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So after playing the beta over and over I want to give my impression on the dialogues/story thus far. Thinking on how to distribute the things I want to comment I was not so sure of how to put it structured so I divided it on things I liked and things I disliked, so here I go: LIKE - Dialogue UI is familiar and intuitive. - Liked some of the moral choices you had to do, decide to help a thief to get rid of her followers, decide what to do with an ogre who is terrorizing a village, etc. - Loved interconections between quests, like the daughter quest with the ogre quest and the potion girl quest, that was nice! I like the idea than when in a bigger picture some quests outcomes might have changed if you did a quest earlier and viceversa (so the way you get to know things affect the result of others). - Bards explain history, nice! DISLIKE - Story was obvious. I knew the ogre was not a bad guy. I knew the chasers were mobsters. Everything was too obvious. Make things a bit harder to get and fool your players. For instance, in the cat and mouse quest you could have make some villagers say: "Did ya hear about dat murderer?" and stuff like that, in a bigger picture it could exist a quest to find the murderer, the trap is set, and some people will fall to it and some people don't. One of the moments I enjoyed more when playing Dragon Age 2 (and I did not like that game overall) was when the mother of the main character was murdered by a guy who I let live trusting he was not the city serial killer. Bad outcomes are a good experience (imo) and affect your gameplay after it (I did not trust anyone during the game after that) - Attributes as far as I've seen they make no difference. Make attributes to be valuable for dialogs. Not only for add up choices but also to remove and add information to dialogs. For instance, if someone tries to intimidate you and he succeeds because your might is low, remove ona dialog option (like trying to respond to the intimidation or starting a fight, you just ****ted on your pants!!), same for intelligence when there is a wit contest, etc. Also add information to what npc says on attribute checks: If you fail you just get: "It has always been like that" he says On a perception success: "It has always been like that" he says nerviously. On an intelligence or lore success: "I has always been like that" he lies I think you can get the idea, don't know how much effort it would take though (probably too much). - Dialogue outcome being too much black or white. Maybe it is because it is a beta and quests are really limited, but I expect that dialogues are more than get into a fight or avoid it. I also expect that quest decissions affect world around you and to have multiple effects. For instance, on the ogre quest, if you decide to let it live and you tell the truth (or fail lying) to the farmer I would appreciate that the armor seller stopped selling me because he is a really good friend of the farmer, and my reputation within the city drops. Also I would like that the outcome of not killing the ogre could vary between: the farmer attacks and I kill him, the farmer attacks me and I just reduce him, farmer decides to go kill the ogre himself, farmer lets it go. Probably I don't need that much interactions in every petty quest, but I would like that even some small quests can change things on the game. A comment apart of like and dislike, I don't know how are you going to build reputation system, but I would appreciate that it is build per npc, so within a city the blacksmith npc can love you and the major/ruler may hate you. Obviously some quests may affect the reputation on different group of npc differently. Example: you get rid of a thief who was stealing on the market surroundings: All market npcs +reputation, all rogue community -reputation. I think that is it.
My question is simple: how strongly are developers morally bound to respect some aspects of the stretch goals? I'm talking about game design propositions like adding in X number of classes or races, etc, and not about purely technical things like translations. Is Obsidian limited to what's has been put forward for the stretch goals that are finally reached? I guess not. But can they, during the development of the game, remove a class that was set to be part of a stretch goal, despite some backers likely to have backed the project based on those expectations? Can they reduce the number of companions, or double it? If the team ends up incredibly inspired with the companions and includes 20 of them (BG1 was close to that, if I recall), would it be, in a way, false advertising to have prompted people to give money to get to 9 companions, whereas those numbers in the final game would mean nothing? In a way, I want the team to make the best decisions for the game, and I think that if a character sucks, it should be removed from the game, even if it means having less companions that what was announced. In the same way, if Obsidian finds the Barbarian class to be pretty silly in the end, I think they should be free to remove it from the game, or replace it with a more original one. If they create more recruitable characters than originally planned and if they are all really interesting, why not remove the Hall of Adventurers (which is a terrible idea in my opinion)? Anyway, just a thought.
