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Posts posted by Varana

  1. Also, modern game engines are optimised for exactly what the Witcher and similar games do: real-time streaming of 3D assets. It's what makes or breaks an engine: Can it run games like that fast with many details?

    PoE takes such an engine and uses it in a non-optimal way. Maybe they can streamline the process here and there, and there are certainly other issues as well, but I think an important part is that they're using the "wrong" engine. (Not that there currently is a right one.)


    When you load the Neketaka screen and click on Queens Berth, a list of names of certain areas come up on the upper left side. You can click any of those names to go straight to that location.

    Wait. Why have I never noticed that???

  2. Ah, see, I didn't know about the "sword CRUSH!!!" part (haven't seen it in the game, yet). In that case, it is pretty unique (and will probably stay that way even after weapon distribution gets an update), and I'd rather keep it as it is.
    I mean, I won't lose any sleep over a change and will only post an extensive forum rant if I'm really, really bored and/or drunk.  :grin:  But generally speaking, as a preference. :)


    Edit: Hah, I can change my vote. Nice.

    • Like 1
  3. Some concepts and stories of the Endles Paths were interesting and fun. But it was overdone, imho; several levels were just filler, or one small nice idea that was maybe great for one or two rooms had to power a complete dungeon level and failed at that. Sure, environmental storytelling is a thing, but if the Endless Paths are anything to go by, then Obsidian still has a lot of levelling up to do in that department.

    I for one think that the Endless Paths were a nice Kickstarter idea that didn't scale very well. Shrink it by half, and you get a tight but varied dungeon.

    • Like 1
  4. I have not heard anyone say such a thing about Divinity OS and if they did they are an idiiot because divinity OS 2 is a brilliant game.

    Mostly because no one thought the story of D:OS was particularly interesting, or even good. ;) I can't remember a single serious D:OS review that praised its story (maybe some that came out right at the beginning and didn't actually play the whole thing). Particular quests or areas, sure, But the story as a whole was not received very well.

    Which was absolutely not a problem because the focus of D:OS was so obviously completely elsewhere. The story was never a liability for a sequel because no one really cared about it.

  5. First play-through: a paladin.

    Reason: Played a paladin in my first run of BG1, BG2, NWN1, and PoE1. Don't remember the IWDs.


    After that, I usually go for interesting mechanics, or interesting roleplay (if such a thing exists in the game), and sometimes I plan around the party members I intend to take. Like in my second PoE1 run, I played a priest of Eothas because I wanted to have a cleric, I didn't want to bring Durance again if you paid me for it, and I chose Eothas because I could at least imagine interesting situations, roleplaying-wise (even though the developers couldn't be bothered to write Eothasians decently).


    I never really try to recreate myself in an RPG. Sure, choices will sometimes reflect my own views, but I'm not actively trying to do that. I mean, it's fantasy... I cannot for the life of me play an "evil" character and have fun with that, though.

  6. Oh, for many people posting on English-language message boards it's not necessarily about not understanding themselves. I've been playing games in English since Ultima Underworld, I read a lot of English, and I'm fairly confident I get what's on the screen. Although more obscure, purple or obsolete phrases can rip you out of the flow.

    But your native language feels more natural, you're more at home in it, and you understand things faster and more... subconsciously? Not sure how to express that. It's a lot more intuitive, and even if you're quite good at a foreign language, it's still more of an effort. When I listen to German music, I have to make an effort if I want to _not_ automatically get the lyrics (and I usually fail). In English, it's the other way 'round - most of the time, I can easily switch off understanding much of the lyrics. Hard to explain. :)

    • Like 1
  7. The problem with that "losing your mind" thing, though, is that it doesn't seem too severe, or even mildly irritating to you. BG2 at least had a few cutscenes with the Slayer but essentially, suffered from a similar issue.

    Luckily, BG2 had Imoen, and PoE1 had the Hollowborn - so you could use them as secondary motivation while the game failed to make the primary one seem urgent.

    But while both purposes coincided in BG2, in PoE1 it's not readily apparent that both are connected. Even if you wanted to solve the Hollowborn problem, you only charge after Thaos because it's the only thing the game offers, until you do certain quests in Defiance Bay.

    That's (one aspect of) what people mean with "telling not showing": You don't _experience_ your Watcher problems, and growing insanity. You are being told that it's really bad and you should do something about it but it never seems to actually affect you. That disconnect is, imho, one core problem with the storytelling, and many other problems are a result of it.

