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Replaying Arcanum as a serious gunslinger. Just got out of the bloody annoying mine (you know the one) and on my way to Australia.

I had fun sniping the kites in the mine. I was so far away from them that no gunshot was produced.

Of course, I had a little help from a certain canine. I originally wanted to do solo but it's bloody impossible. And beating seething mass require luck more than skill.
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muhammad_a: And beating seething mass require luck more than skill.
If you can craft it, the Rifled Cannon makes pretty short work of them.
it doesnt require luck, just Haste potions and molotovs/spiketraps.

regardless of how magical it is, an explosion right beside it will still hurt it, same with boobytraps. you dont have to actually hit it, just get the thing into a corner and spam grenades at the ground beside it
Post edited November 16, 2012 by Marrik
a coworker and I were discussing this by accident just the other day. He asked me how I felt about the trope Linear Warrior, Quadratic Wizard in rpgs, whereas Warrior type characters start the game very easily but Wizard type characters take much more investment to get good and are as difficult in the beginning as they are powerful in the end

just before this we were talking about Arcanum, a fantasy world entering its Industrial Revolution, and it occurred to me that perhaps it wasnt a question of poor balancing by Troika but that in the world of Arcanum and a world used to magick but now just learning the applications of technology we then have the Linear Wizard, Quadratic Technologist?
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GRV: ... it occurred to me that perhaps it wasnt a question of poor balancing by Troika but that in the world of Arcanum and a world used to magick but now just learning the applications of technology we then have the Linear Wizard, Quadratic Technologist?
It's not a bad theory. The only problem with it is that there never seems to be a point in the game in which a technologist out-competes the equivalent level of mage.

Even a 100% TA dwarf in Iron Clan armour, toting a pyrotechnic axe and a functional Droch's Warbringer, isn't really a match for an elf with 100% MA and mastery of Dark Necro.* Harm at maximum effectiveness, for two fatigue points a throw? Game over.

The problem is that the game's basic premise remains somewhat nerfed: Troika folded before getting the chance to tweak the balance, and modders like Drog Black Tooth have (rightly, IMO) been reluctant to over-fix what isn't theirs. What results is more along the lines of Linear Warrior, Quadratic Technologist, Cubic Wizard.

And that's fine. If the game gets too easy with a given play style, you have a number of built-in handicaps available, including playing as a pure technologist, a halfling warrior, Donn Throgg's not-so-charismatic cousin, an "I can't brain today; I has the dumb" idiot (or idiot savant), or even a clumsy half-ogre thief.

*When facing the equivalent in-game foe. I'll grant you that in a PvP situation (if Arcanum had one) the dwarf's effective magic immunity gives him the upper hand. But if the mage has enough healing/fatigue potions and any sort of decent weapon of his own, we're pretty much back to a stalemate.
Post edited March 04, 2013 by TwoHandedSword
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TwoHandedSword: The problem is that the game's basic premise remains somewhat nerfed: Troika folded before getting the chance to tweak the balance
It's true that Troika released Arcanum before they thought it was ready, but they didn't fold until later. They went on to release two more games, The Temple of Elemental Evil (which is available on GOG) and Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines (which sadly is not available on GOG) before going out of business.
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TwoHandedSword: The problem is that the game's basic premise remains somewhat nerfed: Troika folded before getting the chance to tweak the balance
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Waltorious: It's true that Troika released Arcanum before they thought it was ready, but they didn't fold until later. They went on to release two more games, The Temple of Elemental Evil (which is available on GOG) and Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines (which sadly is not available on GOG) before going out of business.
Thanks for letting me know; I'd honestly thought Arcanum was their final release.

But even with that factored in, the basic point stands: whatever tweaks (and of course, any sequel) that Troika had been planning fell by the wayside when they went under. And it might've been that they'd pushed the Arcanum updates (past the final official patch) onto a back burner in order to release those two games, in a bid to keep the company going.
Keep an eye on Kickstarter. It's not a good idea to give up on sequals to these old, fine games. A Planescape: Torment (sort of) sequel just got funded.
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Waltorious: It's true that Troika released Arcanum before they thought it was ready, but they didn't fold until later. They went on to release two more games, The Temple of Elemental Evil (which is available on GOG) and Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines (which sadly is not available on GOG) before going out of business.
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TwoHandedSword: Thanks for letting me know; I'd honestly thought Arcanum was their final release.

But even with that factored in, the basic point stands: whatever tweaks (and of course, any sequel) that Troika had been planning fell by the wayside when they went under. And it might've been that they'd pushed the Arcanum updates (past the final official patch) onto a back burner in order to release those two games, in a bid to keep the company going.
They started work on Arcanum in 1998 and released it in 2001 with quite a few bugs and then patched it a bit. Pretty sure they were not having any major issues at the time as they then ran two development teams to make ToEE (released 2003) and VtM:B (released 2004), games that were also pretty buggy on release. They just weren't very good with the bug-fixing and balancing of their games.

They were working on another game after that but they could not find any publishers and that's when they shut down.
Post edited March 11, 2013 by Kurek
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Kurek: They started work on Arcanum in 1998 and released it in 2001 with quite a few bugs and then patched it a bit. Pretty sure they were not having any major issues at the time as they then ran two development teams to make ToEE (released 2003) and VtM:B (released 2004), games that were also pretty buggy on release. They just weren't very good with the bug-fixing and balancing of their games.
Yeah. But it should also be noted that it's a lot harder to hunt down all the bugs in games like Arcanum and Vampire: The Masquerade than it is in, say, a linear shooter. I personally don't mind a few bugs when a game has some really ambitious design. But it's always better to have as few bugs as possible, of course.

There's a similar situation with games from Obsidian, which are notoriously buggy but have a lot of diehard fans.
Of possible interest:

Troika's games, while arguably among the genre's most outstanding achievements, were notoriously rough at the time of release, often criticized for bugs and unfinished content. In retrospect, how do you explain this? Do you feel this kind of criticism can sometimes get unfair?

I don't think criticizing Troika games for being buggy was unfair. They were buggy, and I think there were two big reason why that was so. First, we tried putting a lot of features into these games. We really needed to learn how to edit, because we would spend a lot of man-hours putting a feature into a game that hardly any of the players would ultimately care about. For example, Arcanum had newspapers that reported on major incidents that were caused by the player, but I don't remember a single review mentioning that. We spent a lot of time getting that working, and those hours could have spent balancing real-time combat, or fixing the multiplayer code.

Second, we kept our team sizes small, both for budget and for management purposes. This meant we had less total man-hours to work with, and all of the late nights and weekends couldn't make up for the fact that we only had about a dozen people working on the Arcanum and Temple projects. Looking back, I am amazed our games were as feature-rich as they were, but I am not surprised they were as buggy as they were. We should have made some serious feature cuts early in their development.

Troika got characterized as “always blaming the publisher” when something was wrong and I think this was unfair. We would always own up to the parts of the development process in which we had made mistakes, but it seemed that if we ever said “we messed up this, and our publisher messed up that”, some people just heard the latter part of the comment and would start screaming “Troika is blaming the publishers again!”. It got frustrating after a while, especially when I saw people at Troika quoted out of context. But I did gain quite an insight into the American political system, which seems to deal with the same kind of illogical, sound bite oriented system of criticism of its political candidates. People hear what they want to hear, and often make up their minds before seeing, or even in spite of, any evidence to the contrary.
I did notice the newspapers. :-)
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VanishedOne: I did notice the newspapers. :-)
I love the newspapers! Both the standard stories and the ones that were effected by your character are awesome little additions to the game!