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  1. Perhaps ‘delusional’ is strongly worded. This is not an attempt to ‘diagnose’ anyway, regardless. I’m implying he thwarts the facts and in doing so fabricates evidence and twists words. How could he possibly have not seen that one word in an image with only one sentence? There's no way that's possible to miss. A lie is a lie. Another example: != Because...wait for it...see the word ‘things’ that you use? The ‘s’ means plural. That’s multiple versions of the item to which it refers. The quote you used from me emphasises the singular: ‘I only used ‘women won’t’ to describe one circumstance: flirting.’ It’s a correction of your false assumption that I’m talking about more than one ‘thing’ with regards to women. I'm out of here. Anyone that replies to my comments will be talking to the wall. Final word: men and women are utterly different. Women in general will not actively approach men for sex in the way men approach women or other men. On the most simplistic level, women have a much larger role in mankind's survival than men do - if they went around wanting to shag everything in sight as men do, the whole concept of survival would thrown out the window. As for talking from experience, I do just that: we have the records of the harassment case where that clown couldn't back down and he was officially reported. Do I have to point out that the record can't be posted on a forum? That I have to defend such a experience says everything I need to know. A room in an office with roughly 20 men, at least 10 of which are homosexual. 1 aggressively harasses me for weeks and has to be reported by the other homosexual men for it to stop. 2 others who non-threateningly make direct moves on me that are declined and they leave me alone. 1 last small, overweight and harmless guy that becomes a stalker, appears everywhere I go in the building, and later starts to appear at the train station I got off at, even though his own colleagues (multiple agencies in the one corporation) confirmed he doesn't get the train. He finally makes his intentions clear and he's politely declined (he quit his job a week later). If that's not evidence that men are more direct than women, I don't know what is. Because when I moved floors, I can tell you the women that were being 'friendlier' always did so indirectly. I'd advise googling blog posts women write about this topic, because they'll back up everything I say. I'm finished in la-la land. See ye. It's been...weird.
  2. Here’s another from the NCBI from 2017 confirming everything once again. Where is your source that specifically disproved something from the NCBI? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5516591/ we conducted a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis along with global volume analysis for white matter across sex. We analyzed 384 T1-weighted MRI brain images (192 male, 192 female) to investigate any differences in white matter (WM) between males and females. In the VBM analysis, we found males to have larger WM, compared to females, in occipital, temporal, insular, parietal, and frontal brain regions. In contrast, females showed only one WM region to be significantly larger than males: the right postcentral gyrus in the parietal lobe region. We could keep doing this all year. Thesaurus again, bud. When I write ‘majority’, you know what that means? In general. On average. I know, I know – wild stuff, the human language. An article that discusses scientific research related to differences in male and female brains, and one that articulately argues for everything I’ve argued. I provide it as evidence I’m not the only one in the world who believes – amazingly – that women and men are different. You're inventing things again. More interventions. Man, you’re delusional. That’s not a personal attack – that’s a definition of what happens when someone invents something that doesn’t exist. I never ever wrote anything like that. Quote? There’s something wrong here, people. Seriously, seriously wrong. That image had only one sentence in it and he didn't see it????? Moderator, please – I implore you to lock this down. There’s no way of actually having a debate with this guy. He’s making stuff up about what I said, and he’s all out lying about his own posts as well.
