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Everything posted by Eurhetemec

  1. I think I'm most interested in exploring the storyline and world, and seeing how interesting and likeable the companions are, particularly. Then firing all the ones who are jerks or bores and replacing them with silent minions from the Adventurer's Hall! HAH! AND DON'T COME BACK! Of course given how much companions in CRPGs in general have improved since the immensely punchable hall of loudmouthed prats that was the cast of BG1/2, maybe I won't have. Virtually every game since has steadily edged towards giving me a reason to like most of the characters. There's usually still one divot per set of companions, though - looking at you Oghren (DA:O), Sebastian Vael (DA2) and Cole (DA:I)!
  2. In a modern game, the resource issues associated with developing respec'ing are typically fairly trivial, so this is a very weak, short-term-ish argument. It's also unrealistic, because there always will be bugs, and cutting a feature like this isn't likely to reduce them. I accept that with Eternity they may have made specific choices that make it too much of a cost, programming-wise, but in a broader sense, this isn't a sensible approach.* What not having the respec'ing of mechanical abilities (as opposed to background elements) does is place tremendous weight on the designers to get those elements right the first time, and further, to not screw them up in updates. Historically, very few developers have been entirely successful at this. On the upside, it does tend to concentrate the mind of developers - on the downside, it tends to also make them far more cautious, design-wise. Two specific examples of problems (obviously these are the tip of the iceberg): 1) New player doesn't fully understand mechanics, picks ability that sounds good but really is not - they may well long-term cripple their character with no respec. Doesn't matter how smug people are about it being "their dumb choice" or whatever, the experience of the game is damaged for them, and they can't fix it themselves. 2) Experienced player makes very strong build, but relies on something that is dramatically changed in an update, and the build becomes sub-par (I've seen this happen countless times in CRPGs and MMOs). Without respecs, there's literally nothing he can. His experience of the game is damaged, and many people will simply stop playing that character, and may not start another, especially if they enjoyed the style they had before. I actually totally understand where "respec'ing changes the tone of the game" people are coming from, but they seem to be ignoring the incredibly obvious solution. It's the same one as the solution to save-scumming. Have an option to disable it in the game setup. Not an option you can change once a character has been started, only before. * = Even with Eternity, it sounds like Sawyer was concerned that people might change stuff that had already impacted the plot - i.e. that a character had passed a conversation option requiring N stat, and now only had N-4 stat and wouldn't have passed it. In that case I think you just limit what you can respec to stuff that doesn't impact things. Abilities and Perks look like prime candidates. EDIT - I think we can pretty much bet that unless saves are somehow locked up tight, there will be a mod or out-of-game utility which will allow respec'ing, and that'll help more expert/serious players, so there's that.
  3. I dunno about "best of all", because different approaches have value, but it was certainly both very effectively dramatically, and very involving, as well as seeming very naturalistic. Better I think for a fully-voiced game than a mostly-text one like this, though. It also works better when the conflict/focus of the conversation is very well-defined, dramatically, which works better with more linear games (it'd be perfect for the ME series, because the conflicts there tend to be very clear).
  4. I wasn't aware of that, and it's really good to hear it. I remember it was that way in Fallout 1/2, but as dialogue has evolved since then, virtually all "extra" options have been "better" ones in most CRPGs, and whilst some should be, not all should be. High perception = annoying is perfect for the "Sherlock Holmes"-type character - I mean, just because you noticed something odd about someone, doesn't mean it's smart or kind to bring it up to them! I replayed DA:O recently, and I feel like that and Mass Effect 1 are by far the worst for this (earlier Bioware games tend to have simple, obvious options), because even some quite lengthy stuff in DA:O turns out of mean something else (proving that more words does not always mean "more clear"!). ME2/3 are much better, clearly learned from ME1, and DA2 and DA:I are better too, thanks to the "tone" icons (avoided a few problems that way, where the words looked innocent but the tone icon showed they weren't). Be interesting to see how well Eternity handles it.
