Thief Cuts Experience System

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Thief Cuts Experience System

Thief screen detail

Thief will no longer make use of an XP system because it was reducing the incentive to actually steal things.

As part of its "reimagining" of the Thief franchise, Eidos Montreal incorporated an experience system not unlike those found in more combat-oriented games - a fact highlighted by the "headshot XP" bonus that appeared in the E3 gameplay demo. But in the latest "Take 5 Q&A" session, Game Director Nic Cantin and Lead Level Designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt revealed that the XP system has been dropped.

"At first, we wanted to outline the progression of the player with XP, but it was reducing our motivation to steal. The main goal of a thief should be to gain loot," Cantin explained. "Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic."

"We wanted to put emphasis on stealing things, and put the rewards on the stealing aspect," Schmidt added. "We want to allow the player to decide the 'how to' - we shouldn't judge how the player wants to achieve their goal, only reward them for achieving it."

Instead of progressing with experience, players will use the gold they steal to purchase tools that will enable them to behave in stealthier or more aggressive manners. On the surface it sounds more akin to how the original games worked, and Cantin acknowledged that the negative reaction to the implementation of experience points had some influence on the decision to cut it.

"It is more a design decision to add to our economy system and entice the player to steal more," he said. "But yes, the E3 reaction was right, rewarding killing like that was wrong for a Master Thief."

It's a smart move, but I'm a little concerned by the timing. Thief is due in February and that's pretty close to the wire for dicking around with core systems. Excising a fundamental component of character advancement has to be a pretty big deal, and even if it's not a terribly complex technical maneuver, messing with what I see as a fairly central aspect of the design at this late stage doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Source: Eidos Montreal

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A thief who doesn't steal.

Er... I suppose you can play it that way.

It is like they woke up and decided to listen to the fans of the series. While this is a step in the right direction I doubt it is good enough. Thankfully we have the Darkmod which is great.

In fairness.. has there been anything released so far about the new entry in the series that *does* inspire confidence?

Alpha Maeko:
A thief who doesn't steal.

Er... I suppose you can play it that way.

Honestly u find it hilarious that these guys thought the players, the very people expecting to be able to steal stuff, wouldn't want to steal stuff.

And that's ignoring some of the painfully obvious fixes available for the system, that doesn't require dropping the idea. Like, oh I don't know, having said loot award large chunks of xp when stolen, and award no-detect or no-kill playthroughs, kind of like how other stealth based games handle it. Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the competence (or sanity) of these Devs just yet so... Yeah.

Holy crap. It's like they suddenly realised people don't want an XP system like some damn shooter in a game that's supposed to be Thief series. My enthusiasm is raised by a very very small fraction, but there's still a long way to go in between the action-oriented shit and the overly flashy moves.

Time will tell...

This is a good move. I'm still terrified that this game is going to be awful, coming from a huge fan of the original games who bought and played them on release. These games should be organic steal em ups, not action games with takedowns. That's why the lack of Russell as Garrett and the choice of someone else as VA because he can do stunts in cutscenes is so depressing. I don't want a game of bloody cutscenes of Garrett doing acrobatics I have no control over. I don't want control taken away as has been the way in many recent games.

Only time will tell. Saying that, I'm not pre-ordering. Despite my confidence that Eidos Montreal are the best that Squeenix has and are undoubtedly their best shot, the changes are generally all for the worse. I'm really afraid it will be some console action-adventure with checkpoints in lieu of quicksaves, QTEs, takedowns and other context-button presses, all bullshit. I'll wait for other people to buy it and see what's said first, particularly how it compares to originals for gameplay.

Burned badly by Hitman Absolution. Thoroughly tedious game with nothing in common with the last four titles beyond 47 and some story fluff. So bad I couldn't play beyond the convent level. It's amazing that with better technology and increased budgets, many games have gotten worse, not better.

cursedseishi:

Alpha Maeko:
A thief who doesn't steal.

Er... I suppose you can play it that way.

Honestly u find it hilarious that these guys thought the players, the very people expecting to be able to steal stuff, wouldn't want to steal stuff.

And that's ignoring some of the painfully obvious fixes available for the system, that doesn't require dropping the idea. Like, oh I don't know, having said loot award large chunks of xp when stolen, and award no-detect or no-kill playthroughs, kind of like how other stealth based games handle it. Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the competence (or sanity) of these Devs just yet so... Yeah.

