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You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

RPG Codex Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Review - posted by Angthoron on Sat 27 June 2015, 00:14:24

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Taking a break from the regular reviewing of niche RPG games and a certain game that shall not be mentioned, the Codex is finally subjected to a proper AAA experience - The Witcher 3. Have the Polish developers created a perfect ending to the Witcher series, or is this another victim of the modern open world RPG trends? The official RPG Codex review by Angthoron is finally out:

A lot can be said about The Witcher series - it manages to combine excellent ideas and their successful implementation with ideas that are nearly equally as poor. It is a series of games with a curious amount of trials and errors, and with an unexpected amount of ambition. A lot could be said about the series, but its introduction at this point is ridiculous - instead, let's see whether The Witcher ends on a triumphant note, or whether it's a sad and mangled mess that no-one has really asked for. However, if you do want to read up on some of the things already said about the series, head on to Witcher and Witcher 2 reviews and take a look. They're probably shorter than this one, too.

[...] What can be said about the writing of Witcher 3, then? Well - simply put, it is one of the best-written games to have come out in well over a decade. Perhaps even the best-written RPG since Torment, tackling serious topics and pulling no punches, placing the player in a position of one of the last sane men in an increasingly insane world and never shying away from showing what insanity actually is while avoiding the pitfalls of cheap shock value. The mundaneness of cruelty; the commonness of greed, treason, cowardice; the quiet acceptance of murder, rape, despair, racism and hate - Witcher 3 is all about that. Witcher 3 is about total war without its typical glamor.

[...] The atmosphere of Witcher 3 does its best to support the writing - and succeeds to do it almost perfectly. Visual and audio design serve to reinforce the writing and create a sense of place. The world hardly feels like a theme park - instead, it is a fairly logical, if occasionally repetitive.

[...] Many of the smaller stories, be they a monster hunt, a secondary quest, or a "chance" encounter are well-voiced, thought-out and placed into proper context. Some of the lengthier ones can actually be surprising - and many of these little stories actually offer you a choice. Will you let a lynch mob kill a Nilfgaardian deserter? Will you do what seems to be the right thing, and help him out, causing four times more deaths in the process? The choice is yours.

[...] at a glance, Witcher 3 provides a robust Sawyerian stat system of +5% stat increments that are apparently the pinnacle of RPG design at the moment, and you definitely can get through combat by left-clicking a lot, just like in Pillars of Eternity.

[...] The animations, too, are needlessly drawn-out and, once started, impossible to interrupt with anything short of rolling away, thus offering Geralt more chances to acquire extra scar tissue. This issue extends to just about any type of animation, from swinging a sword to quick-throwing a bomb and is a good source of rage.

[...] Witcher 3 is a bit of a mixed bag. Weak in its gameplay yet surprisingly strong as a story and a game world, console-centric but intelligent, it is likely to be a very divisive game for many, on the Codex in particular, and yet, when the dust will settle, it is likely to end up as a game to ride to a rather high position in the local pantheon of story-heavy games.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Witcher 3

There are 337 comments on RPG Codex Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Fri 3 July 2015
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #16: Final Week, Monte Cook Stretch Goal Unlocked

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 July 2015, 18:53:49

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Monte Cook

The Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter campaign is entering its final week. Yesterday, it passed $1.4M of funding, adding veteran RPG designer Monte Cook to the game's team. Due to July 4th, today's Kickstarter update doesn't do much more than announce that, but here's the obligatory quote:

Happy 4th of July weekend for all our American backers. In the US, this weekend is about family and celebration and we’ll use it to recharge our batteries before our final week, but before we check out we wanted to give you one final quick update.

The biggest news as of yesterday: The first of our stretch goals to put together the ultimate RPG super team has been hit, and Numenera creator Monte Cook is joining The Bard's Tale IV!

The exciting thing about working with someone like Monte is that as a veteran pen and paper RPG designer, he will bring a fresh yet experienced perspective to our game, helping us to look at our dungeons from a new perspective and thus craft more varied, engaging challenges. And he knows dungeons, as the creator of, a site set up to provide gaming parties with huge amounts of adventuring content!​

The campaign has also unlocked sufficient gamification achievements to gain a new reward - two Julie Fowlis songs, one of which is the in-engine video song that everybody has been asking for. Three more achievements are required to unlock the next reward, although it seems inXile haven't decided what that's going to be yet.

So that's it for this week. I wonder what surprises they have left for the last one. The Chris Avellone stretch goal seems out of reach to me, but can Colin make it in?

There are 6 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #16: Final Week, Monte Cook Stretch Goal Unlocked

AntharioN Release Date Announced

Game News - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 3 July 2015, 09:24:28

Tags: Antharion; Orphic Software

AntharioN, an Indie RPG kickstarter project we've had apparently covered back in 2012, had its release date announced as 15th July 2015. They're also accepting pre-orders now.
Antharion is an epic old-school fantasy RPG that combines tactical turn-based combat with the freedom of a huge living-breathing open world. You'll create and customize a party of four: choosing from seven races, nine classes and fifteen skills, before setting out to explore the fully interactive continent of Antharion. Explore dungeons, get thrown in jail, discover hidden passageways, burglarize homes, read books, create potions, become and infamous pickpocket, embark on a journey at sea and discover uncharted islands or persuade NPCs to do your bidding. In Antharion no play style is off limits.

  • Create and fully customize your party of four, choosing from 7 races, 9 classes and 15 skills.
  • Journey through five huge provinces, each with its own environment, history and culture.
  • Experience an open-ended epic storyline where you determine what happens.
  • Turn-based tactical combat makes dungeon crawling endlessly satisfying.
  • Explore a huge living-breathing and fully interactive open world.
  • Make choices that matter and affect the world around you.
  • Enjoy total freedom to play however you want.
  • Create and customize a party of four.
Here's the trailer to give you a general idea of the gameplay.

Unfortunately you don't see enough in the trailer to assess the quality of the tactical turned-based combat. Perhaps they'll be releasing a demo, then I might try it out.

