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ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal • View topic - Replace escorts with an EoR-like system

ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 6:04 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 931
Escorts are one of the most obnoxious things in this game. Escorts make me rage even more than one-shot deaths. It's no coincidence that there are numerous addons intended to make the system more tolerable. Embers of Rage introduced the yeti tissue system, which is a straight improvement to the old escort rewards. So why not replace escorts in AoA with a similar system?

It doesn't need to be super fancy. Create some macguffins that players can collect from consistent locations in the campaign, possibly from killing certain bosses that already exist in the campaign. Create some location where players can exchange the macguffins for rewards. It could just be a new shop with a "collector of curiosities" or something like that. The important thing is that the system rewards players for killing enemies--the primary objective of the whole game--not protecting feeble, brain-damaged NPCs.

If the old system is being kept around just because of achievements, that's no problem either. Just keep giving escorts, but have them reward the player with some gold or a random item after being rescued. The talent and stat rewards would be migrated to the new system.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 6:17 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:46 pm
Posts: 743
i stronlgly disagree, as i like the current system.
and yes i like EoR system too.

i think both have their advantages, escort is a nice change of pace considering they're not "too" common, and when found on a difficult level are really satisfying to save.
EoR system where you can choose whatever you want is good for the campaign with one less cat point and less opportunity for gear, escort randomness are well suited for AoA. being able to choose chants/augmented mobility/tinker every time would be a big no. Escort already arguably give too much currently.

i also disagree with the reasoning that a lot of addon for them means they need a change. how many hulk-like addons are there ? we should probably add 10 cat point and prod points according to that logic.

escorts are not supposed to be guaranteed save, and personnaly i'd say it's easier than intended to save them, but DG stated several times the goal was to save ~50% and that the stat showed ~50% of them were saved so.


(also i want to thanks my alch escort in Kor'pul 2 for killing the snake rare i couldn't hit on one of my Krog CoE run, i would have had to leave without him)

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 6:32 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
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Cheat addons exist because some people don't want to spend time learning the game, but still want to whore Steam achievements or whatever. That's a totally separate issue. Escort addons exist because: 1) it's more or less universally accepted that escort AI is terrible, and 2) it makes character build options random in a game where they're otherwise deterministic.

Most people don't want to get to level 40 only to realize they can't make the build they wanted to play because RNG. That's not the same as random loot because you get enough loot throughout the course of the game to make any build work, and the item vault exists if you absolutely need something you didn't find. And then there's the issue of getting the escort you need, but the brain-dead AI decided to run into a room with 3 rares and immediately die. Or it gets one-shot by an AoE, even when it's standing behind you. Being able to multi-class through escort rewards is a very cool thing. Having it gated behind RNG nonsense is not.

I would be totally fine with the number of rewards being reduced to 4 or whatever it is in EoR.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 6:50 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 6166
People make character builds based around getting a free talent or two?
Or are we pretending that Worldly Knowledge doesn't exist?

I like a bit of randomness in my character builds. Everything else in the game is a little bit random, so I don't see why my builds shouldn't be. I want Adventure, not Spreadsheet.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 7:03 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 931
I like being able to design my character, not having it randomly determined. Maybe I come from a different school of thought than the average player, but I thought this attitude was more common. There's plenty of randomness in the game without it controlling which talents you can have. Random enemies, random loot, random zone layouts, etc. Worldly Knowledge exists, but let's not kid ourselves that it's a competitive option compared to another prodigy that will double your damage or whatever. I would only consider Worldly Knowledge if I needed the unlock without a category point.

My complaint is more about unlocking categories rather than just getting a free point in a talent. A free talent is (usually) less build-defining.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 10:14 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:46 pm
Posts: 743
to me playing the game is about making the most out of the random stuff (loot, talents) you get.

it's about playing differently because you get different things in each playthrough.

if you want a specific build, adventurer and worldly knowledge exist. or EoR :p

Edit cause i somehow didn't read everything :
i'd argue Worldly Knowledge is more build defining than "+50STR lol" for example. And if the power of Worldy Knowledge is an issue, then i'd argue you don't want to "make a specific build" but rather have the best things available on demand. escort addons exist because people don't wanna learn how to save them.

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 11:46 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1517
Eh, I just play with escorts enhanced these days. Gives 'em some regen and has them stick close to you instead of lemming themselves into the unknown. Saved (and.lost) probably hundreds of escorts with the vanilla system and it's... fine. Not great, but you get used to it. Just often more frustrating than I find enjoyable, and it's nice to have the option to not deal with the frustrating aspects. Probably kinda' prefer something like that is regulated to add-ons, really... I like options like that more than set in stone game design, yeh.

