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  1. The Event happened, you've finished the prologue, you're in an open world. In Baldur's Gate you could go straight to Nashkel, or go to the Friendly Arms Inn (or explore the world as you saw fit). Nashkel and the Friendly Arms would still have been there for you. What if you had a 3rd path you could've taken, which would be "Your" path (the Characters path, the story/main-story) and you can explore Nashkel, help out with the mines, if you wanted to. What if the entire story with Sarevok could've been a side-quest and you, the character, has a bigger purpose than that. Back to the first sentence, how would you want to embrace the world? "Go to point A" or point "B"? Or would this mark the moment where you can go anywhere and integrate with the world? Could you battle the Factions, or join one of them as an infantry man? Kingdom of Amalur felt to me as if it had something like this, but I got confused and lost in all the side-quests so I didn't even know what was the main story anymore. What is important for the story to be consistent and not.. confusing? The same thing happened to me in Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3. Though in Fallout 3 (when I started to follow the main story) I enjoyed it much much more (never tried that for Fallout: New Vegas). Star Wars The Old Republic as well. When does too many side-quests become too many side-quests? In SWTOR I found it was way too many important NPC's in one location, and finishing one quest for them gave you 3 more, that led to some other place that had 3 more NPC's with 3 more quests each. The Lost Forest of the Side-Quest Tree is a difficult one, and one way to handle it (in my opinion) is to not have too many Quest givers send you off to another City where there is more NPC's waiting for you, but specifically sending you off to the Firewine Bridge, or one sends you off to Shandalar's Ice Island. Some might ask you to go to Beregost and clean out their spider infested home (which leads to more Quests in Beregost, though those quests in Beregost felt like West/North/East/South quests that you led you all directions and you could pick and choose which way you wanted to go, in a good way). Baldur's Gate had a real nice pacing on quests, and I never felt that I was lost from the "cause", what I was doing in the world or what the purpose was. It was always clear to me that Nashkel was the way to go too (and that it would give me more resolution if I did so. The Black Knight was always the clear path and it was known from the very beginning). Unlockable areas are important as well. I get to Chapter 2 and a new area is available (Not perhaps right off the bat on second one of Chapter 2 but one area that I couldn't access before I can now by talking to some weird NPC that has either spawned or didn't tell me before). It is important that the Main Quest isn't sent in the Fog ("What is the purpose??") or into the Forest ("So many trees!!!") but most importantly that it never is Shadowed ("This Main Quest SUCKS! That Side-Quest before felt like the End Times of Chaos and I just owned the **** of that!!!"). There needs to be a clear threat to the Character/Player consistently throughout the game, mysterious to a start and confusing to a start (We are unraveling the plot as we go along after all, I did not realize Koveras was who he was until it was told to me and it gave me an "Oh **** I'm stupid" expression added with a touch of admiration and defeat towards the Developers/DM "Most intelligent ho ho most intelligent" *slow clapping*). I want to believe that one guy is the enemy but really another one is, in Baldur's Gate it was pretty much a given right off the bat who I was facing. What if it had been revealed after I beat Sarevok that someone else was? Oh right, Irenicus. But those are 2 games (put together: 1 big game). I want to be fooled but I also want to see through it, could I ignore the dummy Sarevok and head for Irenicus instantly if I can unravel it on my own on a side-path? Perhaps one of the Companions in my party (depending on who I got) alerts me and tells me "We are being led the wrong way" or something, and I can ignore the Mid-Boss pretending to be Final Boss and head straight for the Purpose (by solving clues and taking a different approach/path) <- This could work well for a Non-Lethal approach, I don't want to fight too much and I want to be more stealthy/scholarly/intelligent. EDIT: Maybe even taking the other path towards the Final Boss makes the Mid-Boss grow and he becomes a different type of threat (Saruman, Silmarion, which I haven't read but I have researched it slightly). Thoughts?
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