  5. It's largely in the hands of the devs, I'm afraid. If they make an accessible and good game that people feel comfortable recommending to others and/or gifting to others, Eternity will sell very well. If they make a less-accessible, more niche-y kind of game that only appeals to a small number of people (no matter how much it appeals to that group), it will sell correspondingly less well. What you should do is, if you like Eternity, when it's available, tell people about it, via your social media, RL friends, etc. You can bet most of them haven't heard of it, even if they like that kind of thing (for example, one of my friends was a huge Infinity Engine game fan - and he kickstarted T:ToN, but he is barely aware of Eternity and won't likely buy it unless I tell him about it). I wouldn't expect insane sales immediately, of course, but if Eternity is good, Eternity 2 might well have fairly amazing sales. I wouldn't either but do note that D:OS was built around co-op, so virtually everyone who bought it bought at least two copies, one for them, one for a friend/SO to play it with. I know my brother bought about four, for example. Eternity doesn't have that factor working for it.
  6. wait.. they have 5ED now ? Yes, it's basically "What if 3E had been much more like 2E?", but it is also a bit influenced by modern RPGs and 4E (not much though). It's certainly vastly more streamlined than 3E and 4E, and vastly less balanced than 4E, for better or worse.
  7. lol But, on a serious note, the class concept for the Ranger is simply a warrior specialized at ranged fighting, which uses a pet to run distractions, which is a fun and interesting playstyle. Either way, the game is not worse for having more classes, even if some classes are esoteric. I'm going to disagree with you entirely. The class concept for the ranger has changed randomly over time (from, basically an Aragorn and Jack the Giant Slayer mashup, to ridiculous maniac waving two scimitars around, to dude with a second body that occasionally bites people instead of the actual dude swinging a sword). And sometimes uses a bow, and every so often remembers there is a nature theme clumsily attached, so has is contractually obligated to utter Captain Planet dialogue. The pet mechanic is, at various points during all this, non-existant , woefully overpowered or woefully underpowered to the point of being entirely sad. At no point was it fun or interesting, and 'non-existant' was definitely the most common case. And definitely worth pointing out that the computer games PoE is intentionally aping do *not* highlight rangers as a ranged class or having a combat pet. And yes, wasting time on terrible classes (not esoteric ones, since all are straight up out of D&D even if the bard and psion use different mechanics) does hurt the game. The time and effort could have gone to something worthwhile instead. Also, I was entirely serious. Additionally... time immemorial doesn't mean what you think it means. I was there for the first cRPGs. The ranger usually wasn't, They actually were in most of the earliest CRPGs, I'm afraid. Moria, from 1975, for example, had Rangers. As did Rogue, Angband and so on. These games are from 1980 or before. So what games are you talking about? By the 1980s, I can't think of many CRPGs that don't have "ranger-like" characters, even if they didn't have classes or the like. So given 40 years, and predating home computers, "time immemorial" seems very valid. I agree that "what a Ranger is" varies wildly, but the same is true of many other classes - Priest/Cleric, or Bard (Chanter in Eternity), for example, so that's not unusual. I also agree that this whole obsession with "rangers as a pet class" is a bit crap. We can blame 3E for that, though - it was the first edition to make it a mainstream part of the class (cutting the wider follower pool of 2E), and ever since then it's become more and more common (esp. as MMOs have gone that route).
  8. Knowingly? Sure, they wouldn't. But it could easily be common enough to be a big issue (say 1 in 20 "wild" computers) and not spotted, given the fairly tiny testing pool. Bigger companies than Obsidian have shipped games that crashed on a higher percentage of systems than that. The real issue will be how fast they can fix it, if it's common (and 1 in 20 is definitely "common" for a crash bug). Even if it's pretty rare machine-wise, if it's that reliable in causing crashes, it should be fairly easy to spot, at least.