  3. You need scientific research to talk to me about women, mate. Think about that for a second. But here you go: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110817/ larger overall brain sizes in men and larger global gray matter (GM) proportions as well as regional GM volumes and concentrations in women (Schlaepfer et al., 1995; Gur et al., 1999; Nopoulos et al., 2000; Good et al., 2001; Luders et al., 2005; Leonard et al., 2008). Similarly, larger measurements in women compared to men have been reported with respect to cortical thickness (Narr et al., 2005; Im et al., 2006; Luders et al., 2006a), cortical convolution (Luders et al., 2004; Luders et al., 2006b), and the dimensions of pre-defined regions https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050121100142.htm In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. This, according to Rex Jung, a UNM neuropsychologist and co-author of the study, may help to explain why men tend to excel in tasks requiring more local processing (like mathematics), while women tend to excel at integrating and assimilating information from distributed gray-matter regions in the brain, such as required for language facility. These two very different neurological pathways and activity centers, however, result in equivalent overall performance on broad measures of cognitive ability, such as those found on intelligence tests. The study also identified regional differences with intelligence. For example, 84 percent of gray-matter regions and 86 percent of white-matter regions involved with intellectual performance in women were found in the brain’s frontal lobes, compared to 45 percent and zero percent for males, respectively. The gray matter driving male intellectual performance is distributed throughout more of the brain. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders It’s no secret that boys and girls are different—very different. The differences between genders, however, extend beyond what the eye can see. Research reveals major distinguishers between male and female brains. Scientists generally study four primary areas of difference in male and female brains: processing, chemistry, structure, and activity.
  4. They never do this. Never meaning the majority not the less than 1% that do. We’ve already proved nobody believes any scientific facts around this, only their own scientific facts. So unless you're actually a researcher on this topic and produce scientific evidence from your own research, you have no evidence whatsoever to back this up. We can all google for links that contradict everything you just said. So I said – give me examples from your own experiences with women. I've already given mine, and I'm giving no more. I have a hundred things in reality that are backing up because I'm stuck in this echo chamber. I’m being preached to about women by a guy who’s written the above, and also wheels out ‘scientific facts’ about how women play the game. Come back to me when you’ve actually played the game, and let me know – from reality – how that played out. I’m talking about the majority. I’m talking about the majority. Echo. Echo. Echo. There are exceptions. But I'm not even going to elaborate on this further, because holy Christ... This is the only person talking any sense. I'm like a broken record saying everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What's happening is a tiny minority just cannot accept the above concept. And instead of offering their own opinion, they just preach without evidence from lived experience or tell me 'you're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong'. Or they haven't read that I'm talking about majorities. Or whatever else it happens to be. These people are so insecure about their own reasoning they absolutely must have me writing their opinions in my words for them to feel ok. I'm not going to do that! Just write your own opinions and leave it that. You write your opinions, and I'll never say you're wrong. I might offer a counter argument, or elaborate on why I believe you misunderstood me – that's healthy debate. I’m going to ask that one of the moderators lock this topic down – if it's even possible to contact them. I don’t think you can even delete your account in this place, and I very badly want to escape back to reality. Apologies to the original poster – please do start your thread again. I’m not gonna comment or read another post on this forum. 95% of the posts I read on other topics – again, the MAJORITY – are reasonable and relevant. But the people that equate reality with a video game or a googled article are driving me up the wall. If we were in a room full of normal people having this debate, no one would agree that women and men are identical – it’s just daft on every level. Please release me from this...