Bht he is already the best there is, its kinda in his title. XP is merely a method to show progression of a weak character grow in strength. XP in theif would be like XP in COD story mode. They are already the best, what is xp supposed to prove?

I think a good replacement for the XP system is to make a slow heal system as a form of risk vs reward. Bruises, muscle sprains, cuts, and even worse bone breaks take long amounts of time to heal, and while you can take medicine that reduces the effects for a short time, each injury will affect how Garrett (and you) handle each situation.

Wait... You didn't get experience for stealing things? Whaaa?
I mean its nice that they acknowledge my mad bow skillz, but Thief is the NAME of the game.

As long as they make it an enjoyable experience that's worth the money I pay, I don't really care what they omit in the final product.

DVS BSTrD:
Wait... You didn't get experience for stealing things? Whaaa?
I mean its nice that they acknowledge my mad bow skillz, but Thief is the NAME of the game.

That was my reaction too. How on earth could they have only just reached the conclusion that people play Thief because they want to play as a thief? Did they do marketing research on COD fans or something that decided people would rather spend time getting sick headshots?

Please tell me everyone here just omitted the words that come after ''Thief''

I knew it would have an XP system, but that it didn't gave you good XP for stealing?... I don't even...

Okay, so this is a good step in the right direction, let's hope the game stays true to the name of the game (you know, stealing stuff and everything...).

Worst case scenario, it could be better than Thief 3... I hope...

Now if only just about every other game would remove the XP systems shoehorned into their games. Nothing annoys me more in a game (or shatters the immersion) where all of a sudden a bullet from a gun develops extra magical destructive power simply because its the 500th one youve fired.

Hmm, maybe they've gone back and played the Thief series and got some idea of what it's like.

Negatempest:

cursedseishi:

Alpha Maeko:
A thief who doesn't steal.

Er... I suppose you can play it that way.

Honestly u find it hilarious that these guys thought the players, the very people expecting to be able to steal stuff, wouldn't want to steal stuff.

And that's ignoring some of the painfully obvious fixes available for the system, that doesn't require dropping the idea. Like, oh I don't know, having said loot award large chunks of xp when stolen, and award no-detect or no-kill playthroughs, kind of like how other stealth based games handle it. Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the competence (or sanity) of these Devs just yet so... Yeah.

Bht he is already the best there is, its kinda in his title. XP is merely a method to show progression of a weak character grow in strength. XP in theif would be like XP in COD story mode. They are already the best, what is xp supposed to prove?

Xp isn't a method to show weak to strong, it's merely progression. Apply that to the mass effect games, or any MMO, and you'll see just how pointless that definition is. It's nothing more than a way to gate progress or allow customization of a characters capabilities while also limiting just how high it can go.

It has nothing to do with a title, sorry to say.

And that example of xp in CoD is pointless. Again, it's a way of gating progress in multiplayer. A 10th prestige Players only real advantage is his available time in the real world, it has NOtHING to do with his characters capabilities.

That's the first news coming from this game that makes me say, "good call" without saying, "except for this part here." So, improvement?

This is pretty encouraging.

Though my optimism about this title can still be confined to a very small space.

Is this a 'hint hint' thing? Either they were forced to put it in originally, or they needed the crowd at E3 to point how stupid it was. Or it could be learning from fucking up like a Mircrosoft thing since Chalk's last paragraph is pretty much what I was thinking. They are leaving these alterations too late.

I'd be fine if they were seriously innovating and adding new mechanics that enhanced the gameplay, but an experience system didn't fall into that category.

Maybe they'll touch on something brilliant and add that, and the taffers in charge won't try to push in such superfluous systems.

Garrett is already the Master Thief, so we saw no need to have XP as a core mechanic.

And yet they put one in anyway! Good job they took it out though, it sounds ridiculous to award players for playing the game like an FPS but not for playing like a thief. Any word on whether the 32 player online deathmatches are also gone?

Nice lets make the XP system based on not stealing........ that dose not make any sense. Its good they took it out but not to replace it this is just another crappy watered down thief game....

I've only barely touched Deadly Shadows before, so I tend to consider this as my "first" Thief. All I really want is for them to offer a strong bias towards stealth, and for the heists to have interesting levels in complexity. I sucked at Dishonored but I did relatively well in Blacklist, so I'm somewhat confident in my abilities.