There are 14 comments on AntharioN Release Date Announced

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #65: Director's Cut Screenshots

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 July 2015, 01:39:25

Tags: Eric Schwarz; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

inXile published a Wasteland 2 Kickstarter update today, mainly to announce the launching of the Wasteland 2 playing cards Kickstarter by Jackson Robinson. Unlike some other companies though, they know how to sweeten the deal with a little something more. In this case, some new screenshots from the upcoming Director's Cut:

The Director's Cut edition of Wasteland 2 is progressing well. We are running on all cylinders testing, polishing, and taking it through the required rigmarole for release. This includes the fun stuff – making sure the game is balanced and plays great – to the less exciting but still necessary, such as getting updated age ratings, re-doing the manual, creating new box art, and the big one, console certification.

We'll have more in-depth coverage as we get closer to release, but we wanted to share some brand-new screenshots and a few new clips from the trenches. Enjoy!

[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

There's also a couple of Vines from a few days ago with short snippets of footage from the Director's Cut. Here's one that demonstrates the effects of the "Raised in the Circus" quirk:

Chris Avellone will surely be thrilled with this feature.

There are 26 comments on Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #65: Director's Cut Screenshots

Thu 2 July 2015
Legends of Eisenwald Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 2 July 2015, 20:11:52

Tags: Aterdux Entertainment; Legends of Eisenwald

Aterdux Entertainment's medieval strategy RPG Legends of Eisenwald concluded its long, long journey from Kickstarter through Early Access to final release today. It's now available on Steam for the price of $30 minus 15% launch discount, and I assume that additional platforms are on the way. Here's the launch trailer and description from the store page:

Legends of Eisenwald is an adventure game with tactical battles, RPG and strategy elements. Take the lead of a small feudal army and try to defend your right to survive in this ruthless medieval world.

The mysterious lands of old Germany are waiting for you - it's a land where the superstitions of the time have come to life. This isn’t a fantasy game. There are no elves or dragons here. There are only people - and their passions, sins and fears that often take a tangible form. Which path will you choose? Live according to your conscience? Or live by power and might? Or will you live by justice? And what is your justice, really?

Game features

  • A unique and dynamic combat system - each move is also an attack
  • The ability to individually equip *each* fighter in your army
  • A large selection of weapons, spells and abilities, including the option to use mounted units
  • Diverse upgrade trees, and each unit level up provides cosmetic changes
  • An intriguing non-linear story
  • A distinctive game world without common fantasy cliches
  • Over 50 hours of gameplay within the game. A main campaign consisting of eight chapters plus two additional scenarios.
  • A beautiful symphonic soundtrack in a medieval style
  • An accompanying Scenario Editor with the full set of developer tools
Eisenwald's journey may not be over yet, though. Aterdux clearly have ambitions for this game, having raised its price from $20 to $30 upon leaving Early Access, and a post on their website reveals that they already have additional content planned, with a $20 "expansion pass" granting access to all of it. Pretty gutsy! Well, congratulations guys, and good luck. Hopefully our review isn't too far off.

There are 58 comments on Legends of Eisenwald Released

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Piranha Bytes' New Game: ELEX

Game News - posted by Angthoron on Thu 2 July 2015, 14:07:19

Tags: ELEX; Nordic Games; Piranha Bytes

It seems that Piranha Bytes' and Nordic Games' productive relationship continues, as Nordic Games announce a new "collaborative" project: a "hand-crafted RPG experience", ELEX.

Let's hope that the previous labor of these great partners were performed with different body parts, then.

The creators of Gothic turn over a new leaf together with Nordic Games and tackle their first new, collaborative project: ELEX

Nordic Games teams up with veteran studio Piranha Bytes to work on their first collaborative and new project: ELEX. This eclectic, lavish, exhilarating, xenial open-world RPG is scheduled to release in Winter 2016/2017 on PC and current gen console platforms. This is by far the most ambitious project for Piranha Bytes and Nordic Games to date.

“To say we are excited to see this new project unfold in the hands of Piranha Bytes is an understatement. ELEX is going to be edgy, dark, uncompromising, complex, and we love it already,“ comments Reinhard Pollice Business & Product Development Director at Nordic Games. “We will be premiering a vertical slice build at Gamescom 2015, more info will be released in due time.”

“Apart from being enthusiastic about the cooperation with Nordic Games, it is great to know, that we will have ample creative freedom with ELEX, which is a very important factor for us” said Björn Pankratz, Game Director at Piranha Bytes. "We can't wait to show you a completely new game experience with a fresh setting, new assets and plenty of possibilities."

About ELEX

ELEX is a handcrafted action role-playing experience from the award-winning creators of the Gothic series, set in a brand new post-apocalyptic science fantasy universe that puts players into a huge, seamless game world full of original characters, mutated creatures, deep moral choices and powerful action.



Oh, and ELEX apparently stands for Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial, probably beating "Thedas" in originality right off the bat.

There are 107 comments on Piranha Bytes' New Game: ELEX

Wed 1 July 2015
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #14: Party Size Increased, Touch Points Document

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 July 2015, 21:10:36

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; Eric Schwarz; InXile Entertainment

Ever since Brian Fargo revealed the planned party size for Bard's Tale IV - four PCs, one companion, one summon - there's been a vocal group of fans on the game's official forums and elsewhere demanding that it be increased. In today's Kickstarter update, inXile have responded to that demand. The party now consists of five PCs and one companion, plus as many summoned creatures as the game's interface can fit. Also included in the update is a "touch points document", BT4's rather more modest equivalent to Torment's vision document, which has some new details about the game. I quote:

One of the topics you have discussed the most is party size.

First off, we have read your arguments regarding expanding the party, and heard you! So we have decided to expand the player party size to six, one of which will be a companion NPC. Additionally, you will have summoned creatures and the like to aid you, which will not count against your party cap. Currently, our plan is to allow you to summon as many additional creatures as there are available grid slots.

There's more details on this topic we also wanted to share. If you're familiar with our work you may know we like to do vision documents for each of our games, and we shared those with you for Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. To tide you over, we have made a touch points document to share with you. Check it out here!