  5. This is your opinion and I have my mine that says I disagree. This is just vapid preaching: verbal fumes - weightless, insubstantial without any explanation/personal theory backed up from reality or otherwise. Sweeping statements, no evidence from reality or otherwise once again. I’ve given my evidence from reality, and I stand by it. Weak sauce preaching again – anyone can do that. Examples of how there are no masculine and feminine traits? The subject of the post is ‘beauty’ and my research regarding attractiveness is immaterial to that subject. Eh... Do you want to put ‘attractiveness’ into a MS Word editor there, chief. There’s a little button under the ‘review’ tab called ‘thesaurus’. It’ll tell you alternative meanings for attractiveness, one of which – hang in there now – is…drum roll…beauty! Imagine that. Whenever you try and backup your preaching with an explanation you really do shoot yourself in the foot. That’s certainly not helping your case for preaching without an explanation in exhibits 1 and 2. I never used the expression ‘men won’t’, for starters. And I only used ‘women won’t’ to describe one circumstance: flirting. I’ll say it again, simply – women won’t flirt like men do. In any country. In any culture. From now, all the way back through time. Because of how their brains are different. Men are direct. Women are indirect. They won’t approach men and look for sex. Men will. I went into the details of the subtleties of this already. They are vast and complex, and the same across all cultures. This can’t be coincidence. The level of analysis women give to a decision over a prospective mate is far, far beyond the simplistic viewpoint of a man. Once again, I’ve backed up my evidence from reality. I’ve been hit on by men and women, with men taking the direct approach (plain as daylight) and women taking the indirect approach (all kinds of shades). To be blunt, I was harassed, basically, in one office to the extent I nearly lost my job for having a go at this lad that wouldn't back down. There were a lot of gay men on this floor for whatever reason. Hiring their own to help out? Whatever the reason, if it wasn't for what I'm calling the 'benevolent gays' who snitched this guy out to upper management, I would have been screwed over a 1000 times as homophobic for standing up for myself. A homosexual man is the same as a heterosexual man in how he blandly evaluates physical appearance. A woman will give infinite weight to factors so innumerable I don’t even know where to begin. --------------- On a separate note, I found the ‘misogynistic’ call out hysterical. And your interpretation of the OP’s intention simplistic. We’ve established attractiveness as a significant influencer among humans. No one ever said it’s a woman’s defining trait – where did you get that from? Physical appearance is more powerful for them, because men place it on such a high pedestal. It’s not important for a man IMO – as I’ve found, if you’re unfortunate enough to look a certain way, all it attracts is the wrong kind of attention. The kind of attention that, if it isn’t dropped, can easily lead to violence – injuries, possibly even fatal, loss of job, disgrace, imprisonment: they’re all significantly dramatic life events, just because you were trying to mind your own business but a some clown can’t mind his own business, solely based on the way you look.
  6. @Initates Yes, the cultural differences you talk about are significant and real. Europe is full of cultural differences that influence social behaviours and accepted norms – even counties in Ireland can have wildly different social norms. That wasn’t the topic of my argument, however. It was male versus female behaviours, which no matter the country, continent or cultural norms, male versus female behaviours have a distinctive consistency in the areas I described, no matter where you look. My gf is French – she couldn’t be more different to me culturally. Any time I visit France, I’m amazed at their attitudes to certain things. But you’ll still find the majority of women in one job and men in another because of how we’re preconfigured to ‘tick’. Most obviously, however, you’ll find men and women behave exactly as I described in relation to the flirting game. Culturally constructed differences have little to no impact on how that all plays out. 'In my personal experiences with women they've tended to have more variety in their behaviors and opinions regarding sex (as well as everything else) then the homogeneity you describe.' I invite you to go back and read over my post, starting from ‘Women have an elaborate criteria of items that need to be met before they sleep with a man…’ I’ve argued for the exact opposite of what you’ve just stated here. @gkathellar it's not possible to make meaningful generalizations about the significance of of proportions of grey and white matter across male and female brains You don’t follow up on why you believe this is so. If men and women were supposed to think in an identical fashion, then the architecture of the most complex unit in the body would be more or less identical. It’s vastly different on multiple levels, beyond even white and grey matter. For me – and maybe it’s just me here – ‘vastly different’ tends to lend itself to the assumption that there’s a ‘significant’ reason for the difference. I’m aware the topic is intensely controversial, but referring to me as ‘baiting’ doesn’t help your case. I don’t regard you as a ‘baiting’ because you can’t agree with me. Social norms condition us to accept what we’re told without question. The sheep mentality is not to question – the knee-jerk response is to vilify those who do. I’d like to invite you to think back over