Qt3 Games Podcast: Just Cause 4, Driftland, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Taaaaax collector!

-Tom

I’m melting

OK Jason Pathfinder went to the top of my Steam summer sale wishlist.

I hope you like it! I’ve had a great time with it so far

After hearing the discussion about Driftland and Majesty I was reminded of this:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/97110/Kohan_Immortal_Sovereigns/

You can consider this a vote for the Wednesday stream. I’m curious if it holds up.

Be wary. Jason might not have gone far into the game. I loved it initally too but then it started throwing trash fights at me again and again, as in similar battles with no interesting problems. And with a complex system like this it has surprisingly lot of silver bullets: almost every class has a buff that it can cast before or just in the battle that will be universally good and work in almost every circumstances. Thus the whole game turned into deciding whether it’s time to use buffs before I autoattack my enemies and reloading if I’m wrong. And the game is packed with those straightforward boring fights.

But you run a kingdom - and it has a roguelike built into it! And 50% off!

Can’t argue with that.

Mind that roguelike part is a DLC - Beneath The Stolen Lands.

Thanks for the heads up - I’ll probably get distracted by something else before I get sick of the trash mobs!

There’s nothing to “be wary” about. PFKM is the best game of its kind since BG2. The developers have stood behind their game 110%, constantly updating and improving it. It’s absolutely fantastic.

So is what I wrote wrong or you don’t mind main gameplay consisting of doing exactly the same thing over and over?

Shooters! You just shoot people over and over again! Racing games! You just drive on a track faster than the other drivers repeatedly!

Aww, you guys are being a bit unfair. We’ve all played games that felt like there was a bunch of uninspired padding to draw out the playing time. @alekseivolchok’s observation sounds like that might be the case with Kingmaker over the long run. I’ve certainly played my fair share of RPGs in which I developed the attitude of “oh god, not another pointless battle…!”

And if there are tuning issues with “silver bullets”, like he mentions, that would make them feel all the more pointless. I have to say the three full screens of DIY difficulty settings doesn’t inspire me that the developers have much of a grasp on how to tune their game.

You can change all that stuff at any point in the game, and it’s even in the rogue-like. What kind of rogue-like asks me to make a choice on a drop-down bar to determine enemy stats, move a slider to set a damage multiplier, and check a box to determine whether my kingdom is invincible? Ugh.

On the plus side, it was kind of cool to immediately meet characters from the Pathfinder card game. Hey, it’s Amiri! I know her!

-Tom

I totally forgot the difficulty options were going to give Tom an aneurysm.

I just closed my eyes, counted to ten, and took a series of deep breaths. Then I put the difficulty on “Challenging” and stayed away from those settings except to take screenshots for this thread. So far, so good.

But my point is that any developer who abdicates that much responsibility for tuning probably doesn’t have a very good sense for filler vs. content. :(

-Tom

I think a lot of it is a result of coming from a pen and paper background where DMs fudging the rules to make sure everyone is having fun is the norm, not the exception. The huge number of options is there for people who expect to be able to get the kind of game they want. For different people that can mean strict encumbrance, but weak death penalties. Others will want hardcore friendly fire, but have no interest in managing the Kingdom. This is just a substitute for the kind of negotiation that players would have with a live DM.

To Tom’s point: who I thought were the best DMs never negotiated.

I’ve never played a tabletop RPG in which I tell the DM how many hit points a kobold has, whether my encumbrance should have any gameplay impact, or that all my attacks will get a +3 because I don’t like missing when I attack. That said, I understand your point and I still think it’s an abdication of the developer’s job. They’re asking me to do the work they couldn’t be bothered to do.

Wait, are you trolling me? Am I really that easy? Don’t answer that question.

-Tom

And I always thought you were the one trolling us on this matter!

Indeed, “not another pointless battle” was my eventual reaction to PFKM. At first I was surprised by how vibrant and varied it is. Most of the first chapter is interesting adventure where the only battles that feel pointless were random encounters. And you can skip them with a skillcheck. Every location was as big as it needed to be, with meaningful fights. Character improvement was interesting, I got new abilities and new party members that changed the way I play. I was wondering why don’t I hear more about this game.

Then by the end of Chapter 1, you get into a big dungeon. And it’s full of spiders. I think some of them are stronger spiders but the fact is that you spend an hour fighting identical packs of 3 spiders in identical rooms. Then you’re back to the good stuff, ending of chapter 1 was great. But then it turned out that every location you visit from now on is either a “room” with a single encounter (more often than not it’s a lair of some creature) or huge plain with the same enemies again and again.

Right after playing it just for two chapters (which took around 20 hours) I loaded Chrono Trigger PC remaster and was amazed how people in the '90s could fill a 5 mb cartridge with unique monsters and each fight takes some planning - it’s not mind-blowing but it’s entertaining.

Now I have to say that I was playing on Normal. Developers themselves say on forums that Normal is intended to be a challenge for someone familiar with the genre and many people complain about it being too hard. Some players also say that default stats for many enemies are inflated compared to the original tabletop module. Perhaps playing Pillars of Eternity 2 had made me too strong and I should have taken higher difficulty. But I don’t know the roleplaying system and with all the complexity and ability to reroll your characters. Now with a recent Enhanced Edition they’ve added character reroll so I can actually try to experiment with characters instead of going for the safest boring options. And I have some hope that higher difficulty turns a boring hour of mindless spider smashing into exciting two hours of mindful spider smashing. Who knows?

Would love to see Tom streaming it. Pretty sure he will have fun with it at least for several hours.