Of course, for some of you all, this doc covers a lot of familiar ground from the Kickstarter page and our updates, but we also have new details for all of you as well.

As discussed in a previous update, we're bringing back a lot of the classes and races from the original trilogy, with your options expanding to ten character classes and over seven unique races. Furthermore, we're also planning on expanding the class evolution concept from the classic games' classes to cover all of our character classes – leading to huge amounts of depth and customization. You'll be able to further define, specialize and tinker with your character as he or she reaches certain levels, choosing groups of unlocked spells, abilities and talents in order to best suit your needs or party make-up. We'll have more precise details to share on this in a future update.

We are still deciding the best way we can make good on bringing you a true sequel to The Bard's Tale trilogy, but we'd like to give you an idea of the scope of the game that we are targeting internally right now (which, as usual, is subject to change):
  • Over thirty beautiful levels to explore.
  • Locations including Skara Brae and the catacombs beneath it, towns such as Torr Fion and Fettercairn, wildernesses, castles, ruined temples and lost cities, as well as the legendary realms of the Elves, Dwarves and Trow.
  • Over a hundred different enemy types, including dozens from the original trilogy, as well as dozens of new creatures based on ancient Scottish, Orcadian, and Pict mythology. All-new enemy factions will oppose you: the Fecti, the Einaar, the Lestradae, and the Fatherites. We'll speak more on this lore in future updates!
  • Hundreds of usable items, many of which can be used in our crafting system to create consumables and special items.
  • Hundreds of unique weapons and armor to find; most can be enhanced through crafting, and many will be physically manipulated as a 3D model/puzzle to become more powerful.
  • Dozens of powerful magic spells, including some that allow the user to summon creatures to fight by their side.
The rest of the update includes the lyrics to the expanded version of the famous Bard's Tale opening poem sung by Julie Fowlis in the in-engine video, and some more Xounts hype! But why didn't they include Brother None's video in it?

Update: An additional Kickstarter update by Eric Schwarz announces several new add-ons, including a $15 Beta Test Access add-on. That seems to have gotten the pledges rolling.

There are 46 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #14: Party Size Increased, Touch Points Document

An opening of Wasteland 2 and other goodies, including a Matte Painted Statuette

Community - posted by DarkUnderlord on Wed 1 July 2015, 14:33:56

Tags: Codex Statue in Wasteland 2; Divinity: Original Sin; Numenera KickStarter; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

If you haven't been following us for a while, you wouldn't know that we've been raising funds for various RPG KickStarters of late.

As a result, we've (I've) gotten lots of stuff posted to us (me). I can't remember what we were going to do with most of it, but here's a video of me opening said stuff.

00:40 The Painting
01:32 The Poster
02:35 Wasteland 2 Collector's Edition
07:40 Canteen, Gas Mask and Bag
10:40 Numenera Player's Guide by Monte Cook
12:30 The Art of Divinity Original Sin Book
13:00 Chris Avellone, PIP Cards
14:20 Wasteland 2 - Desert Rangers Shirt
14:55 Tournament Number Numbers - Matte Painted Statuette
16:50 A Reading of the Letter
18:18 The presenting of the statuette​

If you want said stuff, and / or can remember what we were going to do with stuff, let me know!

There are 58 comments on An opening of Wasteland 2 and other goodies, including a Matte Painted Statuette

Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Q&A

Game News - posted by Angthoron on Wed 1 July 2015, 13:27:33

Tags: David Walgrave; Divinity: Original Sin; Farhang Namdar; Larian Studios

On Monday, Larian had a Twitch stream of D:OS, a presentation similar to the one at E3, followed up by a half-hour long Q&A session.

If you watched any of their E3 presentations, the first half hour is probably not interesting, so may want to skip to the Q&A portion of today’s stream (35 minutes in).

Our user Stabbey provided us with a handy list of highlights from the session:
  • Any word on an official 4-Player mode? “Not one word on 4-player mode.” They’re being coy. That’s not a yes or a no, which says to me that they’re probably trying to get it working, but can’t guarantee it.
  • No shapeshifting.
  • Will be localized in French, German, Polish, Italian, Czech, Russian, Spanish.
  • You need to select the voices in the character selection screen. There are four male voices and three female voices.
  • They’re still working on changes to crafting.
  • They haven’t done many changes to the modding tools to make them more user friendly. The editor is much more stable than it was a while ago, but they seem dubious about the possibility of changes to the modding tools.
  • Is loot randomized? There is no more savescumming for loot. Treasure is generated when you enter an area, this helps make things more balanced, because now the item generator can make sure there aren’t a billion swords and zero daggers, for instance.
  • You cannot play splitscreen with both a controller and a keyboard.
  • No news on a sequel. No DLC planned for D:OS.
  • Will Zombie companions get angry if you heal them with poison? They don’t know, there’s a lot of changes.
  • Respeccing removes skills, are there any changes in that area? They don’t know, but there are no longer unique, one-time-only skill books. You can learn every skill multiple times.
  • Shops restock after you level up OR after 1 real-time hour.
  • Kickstarter backers CANNOT get a copy of the EE for Console instead of PC, that’s too difficult.
  • More character models? No new player models, only new enemy models
  • Is there a “Capture the face” option in character creation? No.
  • Is it easier to focus on enemies in melee? No, but controllers can select targets, and mouse and keyboard can use top-down overview to aid in that.
  • The Sneak mode on consoles is kinda awkward-looking, having to open a menu. But there won’t be a better way, there are not enough buttons.
  • No new companions in the EE, but improvements to existing ones.
  • What’s changed to make more versatile hybrid builds? You could already make versatile builds, but the changes the skill system make them even more valid. You may start out as a full-on Fighter or Wizard, but at about level 12, you’ll have to decide whether to continue on as a full-on character aiming to get Master skills, or you’ll start dual-classing.
  • No day/night cycle in the EE.
  • New Talents to support Wands and Grenades. Other Talents have been rebalanced, but it doesn’t sound like there are fresh Talents after that.
  • Grenades are a bit like the Master skills, in that Master skills cost a lot of AP, but have a big AoE and you need to get your guys out of the way. Grenades are powerful, but… not precision weapons.
  • Story is not completely different, it’s just a lot more clear and well-paced. Some characters may have are been mentioned in books or diaries and then aren’t mentioned again for another 15 hours, by which time the player has forgotten. Stuff like that has been worked on.
  • Novice, Master, Adept skills now have their own skill slots, so for one school, you can have say 9 Novice skills, 5 Adept skills, and 1 Master skill learned, instead of just 9 skills learned total for that school. (NOTE: Those are examples, I don’t know the actual values). They said a single point lets you learn 2 Novice, 0 Adept, 0 Master.
  • Everyone can dual-wield, but if you don’t have points in the Dual Wield ability, you suffer a penalty to damage and AP cost.
  • Is the Leech Talent fixed? Is Vampiric Touch better? All the skills got a good look at, they rebalanced and redid a lot of things, so there’s a good chance.
  • Some skills now require a shield, but I don’t think there’s a Shield Bash.
  • Tanks get a taunt skill
  • Rogue “Daggers Drawn” skill was probably removed and replaced, because it was similar to the fighter’s “Flurry” (except kinda lousy). For example, there used to be three classes which could inflict Bleeding status (Witch via Bloodletting, Fighter via Draw Blood), but now the Scoundrel is the only one who can do that.
  • Explorer mode has easier combat, and the AI refrains from using certain skills.
  • D:OS:EE will be playable at Gamescon.
  • There are save-or-die skills in the EE, like the Monstrous Egg. You can plant a spider egg in a target, and if the target doesn’t pass a saving throw or kill the caster, the target dies. Enemies can have skills like that too!
  • Lava still instakills everything.
  • Tip: You should invest into perception, if only for all the traps.

