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Hi Obsidian, Super excited for Deadfire. It looks amazing. Congrats on your E3 showing. I'm currently playing through Pillars with both expansions. What took me so long? Having resolved the major conflict, I was kind of meh on exploring chapters "4a" and "4b" of a book I'd already read. A quasi-sequel would have seen me loading up the White March immediately, to pick up where I left off. I'm glad I took the plunge; the expansions are great fun, but they may have been better served up like other games do it: Following the main game rather than alongside it. Now, it's awesome to add a major area or two to the main game, the way Throne of Baal added Watcher's Keep, accessible early on. Durgan's Battery and the Yenwood Field were great examples of this. I just would have preferred White March to follow the main storyline, with little risk of maxing out my characters before completing it. I'm currently level 16 all around, just getting started on White March Part 2, and I've only done a few bounties. Please consider setting Deadfire's expansions after the original story, allowing us to, say, pick up an auto-save from when we finished the game. Then we can carry on fresh, leveling potential ready for the raised cap, without feeling like we'd already reached godlike status and also retrace our footsteps. I actually might wait until the expansions land so I only need to play through the game once to see everything. Hey, I don't have as much free time as I used to! These games are huge. Thanks for reading. Bring on the pirates!
Imagine this: You're walking down the road when, suddenly, bandits spring out of the bushes! They say "We're going to kill you and take your stuff!" They refuse any further conversation than this. They automatically know where you are so there's no avoiding the encounter with stealth. Invisible walls form a sphere around you so there's no escape until all the bandits are dead. You fight to the death, collect the loot and XP from the bandits, then the game otherwise continues as if that encounter had never happened. My opinion is that this has absolutely no place in a roleplaying game whatsoever. Before I can tell you why I think this, first I have to tell you what I think a roleplaying game should be: An RPG is a series of questions posed to the player (usually implicitly) and a set of systems the player can use to give their answers. The DM sets the scene asks "What do you do?" and the player says "I do X." When I play an RPG, I want interesting and meaningful questions and systems that allow me to give my answers in a satisfactory way. There's a lot to be said about the systems but today I want to talk about the questions, specifically the "interesting and meaningful" part. Let's give another scenario: You're going down the highway with a dead body in your trunk. There's a loaded handgun in the glovebox. A cop pulls up behind you and turns on his sirens. There's several different approaches you could take here, each with its own set of risks: Do you floor it and try to get away? Do you pull over and try to play it cool? Do you grab that gun out of glovebox just in case? If you screw up, there's several different consequences depending on exactly how you screwed up and how you act to try to fix your mistake. The consequences range from mild (you get away with a speeding ticket but no suspicion from the cop), moderate (you have to kill the cop to get away, so now you're wanted for 2 murders), or severe (the cop arrests you after finding the body). Furthermore the situation is both defined by the earlier context of the narrative and your answer defines the later context of the narrative. Are you guilty? If you are, who did you kill and why? If you aren't, why is the body in your trunk? Are you being framed and trying to cover up the (false) evidence? If you are, are you trying to find the real killers and find justice, or are you just trying to get back to your life as fast as possible? How much deeper are you willing to dig yourself in? Compare this scenario to the one I posited at the beginning. There's no proper context because the bandits just pop in out of nowhere and you never hear from them again. They're attacking you for no reason except that they're bandits and, thus, the Bad Guys. You have no choices in what answer you can give except Fight to the Death, or stand there and die and reload a previous save (and get attacked again next time you go through that area). There are no meaningful consequences because you either win and continue with the game, or you don't. It fails as a Question to pose to the player by every conceivable metric. Yet this scenario is absurdly common; Probably 99% of your time in your average CRPG is spent wasting your time with this nonsense. Why?
So I have been playing Baldur's Gate "Enhanced" over the last few days. The idea behind it was to update the game to the latest version of the infinity engine. Now, I haven't played this game in a very long time, but this is what is striking me now. It seems like pace and movement is really slow. Maybe its the limited animations of the characters, or maybe its just how i perceive movement over the ground. Either way, it seems like a huge hassle to move across one of the maps and there is nothing really entertaining to look at while you do it. Its almost like driving a car if you will. Notice how when you are in a small car close to the ground, more similar to over the shoulder and first person movement, it feels like you are going faster even though you aren't? Just like in a massive SUV or Hummer it makes you feel like you are moving slower even though you are going the same speed? Anyway. That all is to say, I find myself getting a little bored and a little sleepy playing even the Enhanced Version of Baldur's gate just because of movement. How will Project Eternity address modern animation and over land travel to make it "feel" like a more modern game and still have a play style and camera position of a classic? And what do you all think? Am I too caught up on this movement thing? How do you all deal with it? Anyone else experiencing these feelings while replaying some of the older infinity games?
I LOVE what I am seeing in the updates. This all sounds fantastic, and I really hope we get the role-playing freedom promised here. What I would love to see is a storyline that really coerces the character to participate. New Vegas had a great (though pretty harsh) opening hook. Arcanum opened well, too; bad guys were after you from the start. Fallout of course was very motivating, although the hard time limit has been hotly debated ever since (I don't think it's necessary). This is a great chance for a CRPG to have a story written from the ground up that can include a temperamentally non-heroic, non-adventuresome protagonist. Obviously I don't know what the real plot is, but let's just say the hero is haunted by a ghost for no apparent reason. The ghost appears periodically, wrecking stuff, perhaps hurting people. The "hero" tries running away, but the ghost just keeps showing up, and consequences maybe keep getting worse. People get killed. Companions are lost. The hero starts taking permanent damage or something. Eventually it will get to the point where even the world's biggest coward will have to start looking for clues to deal with the haunting and face the problem head-on. Of course a braver character might just start off going straight for the evil wizard. I just want to make sure that the story will draw in even a more, well, realistic guy, who doesn't necessarily have the cojones to solve every problem by challenging five guys to a battle to the death right off the bat. Now I know there are some "open world" advocates out there who never want to be rushed. They want to take their time, exploring every outhouse and chicken coop in the game, wandering from place to place without a care in the world. They don't want any consequences to ignoring a bad situation. I can totally appreciate that kind of gameplay ... but in this case I say thee nay! I don't have to be forced down the rails through the entire course of the game - in fact it's great if sometimes I have no idea what I'm supposed to do next - but the story should always be looming, and always making me want to resolve it. Open world, do-whatever-you-want-whenever-you-want games can be great, but not every RPG has to be built on that foundation. In fact many good RPGs would be ruined without the sense of urgency that strong plotting provides.