[Suggestion & Feedback] Regarding Point 10 from Alpha Update Detailed Sheet

Dear devs,

first of all, it is extremely encouraging to see in such detail just how serious you are about incorporating community feedback; thank you for that!

However, regarding Point 10 of the Alpha Update Sheet, I’m a bit concerned and like to ask for clarification.
Point 10’s request stated:
“Too hard to create a character with so many choices”

Personally, I do not even remotely agree with that notion, as to me those choices are exactly what makes D&D et al character creation so phantastically flexible and powerful!

So a part of your answer to this Point 10 is worrying me therefor:
We will improve it. As we mentioned already - you will be able to look up top build in steam which correspond with player choices at the moment of the search. And we will also plan to add a tutorial for character generation”
[emphasis mine]

In general, I’m obviously not against “improvements” per se; I am however really worried that those “improvements” might end up needlessly “dumbing down” the character creation tool.

So what I’d like to suggest here is this:
Do what you feel is necessary to make it more accessible to inexperienced players, sure, but please make that an optional feature that experienced players can ignore, i.e. a toggleable option, so that those of us who already know what we’re doing can keep using the full power of the character creation tool. :owlcat_wink:

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There is really no reason Owlcat are fans of real CRPGs they won’t dumb anything down. It would help a lot if the class list is sorted in differnt catrories.

While I love the complexity of character creation in PF, I had to restart several times in KM because I learned (through mistakes) that I had built a poorly balanced party or built a particular character poorly for his or her role. I’m sure we all have experienced that feeling sometime in PNP or in a computer game where we learn–half way through the game–that we’ve gimped ourselves early and didn’t know it. While I persisted, I can see many people quitting because the PF system can be overwhelming. Every person who quits is a bad review, and every person who quits is lost revenue for future games. That’s bad for the rest of us, who would like to see many more PF games in the future.

If I were to try and solve this problem as Owlcat, I would create and publish 5 or 6 videos on Youtube about character creation, with 1 video discussing the characteristics of a balanced party with a couple of different examples, 1 video discussing core game concepts (like BAB, saves, full action v. standard, buff stacking, reach weapons, gaining more attacks per round, etc.), and 5 videos discussing examples of a tank build, melee dps builds, an arcane caster, a divine caster/healer, and a ranged archer. Each video should discuss that role’s purpose in the party, the key feats or spells that allow them to fulfill that role, the key attributes and present some different options (i.e., dazzling display vs tripping for tanks, heavy armor vs MAD dexterity for tanks, strength vs dexterity builds for melee and the accompanying feats, sneak attack two-weapon fighting vs two-handed/reach cleaver builds, summoner vs. buffer vs blaster arcane casters, reach cleric vs pure caster cleric). That would give new players some safe/viable options to ease them into the game as well as introducing them to some of the key concepts/trade-offs they have to make.

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Yep, tutorials are definitely a good idea.

Another idea would be something similar to what CIG is currently doing with Star Citizen, i.e. directly integrating a sort of online meeting place where people who want to help out noobs can meet noobs looking for help… be that live help via chat/discord/whuteva, or just a place where experienced players could post their FAQ or HowTos.

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The issue is quite easy to solve:

A.) Make the pre-generated characters optimized in what they should do and make auto-levelup a checkbox that has to be disabled manually. Same with companions. Make this is the default setting, regardless of chosen difficulty.

B.) If the player chooses to NOT use one of the pre-generated charaters and instead create a character manually, implement templates that optimize his stats and again auto-levelup on with a checkbox that has to be disabled manually.

C.) If the player then chooses to NOT use both the pre-generated characters AND these templates, make him aware of the tutorial videos on character creation and make him aware that going completely manually is 100% NOT intended for new players.

D.) Make the normal difficulty the default setting with higher settings warning the new player to NOT choose them for 1st playthrough.

And with normal I mean REAL normal difficulty, not the Kingmaker ‘normal’ that had some reduced values and the next higher setting that had these values at ‘normal’ had others basically on very hard values.