XP system or no XP system, all that matters to me is if the core mechanics are decent. As for Stephen Russell being replaced, I can't really comment. The industry is shifting towards younger actors with the capacity to mocap their performances' more physical bits convincingly, and I doubt overdubbing a physical actor's performance with an older one's would have worked in a plausible manner.

Honestly, the only thing that could've been done would've been to focus on entirely manual animation. Ubisoft used to do this exceptionally well, so they were free to create a character that could feel like it was in Ironside's age ballpark while still being exceptionally capable on the physical level. They were free to base themselves on real movements or reference mocap, and to incorporate elements suggesting age or wear and tear to the end result.

Unfortunately, that's either out of fashion or too costly, now. I highly doubt that the reasoning behind Garrett's change in pitch and tone involves Eidos Montreal deciding that they need to cater to the "dude-bros" who loved the shit out of Elias Toufexis' super gruff Adam Jensen.

I thought it was just a little too gruff, myself. Seeing how Toufexis *can* soften his natural voice if need be, I would've told him to try and sound just a tad less grizzled.

Not that this matters in the big picture, though.

Why cut it all together, though? Why not just award XP for stealing stuff? Wouldn't you WANT to create an incentive to steal things in a game called Thief?

Its a step, though, but a step that could have been much larger.

I'm more appalled that there was a XP system in the first place. They might have been able to pull something off by giving you skills like in NOLF 2/Deus Ex to improve if you're finding the well-hidden secret areas, but nothing about this article says to me that that was their plan.

You know this game is going to turn out terrible.

Well I'm glad to see that they know that they've fucked up. I wasn't a big fan of the idea of an xp bar at all, regardless of whether it'd increase off stealing things or not (though logically it should have, even WoW lets you do that).

cursedseishi:

Alpha Maeko:
A thief who doesn't steal.

Er... I suppose you can play it that way.

Honestly u find it hilarious that these guys thought the players, the very people expecting to be able to steal stuff, wouldn't want to steal stuff.

And that's ignoring some of the painfully obvious fixes available for the system, that doesn't require dropping the idea. Like, oh I don't know, having said loot award large chunks of xp when stolen, and award no-detect or no-kill playthroughs, kind of like how other stealth based games handle it. Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the competence (or sanity) of these Devs just yet so... Yeah.

at the same time i'm kind of annoyed at games that put all these ways to deal with situations but then slap you on the head when you do it the "less skilled" way, which is kind of like easy mode sticking its head into your experience and telling you you're stupid

at that point it's more like a choose your own adventure book, except with less inclination to invest yourself in all of the ways you don't get to actually get a decent outcome, which results in a lot of wasted content since nobody's going to use any of it

"Hu this looks like a nice game. Thief. Let's play this. What?! It's about stealing stuff! I don't steal shit! I am the hero! Hero's don't steal!"

At least it's a step in the right direction. Rewarding headshots and such was the misstep the Deus Ex game made. XP is a huge motivator when it is present because it is a constant reminder that you could have done better, rather than telling you this at the end of a mission like the former thief games, here it's a constant reminder pushing you to play in a certain way. If you are not stupid you play as a stealth non-lethal guy in Deus Ex, simply because you get way more progression by doing so meaning a stronger character.

I laughed at the people who thought that game was difficult because my playstyle matched the most lucrative way of playing (except the bossfights) so in a few levels I was a beast powering through enemies and levels like it wasn't a thing.

With the thief games I like to play sort of an improvised style. If I fuck up the stealth I contain the problem and move on, you know like a skill-full thief that slips up? I don't need the +10 xp to tell me how to play well. If I reach the end with a big bag of loot I did my job, the slip ups are thing to learn from when I replay the game and try and avoid.

That's the only reward system it needs.

Andy Chalk:
Schmidt added. "We want to allow the player to decide the 'how to' - we shouldn't judge how the player wants to achieve their goal, only reward them for achieving it."

Does this mean I can jump around again? Skipping about the manor house after I've knocked out all the guards?

Right. So they only need to return jump-at-will, stealth-at-will, exploration, Garrett personality and voice, rope arrows anywhere, big, sprawling non-linear levels with multiple approaches, the danger of combat (there should be NO valid aggressive approach to combat), and remove stupid pointless, railroaded setpieces and QTE climb along with shiny holographic handholding in general, and we maybe will have something that is actually feels like a bit like actual 'Thief' game instead of "Deus Ex: Thief Wallpaper".

cursedseishi:

Negatempest:

cursedseishi:

Honestly u find it hilarious that these guys thought the players, the very people expecting to be able to steal stuff, wouldn't want to steal stuff.