Some changes seen in a sneak preview of Tactician Mode, minor spoilers below (the first fight):
  • In the first battle – The conduit is met at the start instead of a generic guy. – This is a story change for all versions.
  • Also, Tactician spawns two new skeletons at the new fight.
Shamelessly stolen from Stabbey's post. Thanks, Stabbey!

There are 12 comments on Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Q&A

Mon 29 June 2015
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #13: Colin McComb and Chris Avellone Stretch Goals

Game News - posted by Zed on Mon 29 June 2015, 17:16:39

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; Chris Avellone; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment

The latest update from the Bard's Tale IV campaign brings us news about two additional stretch goals:

Chris Avellone will be designing a dungeon at 1.9 million USD.


Chris’ involvement will be locked in the moment we pass the $1.9 million mark on the Kickstarter, where he’ll be designing the Cairn of Horrors, an all new dungeon built from the worst things that live in the imagination of Chris Avellone. The Cairn has one purpose, and that purpose is to kill you.

Additionally, at that funding level we’ll also make representations of your characters in your inventory screen and you’ll be able to see the gear, clothing and equipment they’re wearing, rather than a paper doll.​

I have always favored the paper doll inventory, but perhaps that's just me...

The other stretch-goal comes with Colin McComb at 1.7 million USD.

Along with Chris, we’re also bringing back the second Designer of Planescape: Torment and Creative Lead of Torment: Tides of Numenera, the inestimable Colin McComb! He will join our team at $1.7 million, designing a dungeon set in the Realm of the Elves, because we all know no one has mastered the craft of the Elves as Colin has.

We’ll also be expanding the game further by adding another new wilderness area, the Wilds of Lestras.​

This does not mean that Chris is joining inXile for any permanent position. Come to think of it, nor is Colin. They're both just professional stretch-goal consultants, who just happens to be working on every game inXile makes.

The update also comes with some additional info on the new areas included in the stretch-goals:

About the Realm of Elves (Coill)

The elves do not live in the world of men, and generally only come to it for sport, to toy with humans and sometimes to kidnap them. This is youthful shenanigans. Older, wiser elves leave the humans alone, for they remember a time, at the dawn of things, when elves and men lived in harmony until the men fell under the maddening influence of the Famhairaen and tried to slaughter as many elves as they could. The elves don't blame humans for their madness, but they remain wary of them, afraid that they could once again fall prey to insanity. While the elves can pass freely from their realm into the land of men, men can only enter Coill by elven invitation.

About the Wilds of Lestras

Caith's neighbor to the south and often its enemy, the Kingdom of Lestras is the home of the Lestradae, a culturally homogenous people, united under one religion and one king, but strongly divided by class. The border between Caith and Lestras is wild country. It is home to outcasts from both countries as well as those who still worship the memory of the most famous of the Lestradae, the Archmage Lagoth Zanta.​

And finally, you can annoy your neighbors with the new $5000 reward, the Bard's Tale branded floor speaker.


One of our high-level reward for $2,000 and $5,000 backers was a unique one: the Xounts Up speaker with The Bard’s Tale IV Style. If you never heard of Xounts, their Xounts Up is an All In One sound system plus light tower. It is one central audio system that covers your entire room with deep, high-quality sound (they sent us a prototype and we were impressed!), while the customizable style lets you make the right fit for your living room. Here’s a look at the The Bard’s Tale IV style:


That's the ugliest floor speaker I have seen in my life.

There are 98 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #13: Colin McComb and Chris Avellone Stretch Goals

Sun 28 June 2015
Matt Chat 297: Brian Fargo on Bard's Tale IV

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 28 June 2015, 21:06:13

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Matt Barton

In the latest episode of Matt Chat, it's Brian Fargo and Bard's Tale IV time!

Note MicoSelva's question about MCA at around 34:00.

There are 28 comments on Matt Chat 297: Brian Fargo on Bard's Tale IV

Fri 26 June 2015
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #11: Classes and Races

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 26 June 2015, 17:26:43

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brother None; Eric Schwarz; InXile Entertainment

In the final Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter update for this week, inXile finally offer some detail on their vision for the game's character system - specifically, the classes and races. Here are the relevant parts:

Character Classes

If you are unfamiliar with the original The Bard’s Tale trilogy, it used a class-based character system, meaning the “Class” or profession of your characters was one of the first things you could choose. There were ten different classes in the first The Bard’s Tale, eight of which could be picked from the start: Warrior, Paladin, Rogue, Bard, Hunter, Monk, Conjurer and Magician.