  9. First came across pen and paper RPGs in about 1986, first played in 1988, been playing or running them since (everything from D&D to Vampire to Amber to Rulemaster (ahem) to Cyberpunk 2020 to Dungeon World). I think the first CRPG I played which really blew me away was Dungeon Master, from 1987 (I played it in '88 or 89), on the Atari ST. The next big one was Ultima VI (I went back to the earlier ones later) and, strangely, an obscure and kind of bad but fascinatingly different/odd Japanese CRPG called Sorcerian. I wasn't actually very impressed with Baldur's Gate when it first came out, because Fallout came out before it, and was far more daring and awesome, whereas BG1 just seemed like a throwback to mediocre AD&D-based CRPGs (by comparison with Fallout!). BG2 I liked a lot better, because really worked out how to make things interesting and huge and made better use of the FR and the 2E AD&D rules (and some influenced by the then-upcoming 3E).
  10. Even the TES system is an abstraction of a fairly serious kind, because repeatedly doing one activity with one thing will make you better with all things related to the skill equally. Examples: 1) Blacksmithing - Repeatedly making iron daggers will take you from new to blacksmithing, to the grandest of grand masteries, even if you never try anything else. Somehow making all these iron daggers will teach about working a half-dozen different materials into all sorts of armour and weapons! Hell, even if you avoid doing that, and "skill up" with a wider variety of materials, it's very likely you'll lean on a few materials and item-types pretty hard, but will still become an expert with all materials and item-types. That is wildly abstract. 2) 1H weapons - You can spend the entire time stabbing people in the head with a dagger, never use anything else, but you pick up a axe or mace, and if you've chosen the right perks, you're an instant expert with it. Again, very abstract. I could go on. You could make a much less abstract game, but it'd be pretty fiercely complicated with dozens of sub-specializations potentially at different levels and so on. I notice that even mods for TES tend to avoid that sort of thing. I seem to remember some P&P RPG that tried it, with skills cross-feeding into each other in some complex way (like, raising your 1h sword skill also raised a general 1h skill but by less). It was a horrible disaster which took forever when you created a character or updated them, as a result (like so many P&P RPGs in the '80s and early '90s). Er which is a very long-winded way of saying I agree. ON TOPIC - I'd stopped following Pillars for a while, and actually, both these things make me really happy. No XP for combat means I can roleplay and play smart, rather than having to grind or play dumb to maximize XP. People who say combat has no incentive because of this are forgetting our good friend loot. Loot, however, produces a more naturalistic and less extreme motivator than XP, for combat. After all, bandits might attack you for your cash/goods. They wouldn't attack you primarily for training purposes. It's obviously a big boon for writing, too. Optional non-personality NPCs for the party is also awesome, because it means that if some NPC is a jerk, or I otherwise don't want them, I'm not just screwed if I want someone of that class. It's also great if I want more than one person of a certain class or a party setup that is otherwise not available. This is less obvious, but it too is a big boon for writing, directly contrary to what the OP was suggesting. It means Obsidian can have characters with stronger personalities, values and opinions, and take more risks with character-writing, without winding people up as much. I know in many RPGs I've had to bring such-and-such jerk along because they had abilities I wanted, and it's always irritating (in BGII I ended up going the fake-MP route to avoid having more than two "official" NPCs in the party at once, and to spare myself from various NPCs and their annoying-ness), or even if you aren't irritated by them, you may feel like you have to break RP/RP inappropriately to bring them along. It also helps force the writers to up their game a little, because they can't rely on you having to drag so-and-so along, they need to make you want to bring them along because they're interesting to have around. Finally it makes everyone a little happier by allowing for a more custom experience.
