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  1. Josh was asked about his comments on BG2 a few weeks ago and what in particular he didn't like about Baldur Gate 2's implementation of quests and he responded, I have been thinking about this for the past several days and while I can understand the reasoning behind what Josh said, I think that I may partially disagree with him in terms of whether it was a bad thing or not. Firstly, I would have to agree with the sentiment that compared to Chapter 2, the rest of the game felt fairly linear and less complex and that this detracted from the game. The following chapters were less fun than being able to mess around in Athkatla. However, at the same time, this doesn't detract from the fact that the multitude of quests in Chapter 2 was sort of fun and kept the player engaged and in fact may show that Chapter 2 was probably doing something right and the rest of the game was unfairly juxtaposed to a well-developed chapter. One of the things that I think was good about the implementation of Chapter 2 has to do with the multiple paths a player can take during their gameplay and the ability to work on several aspects of the story at the same time. If a player would start to tire of a certain setting during the game, he or she could quickly change his attention over to another quest and work on that for a bit. This is ultimately the benefit of the multitudes of quests offered early in the game. It's like designing a non-linear dungeon that has multiple entrances. If the player starts to get frustrated with one certain quest, s/he can work on something else at the same time and come back to the previous quest later. Thus, it keeps the player engaged and rarely feel like he is stuck in a rut or that s/he has to "grind" his way through a certain aspect of the game to get to his reward. I think this is important in a good RPG and it would behoove the devs of PE to think about this aspect of Athkatla's design. Allow the game at any time to have several opportunities for players to "work" on a multiple quests simulatenously. This limits the feeling of linearity that can come in games. If you do want to limit the content density to "spread the content" evenly through the game, make sure to give players opportunities to work on several different aspects at one time and allow them the option ot choosing which one to tackle at any time. This will limit player fatigue and keep the player engaged with the game longer. If possible, keep as many different quests/opportunities/actions to take available for the player, so that they can make the decision in what to do next. This allows the player to feel that he or she is in a sand-box type game even though it may not necessarily fit that description. Anecdotally, I've realized that certain games are fairly linear in their content design, and that these games allow me to play the game only in one certain order. Thus, if I get myself in a rut or can't defeat a particular challenge, I end up quitting the game for several days and getting back to it only when I have the energy to try again. The game starts to feel like a chore, and I rarely get back to playing it. However, I've realized that games like Baldur's Gate 2 and other games that give me the opportunity to choose from several different actions at any point, allow me to change my focus and tackle another challenge. This "refreshes" my interest and I keep playing the game. And then I remember these games more favorably! What do the rest of you guys think?
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