    Also, the info dumps - Lady Webb but also the anti-Thaos girl (don't remember the name) right before the end. Much of what you find out about the whole story is told to you at very few points during the main quest. It's not that the story in itself is bad - it is not, on the contrary, I think the general idea behind it is very interesting - but that the pacing is quite off, and makes the story shine a lot duller than it could've been.

    That the main quest is only loosely connected to the rest of the quests, doesn't bother me at all. I'm a fan of the Bethesda approach to main quests - point the player in its general direction but if they don't care about it, that's entirely fine. :D


    The urgency problem ("why am I saving a kitten in a tree while I'm the Chosen One to fight the world-destroying bad guy?") - yes, that's a very common issue, and very hard to write around. The main difference is how good you can hide that dilemma, mostly.

    • Like 5
  8. People seem to have quite a difficult time accepting polytheism... ;)


    Being a cleric of one god, or the champion of another, or praying to a third, or making sacrifices or pilgrimages in the name of a fourth, doesn't mean you have to somehow deny the existence, power, or divinity of any of the others. You can do all those things simultaneously, and that's perfectly normal (as far as being the champion of a god is "normal"...)

    • Like 2
  9. As I live in Taiwan and Chinese is my mother tongue, when the game launched the interface automatically appeared in Chinese (Simplified though, different from Traditional, which we use here). But instead of a nice surprise (I wasn't a backer and didn't realize there'd be a Chinese version) this came as an unpleasant jolt, because the translation was so bad I couldn't even figure out what some phrases were supposed to mean - and I hadn't even actually started playing! So the very first thing I did was go to Options and change the language to English (and I never want to look at the Chinese version again).

    For me, the game started in German. I went to Options (because that's the first thing you do with a new game :D ) and had problems understanding some of them, and in one case, there was a really glaring translation mistake that had already been there in PoE1 and made the option completely nonsensical.* I switched to English at that point.

    Which is really unfortunate because it's a vicious circle - my game will appear as "switched to English" in Obsidian's stats, meaning they will give even less priority to translations in the future.


    (* The "gibs" option. It's videogame slang, and the translator obviously had absolutely no idea what it meant.)

    • Like 1
  10. And that is a good thing.

    For all its historical merit, D&D (esp. its older incarnations) isn't all there is to roleplaying games. Videogames should move on at some point - or rather, catch up, as tabletop gaming has been moving on for quite a while now.

    Or even better, video games should go their own way. Tabletop rules are as much bound by their medium (actual dice, humans doing the calculations, human levels of changing things on the fly) as video games are. PoE trying to take that difference into account should be pushed further.

    • Like 4
  11. some enemy mages in BG2 have spells stored in their sequencers i don‘t remember i can even get or if at all then at high levels. They cast them instantly, i consider that as good as prebuffing.

    That was BG2's answer to the problem that the player regularly enters a fight pre-buffed while the NPCs can't, as they only activate their AI routine upon sight (or more precisely, when being in range, leading to exploits like activating them stealthed and letting their buffs run out).

    For technical reasons, it was difficult to have actual pre-buffing (and still is, seeing how video game AI still works on enemy aggro ranges) so they tried to emulate it to level the playing field and make the encounter more believable: On activation, the enemy mages applied their buffs through scripted insta-cast (even when they accompanied it with a "sequencer" message, that was usually just window-dressing).

    • Like 4
  12. I also see the main issues with this (apart from player expectation) in implementation and communication to the player.

    Is it possible to design a system that uses MIG for the purposes it serves in PoE, mechanically? Sure. But you have to think it through and use the stat, accordingly.

    For instance, you could just not use attribute checks for physical feats and check some skill like Athletics instead. If you want to know whether your wizard will be able to bend prison bars with her bare hands, you look at Athletics. But that has to be done consistently for that attribute/skill combination.

    You also don't need to do that for every attribute. CRPGs have limited gameplay focus, and if you don't check some things, you don't need to simulate them. Does beauty have to be represented in stats? In a tabletop game, some mechanic would probably be useful. In a CRPG, you can just decide to leave it to the player, and model RES and Speechcraft, or some such thing.

    • Like 1
  13. Quoted for context:

    I agree that this is true, but the problem with the "this is kind of necessary now" argument is that it started out as unnecessary, then became "necessary" due to someone changing it to that...