mankind’s history, to all the people that questioned what they were told to believe – and were vilified by the majority for answers and creations that went against social conditioning of 'right' and 'wrong': merely constructs of the times. These people included the greatest scientists, philosophers and artists in history – many were vilified until well after death. Just because it’s 2018 doesn’t mean we’ve figured everything out. I like to question, I like to give answers – it’s not done to offend or rock the boat. Nobody was designed to excel at anything. People are, and they are for reasons, but that's a brute fact the only significance of which is itself. Your opinion – I disagree. You don’t provide any evidence, scientific or otherwise, to back this up. But we agree to disagree, right? Because that’s what normal people do all the time. The problem being that it's not clear which traits those are, aside from, say, slight predispositions towards spatial versus verbal ability You’ve selectively quoted one article from the new scientist, of all places. I could selectively back up my findings with 100s of sources, to include the NCBI which contradicts your source in multiple different articles. Again, you’ve google: I’m not going to spend all day copying and pasting links. Search words: 'differences in grey matter and white matter in male and female brains'. 100s of articles backing up what I wrote. Empathic and sensory intelligence in women versus mechanical/mathematical logic in men is the biggest difference I’ve encountered, but I’m loathe to open up another proverbial can of worms on yet another ‘hot’ topic. I work in app development. Sure, I’ve worked with women in the industry. They’re as good as men. But research has also shown that some males and females share what are still traditionally labelled as ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ intelligences, but in general there are distinctive masculine and feminine architectures. I’m going to say the tech industry is 90% men, and someone, I feel, is going to explode and say that’s because of our culture in tech. So ok, let’s not get into another debate or we’ll be here all year – I really believe there’s a big difference in our brains. I have my reasons, and I’m not trying to convert you or anyone else to believe in them. They’re my ‘musings’ if you will. Do you see me writing that ‘you’re wrong’? I’m interested in your opinion, and I just happen to disagree with it. Can you not just write out your own argument with calling someone ‘wrong’? Human intelligence and human animal instinct are not clearly distinguishable terms Can you give your theory on why this is so? I’m all for you disagreeing with me – I’ve no issue with that. But you seem to just be constantly saying ‘you’re wrong’. Which isn’t very open minded, is it? Intelligence – for me – is conscious calculation. Animal instinct is subconscious calculation. I paint as a hobby, and the end result is all subconsciously derived – at no point do I know what I’m doing, or why I’m doing it until I’m done. I just ‘go with the moment’. That same animal instinct is what makes you ‘go with the moment’ with the girl you find attractive, even if conscious thought – your intelligence – says you’re taking a risk, buddy. But you’re not in control anymore. Sex is the same thing. If you’re telling me consciously think about everything you do during sex, well ok then. For me, it’s pure animal instinct – completely distinct from intelligent conscious thought. The very fact that animal instinct is so powerful it can make same sex relations impossible to resist for some, and so utterly unthinkable for others, surely proves there’s a big difference in how our brains work. I'm sure you'll disagree with that reading, but I honestly find your whole argument to be ill-informed at best and intellectually dishonest at worst All right, mate, seriously. Your differing opinion is totally fine with me, and I’m not slinging this kind of thing back at you, am I? I’d rather just read your theories – I will read them. And you might see me write a counter theory – but I’ll never write anything like this. --------------------- Just so there's no confusion regarding my previous post – I think the OP has good points, and his suggestion for a 'beauty' check is valid IMO. But what I've been arguing for is a recognition of 'beauty's' influence in the writing itself, not necessarily in the game mechanics. I don't believe it's important to have a mechanic designed around it.