Any non-difficulty-based setting like auto-levelup and character retrain should be removed from setting difficulty. Only include options that really increase difficulty at hand. Things like auto-levelup dont since you could basically note down the characters level progression and do it the same way, only manually.

Make this difficulty the balancing point of the game. And with balancing point again, I mean REAL ‘normal’, NOT Spider Swarm 1st side mission ‘normal’.

.

That way, new players have to click on several boxes in a row that each tell them: ‘Dont do this’. If they still do it and start threads on how difficult the games system is, at least people can tell them to use templates and pre-generated characters instead as well as playing at normal difficulty, for which the game is built around.

The plethora of options in character creation and advancement is inherited from TT and one of the things that made KM better than other cRPGs.

Choices shouldn´t be reduced. But a robust tutorial and pre-gen chars with auto level options are a must to draw players that aren´t already d&d/pathfinder fans (and/or prevent refund requests).

Pre-gen chars should be good enough to make challegening gameplay in normal. Too little optimization will frustrate new players, but too much will rob their sense of accomplish for making powerful chars by learning the system.

Helping noobs, both with olwcat videos about character creation, and online meeting place for new and experienced players, are great ideas.

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There is literally no reason to think that Owlcat is going to reduce choices in character creation. Many of the new features announced in either the Kickstarter launch or its stretch goals were additional options, and nothing about Owlcat’s statement in the Alpha Update Sheet suggest that there will be fewer options. The issue is that people find it hard to create a character with how many options there are, and that Owlcat wants to make that decision making easier. The only steps that Owlcat outlines are linking to Steam guides and adding more tutorials - in other words, we are going to have all of the options that us veterans wants, but Owlcat will provide tutorials to help people make decisions and link them to guides on Steam for people who want expert advice. Everything about how Owlcat designed Kingmaker and everything they’ve announced for WotR should tell us that Owlcat loves the options that Pathfinder provides and wants to let us play with as many of those options as they can include in a single game.

I’m not a fan of the idea of YouTube videos, because it just feels off for people wanting help to have to leave the game and go to a completely different website. Owlcat should provide detailed tooltips and whatever tutorials they can in-game instead of pushing people to leave the game in order to figure out how to do something. If I wanted to play a new video game and I had to go to YouTube just to figure out how the rules worked, then that’s a sign that the game is bad at teaching me how it works and giving me the tools to understand its systems.

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Coudnt agree more. And just keep in mind, that even if Owlcatgames woud do some YT-Videos, Improve premade builds and Tooltips etc. etc. there will always be People complaining about the game and its rules.
I remember this one comment here in the Forum i answered to, where he wished our beloved Owlcat-Team to be killed, because he coudnt handle the rules, so yeah talking about people.

Thats something the community have to remember.You wont make everyone happy and players have to decide up to some point if they just want easier access to the Pathfinder rules or if they like Pathfinder at all.

I can’t imagine how Owlcat could take away options from character creation without impacting a whole lot of stuff about the game in a way that would give them more work. There is definitely an issue with difficult, even opaque character creation but I’ve found that when people are complaining about too many choices, their real problem is that there are too many choices that they don’t know how to parse. It’s not the number of choices, it’s the amount of information they have to absorb and account for right up-front. Pathfinder is definitely a complex game which can punish bad planning. There’s a lot of terminology that first time players (myself included) need to wrap their heads around. That kind of complexity is more manageable in tabletop because more often than not, new players will have other, more experienced players around them to give them advice and guide them so they no what will and won’t work. In a cRPG that outside advice isn’t there and the player is on their own, so more work has to be done to make sure new players don’t shoot themselves in the foot in a way they might not even realize until a few hours in.

So I’d say that designing some kind tutorial that not only explains what things are but explains their long-term importance somehow, so that beginners can start actually learning the systems effectively. Giving the player as much easily digestible information early on as possible is the best thing for all involved. Things like a selection of viable templates and pre-made builds that let people see what effective builds look like would be a big help in my opinion. Maybe something akin to a parties worth of pre-made player characters, designed to each fill a primary niche in the party. That way newbies not only have a sense of how to build a character, but they also are going in with a base-level idea of party composition.