    But it became that way because of reasons, and therefore just stopping doing it won't turn the clock back. Just like not all music is death metal - you can't force bands to play only one thing, just like you can't force companies to produce only certain kinds of stuff even though others might give them an advantage.

    Everyone ridiculed Oblivion's horse armour DLC, but enough people bought it to justify the investment and even the ridicule. It sold continuously for years.

    Now, that's an unequivocally sh***y example. But not all small DLC are as bad as that, and we're getting into the area where small DLC make a lot of sense, economically. Sure, if everyone would just stop buying them, that would change, but that's not going to happen. Sure, you can survive without doing them, but in most cases, that's just forgoing revenue. And if you have people at the end of a project that don't work that much on it any more (like artists in the final stages before release, and I'm probably oversimplifying here), why not let them do something useful that will pay off a bit later?

    Another point that is important, imho, is that it didn't just change because people got into bad habits. It also changed because some things simply couldn't be done in earlier days. For instance, when every patch and add-on had to be distributed by physical media like floppy disks or CDs, small DLCs weren't feasible. With the advent of good internet connections in many households, small, art-heavy DLC became possible for the first time, and that's when they took off.

  14. @Varana


    You‘re supposed to be allowed to set your own rules/limitations within the given rules.

    Exactly - within the given rules. Maximum party size is part of those rules.

    No one's going to let every player decide freely (and I mean without restrictions) how much damage he wants his sword to deal, or how many spells his casters can use.


    Edit: Generally speaking, a game is not a simulation. Rules and restrictions are what makes a game a game.

    In a world simulation, you could take your ship crew into combat. Recruit random guards. Just sail your ship off the map and go to a completely different region of the world. Die from food poisoning or choking on a pretzel.

    But a game needs focus. It needs a theme, an intended experience, and a vision. That restricts the stuff you can do but creates a more challenging and better experience all around.

    • Like 2
  15. "Gamers" are those who take themselves way too seriously.




    "I like good expansion packs but I dislike bad mini-DLC" is kind of a no-brainer. What about a big expansion pack that's kinda 'meh' in contrast to fun and not-too-expensive little add-ons? ;)




    Heh. Honestly, the general trend of "we've got to pump out add-on content at very regular intervals" has been a terrible one for game content.

    I'd really like to know how much of that development is driven by changes in the market itself. Video games are a much bigger industry than a few decades past, technology has marched on at a breathtaking pace, games are supposed to be supported extensively post-launch, many more people play than ever before, they have an infinite ocean of games to choose from.


    Let's take XCom2. They recently launched a gigantic expansion pack with loads of content (and it's f***ing expensive) - 19 months or so after the game's release. In between came two small mission DLCs and a few cosmetic ones. Were those necessary - to keep the game in the news, to show players that it isn't dead, to get a bit more cash flow? I don't know. But I wouldn't rule it out, either. The world is different now.


    “One of the responsibilities I think we have as designers is to protect the player from themselves” - Sid Meier


    I never liked the idea of people joining you, moving into your house and sitting on their asses waiting for you to take them along for a walk. I much preferred Baldur’s Gates’ “here are companions, build a team from them and this is what you get. Come back in next playthrough and try the others!”. I am pretty sure KOTOR was the first to do it but it worked due to your “base” being a ship. Should work the same for Deadfire.



    i disagree with Sid Meier. This way of thinking can lead to limiting the player, yet i do like learning from my mistakes, it‘s a way of feeling progress just as much as your char progresses through the game getting more xp, better items...


    But game rules are all about limitations. Bishops can only move diagonally, you may only play one card at a time, you may only bring four guys to shoot 20+ aliens in the face. It's the designer's job to create interesting limitations for the player to work with.

    That even extends to the narrative, not only combat. You cannot have Monty and Xzar at the same time as Jaheira and Khalid. You can't join Telvanni and Redoran. Yennefer or Triss.

    Limits are necessary for the game mechanics and the game world to work, and you can't offload everything on the players.

    Restricting the party to five (or, at all) is a game rule in that sense. It's part of the challenge of combat.

    • Like 3

    The VA strike looks to be resolved now.


    Any idea how those turned out, out of curiosity? Industry impact, etc.? I wonder if that affected this game when they went to find voice actors.


    Wikipedia has a summary; according to them, negotiating for residuals was unsuccessful.


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