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About Alexander1

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    Storytelling, Role-playing games, Full-armored fighting, Fiction, Writer's contests
  1. Don't forget there's also a lover of Danna's who may attack you after you defeat her. If you slay her in the merchant's shop, he may come after you later (and that could be confused with a second attack). On a similar note, though -- I've actually stormed House Doemenal and slaughtered all of them on a different character, just because they'd caused so much annoyance that I decided the city was better off without them -- no consequences so far. Is *that* a bug? After Danna's man comes after me just for killing her (in a battle she started, no less) I figured there'd be some story event or consequential event, but so far nothing has changed. Is the city better off? Is there ever any actual result? Just curious.
  2. As far as I have seen, there is absolutely no way to contact Ethelmoer once the Sanitarium goes through the 'event' at the end of the Defiance Bay story arch, but he's stone, right? A soul within a stone, and judging by the lack of damage, he may have actually survived. After the 'event that will not be named' you can go back to Defiance Bay and see the damage done to the building -- a collapsed roof and some minor burn damage (the garden in the yard is unaffected) -- so judging by that, couldn't he still be there? None of the characters standing around outside ever mention him -- even the quest-giver (depending on how you end her quest) just stands there and acts like nothing happened. It's established that some Animancers survived the event, but from what I've seen in my travels, no one ever gives you the option of trying to contact him. Is it is a loose end? Is there any way to find out if he's still inside?
  3. I still think the better solution would simply be to strengthen the weaker classes, the reduce per-encounter spells. The reduction of "trash mobs" solves the per-encounter problem fairly well as is -- the general consensus, from what I've seen, is that wizards are too much more powerful than other non-magician classes. So, strengthening the non-magician classes would fix that, rather than just re-balancing wizards in a way that may or may not be effective.
  4. I disagree. Joseph Campbell was more closely aligned with Carl Jung, who was mentored by Freud but didn't really follow in his footsteps. He also was heavily influenced by two anthropologists: Leo Frobenius and Adolf Ellgard Jensen. I would argue that the original three films are better storytelling than anything written since, even though many of the comics are very good and many projects since have had fun and creative moments. I'm not a purist -- I liked some of the Old Republic ideas (and thought the cartoon series was better than the prequel films) but to claim that A New Hope is based on a flawed interpretation of Freud is oddly specific and seems to ignore the fact that it's better than nearly every Star Wars - related work of fiction that's come since. Everything else you pointed out I generally agree with.
  5. I'm sorry but I actually like the fact that there's collision detection -- it affects strategy. One of the things that frustrates me in most RPG's is that enemies can't affectively be bottle-necked or that enemies can just get around my defenses. And no AI is perfect -- I can't tell you how many games I've played where I've given a character a simple command only to have them run around to the front lines and get hurt in a place where they shouldn't even be. One thing I love about PoE is that I can put two big fighters in a narrow doorway and literally keep both my enemies and my companions from crossing that threshold -- I have Eder and my dwarf barbarian plant themselves right there and literally nothing can get past them -- Aloth and Sagani shoot from behind them while Durance heals everybody and my forces carry the day. If there were no collision detection, my heavy fighters wouldn't have nearly that kind of tactical advantage or capability -- and wizards are already powerful enough.
  6. That is true. My loading times for Skyrim are shorter than the loading time for Pillars, and that takes a whole lot more resources. Truth is, while Pillars shouldn't take much more power than Baldur's Gate II it's a largely independent project -- doesn't have nearly the budget those more complex games have. It's kind of a Catch 22 because it can't always afford the extra people it needs to ensure the programming runs more smoothly, but it needs higher profits to be able to do that.
  7. That's a given, I think. GM implies that her glamour is not something she can willingly suppress - it may even be a natural talent. (My headcanon is that she's the reincarnation of Eothas.) That's actually brilliant and I really like the idea, though LaSpeakeasi is right -- she's probably too old for that to be the case. It's still a fascinating idea, though. I always liked Eothas and am hoping for more story based around him.
