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Posts posted by Amberion

  1. I really didn't want to think about the ME3 ending anymore, but I just felt I should chime in here with my 2c. My feeling about ME3's ending is that 'you go through the entire game, work your butt off to gather the people and the materials needed to build this machine nobody knows how it works, you get to the final encounter.... you LOSE. and the enemy decides to give you an ending where you don't lose quite so much.' That was how I felt when I finished the game. Like I hadn't won.

  2. No, you're absolutely right. It's been a consistent thing in recent years, particularly with AAA games where the plot is extremely linear, particularly in the later stages of the game. Part of this is due to cost considerations and a desire to tell a compelling story within a fully cinematic experience. The recent Tomb Raider reboot is an excellent example; it's a linear game, but has non-plot important nonlinear elements(mostly revolving around gathering items and upgrading weapons). Tomb Raider is, IMO this year's best storytelling experience in a AAA game, but it is definitely linear.


    I remember a mission you were given in BG2, to raid a slaver compound and rescue some slaves for a barbarian. There were two entrances; the front door, and a secret sewer exit. The sewer exit has an ultimate exit inside the copper coronet tavern, which is incredibly easy to spot from the outside. When you get the quest the first time, the natural thing to do is to fight your way in through the front door; eventually you find the back entrance after killing all the guards and the captain. On subsequent playthroughs, it's more likely you will take the sewer entrance and carve through the slaver compound in reverse. I really liked this design, for while the level itself is linear, the hazards and encounters can be different each way.

  3. this is what i call a non linear level. you start at the green room and you have to reach the red exit. to get there, you have to find keys that open the matching color doors. black dots indicate a hidden path that can get you to the destination faster, by passing the deadliest hidden room (i just noticed that i forgot to add dots from the scull room to the last blue room), or will allow you to find a clue that will let you use an alternative exit that will lead to a different place than the normal exit


    No offense, I appreciate that you went to a lot of effort to plot that out, but that's a pretty linear level. The only choices you make in that level are whether to brave the deadly room, whether to look for the secret clue, and which exit to go through. The first level of irenicus' dungeon is less linear than that.



    ^ Maybe you have a magical device that sends objects back to your last camp area (town, if it's closest), but can only teleport non-living mass. Boom. You get stuff straight to your stash, but you can't access it until you actually get to where it is.

    Actually that gives me the idea that the stash itself - Like the physical object that stores it - Could have magical properties. Like it's a big chest or something which functions like a bag of holding and is magically present wherever you make camp. (Hahah, now I'm imagining a backstory for this mysteriously helpful chest and everything.) Or, y'know, the Luggage.


    I was thinking about the stash the other day. I was thinking about the difficulties inherent in an infinite 'loot dump' and the tendency for pack ratting. I was also thinking about what the stash would actually 'be' in roleplay terms in the game world. And my vision of it was a pack mule. The stash is either a mule laden with packs, or a mule pulling a cart or wagon. And that got me thinking about the costs involved in moving large quantities of items from place to place. You have to feed the mule, pay the muleteer, buy/maintain the tack and gear, the wagon, etc. So how would  this be represented in the game? Well, I was thinking that you would have certain capacity thresholds, past which you will need to buy another mule and wagon(this would be handled automatically, so you don't have to micromanage pack mules). For every threshold you pass, you have to pay more in gold every time you travel. It could start out trivial, and increase at a linear rate. Exactly how much it would be would be subject to balancing, but by design I would think that as long as a person manages their stash responsibly and sells after each major adventure, that the cost of using the stash would remain trivial(as in less than what you lose by leaving 100 leather armors to rot on the highway). This would provide a motivation to keep lean, but not outright prevent people from packratting, if they so choose.


    Edit: and now i'm totally brainstorming. What if your stash gets so ridiculously large, that you've become a complete caravan? What if you get proposals from merchants to join your caravan to the next city in your itinerary? they could offer a gold fee to join(for protection from brigands), and have some adventure opportunities with dealing with a merchant caravan. Maybe even make it a regular thing!

    • Like 1
  5. How about this? You and your party have certain values for reputation. These values are myriad, and can cover everything from 'tendency toward selfless acts' to 'reputation for wanton slaughter of civilians' and all sorts of different 'things' that you can do in the game that would give you a higher or lower reputation in these things.


    Different factions have different likes and dislikes for different reputations. If you gain a reputation for killing thieves, for instance, the thieves guild would probably have you on kill on sight. If you get a reputation as a crack thief, the thieves guild might want to have a little 'chat' about working on their turf. If you gain a reputation for selfless acts, the local church might ask you to help them with a charitable donation, or someone might ask for help, only to lure you into a trap.


    As an example: Killing a thief would net you +1 thief killer reputation. Killing a guard would net you +1 anti-authoritarian reputation. The higher those values go, the more they affect the reputations that have those values in importance. Some people won't care one way or another whether you kill lots of guards, or kill thieves. Some will like both, some will hate both. some will like one or the other, and so on.

