Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Pathfinder: Kingmaker

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65 Hours in: What disrupts the experience for me, and some possible solutions
While I see so much promise in this game and its development team, when I look beyond fixable bugs, there are a number of core elements that frustrate me. Parts of the game are easy, parts of it are hard, and parts of it are needlessly cumbersome. When I say needlessly cumbersome, I mean: this creates an in game nuisance and there are rules/features in D&D(3.5)/PRD that already address these issues.
I’ve broken this into three sections: Core Issues; Cumbersome Issues; General Grips.
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Core Issue: Management/Loading
I believe that 5-10% of my total experience with this game has been spent at load screens; I believe that 50% of all load screens have been encountered through the kingdom management/throne room interface. I have simple solutions that would reduce half of this problem:
1. Place a copy of every merchant inside the throne room.
2. From the throne room (or my bedroom) give me an exit option that leads directly to the outside world (not the town).
3. Allow me to do “throne room” interactions within the same interface as the kingdom management. By all means, restrict this option unless I am physically there, but the movement back and forth between interfaces each punctuated by an excessive load time makes me want to scream. None of my experience would be lessened by seeing a character portrait rather than a 3D icon of a petitioner, and it would allow me to navigate through the kingdom management phases with minimal disruption.

Core issue: My Cities feel like parasites (I want a symbiotic relationship)
I have more than 50 hours into the game and I realize my settlements have a parasitic relationship with me. I give to them, but there is no discernable reward that I (as the leader of a party) can derive from them. Adding features does not appear to change the items that my merchants stock, nor the costs that I pay for them. Quite the contrary, I find myself constantly investing in build points because the merchants do not carry items that I would consider buying. I’m feeling tension: I want to encounter more story elements as they develop, but, I don’t have any “love” for my cities, as they don’t “support me” in a tangible way. When they provide benefits, they are provided to the region, almost never the expedition parties. There are some exceptions to this, but my general statement stands.
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Cumbersome Problems (Game Rules vs Pen & Paper)
Problem: ensuring that you have food to rest;
Pen & Paper solution: cast goodberry or create food.

Problem: spending a long period of actual time moving across the map;
Pen & Paper solution: cast a teleport spell (with a mishap possibility) to immediately move across the map. By all means, restrict teleportation to my cities.

Problem: selecting weapon specific feats and never finding the appropriate magical equipment;
Pen & Paper solution: buy a custom magic item (e.g. +2 bastard sword) from a local merchant provided the costs to not exceed the location’s capital capacities.

Problem: arcane casters lack spells which would be situationally appropriate for a reason;
Pen & Paper solution: nearly every scroll is purchasable from an appropriate magic shop. By extension, being able to purchase fully charged wands (especially when a campaign is GRINDY and you constantly need to heal or remove the effects of poison, stat drain, etc – especially when there are constraints placed on the number of times that a party can rest) is essential to preparation.

Problem: I am constantly failing a skill check that I should be able to make.
Pen & Paper solution: “I take 10”. There are many low risk skills that you never need to involve a random number generator in the solving of. Doing so, especially in a game where 90% of magic items must be found, entices the player to constantly reload saves, when their failure had nothing to do with their skill/foresight.

Problem: I cannot find the location of a missing item (that I have part of)
Pen & Paper solution: I cast locate object and it points me to the areas in the map where I could find... I don't know, one of those 10 or so ring fragments? I view most of the partial items as sunk costs at this point because there are so many pieces and I cant remember which places I already found their parts in. Without some additional cues, this is a part of the game that I will just not engage with.
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Gripe: In order to secure ample resources for the town development, I am forced to grab as many items as I can reasonably carry, which I then sell for ¼ (as opposed to the PRD/D&D standard of ½). This regularly forces me to take on encumbrance which I cannot adequately plan against because the designers have both restricted my access to bags of holding and dramatically reduced their capacities (by a factor of 10). I already play the game of avoiding armor when looting, but I am still slowed dramatically when I carry items for resale – I could entirely plan against this, if you would let me.

