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mcjarvis

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About mcjarvis

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  1. ...though I will say, being a resident of Minnesota now--- if somebody comes along and tells me that we haven't been selling beer/wine on Sundays for a good reason all these years, I'm just gonna lose it.
  2. As a thought experiment, what happens in the real world when someone tells a religious person that their one of their religious beliefs, even a relatively minor one, is false/nonsensical etc. and backs up the statement with verifiable facts? Do they say, "That is an excellent point you bring up, I will stop wasting my time with that belief and get on with life" or do they tend to get upset? I have quite a bit of experience with talking with people who are dealing with these issues with regards to Protestantism. Sometimes folks respond with a sense of betrayal--- but more often it's just a distancing from the church. There's even a fair share of "Well, it isn't true, but it still does good things" kinds of sentiment. It's weird that every NPC in my party was personally hurt in a self-doubt kind of way like this. Are you in Western Europe (or some other place with reasonable views about religion)? The reason I ask is that, in the U.S., we've had the "unholy" union of religion and politics since about 1980. The result is a toxic mixture of totalitarian irrationality that we need to fix (it's funny how when politics and religion get mixed together, you never end up with more peaceful politicians and more rational religious people - anyway, the good thing about intolerant people is that they eventually stop tolerating each other, so it tends to be self-limiting). I live in the US. I've spent about half my life in Indiana and the other half in a mixture of Washington DC and Minneapolis. When I was a kid stores were closed on Sundays, and it's been interesting seeing the country's discourse/traditions seemingly transform over the last three decades. However, I don't see the rise and fall of the conservative right as an example of corruption in politics--- even for issues like gay marriage there was certainly discrimination from all political sides before the 1980s. My own impression is that religion is frequently used as a method to form excuses for discrimination and bigotry, but it is not the root cause. And, like I said--- I've certainly had friends who were in the church who were very militantly anti-church upon deciding they didn't believe what their parents believed. But on the other hand, there are others who simply left the church without all the drama and conducted their lives as they wished. Just because you stop doing something or your beliefs change doesn't mean that you're going to be bitter. At the root of it, it just means that something changed. And people respond differently to change, because people are different from each other.
  3. As a thought experiment, what happens in the real world when someone tells a religious person that their one of their religious beliefs, even a relatively minor one, is false/nonsensical etc. and backs up the statement with verifiable facts? Do they say, "That is an excellent point you bring up, I will stop wasting my time with that belief and get on with life" or do they tend to get upset? I have quite a bit of experience with talking with people who are dealing with these issues with regards to Protestantism. Sometimes folks respond with a sense of betrayal--- but more often it's just a distancing from the church. There's even a fair share of "Well, it isn't true, but it still does good things" kinds of sentiment. It's weird that every NPC in my party was personally hurt in a self-doubt kind of way like this. Again, let's look at real life. A lot of people care more about their religious beliefs than they do about other human beings. Just this year, a couple was convicted of letting their own child die of an easily preventable illness because their religion forbids a certain type of medical care. Agreed, but also very believable. People aren't always rational about these things. I agree that there exist people like this---- what seemed strange to me was that I was the only person in the story who took a "big deal" stance. I get the anger in the case of god-kings who persecute in the name of religion(Thaos, in this story), but the game does a pretty poor job of identifying why we should care about the lies. The underlying narrative seems to be that we should be upset/insulted that we were lied to, rather than be upset/insulted because people suffered because of these lies. I think that's an important distinction in many people's eyes.
  4. Making a story which is counterintuitive and unjust while claiming that choices are not good or bad---- this isn't worthy of praise. It just means the game is designed poorly.
  5. If this were a book, I'd agree with you. But it isn't, and in a game I expect the PC's choices and decisions to make a difference. In my game, my PC had a pretty close to negligible effect on the overall plot, and there were no game elements giving negative feedback along the way. As far as I knew I was playing the game correctly, and at the end I got the news that I wasn't. As far as these being the natural results of my choices--- if this were real life, again, I'd agree with you. But instead what this is is an unseen author arbitrarily deciding that the choices I made would end up with bad results. For a game where there were no "good or bad" choices, I sure did manage to pick all the bad ones.
