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About slopesandsam

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  1. You said that Alpha was where content was still being added, and that Beta was for bug fixing. But they both come after all content has been added, and they're both bug fixing phases. Alpha for the obvious bugs, Beta for the ones that only reveal themselves after extensive testing. Sorry, I'm coming off as pedantic, but my original intention was just to clarify.
  2. So, here's something that is probably a minority opinion, but...I really love the world of Grounded. It's an inspired take on the survival genre, and I've really loved exploring the backyard and figuring out what plants and bug bits can be made into what. But I'm not actually a fan of the survival genre. I really don't get any pleasure out of base building (In fact, my base consists of a short, half-hearted length of wall that I gave up on, one workbench, two storage chests and a lean-to. That's it. If I had my time again, I wouldn't bother building the wall.) and I dislike open-ended games where you just muck around until you run out of content and lose interest. I am, primarily, a story-driven gamer. It's why I like Obsidian games so much. So I'm really hoping that as it gets updated, Grounded gets a deep and detailed story to go along with the survival mechanics. Ideally, there'd be a whole society of shrunken people surviving in the backyard, with NPCs and quests and choices and consequences. But I get that it's not an RPG. Although a Grounded RPG would be super awesome. Spinoff?
  3. Alpha is actually when all the content and features of a game have been added. The game is essentially done...apart from bugs. So, not really done, because there may still be A LOT of work that needs to be done to get the game running smoothly, without crashing and without weird glitching. A game in Alpha may still have massive, obvious, game destroying problems that need to be fixed, but everything the developers intent to include in the game has been added to the game. No new features, or content will be added...unless it's to fix a problem. Beta is the next milestone, when the developers say "As near as we can tell, this game is now running smoothly and bug free." It's at this point that it gets opened up to a larger pool of testers, who might (and will) find bugs that the developers never saw or thought possible in their internal testing, which can then be fixed before the final release. Early Access is basically a totally different way of developing a game, where the public is actively playing a pre-Alpha version of the game. For developers, this likely means changing HOW they develop the game, because they want each update to be as playable as possible. It likely means breaking the content up into sections and then doing a sort of mini Alpha and Beta for each section as they release the sections as content patches. tl;dr: The terms Alpha and Beta don't really apply to Early Access games.
  4. I second this. The entire history of the games industry is basically a history of franchises that gained larger and larger audiences as they went along. Also, if Obsidian were to continue making isometric RPGs for a niche audience, I'd far prefer them to continue the Tyranny franchise than PoE. Tyranny is probably one of the best RPGs I've ever played, and it's definitely a massively underrated gem. Of course, the chances of that happening now are nonexistent. I guess Microsoft could buy the IP off Paradox...but why would they bother? (I have a bunch of friends who are really into isometric RPGs, but I had a really hard time convincing them that they would like Tyranny. Most of them really hated the idea of being forced to play as an evil character, and I couldn't really convince them that actually, the game lets be as good or evil as any other good RPG. Plus it actually forced you to make some hard choices.)
  5. Right now, I think MS is probably interested in having a lot more big AAA franchises, because right now all they really have is Halo. And a thing a lot of people forget (or were too young to notice/care at the time) is that Bethesda really worked hard to court existing Fallout fans before the release of FO3. If you go back an look at archives of the interviews and demos they were doing at the time, it was all about stressing how much VATS was still like the old turn-based system, and how the experience would still be the same even though it was in 3D, etc. But once it was clear that FO3 was a massive success that had expanded the audience for Fallout games far beyond that core group of old fans, Bethesda dropped any pretense of trying to appease them. (Which sort of answers my original question for me. Bethesda were trying to win over the old fans at the time, and to create a continuation of what had come before, so it wouldn't have made any sense to call their game anything but Fallout 3. Obsidian, on the other hand, aren't trying to win over old fans, they're trying to bring in new ones with a shiny new game. So calling their game PoE3 would be similarly counter-intuitive.)
  6. This is the crux of it, really. We could all argue forever about what "makes" a game into a PoE game. Does it have to be isometric? Does it need to have the D&D-esque mechanics and classes? Should it be a direct continuation of the story of PoE 1 & 2? Etc. But at the end of the day, it's basically a marketing decision. If marketing decides that the game will sell better if it has "Pillars of Eternity" in the title, then just like that, it's a PoE game. But as of now, it's not, and we have no reason to believe it'll change other than wild speculation.
  7. I don't think this analogy is particularly accurate. I think Fallout 3 works much better as a comparison, because it was also the shift between 2D isometric and 3D first-person, with drastically different mechanics to reflect that, and a story that was far removed (other than superficial iconography) from the stories of previous games. At this point, nobody claims that Fallout 3 must be an isometric turn-based game set on the west coast. The franchise changed format. And there's nothing to say that PoE can't do the same.
  8. Anything is possible...but with the Microsoft purchase, Obsidian we can probably assume that Obsidian is a AAA studio now. Microsoft almost certainly hope that Obsidian will become their Bethesda, with TOW and POE/Avowed as the big, flagship franchises. So it just seems unlikely that a niche, isometric PoE3 is going to be something they want to put resources and talent into.