  8. It sounds like the general consensus is that per-encounter spells are fine -- the spells themselves just need to be balanced. I admit I was somewhat excited about the power of PoE's spells, but I also found them to be too much of a carbon-copy of Baldur's Gate II's spells. "So-and-so's missiles" and "somebody else's wall spell" are almost taken straight out of Dungeons and Dragons which is a system that turns magic-users into glass cannons. Personally, I'd rather see magicians made more into tactical characters with more balance and utility than the "glass cannon" stereotype (that is, the stereotype that wizards are high-damage nukers that are really fragile and can't protect themselves). PoE is slowly moving away from his old stereotype, but the spells are still powerful enough that they might make the class unbalanced. That said, I'm sure a lot of players enjoy the powerful spells and would be sad to see them go. I'm honestly not sure what could be done about this.
  9. This has actually been brought up at least a few times from what I've seen. Apparently, the general consensus is to have fewer, larger fights instead of the myriad of small, inconsequential fights as it is currently. The benefit is this makes the game more like a good story -- exploration isn't getting constantly interrupted by "mini fights" and when you do get into a combat it's an exciting combat and not a tedious one. Personally, I agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly. It's a really good idea.
  10. That's actually a pretty good explanation. At one point she does mention how she had to use more and more Cipher powers to shield her from the people who were "onto her" but I was curious if there was a more specific explanation that I'd missed. Still a good breakdown, though.
  11. Exactly. Taunts take place in games that don't have a collision system -- like MMOs -- where characters are free-roaming and need threat-based mechanic to determine which character in a party the enemy will choose to attack. Games that have free-roaming monsters need this because there is literally no other way to for a character to bar an enemy's path unless they have a root or slowing mechanic, which is harder realistically implement. Why tie-down an enemy when you can just appear more of a threat and force them to attack you? But PoE doesn't have the free-roaming problem. Instead, they have "engagement" and that's a totally different mechanic. In PoE, any time an enemy collides with a player-character, they become "engaged" and can't run away unless they're willing to give them a much better chance to hit with a parting-shot. This creates strategy: if a monster manages to collide with a vulnerable character, magician or healer, a tough fighter can engage that same monster and give the monster's victim a chance to run away. It forces the player to consider both possibilities and really have to mull over which options are best -- do I run away now and risk the parting shot? Will the monster try to follow? Can I fell the monster if it tries to break away, or will the fighter keep it engaged while the victim gets away? Or, should I risk having the victim stay here, and hope the two characters can quickly take down the monster. That's much more in-depth and interesting than "oh, here comes a monster -- pull. Okay, now the monsters stuck to me and the healer can heal and the nuker can nuke..." Laspeakeasi is right -- that can be boring when you have a more complex mechanic in place. And the engagement mechanic, since this isn't an mmo and doesn't have server-strain, is a much more sophisticated mechanic for gameplay. Also, you have to realize the game already has other skills that would have to be rebalanced if taunts became too common -- many classes, like the "Rogue" have a "disengage" style ability that allow them to "get away" once a fighter helps them; and there are certain items that increase the character's ability to "withdraw" from combat such as the cape of withdrawal. Finally, taunts as an MMO concept are becoming outdated because realistically they aren't that reliable. If a party gets attacked by a hothead in a brawl maybe the big guy taunting him will work -- in a professional army or a zombie attack it's just not really believable. Why is the earth blight going to stop attacking that priest just because the tough fighter says "hey, attack me instead"? Nevertheless, I'm not saying taunts are a terrible idea -- if PoE wanted to add a taunt as a class skill or some other mechanic to generate "threat" as it were, I think it could have a place in the game -- but it's not critical. If a new ability for some fighter class is able to manipulate the ai to just attacking the fighter outright, that's fine, but it may not be as clever as the current engagement system. I'm not saying a vehemently opposed to taunts -- and perhaps there could be a clever way to implement one or two such skills -- but I'm happy with the current system as is, to be honest.
