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Everything posted by Rahkir

  1. A Nalpazca suffers the effects of drug crash even after Arcane Dampener wears off. Re-applying drugs removes drug crash (-100% healing and wound degeneration). The negative effects of the drug also persist until the drug is reapplied, even though the positive effect returns when Arcane Dampener fades.
  2. If you want a solution before an official patch, the mod I listed above works on this too. Remove effects -> find Xoti's Lantern buff. You're right. It works. The mod also let me re-enable level scaling mid-game, which is cool. Thanks. No problem.
  3. I'm thinking of going for a Sage (Monk/Wizard) multiclass for the Arcane Reflection spells in order to protect my Nalpazca's drug benefits. Could also wear one of those rings with "Suppress Affliction", I suppose. Arcane reflection only works on targeted spells. Single class Nalpazca can craft arcane reflection potions at a much higher level than dual class wizard can cast it if you put all your points into Alchemy and wear alchemy gear.
  4. A temporary work around is to use the unity console mod. There is an option to remove effects. It also works if you are stuck with an old version of a buff. Removing and re-applying updates the effect.
  5. Lifegiver is really fun, too. Adds a bit of a tactical element to your healing while also making it very strong and long lasting. (Doubling your class power at level 5! And getting six times the benefit you would at level 1! (Granted the level 1 rejuvenation spell only gains duration, I believe, so it isn’t THAT cool, but 5 power levels will probably be significant for most of the game.)) I bet a single class livegiver coul facilitate a whole group of helwalkers. Playing around on PotD with a two man group (other member was a Nalpazca Devoted, just because I like it) and Druid healed them enough that they could tank all the damage from the spore fight.
  6. The codex is an awful and horrifying place The fact that I used to agree with the people over at RPGCodex is a persistent source of mild shame for me. Codex is a cool place with many interesting and nuanced discussions, and a very diverse pool of members from all around the world. Not sarcasm. Diverse, sure (although the internet is a just diverse by itself). Nuance? No, definitely not. Just lots of casual slurs, racism, sexism, and tons of whining Check out this thread on “random” vs deterministic systems in RPGs—glaze over the few, clearly sarcastic/hyperbolic, one-line ad hominem posts—and you’ll find a very nuanced discussion on abstraction in video games, depth of simulation when it comes to modeling real-world resembling actions (e.g. capturing not only decision scenarios under certainty, but under uncertainty and risk as well), what probability IS (does it merely represent our uncertainty/inaccuracy/lack of knowledge in a deterministic world? Is there actual randomness on the quantum level?), whether or not any actual RNGs are possible in computer simulations and what that means for game systems, and so on. http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/random-numbers-essential-in-rpgs-or-not-discuss.119345/ Not that there aren’t ALSO lots of casual slurs, and racism, and whining on the codex, but it would be absurd to argue that no nuanced discussion can occur because of that fact.
  7. The codex is an awful and horrifying place The fact that I used to agree with the people over at RPGCodex is a persistent source of mild shame for me. Codex is a cool place with many interesting and nuanced discussions, and a very diverse pool of members from all around the world. Not sarcasm.
  8. Single class lifegiver druid stag shapeshift. I can cast Moon's Light and Nature's Vigor in stag form, but when trying to cast Nature's Balm the character model freezes (no animation) & does nothing until shapeshift runs out, then Nature's Balm is immediately cast. If I move or do anything else while shape shifted, the spell is canceled. I can cast the spell when not shapeshifted.
  9. I think he made a rather obvious claim and then tried to back it up with an argument. That claim being: Reviews should be objective. That said, I think subjectivity has an important place in reviews, both implicitly and explicitly. The explicit: Statements akin to: "I really enjoy blue, and I really enjoy this game in the same way." (Suppose blue in this instance is not a simply measured objective quality, but rather the general "feel" or "style" of a game.) I say this is important because sometimes the objective measures of a game don't necessarily capture the "fun" of it. It can be a valuable piece of information if someone who has similar preferences to you enjoyed that game. The implicit: A reviewer who loves strategy RPGs is going to be able to review a very complex sRPG in a different way than someone who tends to play casual games. This shouldn't change the objective:subjective ratio of the review, but when I'm looking for a reviewer for some 4X strategy game or an XCOM clone, it will probably be someone who is already biased toward those genres. I prefer a mix of subjective and objective in reviews. Excess either gets you a useless collection of subjective ramblings or a plain of feature list. Not every measure of a game is quantifiable. One last example: Imagine a reviewer writes: "The story in this game is extremely well written. The ending was satisfying and the journey is peppered with engaging banter between your companions." Now suppose you learn that the reviewer's list of other well written stories consists entirely of Tales of... games (a very cliche and typical console JRPG series). Do you think your interpretation of that sentence would change if instead, for example, he listed BG and PS:T?