  6. I feel like most people just wouldn't care unless the gods were causing some kind of harm. I talked to my wife about this, and her counterexample was Stargate--- but there, the only fake-gods people really objected to were the ones that also persecuted. The asgarde posed as gods as well, but because they didn't do anything super evil no one seemed to really care. Like I said, I think the NPCs are super-weirdly upset about the "fake"-gods thing. I think Obsidian also assumed that most players would also be on board with this outrage, since when in-game I said I didn't think it mattered one way or the other, the only response I got was, "I'm surprised you would feel that way."
  7. That's kind of a part of the problem then--- If you just happen to never get that quest, then the game is just kicking you in the face for no reason whatsoever. I actually liked the way it occured, the dude in the inn has an NPC description of "Frightened villager" and do appear to be sort of afraid in the dialogue from all that occured and not overaly earer to talk with you. And was kinda nice to simply find out about it in manner, no big waving alarm flags or forced dialogues, just a frightened dude in an inn. Made me feel more immersed in the game world. I've read somewhere that the Throne Lady in your stronghold can also inform you of this quest, but I haven't verified this. Honestly, I stopped talking to the Throne Lady because her dialogue options were always "What's the status of the keep?" and another option to end the dialogue. I finally just stopped going in that direction entirely, since I never found the stash items to be very useful, there was a shortcut into the endless paths, and prisoners never had anything to say either.
  8. That's kind of a part of the problem then--- If you just happen to never get that quest, then the game is just kicking you in the face for no reason whatsoever.
  9. I didn't even know the king had returned as undead--- when exactly is that revealed? I thought it was just end-of-game epilogue. You'd think that someone would have sent a messenger for me or something--- I'm the hero of the Gilded Vale, after all. And my keep is in a well-known location.
  10. If you tried to enter Defiance Bay from the north bridge(which I didn't find until much later in the game), people there will talk about all the flooding that has been happening lately in the area. This explains(and as far as I know is the only explanation) the high waters at the dam. I forget who you talk to hear about the waters declining after a major plot development in Defiance Bay, but someone does mention it.
  11. This is partially a rant, so bear with me. I finished my first run of Pillars of Eternity yesterday. I thought while playing that I would end up playing the game again, but now I'm not so sure. After reading through all of the end-game stories, I'm left with a feeling that very few of my decisions mattered in the game or made a difference at all. To top it off, I feel like several of the endings were strangely focused on bad things over good things. Some background on my playthrough: * I was very thorough in completing every quest I could find until the riots in Defiance bay. After this, I felt it was important to rush to the end since I was suddenly in a "race to the device" storyline with Thaos, and it felt like doing side-quests at that point wouldn't make sense// was against the grain of the plot. * I was enemies with the dozens and the mafia-family, but I was strong allies with the paladin order. * In general, I tried to take a pragmatic non-interventionist look at morality. If something deeply disturbing was happening as a result of people-in-charge, I intervened. [Eg- Gilded Vale] If these was little moral value in intervening, I did not. I can only assume that these factors resulted in the "bad" ending, though. Additionally, it seemed that my choices throughout the game made very little difference 1) Early on, I was faced with a moral dilemma of whether to wait for a party member's leg to heal, or to move out without that party member. I decided, "Hey, I'm not in a hurry-- no reason to be a ****". Well, as a consequence the girl I was traveling with decided to go out on her own in the middle of the night and killed herself on some traps. OK--- that's cool, those are consequences. But then I get to the end of the dungeon and the guy I was traveling with gets killed anyway automatically. So all my decisions of whether to save him or not, whether to wait for him or not---- these were effectively non-choices, as the game results in the same state either way. 2) Gilded Vale. I decided that such persecution of the townsfolk wasn't something I could sit idly by and let happen. So I decided to intervene, killed the king (I snuck in to do it, so I killed as few guards as possible), and put the other guy on the throne. On the way I helped many people in town with their problems. But at the end of the game the king gets raised as undead and just slaughtered the town anyway. So well, ****--- I guess I shouldn't have even bothered to save the town if the game creators wanted everyone in Gilded Vale dead anyway. 3) I took a decidedly pro-science/animancy stance in the game. So, when faced with the sanitarium I decided to save Azo's life and preserve his research, because I really did feel that he meant to do good, and he wouldn't have gone so off track of not for Thaos. That's great, except all the animancers get killed during the riots, so once again a major plot decision point I made was just completely wiped away. 4) In the undead portion of the city I decided to safely shut down the ancient machine. After all--- it might be researched and used for good in the future. However, the city of Defiance seemed to not be interested in ever looking into it again. It gets turned on later by the leaden key and all the work I did to reclaim that portion of the city was completely undone. 