On the benefits of point buy sysems in cRPGs...

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On the benefits of point buy sysems in cRPGs...

Post by majestic » Wed May 12, 2004 10:39 pm

So, a nice 'discussion' has sprung up recently, so why not make a thread about it.

Point buy in cRPGs is an atrocity and should be abolished IMO. That has nothing to do with 'powergaming' (as I've been accused of having this motivation behind my reasoning).

A good example is IWD2. Plenty of people view point buy as the second coming, but ultimately, why? In IWD2, you could distribute 76 points across the stats.

People keep insisting this is good to stop powergamers. On the other hand, does it improve the roleplaying experience? No, it doesn't, because of the limitations of the (current) games. In pnp, if you want to sacrifice some points to play an intelligent and wise fighter instead of a stupid trashing machine that's OK.

The DM can adapt to that, and, ultimately, there are ways to make it worthwile. In IWD2, the point is moot. Of course, you can still sacrifice 8 (or more) points on INT and WIS, but what is the result?

A wasted party slot. It's great that your character can distribute more skill points across useless skills (really, a fighter in IWD2 has *no* useful class skills). Your fighter will fall short on... fighting, there is no improvisation, there is no terrain to find cover in, there is *no* benefit for the fighter and his ultimate job, chopping things up. The game is governed by BAB, and less STR = less BAB = less fighting abilities.

So, the end result are cookie cutter characters. Take a look at our own NWN and IWD2 fora. Stroll through the "favorite characters" threads. Or at Wanderon's characters.

E.g. Desirra the Damned Female LN human Dreadmaster
str-10
dex- 12
con- 10
int- 12
wis- 18
cha- 14

Now who would've guessed a cleric would end up having 18 WIS, with above average INT and CHA if she's to be the party leader?

Or, here:

Buli the Beast Male LN Sheild Dwarf
Str- 18
dex- 12
con- 18
int- 10
wis-10
cha-8

OH MY! STR/CON 18! What a surprise! I'm baffled!

There's not much variation one can do with 76 points to distribute (or even less, see NWN), let alone build characters that aren't stereotypical, without them being a waste, especially in a hack and slash game like IWD2.

All limited point buy does is limiting character builds to stereotypes, or, if you don't follow that, headaches and not having fun in the game. It's all about the limitations of current CRPGs.

So, rant over.
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Post by Runenklinge » Wed May 12, 2004 10:44 pm

for me point-buy is the lesser evil,because if presented with a random number generator I just keep on rolling until I have max stats.


in IWD1,even my mages had Str 18 Dex 18 Con 16

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Post by Phosphor » Wed May 12, 2004 10:49 pm

But when you roll, there are inevitably 18 STR fighters and 18 WIS clerics. So there's no difference there between the two methods. The only possible difference is that point buy will mean that stat will be exceptional at the expense of other stats, while die rolling can mean it's one of many exceptional stats.

To use IWD2 as the example, you don't need 18's in prime stats, so a more varied character is possible (particularly when combined with skills and feats), and so no two like-classed characters need to be the same. Now take BG for example - it uses die rolling but all fighters are going to be the same (all STR/DEX/CON). There's no variety at all.
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Post by majestic » Wed May 12, 2004 10:54 pm

Phosphor wrote:But when you roll, there are inevitably 18 STR fighters and 18 WIS clerics. So there's no difference there between the two methods. The only possible difference is that point buy will mean that stat will be exceptional at the expense of other stats, while die rolling can mean it's one of many exceptional stats.
Only if you allow for multiple rolls, or redistributing your stats.
To use IWD2 as the example, you don't need 18's in prime stats, so a more varied character is possible (particularly when combined with skills and feats)
In theory, yes. In IWD2, just tell me, how many useful feats are there, e.g. for fighters that would make different builds viable in the confined world they're applied in? Not even DEX-based fighting is 'viable' in IWD2, because utlimately you'll end up making no damage against the insane DR of your enemies.
and so no two like-classed characters need to be the same. Now take BG for example - it uses die rolling but all fighters are going to be the same (all STR/DEX/CON). There's no variety at all.
BG2 (or any IE games, for that matter) are limited. That was my point, dice rolling either forces you to make varied chars. Imagine BG2 with point buy, and a max of 76 stat points...
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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 12, 2004 11:08 pm

my characters in iwd2 were much more varied than the ones in bgs and iwd (especially with the feats and skills coming into play). many of my characters don't have 18s or 17s in their prime stats, i even start spell casters with 15s and 16s very often and it isn't a problem. when you figure in the multiclassing the characters diversity was so much greater but this isn't really relevant as we're talking point buy versus rolling.