We've got a crowdfunded project with many many rpg veterans chipping in. I'm ready for some innovation and experiments. Here are some features of my imaginary, perfect 'Project Eternity', add your own below! Resting Spells/abilities regenerate instead of becoming unavailable after use until the party rests. The party acts at 100% efficiency when well rested, but gradually becomes more vulnerable and loses effectiveness in all skills when tired. Spells not only cost mana, but tire casters independently. The same holds true for physical skills without consuming mana. The party can rest anywhere to regain up to e.g. 50% efficiency, but can only recuperate to 100% in designated resting areas. Familiar: As a tactical asset, it can spy, explore, steal, poison, play tricks etc. either on enemies/neutrals or companions. It's got character (I always thought Morte was a good familiar, if overpowered as a fighter.) It's not an ugly beetle. Dialogue Regular people share parts of a huge knowledge pool. Besides the traditional dialogue window, a kind of "google autocomplete searchbox" displays possible questions relating to the key words typed in. E.g. "Mr. X" would permit the questions: "What do you know about Mr. X?", "Where does Mr. X live?", etc. Choices Some painful, some impossible, and some to be proud of Example: "You paid dearly for doing the right thing. As a child slave, you decide to help a friend avoid punishment. You get caught and your hand is chopped off in retribution. Later on, you can't use bows and 2h-weapons. Furthermore, the wound is a stigma of a caught and convicted petty thief." In the later game, those friends' actions have special significance to the player, and create immersion. If later on a magic liquid metal hand that restores lost abilities, can shapeshift and execute killmoves happens to be found, it'll be enjoyed all the more. On the other hand, any injury can be avoided by not helping the friend in the first place. Not paying attention makes it easy to inadvertently go down the wrong path. You want to be a good guy? Be prepared to swallow rage and forsake the satisfaction of vengeance. Vigilante killings are recognized as such by society. It's not easy to be just, and almost impossible to entirely avoid being manipulated. Prudent choices such as "bringing someone in" instead of killing them outright are available. It's impossible to succeed every time, and players are confronted with moments of intense frustration. No guiding hand An immersion breaker in modern games is the relentless pace. Not in Project Eternity. Here it is important to pay attention to the dialogue. Little is gained by following quest markers or checking objectives. Facts are recorded, but the player jots down his/her own conclusions in the journal next to them, and chooses his/her plan of action. The minimap is not a substitute for looking at where you are going, players need to familiarize themselves with the game world. Help is readily available by talking to people, but the right questions need to be asked. Superior solutions to quests apparent only with understanding and immersion are available next to regular endings. Mystery The player is placed in a wondrous place, and is not all that powerful nor important. He/She isn't able to battle everything, and might need to run from a conflict without ever having a chance of besting an opponent. In PST the lady of pain set a great mood. Beating everything into submission does not solve anything, nor does it even seem a worthy endeavor. Themes Philosophy is fun and fascinating. Kierkegaard and Hobbes inspire fascinating dark characters whose dispositions and actions give a special flair to this RPG. There is no arch enemy, per se, the player develops a philosophy he/she needs to see through. Combat The trade-off for tactical mastery in turn based combat is the static feel. Especially during unchallenging encounters, parties approach each other, find the right distance, stop, and lose health until one dies. Not in Project Eternity. To start with, enemies have hit boxes which can be individually targeted. Moreover, terrain, obstacles, distance, position and stance are integrated as tactical elements. Attacks and spells can knock targets around. More action oriented players such as myself appreciate timed active actions (block, parry, riposte/counter, chain...), although these are optional in the game menu. Both classic rpg lovers and action oriented gamers appreciate differentiated combat stages, where party characters dynamically adjust their standard attack according to distance. Long range, mid range, and melee. A melee character needs to consider how to approach through a debuff focused mid range without penalty (by fog, evasion, cover, long range stun/knockdown...), thus making the "approach and hack" tactic less feasible. Different armors equal different strengths and weaknesses. Weapon changes during combat are quick and necessary. Semi-scripted melee and spell combos bring joy to all (thief hamstrings an opponent from behind, fighter bashes his head in) Romance During the last years games have opened up a lot in this respect. We saw more LBGT friendly interaction, and a lot more skin. Since all bases are covered in Project Eternity, a large cast of characters is needed. Most characters are regular boring heterosexuals, not that much interested in sex in any case, because immersion doesn't permit otherwise. A true romance (and with good reason not everyone wants to go there) seeps out of the confines of dialogue. Combat changes, as do expectations from partner and party. Interaction is more frequent and natural. A darker side of romance is the power to influence/manipulate/control one's partner, and some evil bastards take advantage of that. Leveling A Fallout approach is chosen in lieu of fixed classes. It's possible to pick up formerly unknown skills during the story which are not included in a skill tree/pool, and different types of equipment have unique actions. Toolset Whatever wishes stay unfulfilled, a toolset brings them to life. Modders not only add or change content, they change gameplay, fix bugs and update graphics. A toolset for a game is the gift that keeps on giving. (Check out the oblivion/skyrim/fallout3/falloutnv nexus if you haven't already, it is insane what these people deliver)