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If “looking up popular builds” is merely a weblink or something, I don’t feel like that’s much of a help.

I really think we need some some feature to make FOLLOWING a build guide easier to do. They already said no to build templates, which is really sad, but maybe some sort of text based format where you can drop a .txt file formatted in a certain way into a folder, and then at each level up the game will read a tagged section of the txt file. So you can just put [Level 1] Choose Precise Shot [/Level 1] etc. into the text file.

The devs did not say that they want to reduce the number of options.
They only want to explain stuff better and this is needed.

Kingmaker was my first pathfinder game. I have played NWN2 and other DnD or similar computer games too, but when starting P:K I was still overwhelmed despite doing lots of reading before and I made a bad char. I also did not know many things in the game and how to play. In the end I finished the game on story mode difficulty with a guide, because the game is good and I did not want to restart the game several times before I am good enough to make it. I have only limited time for playing.

Pathfinder is the most complex rule set I have ever had in any computer game. The new game adds tons of new stuff with more classes, more archetypes, mystic levels and so on. If the game wants to attract players who are not already pathfinder nerds than the game needs to explain stuff in a way that new players can understand. Having some pre generated chars and tutorials that explain game mechanics would be great.

Years ago large RPGs came together with a large manual. BG2 was my first big RPG and reading the manual helped me a lot to finish the game. I wished I had such a thing for P:K when I started to play.
Those manuals were a players handbook specifically designed for this game. For PK I had to read the PnP rules in the internet and then I had to guess which changes have been made for the computer game.

Tutorials should come when you need them. So you should be able to get infos about character creation during character creation. It makes no sense if you can get those info in a menu that can only be opened from within the normal gameplay, because then you already have created a bad char and no one can remember all this information at once.

Those tutorials/guides/manuals should be in the game or come together with the game. Steam guides and YT videos are nice, but the infos needed to play a game should be found in this game.

There must be an option to turn off tutorials, so that experianced players are not flooded with info they already know. You should be able to read those info later whenever you want, because it is way to much for a player to remember all of it at once.

summary: Do not remove options, but explain stuff in a way that new players can read and understand all the basics without the need for an external source like YT videos or online guides.

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In fact, they are right. It is already proven that the more choices you have the more overwhelmed you can feel. I mean, i am proefficient with Pathfinder but I might not be able to go through all of possible builds. So while i love customization and i want to see it in game, I get what devs think.

In my personal opinion you should be given the option of “simple” and “complex” character creation.

If you choose simple, you can only make your character with the core classes and races, so it makes easier for someone not familiarized with pathfinder to start with the game. Maybe also change a little bit the NPC (e.g. instead of eldritch rogue have a rogue with the magic feats).

If you choose advanced, well, you have access to everything.

Makes sense?

This seems like much ado about nothing. At no point has reducing options ever been discussed as the plan. What’s being proposed is simply changes to presentation/UI to funnel players who don’t have a PhD from Paizo Academy towards functional options.

That’s an unambiguous good thing. 3rd Edition and adjacent systems are rife with trap options that are a turnoff to new players. In tabletop, your friends gently guide you away from trap options or the DM works around the grievous power imbalances of the game. In a computer game however, you need other ways to channel people towards making good decisions. UI, difficulty options, and and well made prebuilds are the way to go.

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Honestly when I read that I was just like “so the thing dota2 added basically?”

There is an option in dota2 to load up item/ability check lists that highlight different items and abilities for reccomended for your selected community build. You can totally stay away from it or disable the feature completely but it’s a safety net for newer players so they dont get overwhelmed by choice.

There is one suggestion I’d like to make regarding point 10. There is something that is fully missing during the character leveling/creation. Players cant see how many skill points a class receives per lvl, as well as how many HP the class provides per lvl. For arcane/divine classes it would be helpful to state which ability scores are used to determine the amount of spells. I.E sorcerer’s use CHA instead of INT. Players who are not familiar with pathfinder or DnD 3.5 will get frustrated during the curation process, it also makes multi classing very difficult without those key features in the class discriptions.

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