  10. I absolutely don't want dialogue cut and combat made easy, but if people bought the first game and then wrote, "You know, I LOVED PoE, but it could do without so much of that story thing" it would be silly for the developers to read that as: "You know, I LOVED PoE, but I wouldn't buy PoE2 unless you cut it out with that meaningful narrative shtick." If they loved it the first time, they'd probably come back for seconds if you gave them more of the same. If the devs change their design philosophy, it's probably for other reasons, unless they're simply misguided. If the only driving force behind every developer was profit, there would be no niche games. If game devs only cared about maximizing profit at any cost, they'd be looking to make the next goat simulator, or a nintendo-esque game, or an FPS. Top selling video games are dominated by casual party games, competitive FPS's, and viral phenomenon (mine craft, flappy bird, etc.). There would be no Pillars of Eternity. There probably would have been no Baldur's Gate or Planescape: Torment. This is a quandary in any sort of art. No doubt Selena Gomez makes more money than Beardfish or Porcupine Tree or even a "popular prog band" like Rush (e.g. Peart is triple Gomez's age and only has a slightly higher net worth), but that doesn't make progressive rock less important or worthwhile than pop, and I doubt that Geddy Lee sits around at night thinking about how he can be more like Taylor Swift. The same is true of game devs who care a lot about what they create; Sawyer probably doesn't strive to be more like Notch or Dong Nguyen simply because they made a lot of money. The most important thing for a creator who sincerely cares about his creation is rarely profit. If a company produces a unique and interesting first game and then decides to drop their past design philosophy to make greed paramount, it's probably not because an outside fanbase comes in and posts on forums or writes reviews. Take the Risen series as an example. I personally thought Risen 1 was a polished and enjoyable game with an interesting world, the second one was a shiny turd with pirates *sparkles*. Risen 1 sold well and received moderate to favorable reviews, but I doubt it brought in a bunch of people who really loved it except they wanted worse combat and more pirates. So why did Risen 2 change? Maybe the dev's got greedy and wanted to cash in on the popularity of pirates. Maybe one of the devs had a long standing pirate-fetish and finally got to live out his dream of crafting a piratey rpg. So on and so on. The same with DA to DA2. The concept for the story of DA2 was interesting and I thought maybe it could work when it was in its conceptual phase, but I highly doubt the story decision was made because a bunch of people got on a forum and said: "You know what DA:O needs? A spatial constant and temporal progression. Cut that epic story business out and make it like a slice of life anime where the second episode is a solid twenty minutes of our characters doing their laundry." Blaming design philosophy changes on the influx of a new fanbase is an overly simplistic view of game development, and pretty much assumes that game devs are either idiots or money-fiends. On a side note: I really love almost all games. I'm an avid gamer and have been since I was a small child. I love western RPGs, JRPGs, CRPGs, SRPGs, open world games, linear games, reactive games, casual games, complex games, simple games, platformers, 4X strategy, adventure games, action games, visual novels, hack 'n slashes, side scrolling beat 'em ups, rhythm games, arcade games, party games, turn based games, active time battle games, board games, card games, fps (usually only co-op like the original halo on legendary or borderlands) and so on and so on. I recognize that they each have their place and I absolutely loathe the homogenization of art, but I also recognize that the gaming options present today are so vastly varied and broad that there must be developers who create games as an interactive art form, not as a money-grab. Even if sometimes money is necessary. A good example of that necessity is the Riddick franchise. A horror movie prequel was filmed, made some money and allowed the story driven Chronicles of Riddick to be developed. Unfortunately that barely broke even, so the story never continued into trilogy that would detail the underverse and the history of the Necromongers and so on, but many years later a new Riddick was made (serving as merely an hour and a half of action with little story), was a box office hit, and now it's possible that the writer's original trilogy might see the light of day before Vin Diesel loses all of his muscle mass. Point being: whether or not Obsidian is willing to make a money-grab with PoE2 probably has very little to do with a new fanbase making posts on a forum. I also desire their design philosophy to be similar with PoE2 because games of its sort are few and far between, but ultimately the choice of content is that of the creator, and if they want to do something different with PoE2 I would understand. Being an artist myself, I would never demand that someone create something simply because they're good at it and I like what they make. (Emphasis being on the second conjunct; I might demand someone create a device or some such if it would prevent an atrocity and they were the only one capable of such a feat. But that's neither here nor there.)
