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vb4
4th Sep 2012, 15:41
So I'm new here on this board and I'm only posting because I've had a bunch of ideas floating around in my head that I don't want to end up on my HDD for all of eternity. I'd also like to have feedback to confirm that I'm not mad.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an SDK for the game (And even if there was, I'd need to buy the PC version because I'm playing on PS3), so I can't reach my goal by creating an actual mod.
Maybe we'll get a way to mod this game one day and a modder then reads this thread long after I have moved on.

Anyway, the basic concept was fixing the EXP to make offensive gameplay just as viable as being a stealth KO punching hacker. Obviously, just adjusting the EXP values for kills wouldn't work, as a headshot is way easier to pull off than most takedowns, especially with the low HP and armor values in this game. The devs themselves have stated as much on the Tumblr blog.
I had a ton of ideas, but most of them were basically outside the scope of the game (Like adding bullet time or something), so I'm instead proposing something pretty simple that a theoretical mod would be likely to be able to do:

Multi-kill and time-based boni.


The multi-kill bonus should be self-explanatory. EXP for killing in quick succession (about a tenth of a second or something).
It's basically a way to remove the insane guilt from using the rocket launcher ("I just wasted an entire rocket AND a ton of exp just to blow some random mooks up? Oh and why am even carrying this thing if it denies me inventory usage?") and other explosives, while still being somewhat dependent on skill (e.g. luring enemies through a small hallway).

The time-based bonus is there to reward skill, just like the EXP system is intended to.
Basically, once an enemy goes hostile, the game checks the amount of hostile enemies and then starts a countdown according to that number. If another enemy is added to the battlefield, the countdown restarts for the new number of opponents. The bonus is pre-determined in value for each number of enemies and simply disappears if the countdown finishes before the enemies are neutralized. (Not sure how to apply lethal/non-lethal here)
So, for example, you'd have about one or two seconds to kill a single enemy (easily done with a headshot, but still harder than popping into cover first), about three to five for a second one and then a doubling of the time with every additional enemy.
Now, the issue is that a single countdown doesn't quite work for higher amounts of enemies. That's because the countdown is either too lenient (giving you too much EXP for behaving like a bumbling retard) or too harsh (You just aggro'ed a bunch of enemies for the high bonus and got stranded with only 100 EXP or something).
So, the countdown would work in tiers for higher numbers of enemies. (Basically multiple countdowns, with the shorter countdowns giving more EXP)
Maybe two tiers for three enemies and three tiers for five or something.
More than five enemies don't really appear in the game at once, outside of the final level.

That means that you get rewarded for being prepared, with mines and whatnot, but can get a bonus even if something goes wrong.
The whole bonus would be about equal to stealth punching, as both playstyles are able to hack everything and the puncher would be able to add an additional skillbonus to his playstyle by gaining ghost and fox of hounds.
(I'd actually like another bonus for not touching enemies at all, because that basically blocks off tons of secrets and makes more sense from a logical integrity point of view. Then again, pure stealth is easier than going on a punching spree)
A maximised killing bonus would be worth quite a bit more, though.

The end result would be a less overpowered pistol (because it's hard to pull off headshots in quick succession) and more usage from all the other weaponry, except maybe for the heavy rifle (That one definitely needs some tweaking to make it worthwhile. Maybe cover penetration).
Now you can laugh manically while planting mines and luring all of your enemies into a trap without feeling guilty for missing out on EXP.
Not to mention that full-auto machine pistol fire around corners gains tactical value.


tl;dr
Make EXP bonuses for open combat dependent on speed, preparation, (both factoring into the time bonus) survival skill (number bonus) and positioning (multi kills).

So, what do you think of this idea? Would it really work the way I imagined it or am I forgetting some important detail?


P.S.
The other ideas that I have drift towards personal preference and changing the game in minor and major ways, so discussing them would be likely like making a fanfiction thread.
(Among them is introducing a quicktime event for takedowns during open combat, for example. It would be harder for non-lethal than for lethal)

Ashpolt
4th Sep 2012, 16:39
Multi-kill XP? In Deus Ex? Are you quite mad?

The solution to the XP problem is simple: reward XP based on the objectives you complete, and not for anything else. Whether you're sneaky or shooty, the end result is all that matters. XP problem fixed.

Jerion
4th Sep 2012, 17:00
Using XP as a reward...yeah, I'm having trouble opposing Ashpolt's solution. Other ways of doing it inevitably funnel the player towards preset methods for completing the objective rather than encouraging emergent or semi-emergent play-style and strategy. Except for limited exploration bonuses for truly out of the way stuff. Those are almost as impartial.

vb4
4th Sep 2012, 17:46
Well, I wanted to keep in line with the current EXP model.
I also don't see the issue with multi-kills. The game is supposed to be about choice and if you are already using the agressive approach, why shouldn't you be rewarded for proper use of explosives?
It's mostly about enabling a different playstyle, for me, because the game forces you into a stealth role.

But I do agree that an objective-based EXP model causes less issues. It also wouldn't have led to the "surprising" revelation that all augs could be bought, after all.
Then again, there's so much freedom in the aug choices that EXP is basically useless as a way of balancing the game.

sonicsidewinder
4th Sep 2012, 18:30
Like Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (Though thinking on it, there's at least one instance where you are given more xp in a level for being stealthy..)