it goes both ways
you want examples, there

Ehfin Dinaahl female half elf paladin
str:12
dex: 15
con: 11
int: 12
wis: 12
cha: 14

Odrie Fulh female half orc druid
str:13
dex: 10
con: 10
int: 13
wis: 14
cha: 14

Sheidine Benolk feale half orc sorcerer /(barbarian 2)
str:17
dex: 13
con: 10
int: 13
wis: 7
cha: 14
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Post by majestic » Wed May 12, 2004 11:15 pm

And those... things were 'fun' to play in IWD2? At times I was pulling my hair out with the game, and that was with powergamed chars, let alone tanks that have 12STR. :?

edit:

BTW, while those chars may be varied, they're still a mid-range stat mishmash. Well, I guess it depends on the take one has. Without exceptionally high (and low) stats one doesn't have to improvise much while roleplaying.

We (as in our PnP) group had plenty of fun with our INT 5 Half-Orc Barbarian. I doubt anyone would point buy his way to that.
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Post by Silverbow » Wed May 12, 2004 11:34 pm

Point buy = teh suxxor

It kills roleplaying - want an intelligent cleric capable of carrying his armor? Forget that! Want a wise rogue? Forget that! Want a fighter that is not retarded? Forget that!

:roll:
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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 12, 2004 11:44 pm

they were lots of fun the last is even the most fun character i had

how many people wouldn't reroll if their character comes up with 66 points in a crpg. if you take away the ability to reroll you just have people restarting character creation so it's all the same just less comfortable

i remember when i made my first party in iwd and didn't realize i could play around with the stats, they died so quicklyso many times it was almost tragic

in a pnp game the dm can adjust to whatever stats the charactrs have, in a crpg there is no way of knowing what they'll be so making it point buy allows for some balance
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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 12, 2004 11:46 pm

Silverbow wrote:Point buy = teh suxxor

It kills roleplaying - want an intelligent cleric capable of carrying his armor? Forget that! Want a wise rogue? Forget that! Want a fighter that is not retarded? Forget that!

:roll:

want to powergame with all 18s forget that
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Post by majestic » Wed May 12, 2004 11:48 pm

Ewen Brown wrote:in a crpg there is no way of knowing what they'll be so making it point buy allows for some balance
At the price of stat variety, which was my point entirely. :?
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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 12, 2004 11:50 pm

yes but will this stat variety ever be for less points than the point buy
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Post by Silverbow » Wed May 12, 2004 11:51 pm

In case that anybody doubts it kills RP, I played the same theme party in both BG2 and IWD2... compare the stats and ye'll see how much does point buy limit RP...

Char #1 - berseker(BG2)/barbarian(IWD2)
BG2 stats: 18/18/18/8/13/15
IWD2 stats: 18/14/18/6/10/10

Char #2 - kensai/fighter
BG2: 18/18/18/11/16/9
IWD2: 18/16/18/8/12/4

Char #3 - swashbuckler/rogue
BG2: 15/19/16/18/15/18
IWD2: 8/16/12/18/8/14

Char #4 - monk/monk
BG2: 18/18/18/11/9/16
IWD2: 18/14/16/8/14/6

Char #5 - priest of Lathander/painbearer of Ilmater
BG2: 16/18/16/16/18/16
IWD2: 10/10/14/12/18/12

Char #5 - sorceress/sorceress
BG2: 14/18/16/18/16/16
IWD2: 8/12/12/14/12/18


:roll: :roll: :roll:
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Post by Runenklinge » Wed May 12, 2004 11:51 pm

Ewen Brown wrote:in a pnp game the dm can adjust to whatever stats the charactrs have, in a crpg there is no way of knowing what they'll be so making it point buy allows for some balance
Of course you could avoid this making CRPGs less stat focused (read: combat heavy),but that would of course force companies to improve on other points,i.e. storyline,or (OMG!) puzzle solving

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Post by Ewen Brown » Wed May 12, 2004 11:53 pm

we could only hope

ofs pete, point buy stands in the way of you having munchkin characters that truly sucks
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Post by Silverbow » Wed May 12, 2004 11:56 pm

Ewen Brown wrote:ofs pete, point buy stands in the way of you having munchkin characters that truly sucks
Munchkin??? How does a 15 CHA make a fighter "munchkin"??? Why is my rogue forced to suddenly turn dumb??? Why must my monk be uncharismatic??? Geez, you're so dumb it hurts. :roll:
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