  11. Not really. I am sure that there is a formula to make RPG 's successful for the average gamer.as in, there must be a specific mixture of (complexity of) story, graphics, action etc. which will most appeal to as large a group as possible. And that group and that mixture will then count as the average,which is not what this specific game is designed for. This specific game is designed for a specific audience, and people like Luckmann, Stun and me want to reserve this type of game as it is and not have it become more average. That said, glad the game is getting good press. I really don't understand the logic how a game can go from: made for a niche => mainstream likes it => loses qualities that made it niche => becomes even more mainstream If mainstream likes a niche game, then it means that the niche game has to stick to its guns and what made it special. Otherwise they lose customers (even mainstream customers) because it will no longer be the type of game that people liked. Especially since we are talking about Obsidian who does not have some publisher telling they have to become more "mainstream". If you ask me, you are all overreacting and are overprotective of the genre. Right now what we need are more isometric strategy games, not less. And if some of them are more streamlined and mainstream-y we win in the end anyway, because the larger the genre becomes the more games there are, including the very-very grognardy type. I think this is a good point. A niche is a distinct segment of the market considered to be small and thus underrepresented. If PoE is distributed to a large segment of the common market (not just the niche) and the average consumer appreciates/enjoys the product, then there is no longer a reason for saying the product only moves in a distinct and small market. That is, if PoE sells well and is well received, then games like PoE should no longer be considered niche games. (Note: this only means IE-esque games are no longer niche if you think PoE is sufficiently IE-esque.) I'm not saying this will happen, only that should it happen, PoE will no longer be niche. I'm not sure why that would upset anyone. Unless they have an ingrained bias against "mainstream" anything, or if they think the mainstream is an unchanging constant that couldn't possible suit their tastes. i.e. they're too unique to ever be mainstream. If a developer thinks: "Oh, this sold well! Lets change the formula and streamline our game, to... retroactively appeal to the market we already... won.. over?" then they're clearly misguided. That said, I don't think this is what goes through the minds of anything but caricatures of game developers (even with Origins->2). To add a comment briefly to Stun: You seem to be asserting that appreciating certain complex games requires a baseline of intelligence that much of the gaming population is lacking and that there's less mental demand when playing and enjoying flappy birds or wii sports than there is when playing and enjoying a game with nuance and complexity at it's core (whether in mechanics or story). The second seems true, but I'd also note that markets and populations change. Compare: The number of educated adult gamers from the 80s/90s to the number of educated adult gamers now. I'm betting the latter is larger. I honestly don't know how many gamers enjoy complex intellectual games, but I have to imagine the number is rising, as many of those gamers who started off playing goofy platformers at a young age are now educated adults/young adults. For example: people who were born when the original BG was released are now ~17. Around the age I was when I really fell in love with the complexity of the IE games (again, of both story and mechanics).