With Chris “The Director” Keenan taking point on all things design, we absolutely want to bring back each of these classes. Many of the character class concepts from the original trilogy serve as a great base to make them interesting and unique. Each character class will have a very distinct role that they play, with the ability for you to make decisions along the way on how you want to tweak and modify their core class abilities. We want to give you more freedom in how you put together a party, so you’re not dictated a specific balance in melee or ranged, in weapons or magic, and you’re not required to take certain classes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every party make-up is as viable as the next. A healthy mix is encouraged.

Each class has a unique function within the party, though that comes with some flexibility depending on the class. Some, like Warrior, Monk or Paladin, are best taking the direct approach, jumping straight into the fray, but their particular role in that position is unique for each. Warriors can use just about any weapons or armor and do very well taking and dealing as much damage as possible. Monks will embrace a bit of a unique combat concept, where they will continue to get stronger as fights or even dungeon exploration progresses, making them more powerful the more you push on (incidentally discouraging rest spamming!). Finally Paladins (with requisite +1 Holy Sword) serve as your faithful shield, protecting the party and providing various status modifiers to your party or enemies. It will be fun to explore more of these concepts with you moving forward.

In addition to the starting eight classes, we will be expanding the class roster. For example: currently we’re adding a Cleric, who will be a master of the healing arts, able to use restorative blessings. While not usually one of the main damage dealers, they can be surprisingly effective when fighting the undead and dark magics.

One of the more interesting notions in the original trilogy was the idea of magic users starting out as Conjurers or Magicians but evolving into different types later on, like the Archmage. Never fear, this is another concept we fully intend to maintain and expand to cover more classes, but that’s a giant system that we will save for a later update.

Character Races

The original Bard’s Tale games also let you pick a race for your characters, a system we plan to return and expand upon. Your race choice will be represented in gameplay modifiers, though we intend to do so in a way that avoids forcing you towards a set of particular race/class combos.

One of those expansions will be that the races you pick will have an influence in certain spots in the game, with NPCs reacting to the presence of a Trow in your group in certain, perhaps not always favorable ways. Some options may open or close to you depending on who you have in your party. As you know, we're huge fans of reactivity in our games, and that's one way we can use the character system to add more depth.

Speaking of the Trow, we’re looking to make some new additions to the roster of races based on the specific lore of The Bard’s Tale IV. The Trow is one such example of a mythological creature from Orkney Island folkloric tradition that we’re making available as a playable race.

As you may be able to tell from all the above, we’re not looking to make The Bard’s Tale IV a simpler game than its predecessors. We’ll have clever ways to introduce you to the game’s systems and ease into it for newer players, but if you are the type who loves building a full roster of heroes, carefully going over the options and considering your possibilities and spending hours to craft your perfect party, then The Bard’s Tale IV is very much the game for you!
Yeah, nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but as the update explains, they just don't have the hard details of this stuff pinned down yet. I'm actually more interested in that bit of lore underneath the concept art. Sounds like it could make an awesome level.

UPDATE: The campaign has raised $1.35M dollars, unlocking the crafting stretch goal. In a short new Kickstarter update, inXile celebrate the occasion, and also take the opportunity to tease further news using a suspiciously familiar silhouette...

There are 45 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #11: Classes and Races

Thu 25 June 2015
Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #99: Expansion Companion Descriptions, Patch 2.0 Notes

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 June 2015, 01:39:05

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Carrie Patel; Eric Fenstermaker; Justin Britch; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

Today's Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter update is brought to you by Justin Britch, a new member of Obsidian's army of producers, who has been placed in charge of the Pillars of Eternity: The White March expansion. The update formally introduces the expansion to those backers who hadn't been paying attention to E3 or the gaming press and reveals more information on its two new companions. It also includes a patch notes video narrated by Adam Brennecke, demonstrating the expansion's new features. No release date yet, though. Here's the video and the companion descriptions:

From Eric Fenstermaker:

Zahua comes from an agrarian people known as the Tacan that dwells in the Ixamitl (ih-SHAH-mitt -ull) Plains to the north. (You may have known him as Forton once, but we renamed him to reflect his region of origin.) He belongs to the Nalpazca, a strict order of warrior-monks that constitutes the Tacan's standing army.

The Nalpazca distinguish between the material world and the imagined world of perceptions, feelings, and false structures, seeing the latter as the limiting force that prevents a person's transcendence. They employ extreme practices to remain ever-conscious of what is truly real, and are known for exhibiting bizarre anti-social behavior in public settings, consuming powerful hallucinogenic drugs, and inflicting great pain upon themselves, all so as to allow themselves to "see more clearly." There are even rumored to ritualistically cannibalize the flesh of the recent dead so that they might come to terms with their own mortality, though such rumors have the ring of superstition.

Zahua is the greatest living practitioner of Nalpazca beliefs, and even as you meet him, he is in continual pursuit of their ideals, which he believes will transform him into an unbeatable combatant. Above all, he believes in suffering as the path to enlightenment, and nearly every inch of his body is covered in scars - mostly self-inflicted. While some might see that as a grim or depressing viewpoint, from Zahua's perspective, suffering is a thing of beauty, to be admired and revered, and he is often able to appreciate situations that would dishearten most others. (Perhaps with a little too much cheer for some people's taste.)

The player will meet and get to know Zahua as a party member in White March Part I, and then his vision quest will come into focus later, in Part II.

The Devil of Caroc
From Carrie Patel:

The Devil of Caroc is a bronze golem inhabited by the soul of a convicted murderer. She's ruthless and relentless, yet something about the player piques her interest when they first meet.

The Devil was once a trapper in Cold Morn, a village that became notorious for its role in the Saint's War. When she and her neighbors let the Readceran troops pass through town unopposed, they became a symbol of treachery and cowardice throughout Dyrwood. The Purges that swept the country began in Cold Morn, and everyone the Devil ever knew perished when an angry mob burned the village to the ground. The Devil survived and sought revenge on the men and women who set her home ablaze.