  7. Science has already proven there are vast differences between the quantity of grey and white matter between the male and female human brain – and also its dispersal and density in certain regions. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg regarding this thing that’s solely responsible for how you think and behave. There are, in other words, multiple intelligences, some of which women were designed to excel in over men – and vice versa. 'Intelligence' itself is a rather meaningless word in that sense, since there is no one all-governing intelligence. But what it does mean is that it's safe to say there are 'feminine' traits and 'masculine' traits. If you can't be convinced by experience, then by all means tell science its wrong. There is also social research galore that has already investigated the influence attractiveness has on the human perception of competition and intelligence. Attractive people tend to be viewed as more competent – that’s not my conclusion, it’s the conclusion of the research. It’s been shown to have significant implications for hiring and promotion within the workforce. As such, it’s a kind of cheap charisma that just works out of the box, so to speak. Research aside, we’re all entitled to our opinions regardless. If they don’t confirm with yours, and you have to resort to name-calling over counter opinion, then that says everything I need to know. That said, if you feel men and women should be treated identically in fantasy, I say that’s fine – you’re entitled to your opinion. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I’ll still challenge it, which isn’t the same as shooting it down. I don’t need science to tell me women and men aren’t remotely the same – I just need to have lived a life. Human intelligence is subordinate to human animal instinct, by which I mean nature has intentions for you as an animal to ensure the survival of the species. It doesn’t care about concepts like political correctness – and it has designed the brain to guarantee nature will always have the upper hand. It’s my personal preference is to see the implications of that in all fiction. That’s not me saying ‘this is how it should be’, it’s me saying ‘this how I want it to be’. Regarding the comment that I’m a ‘troll’, of all things, why get so angry and upset if my opinions aren’t the same as your opinions? Do you need me to be thinking exactly like you do about life in order to feel content? Because I won’t. Men rate physical attractiveness in potential mates higher than women do. I can speak from experience when I write that, and there’s no shame for me there – it’s just human nature. I’m no expert in female psychology, but I can still have opinions on my observations of women. I’ve also asked women direct questions on the subject that have backed up all of what I believe. For women, the attraction business is far more complex. They don’t have the same lust for sex based solely on appearance – a man might see a beautiful woman, discover she has a personality that would curdle milk, and still have sex with her if the chance arose. Women in general won’t do that if a man is attractive. They have an elaborate criteria of items that need to be met before they sleep with a man: his confidence levels, his emotional stability, his sense of humour, his social skills, to name but a few. Women also play a subtler flirting game. It’s more psychological, more creative and more indirect than the game men play. They also have more opportunity to use their bodies and, yes, beauty to seem more alluring – this doesn’t mean acting like a ****, or taking her clothes off. The topic of female flirtation is so complicated I have to cut it off there. In short, I’ve experienced both men and women flirting with me. I don’t care how people perceive my sexuality, even though I’m straight – but I can say the experience has taught me men and women couldn’t be more different in how they think. Men have directly hit on me, even if they know nothing about my personality. They’ve often been aggressive in doing so, and occasionally stalker-ish – ‘no’ won’t be taken for an answer, and the process can go on almost indefinitely for as long as you work in the same building as them. Women are far more cautious and probing. They’ll never directly let you know they find you attractive in the way men will. They’ll always do so indirectly, in a way that leaves you constantly guessing – am I right in how I read her body language, and the innuendo in her conversation? But it’ll always be up to me, as a man, to make the move. They have never engaged in staker-ish behaviour with me, and I've never had to repeatedly make it clear that the answer is a 'no', as happens to have been the case with not one but several different men – in the same building. I've had to actually ask my manager to move me to a different floor at one stage, because one of these men was in no way as harmless as the others in his persistence. None of these behaviours are reflected in Deadfire, which was only one small part of the problem I had with the narrative. Having lived a life, I simply reject any fiction that doesn’t look or sound like reality. That’s just me. As regards ‘that thread’ that I started, I’ll likely never look at it or read the comments. That’s it’s been locked already says everything I need to know. It has provoked debate, therefore it has done its job. Past experience on forums thought me you’re better off not getting involved beyond that point, because life’s too short. Besides, no matter how rational you may be, no matter much evidence you provide, there’ll always be some twit who’s out for your throat, no matter what. For these people, there is no debate – they call you names, they curse your words, but they never counter with an opinion of their own with a level head. I don’t deal with such people in online forums. If they don’t like me and my opinions in such a personal way, they’re welcome to come meet me face to face. I won’t turn down anyone on that offer.
