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About Laos

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    Story Telling


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  1. By "free" I refer to the connection between you as the player, and the characters as independent, free-thinking members of your party. Let me give an example. Let's say you're playing the game as a human and you approach an elf merchant. The elf merchant has no predisposition to you so he remains neutral and offers you his wears. Now imagine three scenarios with differing traits between you (In real life, if we could call it that) and your character (in his character sheet) Scenario A. You don't like elves personally. your character's traits define him as indifferent Scenario B. Your character has elf-hating traits. you are indifferent Scenario C. You don't like elves personally but your character likes elves. In Scenario A or B you will have circumstances that could lead to hostility, if not combat. In one case you are the initiator, in the other your character is the initiator. Both are straightforward and essentially do not conflict with one another. This makes sense in either case depending on how "free" you believe (or Obsidian believes as the developers) your characters are from your conscious decisions. Scenario C is weird. It may be you rolled your character randomly, he joined your party as such, or for some reason this is how it ends up. Who outranks whom in the case? Let's assume it's a tie between the rating of influence between the player and his NPC. Let's assume the NPC's traits are heavily weighted to hate elves despite your love of them. Where does the line of "Freedom" stand for the players you control and their innate traits. Reputations already surmise there will be an element of freedom you cannot control, as some races may hate you to immediately initiate combat. The real question here is if you can override your character's traits, your character's rule their minds, and if you're just the devil / angel over their shoulder influencing (but not deciding) the ultimate rating of the impression on the NPC In the end I don't think it makes sense, no matter how much you love elves, if you roll a character who's a die-hard elf hater. I think the "angel / devil on your shoulder" would be an excellent mechanic that suits a scenario, much like a minimum dexterity or strength rules a item's ability to be used. I hope i'm making sense here, and would like other people's thoughts on the idea of freedom between you as the player and your character's and their roles. After all, this is an RPG. I don't want to play the game as a college student on the computer, I want to be a barbarian / mage etc.
  2. The economy of a game is, in my opinion, one of the least discussed and thought, but in many ways perhaps the most important element of maintaining the fludiity and enjoyment of early, mid, and late gameplay. This is for a number of reasons, but it really boils down to the fact the economy of any RPG is dependent on two factors: 1. The player and his current state in the game 2. The world and how dynamic or static it is I'm no economist, and I do not have a formal education in economics, so I base my ideas and concepts on my experience of playing many games and RPGS, MMOs, etc. with good / bad economies and my understanding of how economics should work to maintain the most important factor: An enjoyable game. First, let's make something clear. Gameplay in an RPG is exponential, so the economy must be respectively exponential to ensure a fun experience. Many games fail to realize that not only item stats need to be exponential, but the opportunities, costs, and circumstance of an economy must be equally exponential to keep the game's economy exciting and interesting for those who get involved within it. Second, the economy must remain in a good balance between fluidity and static "constants". This means that the economy should be flexible and dependent on what players (or even NPCs) do, but needs to have a baseline - think a floor and a ceiling, but with plenty of room for excitement along the way. In the long run, the game's overall economic pulse will be going up, but should keep some proportional floor and ceiling to ensure things remain enjoyable. Lastly, the player should actually have an influence on the economy. It is so depressing when the majority of games ignore the player's input. If he spends two straight days selling gold on the national exchange, the price is going to go down. If he buys every last turtle beak for his strength potions, the prices will go up. In retrospect, NPC agents should have similar influences to make the game exciting. A lot of fun "Space-esque" freelancer games (Evochron Mercenary to name one) that were popular in the late 90s and recently have gained hype focus on the idea of utilizing and manipulating an economy in your favor. I'm not asking for insane dynamics, just a fair balance between exciting economic events (floods raising prices, etc) that will make the player feel like they are in a real, more dynamic, and enjoyable universe that is actually effected by their actions more distinctly. To recap - Make an economy that is dynamic, fluid, and ever-changing within a proportional ceiling. Let the player figure out, if he really wants beets, that buying them in a desert will cost more (or sell better) than in the farmlands. Let the economy be unique to every play experience and let the player get as much or as little involved as they want. Most of all, the economy needs to grow with the player. Money should have real value, and I should be constantly deciding if an item is worth selling, keeping, or even looting, beyond the simple fact that money becomes an irrelevant element in many late-game experiences. I'd like to hear other people's input and thoughts on how the economy should operate at this fundamental level. There are more in-depth and concrete ways of approaching this, but I'm trying to stay mostly theoretical with respect to how the game should operate its currency and process of handling funds in a very complex, but rewarding way. If the player feels they are really engaged with the economy there is a lot to be gained in playability. Skyrim sucks in a way because it's got a low ceiling, and no dynamic economy. Sorry this is a bit of a brain-fart and thus poorly structured and organized, but there are a few truths within it worth reading.
