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flamesium

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About flamesium

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  1. Morrowind was great, Oblivion less so, Skyrim somewhere in between. The good thing -at least commercially- is that Bethesda is smart enough to give themselves a clean slate each time. They don’t weigh their new game down with the baggage of the old. They can have a dip in quality for a game without it being terminal to the franchise, and new players can always easily join the franchise at any stage.
  2. I’m not talking about references or someone mentioning in passing a decision the player made in a previous game for flavour. If Ciri had been the focus of the previous games I guess it would be similar. Each TW game has a standalone story; Deadfire has a continuation of the unravel-the-inane-metaphysics-of-the-setting story from the previous game. Herein lies the problem. Unfortunately it will remain the problem whether those who want Obsidian to keep making games for them and the nowhere-near-enough diehard PoE1 Watcher fans acknowledge it or not. There’s no mystery here: Deadfire flopped on PC because they designed a product which was only accessible to a much smaller number of people than its predecessor was. It’s a shame that a lot of good work was wasted because of that poor decision to shut out potential new players in order to appease the existing fanbase, but it is what it is.
  3. I don’t think the marketing has much chance when it has to try and convince potential new players they don’t need to be familiar with the previous game when it’s quite obvious they need to be familiar with the previous game. Gamers talk to each other. The Deadfire marketing inevitably ended up making about as much sense as the intro sequence of Superted, because the metaphysics of the setting -which the storyline over both games obsesses over, and still doesn’t manage to explain particularly well even after two games- are not exactly intuitive even by fantasy standards. It’s pretty funny to me if the developers seriously consider the pirate setting to be a bigger issue for new players than the impenetrability of the continuing storyline. With insight like that it’s perhaps for the best if they leave the franchise dormant.
  4. They absolutely did, and very successfully judging by the many millions of people who quite happily joined the Witcher franchise at TW3 with no prior exposure. Each game stands alone quite comfortably.
  5. Strongly disagree. Strongly disagree. I don’t think race/class of the MC changing or not is the issue. The focus of the first game is revealing the true nature of the setting’s gods, its soul cycle, the role of the Watcher and the morality of ‘animancy’ in such a setting - none of which is exactly intuitive without playing PoE1. They chose to make the Deadfire narrative a continuation of those esoteric themes, which inevitably introduces a barrier to entry for new players. ”The target audience of single player RTwP party pased isometric RPGs is just very, very small.” We know it’s at least as big as PoE1.
  6. Fair enough. That isn’t a complaint I have come across often with regards TW3.
  7. Yep, Larian -and tbf, almost every other developer by now- understands this and so very deliberately avoids the trap of limiting their potential customer base to existing fans. Even Ubisoft learned with AC that they were on a hiding to nothing with the continuing and obscure metastory, and that they should minimise that as much as possible and just make each game a standalone experience loosely based on the same gimmick. I was not at all surprised by Deadfire struggling to sell well despite reviewing relatively well, as I knew they had made it inevitable for themselves with their narrative approach.
  8. I would describe the main storyline of each Witcher game as self-contained and had no trouble recommending TW2 to people who hadn’t played TW1, or TW3 to people who hadn’t played either of the first two games or read any of the books. I absolutely would not describe the main storyline of Deadfire as self-contained and wouldn’t (and didn’t) recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the story of PoE 1. I don’t think the millions of new players The Witcher added with each new game release were only interested in ‘kicking some monster ass lul’, it’s just that ‘you are Geralt, professional monster slayer’ is adequate knowledge to be able to enjoy the story in any individual TW game without playing the others. I would still highly recommend playing every Witcher game, but because I think they are each excellent games in their own right, not because I feel anyone particularly needs to be familiar with the earlier games to enjoy the latest one. ”Deadfire feels like there should be even bigger things to come in the future and I love that.” It might feel like that, but it’s all but confirmed that there won’t be because Deadfire didn’t sell well enough. There weren’t enough fish in the small pond they chose to cast their net in. If they ever return to the PoE setting (which I hope they do) it will surely have to be with something new, rather than an increasingly convoluted investigation of the obscure reincarnation system of the setting, which the writers themselves didn’t even seem to fully understand.