  12. (For what it's worth, you accidentally put your name on my quote, 8P) You're right. The smallclothes thing was an exaggeration, and was kind of beside the point. What is the reason anyone wants WSIWYG loot? It certainly isn't "because I feel the game is really lacking if you can't realistically take any object that would actually be take-able." Hence the reason you don't see anyone saying "Man, I really don't want to run into a situation in which I fight a naked guy and can't loot all his fingernails," and instead you see examples such as "I hate it when I fight a bandit with a shnazzy blade, and he doesn't drop that blade when I kill him." I wonder why this is... I dare say it's because the actual issue at hand is the relationship between dropped loot and wielded loot, for lack of a better term. In other words, what would be wrong with creatures wielding crappy, pitted/rusty shortswords only sometimes dropping them, but creatures wielding increasingly nicer quality weapons and armor always dropping them? Besides "it's not realistic"? Neither is not being able to loot their fingernails, but we've already been over why perfect realism doesn't really help anything. Basically, the problem is either that things need to drop everything that the could possibly be lootable, for the reason of "realism," OR it isn't. If it isn't, then there needs to be some other reason for 73 crappy-quality iron shortswords to drop from 73 bandits, or I'm not gonna say "Yeah, that's an awesome idea, just because!" I'm not saying there isn't any reason for all that to be lootable. I'm simply saying don't do that unless there is. Indeed I did. I wonder how that happened. (I can't figure out how to get rid of nested quotes, sticky buggers. Sometimes I only want to quote the person, not the person that that person quoted!) In my defense, I think I answered the question, "Why should bandits drop their crappy shortswords?" To quote myself, "If I want to use a Scimitar, why do I have to find and kill one of the X out of Y guys, where X = people who drop scimitars and Y = people who use them? Why can't I simply find one of the Y guys and take it from him?" (This is assuming enemies sometimes drop full weapons, and not always resources. IF you're proposing an always resource type loot system, I have other reasons I dislike that, which I've also stated in prior posts.) Perhaps put in a different way: There will be a point in the game where crappy quality iron short swords are valuable and you will want them to drop from the people you defeat. There will also be a point, presumably toward the end of the game, where fine quality iron short swords lose their utility as equipment. There will also be a point, presumably in the expansion, where magic iron short swords lose their utility as equipment. When and where exactly should items start turning into resources? It seems rather arbitrary to say standard weapons are always resources but fine ones aren't, when they both lose their utility after a certain point To argue against some enemies dropping weapons and others not: (Theoretical stuff that you don't really need to read.) It may very well be the case that you won't have access to the number of short swords required to outfit your team under a WYSIWYG system, but in that case it would be because you didn't fight 12 enemies using short swords, not because they broke by chance or because some-non-WYSIWYG system decided only 3 of the 12 short sword users you fought would drop short swords. I'm also aware that there are these things called shops, wherein you can usually buy standard equipment, but I think you would be hard pressed to argue that it's more intuitive and beneficial for enemies to, say, drop the value of a shortsword in coins, then have me go to a shop and spend those coins... on a short sword. Indeed, you could buy things other than a shortsword, but if that is your intent and the value of a shortsword really is worth looting and selling, what's the problem with going back to town, selling it, and then buying what you want? One system means you can't find a shortsword in the field and immediately use it, the other means you need to click an extra button or two to sell the short sword and buy something else. Which system seems more detrimental to you? I'm more in favor of a 'resource' drop system over a system where some enemies drop full items and some don't. That said, I think a WYSIWYG system is more intuitive, more fun, and more suited to a game like this than a resource based one or a WYSISWYG (what you see is sometimes what you get) system.
  13. I think that's a good mentality post-production, but not during. Having a coherent, tight-knit world where things "make sense" sets the mood for the more theatrical narratives. It's part of world-building to have explanations, which is probably why Sanderson details and mentions that Kaladin has a brand on his forehead instead of simply having in-universe characters acknowledge that he's a slave without any explanation. Leaving it up to the reader to infer that he has some sort of distinguishing slave-mark would be poor taste.
  14. The problem I see with "just drop the cool stuff or stuff for crafting" is that your system will degenerate into mindless loot clicking. Everything will be cool or for crafting, so pretty much everything will be worth picking up. It takes away the excitement of finding cool stuff, because everything is cool. In different genres of games, I'm actually in favor of the style you're suggesting. For example, Dark Souls or Bound by Flame pretty much only use the "drop cool stuff" mechanic, and something like Monster Hunter uses the "only drop crafting stuff" mechanic. I enjoy the aforementioned games, but I don't think PoE was intended to be like them. Rather, it was intended to be like the old infinity engine games, where if you killed a goblin archer you got to loot the number of normal arrows it had left, any special arrows, and its bow. I thought that was pretty neat, but maybe I'm in the minority. It also doesn't frustrate me to leave behind 73 short swords; I take the gold and search for cool stuff and move on. I never had problems with money in the IE games - I was overflowing with it most of the time - and I never lugged back all the plain cheapo items to sell. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that -not- looting worthless stuff frustrates people to the point where they need to remove it from the game to enjoy themselves.