  3. Nothing is more silly than the New Vegas / Fallout-esque "Alignment" system. People are not that one-faced, and I don't want my character to be so one-faced. Alignment should be have a variety of conditional rules applied that depend on your relationships between public agencies (nations, governments, and mayors), private agencies (businesses and factions) and the general "pulse" of a community. Along with these relationships there should be layers between those closest to the epicenter of your event (The town you complete the quest in) to the farthest (on the other side of the world) - unless it's actually a big deal, it shouldn't make everyone around the world excited and happy. The best way to equate reputation and actions is to use some sort of score process where each network range will degrade as you go farther out, and that events in general should affect on two scales 1. The scale of the relationship to the agency - if you kill rats for the fighter's guild then the fighter's guild will give you a +5 to reputation, while the town will give you a +3, and the 2. The scale of distance to the location - if you kill rats in Town A for +3. the fighters guild in Town A will give +5, +3 in Town B, etc. 3. Then you apply conditionals. If the "Pro Rats Club" in the town finds out, they give a -2 to your stat. If the neighboring village hates the town, they reduce your reputation for helping them (perhaps a proportion is best here) and so on. most of all The idea of reputation should be a bell curve. For the most part it will do little to effect your relationships with characters, but if you work really hard to make someone like / dislike you if will reap you the benefits / consequences.
  4. There's a fine balance in the mechanic of time. On one hand it can really add thrill and realism because you feel pressed to the task, and even make you scared or uncomfortable while playing because it forces you into a new environment that you can later return to in a comfortable - without a time limit - circumstance. On the other hand it can irk the user and make them not want to take the task. I think certain tasks need a relevant time scale. For example. If I grab a quest as level 1, forget about it, and try to complete it when I'm level 30, much like WoW i feel relevance has subsided and that person, from a gameplay perspective, would moved on. Like milk, some quests get sour if you let this sit around forever. Meanwhile, the usage of time should be exclusively for gameplay purposes, and should keep in mind a circumstance where you can do the entire quest on that dedicated timeline and not have to do other things, be distracted, and feel torn apart.
  5. I'd love to see if the entire "family" or "consortium" of gods and goddesses were linked in some manner that's more unique than past storytelling has had it. Typically mythology links them in a very "nuclear family" manner - that is it's a father of all father's god, followed by the sons, daughters, brothers, etc. and I feel there should be something with more flair. Some suggestions for this "family" of gods are as followed: 1. A "Web" of gods and goddesses, instead of a family. There is no true "head" or "father" god that holds identity over the others, instead there is this mysteriously, relatively unknown "weaver" of the gods that links the gods in some manner with one another. It's a fractal pattern of gods that have connections with each other in a unique way. Perhaps the god of the harvest cannot exist without the god of masonry; perhaps the god of war cannot influence leaders to start conflict without the god of fertility, and so on. I'd also love if the gods were in unique relationships. Rather than you typical "God of war married to Goddess of Peace" the God of War is married to the Goddess of the sea- What's essential about this storyline or concept is that there's no true center, and instead these linked pieces of a chain of gods and goddesses that rely upon one another to survive. The conflict can arise over gods trying to break the web (or repair it) or perhaps that the "weaver" is dying or missing. 2. A "cyclical" process of gods and their reign. Every few milennia there is a "curse of the dark time" in which the throne of the gods is vacant, but nobody knows how it happens, just that it always happens, and is in the hands of the mortal, therefore the hero must help the gods - perhaps the current god doesn't want to absolve his throne, and break the curse. Other gods vying for the throne want the hero to help them take it out - the twist is that the hero is the actual source of this change and he has in his hands the duty of deciding the throne of the gods (be it himself, the current god, or another god) There should certainly be some sort of innate value about the mortal - that the mass majority of them rely and pray to the gods, but there is some evolutionary factor, and that either the gods are at the whim of some cycle of mortality or that they depend on the mortal in some factor. There could also be some sort of classification process for gods. There could be gods you align to based on your birth, your profession, or just circumstantial gods. There couid be "Higher" gods and "Lower" gods that each have their respective realms much like Oblivion and the planes of "power" they have within. An interesting element here is that gods of Lesser status have limited powers or depend on their followers to be elevated to Higher God status, depending on their temples etc. Whereupon Higher Gods can cast a greater will on the plane of Mortality (or whatever the hero resides in)
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