  9. BG3 will be very interesting. My biggest concern with that game is they make the same mistake as Deadfire -which would be madness, especially given the amount of time which has passed since BG2 was released- but given they avoided it with DOS2 I have to imagine they will avoid it again here.
  10. I understand the appeal from an existing fan perspective, but you are also quite nicely describing the problem this creates with attracting new players to the franchise. It’s probably a net positive for the vast majority of people in the ‘played and finished PoE1’ group (a few hundred thousand people at most) but it presents a significant barrier to the -much larger- ‘maybe interested in this sort of game but haven’t played and finished PoE1’ group. They have significantly cut the size of their potential market by going this route, even if it has locked in the existing fans as buyers. Now I’m sure some people did buy Deadfire without playing through PoE1, or even playing it at all, but it’s definitely not something I would recommend to anybody, and I have to imagine it was fairly rare. Conversely, I expect the overwhelming majority of existing PoE fans still would have been very likely to buy Deadfire even if it had been more of a standalone sequel. While going this route may be good for existing fans in the short term, it’s not necessarily better for them in the long term if it contributes to the second game in the franchise flopping so hard in sales that it kills the franchise.
  11. Take your pick. The Witcher is deliberately easy for new players to jump in at any instalment in the franchise. You need to have played earlier Witcher games to enjoy the latest one about as much as you need to have watched earlier James Bond films to enjoy the latest one. The attempt at a continuing narrative in Mass Effect had unravelled so badly by the end of ME3 that it sparked a backlash which left the franchise a toxic wasteland. I love that it was attempted, but I don’t think anyone in the industry is looking at the trajectory of Mass Effect now and thinking ‘let’s do that’. It can’t be proven of course, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Deadfire would have fared significantly better without the convoluted narrative baggage from PoE1. Larian avoided this mistake with DOS2 and I suppose Owlcat will avoid it with WotR.
  12. I stand by what I said here two years ago: it was a mistake to make it a continuation of the Watcher’s story. The setting and factions in Deadfire are fantastic. All the convoluted Watcher/Eothas storyline achieved was to detract from that more interesting story and make it difficult for new players to jump in without playing PoE 1. I feel like every other successful developer already figured this out: a franchise can continue, but each instalment must be self-contained and must always be totally accessible to people new to the franchise. If the question ‘Do I need to have played the earlier game/s?’ cannot be answered with an unequivocal ‘No’ then something has gone wrong. The horrific balancing issues early on were a shame too, because I feel like they had some great ideas with the gameplay mechanics, which were all then totally undermined by the absence of challenge.
  13. "I've played so many RPGs where I'm this entitled, all-powerful, world-determining, Special One that I've frankly gotten sick of it." You are still that in Deadfire to a very large extent. Deadfire just asks you to form an opinion (re Eothas' actions) with none of the required information on which to base it. I think the faction side of things works very well, because while you don't know exactly how the future will play out, you are given enough context to weigh up the pros and cons and make an informed decision. They are also all 'grey' enough to make it an interesting dilemma. With Eothas, the player is kept in the dark about the basic functionality of the setting to such an extent that the implications of his actions could be anywhere between totally and immediately catastrophic, to not really that big a deal at all. I think that makes for a bad foundation for then asking the player to decide how they want to influence the future: I don't know how I want to influence the future because I don't even have an approximate idea of the ramifications of what just happened. You will likely choose the same way to influence Eothas at the end of the game as you would have chosen if asked at the beginning of the game. Unlike with the factions, Eothas' actions during the game and the consequences of those actions are not explained clearly enough to add any particular nuance to the decision.
  14. No it's pretty pointless because they introduced a skip to win button. I found enemies seemed less inclined to charge if I didn't have a weak spot in cannon range which they could get inside of. Think I ended up with all long range cannons (I forget the name) on one side of the ship, and a mix of double bronzers and wormtongues on the other. Usually I would wreck their sails and crew from long range, then sink them at my leisure.
  15. It's an improvement over PoE1 in almost every way. Just a shame that the balance was so unbelievably far off at launch that none of the gameplay mechanics had a chance to shine. No combat system can feel good if the balance is so far off that you can ignore most of the mechanics entirely, not think about what you or the enemy is doing and still win. The combat plays badly because the enemy doesn't (or didn't) pose a challenge, not because they removed forcing you to sit through load screens in order to access unlimited resting.
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