  11. This is the right attitude, I think. If people want to obsessively micro-manage a dozen different ammo types of varying scarcity (but all limited), that's probably something that should be a mod or the like, rather than built into a game aiming at the sort of audience PoEternity is. It's not a great deal of fun, it does consume a great deal of time, and if one forgets about it, even briefly, one can see all of an ammo type quickly wasted (which isn't about skill, but simply about whether the UI makes you aware of it or not). I respect that some people love inventory management more than they love life, but I don't think it's the default state, even for people who like old-school RPGs (and I've been playing CRPGs since the 1980s, thanks!). I'd like to see "default" ammo be either unlimited, or regenerating out of combat (as the archer makes more arrows and/or picks them out of corpses and so on). Special ammo should be extremely rare and limited - i.e. you shouldn't be carrying 22 exploding arrows - more like 2. It should have a big impact and be exciting to use as a result, not just "Oh, just switch to fire arrows here..." or the like.
  12. That's not true, historically. The concept of people having basic rights, responsibilities and so on is almost eternal. Codes of laws which granted certain people, certain castes, certain individuals and so on specific rights and the like have been around for many thousands of years, as have legal codes which bound everyone in society. Often they weren't enforced, or were enforced corruptly, or the rights didn't cover the actual situation, or laws were changed to make exceptions to some people could be stolen from or the like (usually ethnic or religious minorities), but the idea that there were no legal systems with broad ideas of "human rights" in the renaissance and before is simply wrong. Here's an example from 2600 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Cylinder So no, this isn't a new thing. A universal international declaration is pretty new (though still quite old), but that's not something that's really being discussed here. Further, depicting oppression and hate in a game that is meant to be fun needs to be done with care. If you make it so that, say, everyone hates elves, and thus every time an player who chose to play an elf does anything, he's faced with angry words or violence from the NPCs, he's not going to have a particularly pleasant or interesting experience, most likely. If, on the other hand, you limit that to certain individuals, or certain areas of the game, or have it more happen to NPCs of that race in front of the PC than to the PC, that's more interesting, more broadly accessible, and less likely to make the game experience unpleasant.
  13. The biggest pitfall to avoid when emulating BG2/IWD/PST is, I think, the "blah blah blah, just give me the quest!" effect. Let's be clear - I'm a big reader. I read fast, and I read a lot, and I read complex stuff. That's not to boast, just to say where I'm coming from. Yet even I find, in a lot of older CRPGs (including stuff as recent as DA:O), is that very often, NPCs like to spew several paragraphs of information, that you don't really care about, because you don't know why you care about it, before they tell you why you should actually care. This is terrible. Not only does it start to bore even quite patient people (not everyone, but I think most intelligent people have a limited tolerance for tons of info or blather they didn't ask for), but it will also get people to stop reading the interesting and important text, because they keep having to go through stuff before they know why they care. There is a solution, thankfully, which I think was employed as early as PS:T (though it did have a bit of this, too): Have NPCs succinctly and fairly quickly tell the player what it is they want the player to do (with a minimum of background), and THEN offer the player the opportunity to explore this background, if they wish, and in the level of detail that they wish. This is how real transactions, negotiations, hirings and so on work - you say upfront want you want, THEN you discuss the details, and the whys and wherefores, and so on. But all too often in CRPGs, even well-respected ones, this is reversed - the NPC spews forth tons of text (or speech - DA:O does this quite a number of times with speech), which you have to either read through, sit through, or click through (with the latter often becoming more appealing as time goes on!), before they really get to what they want. This just isn't how life works unless you are an essentially powerless person being lead before a powerful individual who is also an incompetent negotiatior and loves the sound of his own voice. So that would be the primary pitfall I would personally hope that PoEterntiy will avoid. It's bad for everyone involved - for the writers, whose good work often gets clicked through or ignored, and for the players, who get bored or have to memorize information without understanding why it's valuable, and then make a decision, and may be lured into the unfortunate habit of clicking through stuff. Even an option to say interrupt blathering NPCs with "Get to the point..." would be nice (to be fair to DA:O, it does occasionally provide this, but almost never when you actually want it!). None of this is to say I don't want complex info and deep background detail in conversations - I do! But I want the NPCs to state what they want and why I should care straight away, and then get to that sort of thing. The second pitfall I'd point out with games with companions who sometimes have new stuff to say and so on is that it can be very difficult to tell when they have new dialogue, new interactions and so on, unless you keep going through all the companions and talking to them to see if they do, which is tedious AND feels weird. So I hope that if a companion has something new to say, we get some kind of subtle indicator of that. Not a giant "TALK TO ME!" sign, but have them talk to us and bring something up, or say things to other party members that suggests that something is on their mind, or otherwise act in a way that suggests that they might have something worth talking about (if that's too much work, a little icon would be fine, maybe on their portrait or inventory screen or something - just nothing flashing or glowing or big!).
