good way.

So there are generally three lighting conditions (well, four but the fourth is monster specific) and one modifier by RAW

Bright Light, Dim Light, And Darkness

Creatures that are in darkness are treated as if any creature that attempts to see them are blind. Blind makes vision based sight checks fail, negates some abilities that require line of sight, and imposes disadvantage to attacks and advantage to incoming attacks.

Creatures in dim light have disadvantage on sight based perception checks

Bright Light imposes no penalties


Darkvision by RAW grants the ability to see in darkness as if it were dim light and dim light as if it were bright light for up to 60 feet. 


The current implementation is that dim light imposes disadvantage to attacks and advantage to incoming attacks just like darkness does and darkvision has infinite range. The effect that this has generally is that the lighting range for non-darkvision characters is [i]halved[/i] since all light sources tend to produce x squares of bright light and another x squares of dim light. The other effect is that lighting effects that only produce dim light (like Dancing Lights) only produce advantages for characters that have darkvision since their darkvision range extended forever and since dim light is functionally as bad as darkness for characters without darkvision.

Its... less than ideal. (indeed its pretty bad)

The other thing that the game does is make it much easier to get light (you don't have to spend an action lighting a torch, you don't have to spend a turn taking off your shield, etc) in some instances but also not in others (it still costs an action to cast the light spell!). This has other knock on effects that are kind of bad too

The fourth lighting condition is sunlight, which is specific to being outdoors under the sun. Some monsters have sunlight sensitivity specifically. This does not seem to be modeled in Solasta specifically.

Jeftah
Level 2
6 months ago

I'm not familiar to how lighting works in tabletop 5e, but I have to say that while at times it did seem that the focus of the battle was placing lights where needed, I actually did enjoy the mechanic a lot. As ekimami said, I was constantly trying to find ways to give myself an advantage and the enemy disadvantage precisely by making use of the dancing lights cantrip. It worked out rather nicely and felt like the mechanic mattered, in a good way.

So there are generally three lighting conditions (well, four but the fourth is monster specific) and one modifier by RAW

Bright Light, Dim Light, And Darkness

Creatures that are in darkness are treated as if any creature that attempts to see them are blind. Blind makes vision based sight checks fail, negates some abilities that require line of sight, and imposes disadvantage to attacks and advantage to incoming attacks.

Creatures in dim light have disadvantage on sight based perception checks

Bright Light imposes no penalties


Darkvision by RAW grants the ability to see in darkness as if it were dim light and dim light as if it were bright light for up to 60 feet. 


The current implementation is that dim light imposes disadvantage to attacks and advantage to incoming attacks just like darkness does and darkvision has infinite range. The effect that this has generally is that the lighting range for non-darkvision characters is [i]halved[/i] since all light sources tend to produce x squares of bright light and another x squares of dim light. The other effect is that lighting effects that only produce dim light (like Dancing Lights) only produce advantages for characters that have darkvision since their darkvision range extended forever and since dim light is functionally as bad as darkness for characters without darkvision.

Its... less than ideal. (indeed its pretty bad)

The other thing that the game does is make it much easier to get light (you don't have to spend an action lighting a torch, you don't have to spend a turn taking off your shield, etc) in some instances but also not in others (it still costs an action to cast the light spell!). This has other knock on effects that are kind of bad too

The fourth lighting condition is sunlight, which is specific to being outdoors under the sun. Some monsters have sunlight sensitivity specifically. This does not seem to be modeled in Solasta specifically. 

In Solasta, Dancing Lights gives 10 ft Bright Light and 10 ft dim light. (Or w/e number of units is equivalent). 

goumindong
Level 8
6 months ago

Which is at least something. that should be 2 squares radius though i don't think i have seen dancing lights light up near that much.

6 months ago (edited)

I'm still not seeing how any of that makes the system good.

Essentially it's exploiting the lighting boundries created by a cantrip which superficially sounds cute but it's a bit like making a certain area (or "surface") into disadvantage with a cantrip. Except you don't see that information anywhere you just have to memorise what the lighting template is. And that basically means only darkvision races are viable.

For what it's worth in my playthrough I took the light Cantrip on a couple of characters at level, lit shields on melee, and used the sniper feat on ranged to shoot their targets without penalty. I'm basically ok with that, it's not a huge resource cost to mostly bypass the system, I just don't see how it's an improvement. Using dancing light boundaries doesn't really appeal. I'm struggling for the right word but, "cheese" isn't quite fair but it's not far off. And there's 1st/2nd level spells which create areas of altered visibility in SRD5.1 so it's not really creating a new area of tactical options, just emphasising one at the cost of some not great consequences to balance else where.