  15. But what if it wouldn't be random breaking items? But if an enemy wears Leather Armor, you always find Leather Straps on that enemy? (representable crafting items~ "What You See Is What You Get" with a twist~) That might be a good idea for some game, but it's a pretty drastic step away from the Black Isle tradition. As a personal preference, I like to find whole items on enemies; it's more exciting. Bringing home a pile of scraps and making something of it is more of a chore in a game like this. You also have to take into account getting equipment to start with, assuming you don't start with everything you'll need, a store or bazaar would be the only option to get "base" items without crafting it. Possible, but not as engaging as finding that first suit of plate armor, finally getting rid of your chainmail or whatever you were wearing. On a side note: I really do enjoy item-leveling and item crafting, but only given the right environment. Unless the crafting is a pretty big focus of the system and mechanics, it always feels like a slipshod afterthought, not a meaningful part of the game. Dark Cloud and the Disgaea series are examples of games that I enjoy the "crafting" system in. Tales of Destiny, wherein your weapons are sentient, has a fun system too. But, the trend in those games is that they have very character stories (in a different way than the IE tradition) wherein you have one main character or a small cast of select characters with personalized weapons. It's easier to make meaningful weapon/item development when you have character-specific weapons. Disgaea is another story, and it would be pretty cool to see a fantasy RPG wherein you enter your equipment (item worlds) to fight demons and make your weapons and armors more powerful. In any case, I don't think PoE is that game. Edit- What I mean to say is that even if PoE has crafting, it's not developed enough (from what I've seen) to make it an integral part of the looting system (only getting parts instead of complete items).
  16. Because there's a fundamental inequality when it comes to games: fun > realism. The only way I would find a "random breaking" system acceptable is if it only happens to "standard" items. Even then I wouldn't find it exceedingly fun or amusing. If you have a chance to break the really good/unique items it would honestly make me want to meta-game so I know when to reload until I don't break whatever it is. I'm not in favor of mechanics that randomly punish people for no good reason. That is, I find it opaque and obtuse if two people play a fight in exactly the same way and one person gets a ton of broken junk/crafting resources and the other person gets some nice items. Or in the reverse, if the crafting components are more valuable. That seems to belong in games where you grind enemies specifically for loot. e.g. Diablo, Torchlight, etc., etc. Tying break-chances in to specific classes/abilities (fireballs, etc.) seems even less fun.
  17. I have to second Sensuki here; the mass effect loot system was not "what you see is what you get." In fact, it was more like "what you see is NOT what you get." In ME1 you'd essentially fight a group of enemies, and then after combat you'd have have random junk stuffed into your inventory to sort through later. But, that really has nothing to do with what's being proposed here; there's a load of different premises in ME and Gothic absent from PoE. The proposed system is: The player ought to have access to the equipment used by the enemy so that they may choose to use that equipment upon vanquishing the enemy if they so desire. The above proposition doesn't lead to the conclusion that 'mostly pointless' loot like socks and underwear need to be dropped (I say mostly because some player out there might really delight in stealing the briefs from all of his enemies, in which case it isn't entirely pointless). That's an example of realism for realism's sake. Yes, the baddies probably have random items with no use under PoE's systems (theoretically, not mechanically; I doubt that each bandit would be programmed to have non-valuable rings, smallclothes, etc.), but having access to those is an entirely different request than the one presented here. Realism and consistency in games is necessary and fundamental. There's some ingrained fear that people have of the words "realistic" or "immersive" as if they automatically equate to boring life simulators full of contrived inanities (like the ability to pick up an examine individual rocks or blades of grass). Enemies having "loot" is realistic. If you could never take anything from enemies, not swords or armor, and there was no lore-based reason for this to occur, it would be unrealistic within the reality of the game. If it is explained that enemies flare out of existence with great bursts of energy consuming all of their gear and so no loot is dropped ever, or if you're playing through a dream sequence in which nothing is real (in the context of the game), the only complaint you can make is a mechanical one. "I like loot mechanics where loot is dropped by enemies, and so I dislike the loot mechanics in dream sequences and universes wherein enemies explode." I personally have no problem with dream sequences void of loot, and so on, as long as there is a consistent in-universe reason for it. I think doing away with loot by way of having creatures explode would be bad design in a game like PoE, but that's a different topic. If there is no explanation in game, and some enemies do drop loot, there is an inconsistency and the inconsistency itself can be questioned. Why can I take this guy's sword, but not that one? Why can Super Awesome Baddie use his flawless perfect weapons against me, but they magically vanish upon his death? If I want to use a Scimitar, why do I have to find and kill one of the X out of Y guys, where X = people who drop scimitars and Y = people who use them? Why can't I simply find one of the Y guys and take it from him? I don't desire some inane system where you're presented with loads of items that are always junk and are intended for no purpose but to be clutter. That doesn't detract necessarily from my experience; I don't care that you can loot plates and forks in Skyrim (I don't loot them, but I don't care if it's possible), it's just not what I'm talking about here.