  9. So, the thing I think here is: if they're making a AAA game, and assuming it is intended to be a competitor for the Elder Scrolls games (and therefore, likely a very big, open-world game), why use the PoE universe if this isn't intended to be the flagship title going forward? Because any future isometric PoE games would be overshadowed by this one. Unless that is, this is PoE 3, and they're trying to brand it like an Elder Scrolls game (which are all better known by their subtitles) and at some point down the line Avowed quietly gets a small-print "Pillars of Eternity" prefix. Or they're retiring the PoE name, and Avowed is the successor title. Like I said, I don't know much about marketing, but it makes logical sense that they don't want to scare off potential new customers by calling it PoE 3, and also don't want to piss off existing fans by altering the franchise's format so drastically, so they give it a new name. OR, they're also working on a AAA PoE 3 that's a Dragon Age competitor, I guess. Just seems kind of unlikely, though.
  10. So, I know there's no information out there on this game beyond what's in the trailer, but...is this PoE 3 in all but name? What I mean is, this wouldn't be the first franchise to drastically alter its presentation in its third installment. GTA 1 and 2 were these tiny little top-down driving games before suddenly becoming giant, 3D worlds with GTA3. And, of course, Fallout 3 drastically changed the presentation of that franchise (for better and/or worse). So I'm wondering if Avowed is doing the same thing for the PoE franchise, and if so, is it only called Avowed for marketing reasons? Or is it its own thing that just happens to be set in the PoE universe?
  11. Having just finished The Outer Worlds today (I have two small children - managing to finish an RPG in two weeks is a minor miracle), my immediate reaction is: this is the game I so desperately wanted, and I loved it. I want more. I hope there's DLC and sequels and glory raining down on everyone who worked on it. I do, of course, have some minor criticisms. Criticisms that seem a bit silly and idiosyncratic in the face of how much I loved this game. But I have the internet, so I'm going to share those criticisms. Hopefully in a constructive manner. And, I realise, they're mostly criticisms about how this game didn't quite fit the mold of Fallout - the original two Fallouts, more than the more modern iterations - which is more about me than the game itself. First, the mechanical criticisms: I was a little disappointed that I never really felt like my character build mattered an awful lot. In Fallout 1, it's really clear that the stats and skills you choose have a significant impact on what paths through the game are available to you. In TOW, I often felt like pretty much all paths were always available to me, and it was really just a matter of choosing which one I preferred (I always felt like my choices were significant, but I never felt like any were really closed off to me). The dialogue skills, in particular, felt totally interchangeable. Persuading, Lying and Intimidating all appeared to have the exact same affect on gameplay. And it was extremely rare to find a skill-check that was so high that it was unavailable (and even when one was, I could usually use one of the other dialogue skills to achieve the same effect). The ability to initially put points into skill "branches" and have all the related skills increase was, I think, I great idea. But I think that having that go all the way up to 50 made it so all characters felt a bit generalised far too far into the game (and some felt like they were weirdly grouped - like, I always enjoyed being a sciency-type in the Fallout games, which for me included hacking, because my character knew their way around a computer, but I never enjoyed being a stealthy, lockpicking pickpocket, so having hacking grouped with lockpicking felt wrong to me). Connected to that, I really loved the Perks in Fallout that only became available if your character was over a certain stat or skill threshold. It really helped to increase specialisation. I would have liked to see some of those in TOW. I really wanted to feel more like a specialist by the time I reached the final third of the game. Second, the cosmetic. These criticisms are superficial ones really. But, I felt like TOW lacked a certain amount of...iconic imagery? I mean, that's likely an unfair criticism to level at the first iteration of a new franchise, but Fallout 1 had a bunch of stuff that was instantly recognisable as Fallout. Supermutants. Ghouls. Nuka-Cola (TOW has its share of crazy weird brands, but I can't think of one that really stood out in the same way that Nuka-Cola did). And the "War. War never changes..." intro. I mean, aping all that stuff too closely would have been on-the-nose for a game that already shared a hell of a lot of DNA with the Fallout franchise, but I'm a sucker for those iconic symbols. I feel like some sort of stylised intro explaining how Halcyon was founded and how the Hope was lost would have been cool (obviously not a black-and-white Ron Perlman narrated intro, but something that fit TOW's own style) - something that could have been iterated on in future sequels. Yes, I know, these are petty complaints. I feel a bit crummy having writing multiple paragraphs of complaints about a game I consider to be the best game I've played in many years. I could write many more paragraphs listing all the things I loved about the game. It was so good. I can't wait to see where this franchise goes.
  12. I'm gonna disagree with you there. I was hesitant to use EGS simply because, yes, I like having my games library in one place: Steam. When this exclusivity was announced, I sighed and thought to myself "Well, I guess I have a reason to install the EGS launcher." But then, via this controversy, I discovered the issues with privacy and the implications of the kinds of exclusive deals they've been purchasing, and I changed my mind. I can't support the EGS.
  13. The better question is: what is epic selling that publishers want? And the answer is: security. This is just supposition on my part, but if Epic go to a publisher and say "Okay, so, for this game, a decent number of sales is...two million unit. On Steam, at $60 a pop, minus Valve's 30% cut, you'd get $42 a unit. That 84 million dollars. So, we'll give you $84 million to make this game a Steam exclusive." Suddenly the publisher doesn't have to sweat the game flopping. (Now, chances are that it's not a direct payout. The deal is probably structured such that Epic guarantees a certain amount of profit. So, if the game falls short of $84 million, Epic would cover the difference - the game would have to literally sell zero copies for Epic to have to pay out the full $84 million. If the game exceeds $84 million, well, that's just gravy.) Again, I'm pulling this out of thin air, but it's how I make sense of these deals.
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