  8. Some of these may already be there and I just didn’t see them, but here’s a few quick ones I can think of: target === ally && partyMemberName === ‘Eder’ (or whoever you want to target specifically) I saw ‘self: animal companion active’, but it didn’t work for summoned creatures, so I’d like to see a ‘self: summon active’ check – because otherwise summons are occasionally unsummoned for a new summon if 2 behaviours invoke different summons A simple count function/feature: if (count(usedLevelSevenSpellTotal) === 0 && count(usedLevelSixSpellTotal) === 0 && count(usedLevelOneSpellTotal) !== 0) and so on... An autocomplete box for searching through the larger lists Tooltips for the various UI sections Definitely a tutorial for how a) behaviours are queued and prioritised – though it generally seems to work as expected and b) how multiple actions within a specific behaviour are prioritised, because this didn’t work as expected
  9. There are NO SPOILERS in this review. I’m beginning with the bad and ending with the good, because I believe the bad is so significant that I can’t believe no one else has written about it. I’m not holding back, but every criticism is intended to be constructive, and I’m not careless with words – no one, no matter their gender or orientation, should take offence to the points I raise. With the disclaimer out of the way, I want to jump straight in to Deadfire’s most glaring problem: what's surely the most slavering, turgid adherence to politically correct characterisations around gender and sexual orientation in all of gaming (do please correct if you know of anything worse). Of all the women I’ve worked with, been friends with and have dated, only 5% – at most – are anything like the women portrayed in Deadfire. That’s a whopping 95% of female personality types that are completely side-lined. The female characters in Deadfire appear in only two varieties that I’m calling ‘The Iron Maiden’ and ‘The Lovable Goof’, both of whom are clearly fast-becoming the female clichés of modern fantasy writing in gaming. Admittedly, the main Lovable Goof in Deadfire (Xoti) is a decently written character but still a cliché. She’s Lohse from DOS:2. She’s Sera from DAI. She’s the blue one from Mass Effect Andromeda. She’s also, now, Mirke, the free DLC character who happens to be the drunken version of The Lovable Goof. As Lovable Goofs go, Xoti is some kind of Bridget Jones in a world of dragons and swords, who has Eder in place of the reluctant Mr Right – which is fair enough. I’ve no problem with that, and in fact think she’s well developed in this regard. But now we’re getting another Lovable Goof for a party member, which makes 2 out of a measly cast of 4 potential female party members. All of the other female party members are variations of The Iron Maiden. In the simple-minded world of Deadfire’s characterisation, these are ‘tough, strong’ women because they’ve been masculinised, either physically or psychologically, to resemble a male/female hybrid. They often have a chip on their shoulder the size of a small planet, can easily kick the asses of every man in the room and have personalities the equivalent of acid. Some random examples (they’re basically every other female character in Deadfire): 1) Fassina (companion) – hates everything: her job, her boss, her employees, even the player (this is emphasised when you try and recruit her) 2) Pallegina (companion) – Deadfire’s T-1000. Get on the wrong side of her, which is often and easily done, and she’ll cut your balls off where you stand, not blink an eyelid, and race straight out the door 3) Dessiral (bounty agent, Radiant Court) – her ‘idiot kid sister’ died at some point and she’s so ‘tough’ she doesn’t give a damn: it’s just the way life is. Patronising, condescending, haughty in giving out her tasks. Can’t say thanks for her helping out without literally gritting her teeth in resentment 4) Aenia (bounty agent, Queens Berth) – patronising, condescending, haughty (again) – she’s an example of Deadfire’s stock Iron Maiden that’s more or less everywhere and poisonously bitter just for the sake of it 5) The Queen of Nebraska – Guess what? Patronising, condescending, haughty (again). So one-dimensional she can only do holier-than-thou or righteous fury 6) Okaya (Fleet Master, Sayuka) – the first time you meet her, she might as well be telling you to lick her god-damned boots, because she’s the boss and you’re lucky she’s even talking to you. Finish her quest and you’ll get the same treatment None of the female senior management I’ve known behave anything like these women. And I’ve worked for female CEOs. An acutely developed sense of self-awareness is critical for any leader, male or female. None of the characters in Deadfire seem to have any self-awareness whatsoever. Deadfire leaves out about 95% of the female characters I’ve encountered in life. Yet somehow 90% of Deadfire’s leader figures, from criminals to politics, are nonetheless female Iron Maiden Types – in the dark ages, where women had no rights whatsoever and faced even greater challenges in rising the