  18. Agreed. If its only purpose is money from selling, then I'd rather just find money, to be honest. I mean, it's one thing to find 5 common longswords in an entire area, and another to fell 73 bandits, and end up with 73 longswords. You've obviously got something equivalent or better on anyone you'd like to have an equipped longsword, at that point, so I just don't see the reason for even having all that pick-uppable. "For realism/immersion," sure. But immersion to what end? You could program in the ability to pick up and closely inspect rocks and blades of grass, but what's the point if it doesn't lead to some interesting use of that? I mean, honestly, the immersion argument leads to both the following, regarding this: 1) The equipment of anyone you kill should be there, available to take. 2) Your party of adventurer's would, realistically, never say "alright, guys, we really need to make sure we get all 73 of these longswords, because it's totally worth it" and pick them all up. So, in one line of reasoning, it's self-defeating. "Let's make sure you can pick up and sell 100 longswords in one bandit camp, in a world in which it isn't feasible to do that." *shrug* The first point you list seems perfectly fine to me and I can't tell if you oppose it. I certainly want to be able to loot what my enemies are using; to kill a dude with an awesome flaming sword and then receive only a pair of boots is immersion breaking (in a non-trivial way) and sort of lame (you can find more on why I think "make every enemy using a cool flaming sword drop his cool flaming sword" isn't an adequate answer in the next paragraph). If an enemy I see is wearing sick +1 Leather Armor and wielding a unique looking sword, I want to be able to take those when I triumph over him. A system which requires me to reason externally when those items aren't available is not fun for me. ("Oh, the armor must have been damaged beyond repair and the sword must have been pretty crappy since it disintegrated on contact.") It also seems like 'challenging encounters' can be achieved in ways beyond giving the computer strong equipment that the player doesn't have access to. To your second point, I actually don't think it is self-defeating. Consider the time when it's more frequent that you come across enemies with magical items. You fight an adventuring group with 5 magic swords, but giving you 5 magic swords is probably overkill, you probably won't use them, so they only drop one. That is a very 'gamey' way to look at the system; what if I want to use 5 magic swords? What if, by chance, no one else that I fought used a magic sword prior to now and I could use all 5 even though I had the opportunity before now to acquire 10 magic swords? Or, should all "noteworthy" equipment be dropped? The question then becomes: what is noteworthy and when? Are 'fine' weapons noteworthy in Area 1 and 2, but not in 3? Normal items in area 1, but not 2 and 3? Designing a system wherein loot is perfectly balanced such that you never feel like "Man, I REALLY wanted that item he was using but he didn't drop it because -insert roleplay excuse here-" seems quite hard. The simplest solution is to make enemies drop the items they have equipped always.
  19. Ah that's true, I forgot that they had different models per class in addition to "similar body" groups. That probably helped a lot with differentiation. Even if you had a human and a half orc, if one was a thief and one was a fighter it was easy to tell who was who.
  20. This is just from my memory, as I haven't played BG in a number of years, but aren't there only ~3 models for PC races? Dwarf/halfling/gnome, human/half-orc, and elf/half-elf? They had some distinction in their paperdolls, but I'm pretty sure on the main screen it was impossible to distinguish a dwarf from a halfling or a human from a half-orc, and so on.
  21. I'm on the lower(est) end: 22. The first computer game I played was Sammy's Science House in 1995. I remember because my dad would show all of his friends (a group of electrical engineers/techs) that I could start the computer by myself, always followed by, "And he's only 3 years old!" First non-educational computer game I played was gauntlet, but the first one I really remember playing is MDK2 in 2000, which I never finished because I found Baldur's Gate not long after (a few years after it released, I think, but I grew up in the middle of the woods so we were behind on most things). My first RPG/favorite game as a child was Shining Force on the Genesis around 1995/1996, so I was partial to RPGs before I found BG. Good memories!