But yeah. XP given on completing objectives. In fact no, Praxis points given on completing objectives.

How you complete the level be it stealth or aggressive should be its own reward.

Playing aggressively in Human Revo felt like you were hobbling yourself intentionally.

Jerion
4th Sep 2012, 19:08
Well, I wanted to keep in line with the current EXP model.
I also don't see the issue with multi-kills. The game is supposed to be about choice and if you are already using the agressive approach, why shouldn't you be rewarded for proper use of explosives?
It's mostly about enabling a different playstyle, for me, because the game forces you into a stealth role.

But I do agree that an objective-based EXP model causes less issues. It also wouldn't have led to the "surprising" revelation that all augs could be bought, after all.
Then again, there's so much freedom in the aug choices that EXP is basically useless as a way of balancing the game.

It's a fundamental difference between 'Multi-Path' and "Emergent Path", which might be a slight misnomer but I think it almost fits.

Multi-Path, which DX:HR adheres to as though it were a bible, ensures that multiple options are present almost everywhere, right down to "Okay, where's the vent in this room?". However, the game gives you select options for getting through an area (and rewards following those predefined potential paths), rather than giving you options and letting you progress in a completely dynamic, original and semi-emergent method (for more on this see Dishonored). Going with the original system of multiple established paths, it indeed is completely sensible to expand the number of rewards for specific options following specific approaches (in this case, Multi-kill for Action Jensen approach). But in the interest of rebalancing the game to fix disproportionate EXP rewards, it's a hell of a lot simpler to just do away with EXP for (almost?) everything but objective completion.

Edit: a way to reward smart use of a tool might be to have NPCs recognize that and react to it, possibly offer you things for your proficiency.

vb4
4th Sep 2012, 19:08
Like Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (Though thinking on it, there's at least one instance where you are given more xp in a level for being stealthy..)

But yeah. XP given on completing objectives. In fact no, Praxis points given on completing objectives.

How you complete the level be it stealth or aggressive should be its own reward.

Playing aggressively in Human Revo felt like you were hobbling yourself intentionally.


I guess additional objectives might make it more interesting.
Maybe three sets of goals, each set suited to a certain playstyle and you have to get a certain amount of goals done, mixing allowed, to get another Praxis point. (Doesn't have to be divided into "sets" at all, though)
The issue is that this can easily derail into frustration. See 100% synch in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations for a recent example.



Edit: a way to reward smart use of a tool might be to have NPCs recognize that and react to it, possibly offer you things for your proficiency.
So basically something along the lines of Pritchard's Ghandi/Hannibal comment after the first mission?

Jerion
4th Sep 2012, 19:16
So basically something along the lines of Pritchard's Ghandi/Hannibal comment after the first mission?

Yes, though more vivd example might be Quinn in The Missing Link.

chickensnack
16th Sep 2012, 15:38
The biggest issue I had with DX:HR's exp distribution was that if you were to min-max your way through the game, going for full-stealth and non-lethal takedowns was the way to go if you wanted the maximum amount of XP possible minus the explorer bonuses.

Hopefully whatever the next game will be, the devs will more evenly award XP across the board no matter what style you choose to play i.e. lethal vs non-lethal takedowns should award the same xp.

On a side note, lethal takedowns really should be more silent. Sometimes you just want to shank somebody without alerting all his buddies in a mile radius :(

Romeo
17th Sep 2012, 07:11
The problem with any solution based upon whether you kill/don't kill and engage/don't engage an enemy is that it invariably promotes a style of play. Ashpolt already nailed it way earlier: No XP for anything that isn't mission completion or exploration. The reward for doing whatever tactic you chose proficiently? Lack of wasted ammo for the loud killer. Lack of being shot at for the stealthy pacifist. Enemy not looking for you for the sly hacker.

Halo doesn't give me special prizes for being efficient with my ammo. Forza doesn't give me cars for taking my corner clean. Starcraft doesn't provide me vespene gas for using my units to their fullest potential. Expert play should be its own reward.

Dentrick
21st Sep 2012, 01:40
Using XP as a reward...yeah, I'm having trouble opposing Ashpolt's solution. Other ways of doing it inevitably funnel the player towards preset methods for completing the objective rather than encouraging emergent or semi-emergent play-style and strategy. Except for limited exploration bonuses for truly out of the way stuff. Those are almost as impartial.

"Funnel" is the perfect word.

I like to play in all kinds of ways, but I can never get it out of my head that to get the most reward, I have to do X every time, even if it is not my intention to play in the most efficient way. You shouldn't come up with an idea of how you want to play the game and then be stalked by the unshakable feeling that you're being punished.

The game was designed to encourage you to hack everything, even if you know the code, and to knock out everyone and wait forever for your battery to recharge. And then, the augmentations. You develop a list of all the "needs" then the "wants" and then the "Who cares" for the endgame. Why the garbage mods were included, I have no idea. Generally the first ones I get are "access" mods that expand my mobility. Hacking, Lifting, jumping.

I'm saying this as a huge fan: the gameplay could have been designed better.

Someone 'round these parts has suggested that the proper way to play is to complete the mission with Ghost and Smooth Operator then backtrack after you get the XP reward and do as you like. No... just, no.