workforce ranks than the already significant challenges they face today. If this fantasy world overcame this, how did it do so? And no, it's not ok to be unrealistic here, because they're pitching for a mature, 'serious' tone everywhere else, so they are striving for realism. At one point, a female pirate leader makes a direct hit on my prot that would be heavy-handed were it a man hitting on a woman. Absolutely no women flirt like this! Even the voice actor sounds ashamed of the line. What about the power of female physical beauty as regards human nature and human animal instinct? It’s never explored in Deadfire because it’s obviously not PC to admit it even exists. It’s not ‘strong’ because it’s superficial, right? Yet its command over men has influenced some of the most complex dramatic narratives in human history – and not just in fiction. Then there’s Deadfire’s next modern fantasy cliché. A man, this time, by the name of Tekehu. He’s Dorian’s equivalent from DAI. I’m calling this cliché The Gay Superman. And I’d put money on us seeing a lot more of these types from Obsidian and Bioware. As a contractor, I’ve worked in a lot of different offices, and there have always been at least a few gay men in each. I can safely say they’re exactly like the rest of us. I’ve encountered gay sleaze balls, gay sound lads, gay idiots, gay geniuses, and everything in between. All are flawed. None is perfect. Like DAI’s Dorian, Tekehu is at all times a powerhouse of moral, intellectual, psychological and physical brilliance. Gracious, wise, knowledgeable. And did I mention everyone considers him the greatest watershaper artist in existence? He’s that, and he’s the most confident gay flirt I’ve ever encountered – this guy has no fear of straight male rejection or its consequences: surely a topic that could actually drive a decent story in this game? Tekehu has his own unique lovingly crafted ‘cool’ shark form, his own unique ‘cool’ water godlike form, his own unique ‘cool’ druid spells, even his own unique ‘cool’ idle stance, and some of the flashiest artwork in the game dedicated to his ‘cool’ watery sculptures. He has easily the most thoroughly developed lines, backstory and narrative of the entire cast – including the protagonist. You know why all that is so, right? It’s because we straights are discriminatory, tiny-brained scum, see. We’re all exactly the same, and we’d be too stupid to accept a gay person in an RPG party unless that gay person was given a character budget the equivalent of all the other party members combined. Because that’s how dim we are: we need all the cool flashy extras to entice us to let a gay guy join our adventure. Obsidian clearly doesn’t have a huge amount of confidence in the open mindedness of straight males, of which, incidentally, I can remember virtually none from the entire story. Eder and Serafen are the only two I can properly recall. One is almost impossibly stupid (Eder). The second, Serafen, is an unconvincingly foul-mouthed furry angry midget, who’s so whipped by the women in his life that all I could think of was ‘ouch, poor bastard’ every time one of them cropped up to emasculate him. Like 95% of the real women you’ll encounter in the real world, virtually all straight males are invisible in Deadfire. They have almost no leadership positions, or are subordinates to the true leader (always a female Iron Maiden type) if they do. Conspicuously absent are the physically and socially dominating ‘alpha male’ types that we encounter all the time in our own world. The most extreme example I can think of is Tony Soprano, but you’ll meet these Tony Sopranos everywhere in leadership roles. They’re the sometimes bullying, mostly charismatic, yet always unavoidable part of the human animal kingdom, and removing them without some interesting story regarding how it happened just further erodes the already brittle world building in Deadfire. The male leaders in Deadfire, from what I can recall of these fictional non-entities, tend to be dandyish, vaguely silly and impossible to take seriously. What about the main plot, then? Well, what do all fantasy writers do when they’ve no original ideas but are saddled with the task of creating a ‘bigger and better’ epic? Guess that means wheeling out old reliable, ‘the gods’. DOS2, in fairness, went the same lazy route. Big, bad, boring gods summoned by the dozen to lament their various invented problems that only a fantasy god could relate to. The main villain Eothas is as insipid and baffling as they come – there is literally no part of this disinterested, rambling deity that can be seen as metaphor in the context of any human experience. And yes, all good fiction used its monsters, however fantastical, to represent some relatable aspect of humanity. Deadfire is more Throne of Bhaal than Shadows of Amn. It’s desperate to seem ‘epic’ on top of everything else. But the reason Shadows of Amn was so great was that it never really became ‘epic’ in the cliché sense of a world shattering event. Its villain was a relatable narcissist, and one of the best ever conceived in gaming. And