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Sylvius the Mad

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Posts posted by Sylvius the Mad

  1. Similarly, if there's some quest item to retrieve, it should exist in the world even if we've never spoken to the quest-giver. So, if someone wants us to retrieve a lost ring, we should be able to say "Oh, this ring?" if we already have it. Or, perhaps lament that we had it and sold it 20 hours ago.


    The NWN OC did this well. The companions' quest items could be found even without the PC having been given the quest.

  2. I never read manuals any more--the only reason I ever looked at the the stupid things was to find that list of all the hotkeys, but generally you can find this now just by checking the keymapping options. I have to actually look at the game for a while before anything in the manual makes any sense to me, and by then, I've already figured out how to play it.


    That, and most modern manuals are so sketchy about what your abilities actually DO for you that I generally just find out everything by trial and error anyway. Plus, it's more fun that way.

    Agree about manuals today.

    I used to like the thick paper manuals for RTS/builder games, where they'd give you all kinds of info on unit stats, requirements, and the like. Number crunching kinds of stuff that I could refer to. They don't do that much anymore.

    I usually read the manual before I even install the game. Not being able to do that now (because the manual contains no information) has diminished by enjoyment of gaming.

  3. I'm strongly of the opinion that balancing all classes for combat harms world building.


    I'm also strongly of the opinion that traditional Fighter characters, who have no other particular skills aside from physical combat, should be better at physical combat than everyone else. Fighters should be the best sword fighters, the best archers, the best dagger fighters, the best shield users. Other classes might be their equal in combat, but they should not be their equal is physical combat.


    I also think versatility should be weighed quite heavily when balancing classes. Classes that have more tactical options should be less good at those options.

    • Like 1
  4. How exactly does this happen in video games? Or is it something exclusively in player's head, which the game never acknowledges?
    It's only in the player's head, which is exactly why it's pointless.


    Creating a blank slate for you to project your own motivations onto isn't storytelling, it's deciding not to tell a story.

    We're not here for storytelling. We're here for roleplaying.

  5. The story is created by the player through his roleplaying. It's an "emergent narrative".

    How exactly does this happen in video games? Or is it something exclusively in player's head, which the game never acknowledges?

    It's a combination of what happens in the game and what happens in the player's head. Only by combining the two do you see the whole story.


    Without the player's contribution the protagonist is a flat character, and without the game's contribution the entire thing is just fan-fiction.


    And the game acknowledges the player's contribution indirectly by responding to the PC's actions, which are themselves informed by the part of the narrative that occurs in the player's mind.

  6. The story is created by the player through his roleplaying. It's an "emergent narrative".
    No, the story is created by the writers, with any branching allowed done by the player selecting from options given by the writers. Most games only have the fake "I'll say nice things because I'm a nice guy" kind of "roleplaying" but you're still following the same story.


    What you seem to want to do is write a book, not play a game.

    Are your character's motives not part of the narrative? Do the reasons he does things not matter?


    Your character can say nice things because he's a nice guy, but he can also say nice things because he's insecure and he wants people to like him, or because he's deceitful and seeking favour, or for any reason you can imagine. He can choose to help a merchant because he wants the promised discount, or because he thinks the merchant is a nice guy who deserves help, or because he believes that society benefits from a strong defense of property rights.


    And every one of these decisions you make for your character - decisions that are largely unrestricted or unacknowledged by the "story" as you've defined it - do have an impact on that story by informing that character's future choices. Does the Exile fear Kreia, or pity her? Does The Nameless One believe a single word Morte says? Does the Bhaalspawn think Gorion's instruction to go to the Friendly Arm Inn was good advice, or folly? No matter where he goes, does he follow the road believing them to be safer (or shorter, or easier to navigate), or does he stay off the road to avoid detection?


    This is all part of the narrative. Or do we need to discuss the definition of the word "narrative"?

    • Like 1
  7. If RP was only inside one's head, no one would ever buy PRGs or role play with other people. The only thing in your head is your character. The feedback, the way the world reacts to his actions, the challenges he is presented with all depend on the world around him. That world dictates what becomes of him more than any biography or what ever is in the player's head.


    If there is no reactivity, it does not matter what you pretend your character to be. Neither you can make NPC react appropriately for infinite number of background variation, nor make an interesting story about a generic person with no predefined past or personality.


    So if you want good story and no main character background, you're out of luck.

    The story is created by the player through his roleplaying. It's an "emergent narrative".

  8. By "roleplaying freedom" do you actually mean the ability to pretend in your head all sorts of things about your character that never actually come up during the course of the game?