  12. I really like his writing. I'd like to see him make add a bit more immersive story to the project.
  13. Hats off to Chris Avellone for the general idea of this character -- in a story where children are being born without souls, the character of a midwife is especially appropriate and I'm glad to see such an authric profession in this setting. However, one thing I am having trouble understanding is the idea that a Cipher can cover themselves in some sort of glamour (a typically more magical concept from the realm of faerie) that prevents other people from ever acknowledging her yet still makes her just as susceptible to random enemies in combat? I ask because, upon first meeting her, I had either interpreted her as a bystander (less involvement in combat but less threatened) or as a character with extremely high stealth. I even liked the idea of an extremely vulnerable companion who tends to be ignored by most enemies unless she directly intervenes -- it would be a new level of strategy, a bold and original concept, and an idea that could still be balanced by having a sort of "stealth check" or "threat level" associated with the character. However she is none of these things -- just as easily spotted by random enemies and just as durable as any other lightly armored character in spite of her inability to even stand up when you first meet her. Even then, other characters completely miss her, which makes you wonder how enemies can focus on her when your own group doesn't know she's there. The story writing for her is still very good and the voice acting is well done, I just don't completely understand her abilities inside and outside of combat and how they work. For immersion purposes, however, I'm still curious.
  14. Since this forum is so appreciated, I thought it would be nice to hear a few opinions from the people who bring us so much entertainment in this oft-unsung industry. What are some of your favorite parts of the actual development process? Do you like the collaborative aspects? The writing? Testing? Or is it working with departments other than your own? My work has been almost exclusively in testing & production so I've always marveled at the work done by artists/composers and their go-betweens. But I'd be more interested in hearing from others. What are your favorite parts of the job? Sound off! Rant! I'd love to hear it.
  15. This has always been an area of interest for me. Fantasy games set in the "medieval-ish" often seem to half-embrace/half-rewrite literary archetypes without actually having any mechanics that apply to it. For example, Inns and Taverns are a staple of fantasy settings -- what could be more celebratory than heading to the Inn for food and drink after a wild adventure out of town? -- but in some fantasy games there's no point in actually eating anything at a tavern because the point of food is just a "buff" -- it gives two or three minutes of higher stats but the effect vanishes before you actually get out into a difficult situation. In the above example, the game is trying to emulate the story, but the game mechanics don't always emulate that story well. Usually, the best remedy is to make sure such affects mesh well with the game you're running -- have the buff last until the next time you complete a combat, or have it last for the next number of "in-combat minutes" or whatever. IMO, Obsidian does a much better job than most developers because it does have workable mechanics, like the "survival" mechanic in New Vegas or the "rest buffs" from inns. In the case of staves, however, the literary purpose is usually more utilitarian than the game allows. Magicians in most stories, for example, are older people who wield magical devices to aid in their otherworldly powers -- wands for focus, scepters for control, or, in the case of staves, something to rest on and keep yourself going. Of course, these are just examples, but they have an easy means of representation in the game. In the "AD&D" system that inspired Baldur's Gate for example, an older person would get buffs to certain stats that improve with age, and would lose the more physical stats as they got older -- strength and dexterity might go down, while intelligence and wisdom would go up. Arcanum brought this a step further by having items that helped compensate for those lowered stats -- perception could be remedied with glasses, and a staff could help stamina regen if you were generating a lot of fatigue. In other games, a staff wasn't just something to lean on -- it often could be more decorative, providing a minor raise to reputation, as a staff was often a symbol like a scepter or a crown. Pillars of Eternity doesn't yet have those mechanics -- it's a young title and still in the first game of its (hopefully long-living) series. It already has a reputation statistic that might be malleable with the right "garb" so to speak, and weapon stats have a lot of potential with new stats like "interrupt" or "deflection" versus simpler stats like damage and speed. Perhaps at a later installment, more magical or social stats will accompany the traditional flat combat statistics, but until then, I find the "wield whatever you want/wear whatever you want" options to be rather liberating. In short, a game's mechanics should emulate the setting of its story -- there should be a reason why magicians all tend to wear certain things just as there's a reason why a knight tends to wear heavy armor while a thief tends to stay light on their feet. Phew... sorry for the long post but it's a complex subject when it comes to way fantasy archetypes work so well in stories but only sometimes translate well into games.
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