Even with enhanced escorts get killed plenty often, though. There's basically sod all you can do when a shiv elemental drops vapor on top of an early escort in bear forest or whatever, heh.

Still, I could see someone expanding enhanced into a randboss rando style difficulty slider thing. Switch for AI behavior (vanilla suicide lemming, enhanced baseline, maybe something in between), setting for regen amount and personal firepower, maybe something to drop more enemies in ala storm events... spice things up, give full control to the player as to what sort of experience they want to deal with. Might be nice.

All that said, AoA escorts are definitely hella' more interesting than EoR yetis. Minibosses that sit on their arse, always in the same places, always barely a consideration as to "do I fight this" is just... somewhat boring, honestly. Escorts keep you on your toes, add behavior and scenarios that are pretty different from the normal stuff you deal with, etc. If they weren't quite so far down the flimsy suicidal lemming path, it'd be straight up good stuff rather than just okay.

E: Though it does occur to me that alternate escorts could be a thing, ala alt zones. Treasure goblins, anyone? Super speedy high dodge or decent health critters on a timer that bolt the second they see you :P

If you want it similarly themed they could be thieves on the run or somethin'.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 9:12 pm 
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Uruivellas

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 10:21 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:32 am
Posts: 166
I also use Escorts Enhanced. Escorts can still die, but at least they won't do stuff like stand in an acid bath doing nothing and get brainlessly melted. You can also make them follow you rather than rush to their deaths into a mob of enemies. Sure some purists might consider it cheating, but unless you're trying to impress the toxic gatekeepers with a "legit" madness win, a la Tradewind, no one cares. Play the game the way you enjoy. I think this add-on does a nice job of giving you more tactical control over the success or failure of your escorts. I find playing with this on insane, I usually succeed on T1 escorts, and others are doable with some careful planning, though of course there is always some luck involved.

If you want a certain build that needs an escort category, you can also just use the addon that lets you choose some or all of your escorts. I think the choose first escort addon is not up to date, so I use Select Your Escorts and just choose the first one and let the rest be random, but you can choose them all if you want. Or you could just restart until you get the one you want, if you feel that using such an addon is distasteful, but IMO the addon just saves you the time.

Having played without the addons (in 1.5 not 1.6) as well, I do agree that the difficulty of escort quests often coming from escorts being unreasonably stupid was unsatisfying. In 1.5 at least, you could use tricks like blocking their path while you wait for your heal skill to recharge, but that felt gimmicky. I'm fine if the goal is that 50% of escorts get saved on average, but it would be nice if this challenge was created in a more interesting fashion.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 11:41 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 931
I actually made the Select First Escort addon. It was out of date for a while because I was taking a break from the game, but it should be working correctly now.

And yeah, addons like that do make things a bit better. But I wish I didn't need things like this. It feels like a bandaid on an annoying minigame in what's otherwise a really great game. It's like the Sokoban minigame in NetHack, a pointless diversion from the main gameplay loop that frustrates me and wastes my time when I encounter it. Sure, I could just ignore it, but I'm penalized for doing so. A player that cares about winning will go through all the bullshit to gain that extra edge, despite the aggravation. It's better to just design the game in such as way that a player isn't incentivized to do annoying things.


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 3:02 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1517
That'd mean getting rid of the sandworm lair entirely, it's about ten million times more aggravating than escorts diving headfirst into zone bosses or whatever :lol:

Seriously tho', so long as the game's winnable without them (and it is, you can murder every single escort and dodge the lair entirely and still win easily enough), irritating but interesting or divergent-from-normal-gameplay stuff can be pretty okay, even if there's incentive to do it. Neat stuff is neat, and so long as the aggravation can be sidestepped somehow or another, I'd generally prefer to see the neat stuff rather than not. Super optimized gameplay loops tend to be bloody boring if you're not super into whatever the loop is. Variety and spices an' junk, or somethin' like that.


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 4:41 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 8:13 pm
Posts: 2004
Location: A shallow water area south of Bree

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 5:05 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:15 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:46 pm
Posts: 743

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You can go for a compilation of everything I wrote, plus some other important stuff!

Includes general guides (inscriptions, zone, prodigies), and class guides (Demo, Anorithil, Bulwark, Zerker, Sblade)


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 7:08 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 931
@Cath
I'm not trying to be condescending, but I'd bet money that at least 90% of the Hulk & Co. players are just trying to get achievements. If the game didn't have achievements, you wouldn't see many people using these god-mode addons. People that just wanted to win the game without trying that hard would play Exploration mode or Easy difficulty.


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