Gripe: The cost of the feast is absurd. I think I triggered a change in state by running a deficit of 33 BP. I didn’t dignify that 1000BP cost (literally, more than it would take to build a new city from scratch), instead I turned on cheat engine and added the points. How could you possibly justify this number? It defies logic – it’s off by an order of magnitude. I could understand the expense getting incrementally worse as the situation deteriorates (100gp per step, or ![number of steps] as a total cost). This would punish the player for inattentiveness, while not being utterly prohibitive to the point where it will never function as a viable solution.
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To the Owlcat team. I have the utmost respect for what you have accomplished, and I really want to support your future endeavors. I absolutely love so many parts of this game; I accept that some bugs are essential at launch, and I am doing my best to report every one that I encounter. With that said, there are certain aspects of this game that actively disrupt my experience of the rich content you’ve generated. My god I loved the goblin party; I love the alignment system/options; I enjoy half of the characters (which is so much better than most games). I recognize that player visions can often be at odds with developer visions. I mean to describe the elements that have gotten in the way of my experience, which I don’t think are core to the experience you’ve set up for me.

On the topic of item customization (e.g. +1 Longbow of Dragon Bane), a core place of pleasure for me in games is understanding the situation I'm walking into and being able to plan against it. Tailoring items (especially when skill allocation is less flexible) is an essential part of this experience for me. If the game gets two easy, I raise the difficulty -- but the item customization (planning it, working within character constraints) is a wonderful pleasure. Hell, if you wanted to charge me more for custom items and make me wait while they were built, I would not begrudge you.

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After putting some more time into the game, I came up with a throne room specific set of recommendations. My goal here was to focus on low cost solutions that would dramatically improve quality of life. If folks are interested in them, here's a link https://steamcommunity.com/app/640820/discussions/0/3335371283862321766/
Last edited by JungleJollies[]; Oct 10 @ 7:15pm
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Showing 1-15 of 71 comments
iCECORE Oct 7 @ 1:55pm 
Or a way to cache the last few areas you visited. So it just loads instantly.
Trip Oct 7 @ 2:07pm 
You have allot of really good feedback for the DEVs on some much needed QoL improvments. Great post.
Devs arent infallible, they are just people after all. The caveat to this though, is that sometimes the Devs "Vision" of there game is, to put it bluntly, crap. Ive seen a lot of devs on steam over the years use the " its ma vision!" excuse to tank there own game into insolvency.

I can only assume that the publisher forced them to release in such a sorry state, which bespeaks to the relative worthlessness of nublet publishers.
A good constructive post! +1
Solid suggestions one and all. Nicely stated.
Love the suggestions. Agree about loading in kingdom management especially. Definitely would support for a craftsman to build custom weapons/armor for the items you want and can't find.
Lethe Oct 7 @ 2:49pm 
great post. lets keep this visible for devs
Please do! The massive ammount of loading screens are going to make me die of old age. Wonderful post!
Buuump!
Hoogie Oct 7 @ 3:05pm 
Bravo, but nothing can save this game..;

HE is a fail a ♥♥♥♥ing BIG FAIL !!

After played 30 hours total, with 3 differnet caracters, 3 different choice in loyalty ( to see the real liberty ingame )

I cry, i rage, i m dispointted...

i dislike this game, not in first, but after bugs,crash corurpted saves, false good ideas, manage a kingdom serious in RPG ?? explain me interest, i want to play RPG not Tropico.

No keyboard localization
Need press F5 fast save after every actions fight or out fight.

Rest time..Travel time..Loading time..Crash Time..Restart Save TIme...jsut from private room+court+town = btw 50/1minutes loading times..so first hour not problem but after 10 hours, you want just put hammer in screen..and i play SSD..

All is do, for a false life time ingame...without all this time e you finish game in 20 hours..

Can we say: Scam on life time for this game ??

I feel to play on a pre-alpha game.

so..anyway...another big dispoint about hype..
Last edited by Hoogie; Oct 7 @ 3:06pm
At my time of reading this, I have about double OP's play time. I agree with 100% of OP's criticisms, and could not have expressed them better if I had tried. Dev team, if you get wind of this, PLEASE try to make these things priorities once the gamebreakers have been resolved. My initial response to this game was primarily negative, but having dug in, I'm finding I really enjoy it. With some of the QoL enhancements described by OP, this could easily be GOTY for me (assuming CDPR doesn't deliver me a Cyberpunk wet dream this year).

Seriously - take this to heart, this is the criticism you need to hear and the improvements you need to make.
Yea almost all of that needs to be done.
+1, but if for whatever reason I could only pick one it would have to be the throne room quality of life improvements.
lemurs2 Oct 7 @ 9:44pm 
Excellent pot, these are great selections, although I think Owlcat may be trying to create a low magic campaign.
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