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About aiqidar

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    (2) Evoker
    (2) Evoker


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  1. I didn't mean to imply that the open-world style is incompatible with good stories, but rather that it makes it harder to imbue the "main" quest with any real sense of urgency. Especially if you combine it with a desire to make the game long, and to encourage the player to explore optional content without fear of penalty. This as opposed to treating such sidetracking as a potentially fatal distraction that they pursued at their own peril as in Fallout, which would be more thematically consistent with what the game's telling you. Even in the Elder Scrolls games, the first thing I'd do in Oblivion and Morrowind was completely forget about the "main" quest and go off on a complete tangent (I think Daggerfall might have had some scripted time limits etc., but it's been a while and I can't remember for sure). Now, this isn't to say that there's no urgency whatsoever; I actually feel plenty of urgency when I think about the NPC companions, or even when I think about random civilians that might be affected by my actions, since they don't have the same "plot armour" that I do. I kind of wish it didn't have to be that way, but if the game was actually ballsy enough to punish the player for not taking the main quest seriously (like Fallout did in a dramatic and unforgiving way) there'd be no end to the whining.
  2. I don't entirely disagree with you, but if you take a long, hard look at BG1 you'll find that it actually had a fairly mediocre story and the thing that really made it interesting was the companions, the exploration and the optional stuff. BG2 had a much better story, but even it wasn't spectacular by writing standards and the companion interactions were clearly the highlight of the game. This isn't the fault of the game's writers, though. It's actually a natural result of the kind of game they're trying to make. They wanted to make a game that was long, had a lot of optional content, and that gave the player freedom to explore. This runs contrary to what makes a story great in the mystery/literary sense you're talking about - for that, the story has to be extremely parsimonious, which is to say that there's nothing there that doesn't absolutely need to be there, and attempting to draw it out to pack in more "playtime" will necessarily affect the narrative's quality. And additionally you have to experience it in exactly the right way, which results in a more constrained and linear game. I'll highlight with two examples of games that I believe had some of the best stories I've seen in RPGs: Planescape: Torment and Fallout. Both of them, for all the depth they had and choices they offered you, were fairly linear games. In Torment you were basically herded from location to location right till the end, with just a few notable optional areas. In Fallout, you ostensibly had "freedom" in terms of where to go, but not really - if you didn't stick to the main storyline and follow a certain path, you'd just outright lose the game. Notably, they were also fairly short games by RPG standards. Now, if you were to change Torment and Fallout in order to increase game time, to give the player a bunch of extra content and more freedom, the natural consequence of that would be the central storyline losing its sense of urgency (which is what you've experienced in Pillars). This completeley undermines the sense of mystery. The game might repeatedly bash you over the head with "It is vital that you uncover the truth!" but it's meaningless unless it's actually enforced.
  3. That sounds hilarious. Do you know anywhere that might have some examples of that? I actually own Icewind Dale due to a quirk of eBay, but... Eh, I'm not really in it for the dungeon crawling, so I never installed it. It's been a while, but there is one example that stuck in my mind vividly. In Icewind Dale 2 there's an bit where there's some sort of intrigue going on between a demon and some goblin gang in some underground caverns. If you approach the guys with any normal character, you can get into this whole intriguing back-and-forth between some rival groups and get some quests too. If you approach with the Paladin, he talks for a few moments and then abruptly goes "Actually you know what, I think I'm going to kill all you guys." My memory of the first Icewind Dale is a bit hazier unfortunately. All I remember is that there's one moment where if you talk to one of the enemies with the Paladin it leads to one really hilarious exchange (could be more, but at least one that I know of). Though I don't think that actually affects the quest, I think that was just him trading insults with the guy before an uavoidable fight.
  4. I haven't played a Paladin in this game yet, but Paladins saying weird and crazy stuff would't be out of character for this kind of game. I remember in the Icewind Dale series, paladins were religious fundamentalists that occasionally acted like complete psychopaths if you let them do all the talking.
  5. Yeah exactly. Plus the fact that the game lets you know (if you so choose) the circumstances under which those extra options are unlocked means you won't waste time blindly rolling new characters hoping to see new stuff (or looking it up on walkthroughs which could potentially spoil other things about the game for you).
  6. It's kind of always been like this. In previous games, the options just wouldn't show up if you didn't meet the requirements so you could potentially go the entire game without ever knowing it was a thing.
  7. I play on hard and I haven't had any difficulties per se (though I've since had to take a break from teh game because I ran into that defense stacking bug with Eder and I just cannot play until this stuff is dealt with). But I did notice a lot of very basic AI issues, like targets not being automatically assigned after a kill. So even on easy I don't think you could do without micronanaging, at least with the game in its current form. I suspect most of it will be dealt with after the first patch though.