  14. Little to no isn't really fair. The way romances are handled in DA2 (despite it's unpopularity) is certainly noticeably more advanced than in BG2, and even DA:O at least tried to move things on and complexify them a bit (in a clumsy way). The ME series is more debatable, but I would say it is considerably beyond what BG2 did. The idea that they are incompatible with creative storytelling doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The question I have, though, which is I think very relevant here, in a game which is intentionally going back to BG2/PST-style stuff (with a more advanced spin) is what sort of changes and mechanisms would you like to see in romance in, say, PoEternity 2? It's easy to say "game romances suck", but if you can't suggest something better, that rather weakens the criticism, and suggests that perhaps BG2, to some large extent "got it right first time" (I don't know if I agree, but given that Eternity is going back to BG2 in so many other ways, it's hard to suggest it didn't get a lot of things right).
  15. The idea that one should be pro or anti romance in general seems pretty bizarre to me, and the ardent desire some peole are showing to divide people into those two camps seems really counter-productive at best. The suggestion that all BioWare romances are "harem anime" or simple wish-fulfillment is pretty laughable, I'd suggest, if one has played those games. Many are easy to "fail", others emotionally complex, and some are quite funny/witty. Of course, others are pretty clumsy or silly-seeming, or a bit eye-roll-inducing, and the whole putting sex at the end of them thing (which not all of them do, note) is a bit crude/game-y. Still, "harem anime", they aren't. Not by a long stretch. THAT SAID (!), there is no inherent need for an RPG to have romance, and any kind of reasonably complex relationship with interesting NPCs can be just as fun, involving, and emotionally interesting as something defined as a "romance". A good example is Sten in DA:O - attempting to get to know him, to get him to open up, and so on is a great deal more interesting than, well any of the romances I've seen in DA:O. Equally in DA:O, a female Warden's friendship with Morrigan is, I feel, more interesting than a male Warden's romance with her. So the lack of romances doesn't bother me (nor would their presence), but I do hope we have relationships with the NPCs which are complicated and interesting.
  16. I think everyone would prefer the latter to the former, but remember, this is an Obsidian game, with familiar designers - none of whom have ever made a game that resembled the former.
  17. Given the people developing this game, I have no doubt that they will handle the issues of race, class and gender very well, so I have to say, I'm neither worried that they will be totally ignored, or handled in a crude or overbearing way. I don't say that as a hyperfan or whatever, but I've never seen them mess up on this. Given that this is a party-based game, too, rather than a single-character game, it's unlikely any of those issues are really going to be strongly foregrounded, because if they were, you'd need to account for the entire party mix, which could get very complicated if we have much choice over who is in our party (and I imagine we will have a fair amount of choice). For example, what if a major NPC hates and fears godlike? Obviously he's not going to react well to a godlike PC, but if he throws an absolute fit and that whole part of the game, for a player whose PC is a godlike, becomes "work around this problem this NPC has", then it's not going to make much sense if, on another play-through, the same player, playing an elf, but with say, two godlike party-members, is able to deal with the NPC easily. Anyway, I expect we'll see this issues more "illustrated" than directly affecting us or massively changing the game, and I think that's very reasonable in a party-based game where the PC isn't some sort of rather powerful and influential figure.
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