  22. This is probably true, but I actually had a pretty good experience with the romance options in the ME series. In ME1 my character wasn't romantically involved with anyone, as they all seemed as you described (one-dimensional wish fulfillment). That said, I thought Tali was one of the more interesting characters and I was engaged in her story. In ME2 I think my Shep eventually had a romantic involvement with Tali (I can't remember if it was ME2 or ME3), but I was pretty much smitten when she started making references to the BG series and it felt natural to progress from their non-romantic friendship in the first game (or two). Anyway, in the third game there's a point where The fact that my Shep had deeper feeling for Tali than anyone else on the team (as I was roleplaying him) definitely made that decision weighty and more complicated than it could have been, and potentially provided a somber conclusion to the romance if you are a utilitarian with certain credences. That isn't to say the romantic option provided anything that non-eros love wouldn't have, but it definitely didn't hamper the experience. On a side note, if anyone has played Saints Row IV, most romance options in ME and DA seem to me to be elaborate forms of the 'romance options' in that game. Probably because those options were satire of ME and DA, but all the same, a poignant example in my mind of 'how not to make people care about your characters'.
  23. You seem to be arguing from the standpoint that souls have a very real and pervasive connection to the 'self' or the individual. Souls are undoubtedly real in the POE world, but it does not fall out ipso facto that souls have a necessary connection to personal-identity. If most/all souls have no recollection of the afterlife even after reincarnation or Awakening, then we can make a Lockean argument: 1. Take a body with a brain containing a certain psychology, certain memories, and a certain set of proclivities. 2. Transfer that brain to a new host, suppose the contents carry over. 3. If the contents carry over, I think it is common sense to say that the person also carries over. Ergo, personal identity resides in the psychology, memories, proclivities, etc. and not in the specific body (or brain). Now replace body with soul. Transfer the psychology, memories, proclivities, etc. from one soul into another (empty soul, if possible). The person resides in the soul which corresponds to their psychology, etc. IF souls are shells which house certain traits, they're really no different from bodies or brains or minds or whatever real world analogy you want to make. I'm made up of a bunch of energy in reality, but when my mind perishes I have no reason to think I'm going to persist in the things that make me manifest corporeality, even if my energy will permeate through the world. Similarly, I'm made of star-matter, but /I/ am not a star, nor do I have any recollection of being those atoms in some far off entity. It's the content of the soul that matters, and if the afterlife or reincarnation damage that content, the soul being eternal is no different than the energy composing our bodies being eternal (unlikely as that may be). Now, there are lots of interesting questions that naturally arise: if souls only lose their memory upon reincarnation, are they in some sense the same person? I think we may more easily argue that they are the same soul, but in doing so we make a distinction between soul and person (such as the distinction we have between body and mind). But, these questions lay outside of my scope. I don't know if it has been said definitively what souls themselves experience after death, but in the latest update we learned that souls can become vengeful simulacra of their former selves when they die via natural disaster, so it would seem that death in the natural sense, at the very least, has the potential to strip parts of people away or turn them into specters of who they once were. That is to say, souls don't seem immutably 'you' any more than bodies do. Anyway, my point is: The question of value, soul versus body, isn't as cut and dry as I think you are making it out to be. Just because souls are "proven" to be real does not mean that (at least to the educated or introspective) souls are or ought to be valued more than bodies or what have you.
  24. How is this in the spirit of the IE games? In IWD you have a party and they are with you the whole time, if you replace one then they're gone. In BG you don't have a set party, and if you leave someone behind, they are not considered 'your party' anymore. When you kick some one off your team they don't just go sit at the "party camp" like in Dragon Age. They are not 'yours' simply because you adventured with them for awhile.
  25. I'm not saying that they should; the ability to progress through the story is different than having every option unanimously always be the -most- viable. Meaning, there would be no most viable option, all options and paths would be equally viable. Maybe that's what you want, but to me, that takes some of the meaning out of choice. But I'm not the type to take the most viable path just because it is so; sometimes I like a challenge, especially if it fits with the character I'm playing. Edit- and this still could be easily balanced so that different builds are most viable at different times. It's overall balance without every situation being a flat line.
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