  8. and dies 2 seconds later, in any kind of challenging fight when backstabbing a key enemy would actually matter Endless Paths are a nightmare with a rogue, unless you make it ranged, not to mention dual wield (staple rogueish combat style) is terrible compared to two handed because most enemies who dont die from one hit have a high DR It kind of works if your rogue's using a ranged weapon. The idea of sneaking into a room containing multiple opponents and stabbing one of them always felt a bit absurd to me so I never really did it in IE games either, unless I was using an actual invisibility spell. I don't really like the "open with the rogue" strategy either, mostly for role-playing reasons. In most situations, I feel like no matter how stealthy my rogue, he would almost certainly be seen at the distances the game allows us to work with (especially if there are multiple enemies). My preferred strategy would be to open with my fighter and then launch a sneak attack on one of the people who are being distracted by him. The game doesn't let us do that, which is why they need to change it back to individual stealth.
  9. Planescape and Fallout had it. In Neverwinter with the exploration mode you could walk too. It´s Diablo style games the ones missing it. Pretty sure Diablo 2 had both walking and running. Diablo 3 I can't quire recall though.
  10. I agree, the game could have potentially been much better if they had made a clear decision around "No resting in any area that hasn't been cleared yet" and then built a combat system around that. The only proper solution to the problem of rest-spamming would be to eliminate resting altogether, at least the way it exists in its current form. Yes, it's absurd that people in previous games could rest infinitely in hostile areas, but it's not really that much absurd than being able to rest at all in a hostile area (as in setting up a campsite, as opposed to just catching your breath and patching up wounds).
  11. It's not about discouraging from combat at all, it's about making the decision about whether or not to engage in combat a meaningful one. It kind of goes to a philosophical issue I've had with RPGs in general. In every game you go through a spiel of "Oh what a dangerous world this is, death lurks around every corner" while at the same time there's the expecation that we'll be able to go everywhere and completely kill everything with not much real effort. That creates a bit of a dissonance that I find hard to ignore. This game was actually a big step forward in that regard because it played up the concept of areas that you couldn't complete right away, it toned down the facerolling aspect which was a big plus. My suggestion would just be taking that idea to another level. And again, I don't want it to be mandatory, just an option (I don't know much about the mechanics of this game, so I might be wrong about this, but I don't think it would be incredibly hard to put in a "chance of death" bit on normal attacks). As it stands, there are plenty of combats in the game where the only way I'm at any risk at all is if I deliberately play poorly or handicap myself, and that doesn't feel authentic at all.
  12. I disagree that the only outcome would be save-scumming. That would only apply if I was going through a playthrough where I was intent on clearing all levels, completing every possible quest and keeping all companions alive. If I was willing to avoid combat, and to accept the consequences of a combat gone poorly (and if I took the precautions necessary to make sure "my" character didn't die), I could easily get through an entire game without any serious issue. And I agree, if implemented it should be toggleable, I would most likely leave it off and go for a more casual combat style if I was trying a completionist run. As for appropriateness for isometric RPGs, I think Fallout handled this well, with the "shoot at the eyes" kind of stuff. It wasn't completely realistic, since both you and your opponents were shielded from the worst aspects of randomness (like my example of being instantly taken out by someone throwing a rock), while still leaving plenty of room for a combat situation to evolve in interesting ways.
  13. I disagree that tactics would be diminished with this added realism. It would still be relevant, but what it would do is change how we think. I.e. we would start thinking in terms of who's expendable and have them face the risks. We would put a great deal of thought into how long the combat lasts, so as to limit the risk of something going catastrophically wrong. And if we're not willing to sacrifice anyone, it would make us genuinely think about avoiding combat, which itself is an important decision which I feel we're not forced to make often enough in games. That said, I don't think it should be mandatory, it should be a toggleable thing. Even though I personally love it, there will be times when it'll be a pain (e.g. if I'm replaying an area due to some bug, and I just want to breeze through the combat rather than having to slog through it all over again).
  14. That's how I'd handle it. Though in my experience the D&D-based games suffered from the same problem. True, they did have more instakill abilities like petrification etc. but ordinary combat with weapons was generally quite predictable.
  15. The impression I get from reading the combat threads is that this kind of thing is frowned upon. People have issues if you're able to do it to enemies, and they'll certainly have issues if enemies are able to do it to you. My first issue with that is, it's unrealistic. The history of actual combat in this world is one that's largely a story of sudden kills. I.e. a combatant's life would typically end not due to a large collection of minor wounds, but a few severe wounds. Often just a single fatal wound. And even if the wound wasn't instantly fatal it would at least be incapacitating, i.e., a guy couldn't just shrug off a crossbow bolt to the chest as though it was some minor annoyance and go rejoin the fight, which is generally what we seem to expect in fantasy combat. And even the crudest of attacks carried out by the most inept of people - e.g. a small rock thrown by some drunk - at least have the chance, no matter how small, of instantly taking someone out. The realism itself isn't the main basis for my argument though. My real issue is that it sanitizes combat a bit too much, and takes out the surprises. The feeling of euphoria when I land a lucky hit (or of frustration when my opponent does the same) is diminished beause there isn't that much difference in the end between a lucky hit and a regular hit. In my humble opinion, instant kills shouldn't be reserved for special WWE-style "finishing moves"; it should at least have the possibility of happening anytime, anywhere and by any opponent.
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