She's still a rustic at heart, but her crude manners belie cunning and a cynical sense of humor.
So Forton made it in after all, eh? Maybe they'll bring back Cadegund for Part II.

There are 34 comments on Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #99: Expansion Companion Descriptions, Patch 2.0 Notes

Wed 24 June 2015
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #10: RPG Superteam Stretch Goal + inXile Loyalty Rewards

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 24 June 2015, 01:09:28

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds; Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

With E3 week definitely over, the funding rate for the Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter has kicked back into relatively high gear. The campaign has now gathered over $1.3M from almost 30,000 backers, unlocking its first stretch goal for enhanced NPCs. This recovery may have been aided by the announcement earlier today of an "inXile Loyalty Rewards" program offering free stuff to any backer of Wasteland 2 or Torment who backs the new campaign. You can read about that in the latest Kickstarter update, which also announces a new stretch goal at $1.5M - the RPG Superteam. I quote:

Our next stretch goal reveal is an exciting one! Monte Cook is just the first of an exciting team of RPG developers we like to call the RPG Superteam. We have three more big names to announce, and all of these guys will join our team designing one dungeon each at $1.5 million!

First up, we have Sean K Reynolds (the right head), a veteran tabletop game designer who many of you may have heard of. Sean was born in in southern California. A resident of Seattle off and on for the past 18 years, he has designed for TSR, Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, and other publishers, working on tabletop RPGs for D&D, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Birthright, Ravenloft, and Pathfinder.

Next, we have Wolfgang Baur (the left head), who, among other things, is author of the award-winning Kobold Guides to Game Design, and has created dozens of tabletop adventures and sourcebooks including Hoard of the Dragon Queen (with Steve Winter), Dark*Matter (with Monte Cook), Kingdom of the Ghouls, Fortress of the Stone Giants, Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, and Courts of the Shadow Fey. He also did foundational work on the Planescape and Al-Qadim settings for Dungeons & Dragons, and is the creator and keeper of the flame for the Midgard Campaign Setting and the upcoming Southlands Campaign Setting, and has contributed monsters to both D&D and Pathfinder.

Third, Bruce Cordell (the middle head), an award-winning game designer working at Monte Cook Games, writing for The Strange and Numenera RPGs, both launched via wildly successful Kickstarters. Prior to that, Bruce worked on Dungeons & Dragons over the course of 4 editions as a writer and developer, writing over 100 D&D products, including the Expanded Psionics Handbook, Gates of Firestorm Peak, Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Gamma World, and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. He is also a novelist, and has penned many books for the Forgotten Realms setting, including the Abolethic trilogy.

inXile Loyalty Rewards

We say it all the time, but we mean it: our games would not happen without your incredible support. And we want to reward the generosity of our returning backers with this special offer.

Today we are happy to roll out an inXile Loyalty Rewards promotion! Anyone who backed Wasteland 2 or Torment: Tides of Numenera previously (either through Kickstarter or PayPal), and is backing us again with The Bard's Tale IV at $20 or above, will get a FREE bonus reward containing items from either Torment, Wasteland 2 or The Bard's Tale IV (valued at up to $15)! These rewards include items such as digital soundtracks, novella compilations, concept art books and more.

Furthermore, any of our returning backers who back The Bard's Tale IV at the $33 tier or higher will receive FREE copies of Ultima Underworld 1 & 2, from and our friends at OtherSide Entertainment. This offer is only available until June 26th. You can read more details on this offer and the rewards on this page.
Yeah, still no real meaty mechanics-focused update. It is kind of good though that they're bringing in all these veterans to design the game's dungeons, as I don't think inXile's employees really possess the requisite skill set.

There are 8 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #10: RPG Superteam Stretch Goal + inXile Loyalty Rewards

Tue 23 June 2015
Pillars of Eternity: The White March E3 2015 Preview Roundup + Screenshots

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 June 2015, 21:21:30

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

The gaming journalists are returning from E3 and have begun to post their previews of the Pillars of Eternity: The White March expansion. Obsidian released four screenshots from the expansion for them to use:

[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
Here are the previews I've found so far:

The most notable takeaway from the previews is that Obsidian have managed to implement individual stealth, finally bringing that feature up to parity with the Infinity Engine games. You'd think that would have been important enough to mention in the gameplay demonstration. Also, there are details on new abilities, the new soulbound weapons, and even some plot spoilers. Oh, and the new level cap is 14. The High-Def Digest preview says that the first part of the expansion alone will be the same size as Tales of the Sword Coast. We'll see, I guess.

There are 37 comments on Pillars of Eternity: The White March E3 2015 Preview Roundup + Screenshots

Torment Kickstarter Update #44: Kevin on Production, Adam on Fettles, Colin on Lore

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 June 2015, 19:20:03

Tags: Adam Heine; Brother None; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

The Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter update for today sees a return to the classic Torment Triumvirate format. Kevin Saunders delivers a progress report on the game's development, including the status of the Alpha Systems Test (still no ETA), Adam Heine describes the game's status effects, which the team are calling "fettles", and Colin McComb offers another generous helping of lore, this time about a place known as the Valley of Dead Heroes. As per my habit, I'll quote Adam's section of the update:

I want to talk to you about fettles.

"What the hell is a fettle that's not even a word."

Right. See, that's exactly what I said when Kevin suggested 'fettle' as our term for lingering conditions and effects. But yeah, it's totally a word, one perfectly suited to the linguistical atmosphere we're shooting for in Torment.

Fettles are conditions that affect player characters in and out of combat. Some examples that will be immediately familiar to RPG players are things like Poisoned, Bleeding, Slowed, or Hasted. Any condition that has effects beyond the immediate probably qualifies as a fettle.

Being set in the Ninth World, Torment has some stranger fettles as well. A character might be Energized (giving her extra damage and changing all his damage to a specific type, like heat, cold, or gravitic), she might be in Stasis (paralyzed), or even Phased (bonus to defense and protecting her from most physical damage types).

