Suggestion: Reduce the number of combat encounters

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale Total Conversion' started by swapoer, Apr 2, 2018.

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  1. swapoer

    swapoer Member

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    English is not my native language. You are warned.

    As an old CO8 forum lurker, I am very thankful for the ongoing effort of mod authors. I finish the original TOEE game with CO8 installed and tried the KOTB demo soon after in 2008. I replayed the CO8 and KOTB mod at around 2014. Last weekend, I read about that Temple + mod was out and running, so I downloaded TOEE from GOG and gave it another try. Your work is not without appreciating followers.


    With that been said, I am about to give my personal suggestion about the IWD mod with Temple + installed.


    IWD has too many filler encounter for a turn based tactical game. The goblins horde in the Kuldahar Pass was especially troubling. It was not just that there were too many goblin encounters but also that I could hardly stop for a moment to save my game before another goblin far away started another fight.

    After I killed all goblins within my line of sight and the battle was ended, there was always another goblin in the fog of war who started another battle just a few seconds later.

    Another weird thing is that enemy in the fog of war did not join the battle together. For example, an enemy in fog of war took part in the battle and run toward me, but this enemy’s comrade who was standing right next to him did not join the battle immediately as if he was blind to what happened around him.


    I have no idea why enemy in fog of war came at me without seeing me. Due to this reason, I had to kill all goblins in the pass in two or three pro long battles. And it seems to me that the game has a limit of how many enemies who can participate in a battle, which can explain why some enemies within line of sight did not join battle.


    In this current state, the mod is too much a chore to play. The original IWD:EE has this problem too, that is, too many no brain filler encounters. Playing IWD in turn based just makes this problem prominent.


    My personal suggestion is reusing the maps and story of IWD, but redesigning the encounters placement. A sparser encounter placed over the map would be a great improvement, such as decreasing the number of goblins in Kuldahar Pass and placing them in clusters rather than the continuing line which players have to fight through. A more sophisticate way would be redesign battle encounters all together which would require a little more work and if it was done right, it would offer a better experience.


    Another thing I noticed is that IWD had many small room encounters which didn’t work well in TOEE engine, since the required distance between creatures were bigger in TOEE. A fight in a small room is too crammed and hard to navigate. My suggestion is to eliminate such battles if they are not essential, such as the fight in the tower of Kuldahar Pass.


    PS: I don’t activate the alert of enemy in Temple + Configure during my play.
     
  2. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

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    Hello Swapoer - your English is much better than some Americans :p

    I've never used Temple+ so I am curious why your suggestion was written "suggestion about the IWD mod with Temple + installed"

    Does Temple+ really change the game dynamics?

    Wouldn't the game play be basically the same without Temple+ installed?

    But for me, I would like to see IWD converted "as is" because this is already a large project to do and the time needed to tweak each map's encounters into something different and still keep the XP and level progression unchanged would take time away from the overall progress of the conversion.
     
  3. swapoer

    swapoer Member

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    Well, Temple + adds many new classes, fixes, improvements and 1920 x 1080 resolution support. I believe the author of Temple + is also involved in the IWD mod. Both mods are claimed to be compatible with each other, IIRC.

    I think it is better to specific my installation in case there is some unknown weird thing introduced by Temple +, such as the AI behavior of random monsters in fog of war joining an ended battle.

    In the case of too many encounter, I believe it is not an issue of Temple +. But the weird AI behavior does make this problem worse by extending the battle until your party has killed all the enemies in the same area. I think I killed all the goblins, about 30 to 40 goblins, in the open ground of the Kuldahar Pass in two or three battles. It took me nearly one hour without stop, sine the game never gave me a break.


    Personally, I think the motivation behind IWD mod is to increase the interest in TOEE engine and to bring more people into the mod community, so it is possible to see IWD II/BG I/BG II mod in the far future. Aside from this, I believe the mod authors would want that their work is played and appreciated by a wide audience, which requires the mod to be enjoyable. An “as is” state could not offer a good enough experience. Secondly, I have looked through the discussion during the forming stage of IWD mod and the author said that the XP reward of original IWD was different than the XP reward of DND 3E and even after implementation of a -40% XP penalty in IWD mod, players still leveled more faster than the original IWD. So, the author has to balance the XP reward one way or another at the first place. Finally, it would require little effort to reduce the number of combat encounter. Simply deleting some repeatedly encounters or the number of monsters should be easy enough.
     
  4. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    The IWD mod is attempting to recreate a much loved game in a more tactical D&D turn based engine. Removing enemies would upset some purists for sure.

    The XP reduction was implemented to match the approximate level experienced during identical plays through both games. IWD used the ADnD 2nd edition ruleset, anf ToEE used 3.5, there was always going an issue with the XP, but I believe the XP is awarded at approximately the same level as the original.

    I kept the original IWD game's monster placements in the IWD ToEE mod, I did add waypoints for most monsters to wander around. This was intended to challenge the player, turning a simple battle through an area infested with weak Goblin enemies into a battle of attrition, with every additional fight, PC resources, healing spells and potions become scarce, and resting is only possible in the Ogre's tower who himself is a deadly foe.

    It's unfortunate you found the Goblin encounters irritating, the waypoint setup was intended to make the area more tactically challenging, adding a random element to the Goblins movements, and making thier movements (or lack thereof) less predictable.
     
  5. swapoer

    swapoer Member

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    I am playing an IWD total conversion mod of Neverwinter night 2 now, which currently has 11,950 unique downloads in the nexus site. Other download sites for this mod should be moddb and neverwinternightvault. I am no 100% certain if the moddb hosts mods of NWN 2. This number may be a reference figure for you.


    Another thing I noticed about is that they listed “Sothis B” for his/her contribution of “IE conversation conversion tool” in the credit list. The same name appears in the BG 1 total conversion mod of nwn 2 too. Maybe you could try establish a contact with that person for utilizing his/her conversion tool to save some time in this project.


    Back to the topic.

    I don’t remember how many monsters there are in the IWD:Enhanced Edition. This nwn 2 mod has about 8 less orcs than your demo in the orc cave. The point is I don’t think it is really necessary to convert the game as pure as possible. Combat in Turn based tactical game is always more time consuming than Real Time With Pause, so most turn based games would have less but more sophisticate combats.


    With that being said, it is still your work and your decision. I am simply expressing my opinions as one player.
     
  6. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    Thanks for your feedback Swapeor, knowing what the fans want certainly helps with the modding.

    For the record I agree with Al's choices, and also agree that if we started reducing the number of fights people would complain. But yes, it's a very combat-heavy game to be sure - I hadn't played it before starting the mod (I've played mos t of the EE version now) and don't see it as anywhere near as good as BG. I much prefer sensible quests and conversations and the occasional challenging combat rather than endless war. In D&D, anyway.
     
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