    That's all roleplaying ever is. Roleplaying happens entirely inside the player's head, as he imagines how his character feels about things and why he does the things he does. Roleplaying is in-character decision-making, and that's never referenced by the action in-game content.


    Moreover, it does indirectly impact the game through your character's actions. When your character decides to do things, it is your roleplaying (which is inside your head) that determines what he does. When anything happens to your character, it is your roleplaying (which is in your head) that determines how he feels about that.


    A blank slate PC gives the player tremendous leeway in establishing how his character makes decisions. A fixed background, however, limits the player to character designs that are compatible with that background. There are many different ways your character might be a pacifist, but many fewer that might explain how he's both a pacifist and a war hero.

    • Like 2
  9. The origins were a gimick designed to disguise the loss of player control over the PC's background. A blank slate PC (like BioWare offered in NWN) offers far more roleplaying freedom than one with a pre-written background. So to avoid people complaining about the pre-written backgrounds in DAO, they gave us 6 different backgrounds from which to choose.


    But they were still pre-written backgrounds, and they still restricted roleplaying freedom.


    Only the blank slate offers true freedom.


    Apparently BioWare did toy with the idea of a Mysterious Stranger origin to allow players who liked the blank slate to have one, but then they cut it.

    • Like 1
  10. Information on classes (also in signature):


    I've marked the post (Page 1) with "Obsidian statements" on classes (big size).


    As for the thread... I would first and foremost want the classes to have synergies between each other before having synergies with themselves. In other words, I'd rather a "Rogue", a "Fighter"and a "Chanter" work very well/great together rather than having "Chanter A", "Chanter B" and "Chanter C" work very well/great together.

    I see no value in prioritising one approach over another. Why not do it both ways, where some abilities work well combined with other abilities from other classes, while some ablities combine well with other abilities from the same class?


    I say this as someone whose default party design is as-many-mages-as-I-can-find.

    • Like 1
  11. But this is a game designed by humans for today's technology and not for an unimaginable future supercomputer capable of flawlessly simulating an entire universe, so your options will always be restricted to what the designers can create.

    My options for what I can say will be limited, but they can choose whether to limit why I say them.


    If they specify the PC's interpretation of events for me, they've gone too far. If they tell me that the PC is telling the truth, or wants to help, or doesn't want to help, they've gone too far.


    Dialogue options are: "Things I Can Say" That's all they are. That's all they should ever be.

  12. And then I was thinking about Baulder's gate 2. I love that game. Love it. I loved my thief. And I loved my druid. And I loved my wildmage. But I will be damned if I can remember their names. Sure they were well written and sure they had a cool (amazing) Bhaal infused story (god damn I love that game so much) but there was always some disembodied element about them. Like they were a blank slate filling in the gaps. Like they were just another Biff the understudy. I got the sense that they never knew their lines and that I was the prompter.

    This sort of comment gets made fairly often. Players think that a fixed protagonist offers a better story because he has more clearly defined characteristics.


    That's your fault. With a blank slate PC, it is your job to create that personality. It is that personality that informs all of the protagonist's actions. If you find that a blank slate protagonist continues to feel like a blank slate when you play him, it is because you haven't written anything on that slate to stop it being blank.


    The two approaches to game design reward very different playstyles. WIth a more clearly defined PC, the player can find his way through the story without doing much background work. The story always works largely as the writers intended it. A clearly defined PC has obvious advantages.


    But so does the blank slate. The blank slate PC creates a new story each time you play. A blank slate PC encourages the player to formulate a coherent personality for his character, thereby allowing that invented personality to drive PC behaviour.


    But each also stymies the other playstyle. A player who plays a blank slate as if it were not will find the PC flat and lifeless. A player who attempts to invent an original personality for a fixed character will often be butting heads with the writers throughout the game.


    Now, Torment is the rare game that appears to work with both playstyles. I suspect that is part of why gamers like it so much.

    • Like 2
  13. I am concerned that designing a respec option (even judiciously, as Sawyer describes) into the game will eliminate any strong desire on their part to document the game's mechanics as thoroughly as they might otherwise have done. If poor decisions are not irreversible, there will be less need to ensure that each player has access to all of the possibly relevant mechanical knowledge when he makes the choice the first time.


    It should be possible to make good decisions on our first try by applying knowledge gleaned from the game's documentation without having to do any trial and error. It's fine if there exists a dungeon whose creatures are not as vulnerable to my combination of abilities as I had hoped (even if that lack f vulnerability was not foreseeable), but my characters' abilities should always work exactly the way the documentation says they do.


    The game's mechanical documentation should be precise and unambiguous in all cases.

    • Like 3
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