But the beauty of the fettle system is that it's not just about buffs and debuffs. We can use status fettles to keep track of whether a character is Hidden, Knocked Down, in Low Light, or Hovering. We have a Distracted fettle for when a character has too much to keep track of in combat, like if he's flanked by too many enemies or someone successfully Taunts him. And a character that's completely mobbed would be worse than distracted, they'd be Overwhelmed.

These status fettles last only as long as the situation demands, of course. If a character downs one of the enemies flanking him, he'll no longer be Distracted, or if he attacks someone from the shadows, he will no longer be Hidden.

Most other fettles last for a specific duration. But Torment doesn't use a real time clock to keep track of durations, so we have to get more creative with how long fettles last. In combat, that's simple—fettles last for a number of rounds or until combat is over—but what about a Diseased fettle that lasts after the Crisis is over, or a character has been Dismayed by an ancient, mental booby trap? In these cases, we use the rest system.

I talked about the rest system some on the forums, but in short each character gets a limited number of rests per day to recover some of their Stat Pool. They will also get a single Sleep that acts as a rest, restores all their other rests, and counts as a "day" for the purposes of time passing.

For fettles outside of combat, then, we specify the duration as "until next rest" or "until next Sleep." In this way, the player controls how fast time passes—whether they want to spend some of their Stat Pool to heal right away, or else Sleep and risk things changing (or coming after you) by passing time. This is just one of the systems we're implementing to make combat (and non-combat) more tactical, and to put the power of choice into the player's hands.
Read the entire thing, though. Those Memorialists from Colin's lore update sound very Planescapey.

Update: There's also a new interview with Adam and Kevin over at Red Bull. It's basically a more detailed restatement of things we already know, but notable for the fact that it offers an up-to-date figure on the number of battles in the game. There'll be 12-15 full-blown Crises encounters, along with "several" optional tussles.

There are 39 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #44: Kevin on Production, Adam on Fettles, Colin on Lore

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #64: GOTY Edition renamed to Director's Cut + E3 2015 Trailer, Perks

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 June 2015, 18:03:27

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

Yesterday, inXile teased that they would be publishing Kickstarter updates for all three of their Kickstarter titles today. That promise has been fulfilled, with the first of the updates being for Wasteland 2. There's a new trailer for the game's upcoming enhanced rerelease, which taking a page out of Harebrained Schemes' book, has been renamed to Wasteland 2: Director's Cut.

And there's some details on the Perks system, complementing the description of the Quirks from last month's update.

Perks, unlike Quirks, are gained as you level up your characters. As you progress in the game you will earn Perk Points, which you can spend on Perks whenever you wish. Perks are per-character bonus you pick, and unlike Quirks, they are always positive stat and gameplay adjustments. Right now, we have it set up so that you gain a new Perk Point every 3 levels, though we're currently playing through the game balancing things out, so the rate you earn Perk Points may change by final release. Perks also have Skill requirements to unlock – for instance, you might need 3 in Toaster Repair, or 7 in Assault Rifles, with more useful or powerful Perks typically at higher Skill requirements.

This also gives us a great opportunity for us to give players more incentive to pick certain Skills, since now you might need to think about which Skills to get based on the Perks they unlock. Some Perks are a bit more universal in how they work. For instance, you might get a bigger Evasion bonus from hiding behind cover, but with others, you will get gameplay-altering features that will change how you approach combat or exploration, such as unlocking the ability to deal more damage when attacking from behind.

Here's a few more examples:

Deadeye: Slow and steady wins the race. In combat, your enemies keep an eye on you at all times - because if they don't, they're liable to lose theirs.

Benefits: -1 Action Point cost when firing Sniper Rifles if you haven't moved during your combat turn

Glancing Strike : Your prowess in close combat allows you to catch your enemies with a well-timed melee strike as they weave in and out of the fray.

Benefits: Gain melee Ambush attacks against enemies when they move past you in combat, dealing 50% normal damage

Powder Packer: You always seem to find ammo stuffed in the strangest places. Your friends won't ask.

Benefits: +10% chance of finding bonus Ammo when looting

And that's just a small sampling. We have over 80 Perks in the game for your party to earn, giving you new tactical options and choices in how you build your party. We are very happy in how the system has turned out and we can't wait to let you enjoy it!
Other than that, there's some photos from E3, and the news that inXile too have decided to branch out into the card game spinoff business, with a Wasteland-themed deck of cards to be Kickstarted on July 1st. Now, on to Torment...

There are 65 comments on Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #64: GOTY Edition renamed to Director's Cut + E3 2015 Trailer, Perks

Underworld Ascendant Update #4: Answers from the Abyss #2

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 June 2015, 16:16:24

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

With the game's development beginning to ramp up, the Underworld Ascendant team have wisely decided to switch to a biweekly update schedule, with updates being published every other Monday. The first of these biweekly updates was published yesterday. It's the second in a serious of monthly Q&As called "Answers from the Abyss", the first of which was published last month, but was not incredibly interesting. This one has more meat on its bones, conclusively answering the question of what sort of character system OtherSide plan to use for Ascendant, among other things. Here's an excerpt:

"Why abandon PnP-inspired RPG systems in favor of perks?" - CyberP

Great question and one we've been thinking a lot about as we start to delve into the character progression system.

Clearly there are benefits to both methodologies; a more traditional RPG system in which players have more finite control over skill points and stat advancement allows players to create and fine tune their characters exactly to their liking.

For Underworld Ascendant we want the focus of the game to be on the world and your interactions with it. Anything that might get in the way of this, anything that might put itself between the player and the experience of living in the Underworld, is something we have to seriously consider before including in the game.

So, how does this relates to perks and character progression? Our preference is not to have players spend a lot of time in a system or UI where they are studying stats and points or worrying about whether to increase strength over dexterity. We'd prefer, instead, to have character progression consist of a smaller number of meaningful decisions, such as choosing a new attack or movement ability, rather than numerous numerical tweaks, as allocating skill points every level.