And more fundamentally it's a cost most easily paid before your start playing, where as the first hint of the system change is when lizard men start shoving your characters to their death just far enough into the game to make rerolling a party a bit more of a chore.

coredumped
Level 5
6 months ago

I'm still not seeing how any of that makes the system good.

Essentially it's exploiting the lighting boundries created by a cantrip which superficially sounds cute but it's a bit like making a certain area (or "surface") into disadvantage with a cantrip. Except you don't see that information anywhere you just have to memorise what the lighting template is. And that basically means only darkvision races are viable.

For what it's worth in my playthrough I took the light Cantrip on a couple of characters at level, lit shields on melee, and used the sniper feat on ranged to shoot their targets without penalty. I'm basically ok with that, it's not a huge resource cost to mostly bypass the system, I just don't see how it's an improvement. Using dancing light boundaries doesn't really appeal. I'm struggling for the right word but, "cheese" isn't quite fair but it's not far off. And there's 1st/2nd level spells which create areas of altered visibility in SRD5.1 so it's not really creating a new area of tactical options, just emphasising one at the cost of some not great consequences to balance else where.

And more fundamentally it's a cost most easily paid before your start playing, where as the first hint of the system change is when lizard men start shoving your characters to their death just far enough into the game to make rerolling a party a bit more of a chore.

I think I get what you are trying to say. For me at least, I also would not call it cheese but it did feel that at times the fight I was having was with the lighting instead of the enemies and that really should never be the case. I think it's cool that lighting is a part of the game and combat mechanics but agree that it should not be so emphasized. This probably will affect balance for certain things as is more clearly stated by people who understand 5e far better than me, but regarding fun in the game I think it will also get pretty tiring to have to spend each turn moving the dancing lights around. AI is also pretty dumb in that regard now that I think about it. If I placed dancing lights in such a way that the AI gets disadvantage while I get advantage, the AI doesn't really do anything about it, they could just move one square and be fine but choose not to.

goumindong
Level 8
6 months ago

They cannot really move one square since they will still have disadvantage and you will just move the light again 

Johannes
Level 10
6 months ago (edited)

Thank you, this still bugs me even 7 hours in. I've seen plenty of threads in Bugs, Rules and Suggestion saying that lighting is broken. There is no issue with humans having no Darkvision in tabletop D&D, why fix something that's not broken? 

I'm sorry, with all the arguments brought forward by at least a dozen different forum users across several forum categories, I still cannot fathom why the devs defend this change as a race balancing act. 

If lighting is really supposed to remain a tactical consideration, why not do the following:

  • Allow casting the Light and Dancing Lights cantrips as bonus actions - casters won't lose a full action on their first turn
  • Increase light radius for spells and torches - far too often, enemies will retreat into dim light, turning combat into a wild goose chase, forcing you to give up strategic locations if you move closer
  • Add more stationary light sources that do not need to be turned on - torches and manalamps are fine, but if I have to spend a cantrip each turn to ignite them, my caster is effectively taken out of combat
  • More single-use magical light sources that can be used by everyone - having a portable light orb you can drop on the ground takes the onus of casting Light away from your caster, allowing them to attack right away

I think we can find a compromise here, but in its current form, lighting feels more like a punishment or chore instead of a fun tactical element.



A hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is.

ignernt
Level 4
6 months ago

I also am very frustrated with the lighting mechanics.  I've said it in other threads and I'll say it again here: just provide a toggle for RAW with respect to lighting.  You can choose whether or not to actually fade everything to grey (or put in some color-specific puzzles in dim light, that's always a fun trick to force elves to light torches), and then those players that want to screw around with cantrips can do so and those of us who want a faithful 5e experience can just have that.

Kuraudo
Visitor
6 months ago

Does anyone have a link for the dev's reasoning of this change? It's gotta be the single most controversial thing about the game at this point.

6 months ago

I also am very frustrated with the lighting mechanics.  I've said it in other threads and I'll say it again here: just provide a toggle for RAW with respect to lighting.  You can choose whether or not to actually fade everything to grey (or put in some color-specific puzzles in dim light, that's always a fun trick to force elves to light torches), and then those players that want to screw around with cantrips can do so and those of us who want a faithful 5e experience can just have that.


And then the devs would need to spend time balancing two games instead of one (with and without RAW Lighting rules); that's not going to work. They put a lot of thought behind the system, and it does help the game stand out from other CRPGS (which is going to be important when it's released). I think there should be less emphasis on "give me a pure 5E experience" and more focus on feedback to improve the current system; SOLASTA being released as the "generic 5E CRPG" wouldn't do it any favors.