    • Like 3
  6. All quests have to come from somewhere. If we have mutually exclusive quests, they have to be designed, fitted into the game, and tested. If we have x number of quests, the mutually exclusive quests have to come from that number. This results in the total number of quests  playable by each character being reduced by the number of exclusive quest branches. If we have 10 mutually exclusive quest branches, that means our playthrough will have x-10 quests. The more mutually exclusive quests we have, the shorter the game gets.


    That's not to say we should have NO branching quests, just to keep it in moderation.

  7. Calling someone 'good' or 'evil' isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it should never ONLY be what that character is. I mean, Irenicus(Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn) is basically an evil character. But his motivations are more interesting. I don't think i'm spoiling too much by saying that his sin was basically pride and ego. He reached too high, got slapped down, refused to accept his punishment as just, defied his punishers and got slapped down again. In a very real sense, he's like that computer hacker that breaks into the DoD's most secure servers and gets caught, tried, punished, imprisoned, and then gets out 10 years later and hasn't learned a thing from being locked up.(I'm pulling the 10 year thing out of my ass, i have no idea what the punishment is for hacking a DoD server). Irenicus was also manipulated by his sister. He's really quite stupid in a lot of ways. So it's more than just 'muhahaha I'm evil so i want to kill all the good people'.


    I have no idea where my verbal blather is going. If I'm making sense, great, if not, I blame fatigue and substance abuse.

  8. It's better to build a character using history, motivations, issues, prejudices, etc. Then, once you have answered questions about your character(how does Argu the half-orc feel about either side of his heritage?), then you can more accurately decide where his or her alignment lies. Alignment is a gamification, and should be one of the last things you decide when building your character.

    • Like 2
  9. actually, it can be considered a donation. Any rewards, though they are tied to how much you contribute, are not 'purchases' in the usual sense of the word. For example "I pay you three dollars to buy a carton of milk at the grocery store." "I give you a donation of 20 dollars to fund your game, and as thanks for my donation I get a reward tier that gives me a copy of your indy game." It's more like an exchange of gifts than a purchase. Is it semantics? I dunno. The line IS pretty fine. But neither Kickstarter nor Obsidian are charitable institutions, so it doesn't really matter.

  10. The mass effect 1 system of skill based persuade/intimidate checks was really annoying for me. I would always regret taking those skills whenever i needed a combat skill i didn't have yet. The fact is, those skills were so necessary that I would get them every time. If someone is going to get them every time, why have them at all? If they're mandatory to get a good game, why not just bake them into the character? But I don't want a generic 'persuade' or 'intimidate that everyone gets. That's dull and uninteresting.


    I would prefer a class based option, where if I was a priest, for example, I would get a response option that reflected my profession, and perhaps that response option would vary depending upon my alignment. Certain encounters would provoke better reactions from some classes than others, but with many many conversations in the game, there ought to be sufficient opportunities for all classes to get interesting dialog options.

  11. I'm sorry I just don't get this - why in the nine hells should the devs be worried about individual gamers intentionally staying low level to make their games easier or to facilitate speed runs or for whatever other reason they choose to play THEIR game in their own manner? Why should the devs intentionally force them to play otherwise?


    The devs -- especially JE Sawyer -- have discussed degenerate gaming at length and on multiple occasions. They do want to make it a design goal to make a game that discourages it. I agree with them. Degenerate gaming is symptomatic of a design flaw.


    Why? Because degenerate tactics are not fun. They're repetitive, compulsive behavior. It's characterized by Skinner box mechanics: pull a lever and sometimes -- but not always -- a pellet comes out. It's quite easy to design a Skinner box that traps people. Some do it on purpose, in order to squeeze as much money out of you as possible (slot machines, MMO's). Degenerate behavior in cRPG's is accidental and benefits no-one, not the player, not the maker of the game. It's just an accidental trap that captures the player and makes him waste his time stuck in a loop.


    Therefore, a game should be designed in a way that does not promote degenerate gaming, as far as it's feasible or possible. It may not be possible to completely eliminate it, but it is certainly possible to push it to the margins. I hope the P:E team succeeds in their effort to marginalize it.

    I'm confused. How is having fun with playing in your own unique way(low level play) a trap? How is it preferable to go out of your way to prevent low level play?
  12. At the core of it all, this isn't an MMO. It is possible to have a character that does less damage and still be a viable and productive member of the party, buffing other character's damage and proving their worth in that way. It's not like the player is stuck playing that character, and that character alone, for the entirety of their non-MMO career.


    Sure, you could play a party of 6 warriors, and supposedly be able to finish the game(with difficulty, I assume). This is just as valid a playstyle as a mixed group of classes designed to complement each others' strengths and weaknesses. There's nothing inherently wrong with either choice. It's up to the player to decide what they want to do.


    I see so many people who obviously come from MMO backgrounds bringing these arguments that are rehashed from wherever they came from(my particular class is underpowered in WoW, so nerf mages!) They don't really apply in a single player, squad based tactical RPG. In essence, all 6 characters in the squad are your character, and should be treated as a unit, and not as a group of disparate individuals who look at each other jealously, wondering if they're number one on the DPS list.

    • Like 8
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