This also will likely mean that many parts of character progression will happen more organically. So, a player who is casting a lot of spells will tend to gain advancement and abilities in spell casting versus a character who becomes more skilled in melee weapons because that is his preferred method of combat. A player who wants their character to use a bow, for instance, is probably going to be using a bow quite often. Our thought is, why make the player actually go through the work of putting "skill points" into bowmanship if it can just happen automagically without interrupting the game experience?

"We know creatures in the ecosystem are going to function within it (i.e food needs, survival, and whatnot). Will this affect NPC's in the factions as well? Can I go hunting with Lizardmen?" - SteveC

Yes, NPCs and factions will be positioned in the ecosystem alongside the flora and fauna. This means that NPCs and members of factions will have needs and desires that hinge on accessibility and conditions of the environment: access to food, protection from predators, warmth, and so forth.

Day-to-day routines of NPCs and factions will also be in the game as much as possible, including those that draw from and/or impact the ecosystem. So, yes, lizardmen will be seen hunting and, depending upon your standing with them, they might even allow you to tag along.

"Are NPC's/creatures going to have other needs besides food in the ecosystem?" - SteveC

Absolutely. While food may be the strongest need for many creatures, other things will also factor into their behaviors and motivations. For instance, creatures will have a predilection for the kind of environment they want to live in - lava bat want to live in hot areas, preferably with some lava flows. If that environment changes then the creatures will have a desire to migrate to a new location that more suits their needs.

We expect light and darkness to play a real role in creature behaviors as well. To feel safe some creatures or NPCs may be more comfortable in well-lit parts of the Underworld, while others may prefer the darkness in which to hide. Light levels is an atmospheric state which can be readily changed by the player, or even by happenstance, and which will have a big impact on the lives of creatures and NPCs.​

Hmmm. I'm okay with the idea of dumping the statty stuff in favor of perks, as it was pretty superfluous to the experience in the original Ultima Underworld games. Not sure how exactly learn-by-use fits in with that, though. In other news, in the previous update, OtherSide announced that they were adding a Tyball lich (and liches in general) to the game to sweeten the $900k funding goal, which they've been (quite unsuccessfully) trying to reach since funding on Kickstarter. Don't think that's going do anything until they have a good-looking gameplay demo to entice pre-orders, though.

There are 4 comments on Underworld Ascendant Update #4: Answers from the Abyss #2

Sun 21 June 2015
Supplemental Kickstarter campaign for Hero-U succeeds

Game News - posted by Zed on Sun 21 June 2015, 20:37:28

Tags: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption; Transolar Games

Good news if you're a backer of Transolar Games' adventure-RPG Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. The supplemental Kickstarter has finished as successfully funded, allowing the project to stay afloat and even expand with the following stretch goals:
  • Tower Garden – Like Erana’s Peace in Quest for Glory, this will be a quiet area where Shawn can relax and perhaps spend time with a close friend.
  • Improved Animation – Al is improving walking, running, sneaking, combat moves, “fidgets”, and other areas where our current animation hasn’t been good enough.
  • Sea Cave Puzzles – We will be able to add some complexity and challenge to the Sea Caves area of the game. This adds some adventure gaming features to an RPG area.
  • Additional music and sound effects – As the scope of the game has increased, we will need additional musical pieces and sound effects to enrich the game. Ryan Grogan, the Hero-U composer, will create new compositions for the game. We are also working with a sound designer to create custom effects and help us select additional “library” sound effects for the game.
  • The Boss Wraith will have its special area in the Catacombs. This is something of a puzzle encounter in that Shawn will not be able to walk up to it, stab it a few times, and say “I win!” Magical weapons, spells, and special items will all play a part.
  • News flash! We just received a large PayPal donation that has allowed us to reach the Sea Cave Boss (“Unspeakable Horror”) goal. This will be another combat-plus encounter with strong puzzle elements.

There are 6 comments on Supplemental Kickstarter campaign for Hero-U succeeds

RPG Codex Review: Pillars of Eternity - By Vault Dweller and the Spirit of Grunker

Review - posted by Zed on Sun 21 June 2015, 20:05:37

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Vault Dweller

We just cannot help ourselves from posting even more impressions and reviews of Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity. This one comes from Codex old-timer and Age of Decadence designer Vault Dweller (with a special ghostguest appearance by Grunker).

Vault Dweller has written some of the RPG Codex' most seminal reviews in the past, and perhaps this review will finally have you make up your mind about this much-discussed title. If not, we may have even more reviews coming your way.

Here's a bit about how RTwP is shit. Enjoy!

I’ve read many discussions where people argue to death over things like the engagement system or encounter design, forgetting the bigger picture: RTwP is flawed by default.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the pause is an honest admission that fast-paced, party vs party, real-time combat is too chaotic to be controlled on the fly and the AI is too retarded to be relied on, and thus you have to pause this interactive movie to issue some basic orders and show the AI how it's done.

Sequential combat is a lot more complex and a turn, yours or the enemy's, isn't a pause - it's a window to plan, respond to what the enemy's up to, execute strategies, and most importantly, ensure that your party members will survive the enemy's turn. In fact, planning for the enemy's turn is what makes TB so engaging. Any idiot can pick some targets to attack during his turn, but making sure that all your men survive the enemy's turn and the battle (like in XCOM, for example) is the real challenge.

To be honest, I think Obsidian did a fantastic job designing the combat mechanics and I couldn’t help but admire some of Sawyer’s design decisions. Had PoE been a challenging TB game, the system would have shone. Sadly, its potential and all the clever ideas are wasted on a game that often plays itself and goes extra mile to ensure that all your choices are totally awesome (because you’re awesome too!).

Still, neither Black Isle nor Obsidian games were known for great combat. In fact, they’ve mastered the art of making great RPGs with Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Combat: PST, KOTOR 2, MotB, New Vegas, so let’s leave the combat talk to people who have nothing better to do than compare one RTwP system to another and debate which one is worse all day.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Pillars of Eternity - By Vault Dweller and the Spirit of Grunker

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