5) In accordance with my stance on animancy, I decided to help the paladin order develop the golem technology. OK, so it went a little south because they were too gung-ho about it. I still advised them to restart the program on a small and controllable level, since ultimately advancement of knowledge is a good thing and just burying every dangerous thing we don't understand is a bad thing. This too seems to be the wrong decision, as this paladin order turns into some kind of tyrannical organisation at the end of the game and takes over defiance bay. 6) the animancy trial--- oh my god I was so mad at the game designers for this one. Half the game is me trying to find evidence of the leaden key just so I can convince this duc that animancy should be saved, and at the last second he is assassinated. Why the hell did I even invest 40+ hours doing quests in defiance if at the last second story writers were going to swoop in and make everything I did pointless? This was a ****ty plot decision in Baldur's Gate 1 ten years ago and it's a ****ty plot decision now. Making the player of the game's efforts meaningless and small is the worst possible thing you can do to a player of an RPG. 7) The air godlike paladin's quest--- I didn't see any reason why I should care one way or another how the trade route turned out, so I told the paladin to follow her heart. She decided to save the country by negotiating a different contract, but apparently this doesn't save the country at all? Why give players the illusion that they control anything if you're just going to say "no, goddamnit, stop trying to fix things." 8 ) All of my companions either ended up alone (the halfling), unsettled(the warrior from gilded vale), committing suicide(durance), or exiled and insecure about her looks(the paladin). Who wrote these endings?!?! And the paladin didn't talk about how her looks made her feel not at home, why was that even a part of the ending? It's like someone decided to write biographies for my party with only the negative attributes of their lives, in the most depressing character-assassinationy way possible. I could do the same with my own life---- "Abusive household, parents divorced, father killed when I was 17"--- but a life is much more than all the ****ty things that happen to people. So why the **** did the endings for my characters just focus on how melancholy/depressed/suicidal they are? Durance's fate in particular really bothered me. I got him very early on in the game, and my steam account says I played the game for 63 hours. Yet somehow I did not "journey" with him long enough to finish his quest, so I got a big "Trials of Durance--- failed" at the end of the game. This facet is really ****ty game design in my opinion, especially since my playthrough took so long. Sure, I didn't do many side-quests after the riots in Defiance, but I basically got no external indicators that I was heading into disaster in the endgame. Hell, I didn't even think the giant pit was the end of the game--- I figured it was like rescuing Imoen in BGII at the asylum, and I would get one final chance to go back and finish NPC sidequests when things were a little less frantic. In conclusion, I feel like there were many major decision points characters were given during the game, but often the character's efforts were completely undone. Maybe I chose the "wrong" decisions, made "bad" decisions, or maybe Pillars is just a tragedy. But the game was pitched as a game without "good" and "bad" choices, just "choices". Regardless, I think game designs should leave the player feeling like what they did really impacted the world. The sum total of my effect on the world seems to be killing Thaos and stopping the hollow-born---- but Thaos indicated he was going to stop it once animancy was in ruins anyway. So I guess me killing him doesn't matter? Most disappointing ending I've seen in a long time. #endrant.
  12. I wish there was more of a tutorial surrounding stronghold mechanics. For instance; the mini-quest I sent one of my PC's on was never fully explained in either story-mode way or in a game-mechanics way: I still don't know if I potentially risked that party member's life or not, even though he did return successful. Similarly, what happens during an attack isn't very clear. I'm manually resolving fights because I don't fully trust the auto-resolve: does auto-resolve auto-lose if I don't have people hired in the barracks? If it's not an auto-loss, how do individual defense improvements help in these fights? I can find an online wiki as easily as the next guy, but it would have been nice if the game didn't rely on looking up information outside of gameplay.
  13. There's another forum topic on this: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/72139-possible-bug-in-sanitarium/
  14. I have only tested this with rolling flame in the endless paths dungeon: Since rolling flame can be cast outside of combat, right before engaging Zolla's room I decided to start the fight by casting rolling flame from off-screen. After casting it, I noticed my fighter was at half-health, so I decided to rest. I was somewhat surprised that the rolling flame spell was nice enough to stick around mid-roll until I was done resting, effectively giving my wizard an extra 2nd level spell. It seems to me that when resting, all active spell effects should be cleared away. [And really, resting while you are hiding within sight of an enemy shouldn't be possible either...]
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