And that's ignoring some of the painfully obvious fixes available for the system, that doesn't require dropping the idea. Like, oh I don't know, having said loot award large chunks of xp when stolen, and award no-detect or no-kill playthroughs, kind of like how other stealth based games handle it. Then again, I'm not entirely sure about the competence (or sanity) of these Devs just yet so... Yeah.

Bht he is already the best there is, its kinda in his title. XP is merely a method to show progression of a weak character grow in strength. XP in theif would be like XP in COD story mode. They are already the best, what is xp supposed to prove?

Xp isn't a method to show weak to strong, it's merely progression. Apply that to the mass effect games, or any MMO, and you'll see just how pointless that definition is. It's nothing more than a way to gate progress or allow customization of a characters capabilities while also limiting just how high it can go.

It has nothing to do with a title, sorry to say.

And that example of xp in CoD is pointless. Again, it's a way of gating progress in multiplayer. A 10th prestige Players only real advantage is his available time in the real world, it has NOtHING to do with his characters capabilities.

And i can put that in ME. In terms that if shepard is the best in his field before being a spectre, the entire military is incompetent if shepard is one of the elite with storm trooper aim. XP has started as a progression of a weak player to an elite one. XP in shooters was changed to nothing more than a time sink method of play. Yet a title of spectre or master thief essentially means being elite in their respective field. So if they are elites in their field than XP progression is pointless and a time sink.

SecondPrize:
Hmm, maybe they've gone back and played the Thief series and got some idea of what it's like.

You give them too much credit, far too much. No-one 'reimagining' a series ever bothers to look at what the original was like, they just take the name and shoehorn their game into it

Negatempest:

cursedseishi:

Negatempest:

Bht he is already the best there is, its kinda in his title. XP is merely a method to show progression of a weak character grow in strength. XP in theif would be like XP in COD story mode. They are already the best, what is xp supposed to prove?

Xp isn't a method to show weak to strong, it's merely progression. Apply that to the mass effect games, or any MMO, and you'll see just how pointless that definition is. It's nothing more than a way to gate progress or allow customization of a characters capabilities while also limiting just how high it can go.

It has nothing to do with a title, sorry to say.

And that example of xp in CoD is pointless. Again, it's a way of gating progress in multiplayer. A 10th prestige Players only real advantage is his available time in the real world, it has NOtHING to do with his characters capabilities.

And i can put that in ME. In terms that if shepard is the best in his field before being a spectre, the entire military is incompetent if shepard is one of the elite with storm trooper aim. XP has started as a progression of a weak player to an elite one. XP in shooters was changed to nothing more than a time sink method of play. Yet a title of spectre or master thief essentially means being elite in their respective field. So if they are elites in their field than XP progression is pointless and a time sink.

Again, title means NOTHING. Shepard was already singled out as being better than normal, due to the story. Experience points earned in-game means nothing to his relative capabilities within said story, hence it does not show progression from weak to strong. The idea of him having "storm trooper" aim means nothing as well, as that is reliant solely on the player's ability to aim. Just because you, for instance, can't aim for crap, means nothing to his actual ability.

And I'm sorry, but when has XP in a game like Call of Duty ever been for anything more than a time sink? It hasn't, and that's a bloody fact. At most Battlefield used it to differentiate classes, but even then it served as nothing more than a gate, and meant nothing to actual skill of the character or player, as with time anyone can get anything through it.

So again I'll say this, wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The title of "master" serves only the narrative. It represents nothing of the character outside of pre-scripted events that the player has no bearing what so ever on. Experience earned serves as an ingame form of progression, outside of the narrative, with no hold over it.

You have a serious issue here with being able to disassociate the meaning of XP, and its hold on the narrative. A shepard who has been imported through all 3 games has no real advantage over a freshly made character. It's a separation of story and mechanics, learn it.

You also seem to be managing confusing the definition of "Master" with "Perfect". Shepard isn't a perfect soldier, Garret isn't a perfect thief, and any of the other innane examples you can bring up are not perfect either. Even if we take experience and leveling as progression of the narrative, it fits perfectly fine. It represents honing and learning from what has happened, if you want to get into semantics, and there's a saying in real life buddy.

"You're never done learning."

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