while The Witcher’s 3 main plot was cliché, its side-stories were brilliant, in particular the Hearts of Stone quest. The best that can be said of the whitewashed writing in Deadfire is that at least there’s no pontificating on racial inequality – this is largely allowed to play out in an organic way. The ‘amico’ slinging Deadfire Spaniard-equivalents are borderline cartoonish at times, but The Gullet storylines of poverty and food shortages were occasionally well written, if always allowed to fizzle out too early. The Good And so on to the actual good points… Outside of the writing, the effort put into this game is up there with The Witcher 3 and Divinity Original Sin 2, so I’m counting it as one today’s Big Three RPGs and judging it on those terms. I thought Deadfire was always at least competent regarding artwork, animations, music, design, etc. But it never rises above this basic competency: if you’re looking for the next timeless ‘classic’, this isn’t it. The music was often outstanding, in particular a brilliantly madcap tavern tune that I can’t find the name of. This is the best track I’ve ever heard in gaming. It recalls images of blood and beer and sodden blacked timber – its harmonica croons the tales of the very darkest of adventures, none of which ended either happily or miserably, but somewhere in the grimy limbo that lies in between. The tales, in other words, that the writers didn’t deliver with Deadfire. The level progression is by far more intelligent than DOS2’s boring ‘pile on the hit points’ system that makes balance a Herculean task for designers later in the game. In Deadfire, you feel like you’re getting stronger, with a more diversified skillset – in DOS2, you carried around the same skills and just got shinier armour and grotesquely inflated stats. The ship base is also better than DOS2's ship, even if it doesn't look half as good visually. The world overview map is also quite strong, with the various ships really making it seem like it's a living place. Starting off in your crappy little ship that can be beaten up by everyone else is likewise a sound experience. It feels great to finally upgrade and go around pounding the other ships, even if the battles themselves are in way strategic, and are simply battles of attrition. This good in its own way – I'd happy for some 'auto resolution' based on my ship's current state. The AI editor, although needing improvements, is the best I’ve encountered, and the most satisfying feature when working the way you intended. It does need far more tutorials and options, as it’s all trial and error regarding how certain aspects are prioritised over others, and there’s not enough flexibility in certain areas of ‘programming’ the characters. The background artwork was well done, but overly decorative for large parts of the game – vacuously prettified images like the palace of Nebraska are all too common. But occasionally you’ll stumble across something sparsely, darkly brilliant, like a fampyr’s bloody lair in the middle of nowhere. Compared to DOS2’s phenomenally-rendered 3D environments, however, these static environments have no life. Even compared to Shadows of Amn, Deadfire’s static artwork isn’t as imaginative or interesting. It doesn’t help that the creature design is generic: cliché fantasy beasts like imps, slimes, ogres, mushrooms, giants, dragons and shades dominate the monster cast. Almost all are just recycled models from POE1 given a fresh lick of paint. By comparison, DOS2 featured ingenious creature design that was different in every battle. That was because the artists were allowed to invent creations not necessarily tied to DOS ‘lore’. As such, the artists rose the quality of DOS2 world building far above the actual world building from the writers themselves. The static environments are also responsible for Deadfire’s biggest UX problems: endless loading screens. I can’t describe how many house doors filled me with a sinking dread of another immersion slaughtering loading screen, all for the lotto of possibly having a few crappy boxes to scavenge. I found the combat entertaining if lacking depth. A cleverly ‘programmed’ AI, while its own reward, can handle everything itself. Foregoing AI behaviours doesn’t add challenge – it just reminds you how dull POE combat is when you have to manually click and point the skills/spells in the same manner in which you’d automate them. Programming automation becomes the strategy: watching it play out becomes the fun. That said, Shadows of Amn, an old game now, ironically had a deeper combat system, thanks to simpler yet more meaningful status effects. This balance was ruined by Throne of Bhaal – but either way, DOS’s combat system, in my very personal opinion, trumps all in terms of strategic depth, creativity and entertainment. I don’t think I’ll be buying the DLC. It’ll just be more of the same, with different pictures. Cheers anyway, Obsidian – it wasn’t half bad. But Larian gets silver and CD Projeckt Red gets gold for me in the battle of the modern Big Three.
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