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The Good and the Unfortunately Very Bad of POE2: a review NO SPOILERS


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You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

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I think the OP has a point, it's just taken to an unhealthy extreme and isn't coming across well. Writing of female characters and minorities in video games can easily fall into lazy stereotypes and Obsidian has definitely been guilty of this. Tekehu by himself isn't a problem, but when you have a cast of seven companions with five of them being bisexual and most of them coming onto you strongly... that's a problem.

There's always a conflict when it comes to romancable companion sexuality; if you lock it behind gender tastes you can create more nuanced characters by reflecting their personality in their romance, but you'll cut out gameplay options for segments of your players. If you make everybody willing to sleep with anybody, then you increase player opportunity and choice but cut out some nuance of story and character.

 

It doesn't mean anything as far as SJW propaganda is concerned; it's just a gameplay choice.

 

 

I don't want to assume what they're trying to say, but it seems to me that this could be construed as an argument against the "let everyone bang whoever they want" developer mentality that seems to be have become dominant since Mass Effect hit shelves (I realize ME did not have every character be a... whatever the word is for "will bang anything that shows interest," but they did introduce an entire race that was basically that and it does seem to be the first time people really got their knickers in a bunch over not being able to execute their headcanon "this character actually likes dudes/girls" stuff in-game.)

 

I guess I just feel like, if you're going to bother to try and create nuanced characters and romances that are intended to be more than a few cute little lines and maybe an unbearably awkward softcore porn scene as a "reward", it's silly to excise one of the most important parts of an individual's personality to avoid offending a specific subset of players who refuse to play a character of the race/class/gender/whatever that their object of desire finds attractive.  Isn't part of the appeal of CRPGs that they're very replayable and you are generally encouraged to play through multiple times with different classes, characters, etc?

 

 

 

Oh, please.  Codex at least has some valid points and constructive criticism in there somewhere amid all the ranting and raving.  Usually.

 

Yep, a Codexer. Sniffed that one out.

 

 

Man I took the bait hard..

 

 

What are you talking about?

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You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something.  And even then, they'd still be at a practical disadvantage because shorter limbs would result in reduced leverage, even if their muscles were just as strong despite being smaller.  Gameplay abstractions are just that - abstractions.

 

Attributes themselves in Pillars are explicitly abstractions.  Supposedly a Wizard with 18 Might is just really, like... mentally powerful or whatever, not a Duke of Swoletown.  Unfortunately, in-game crunch doesn't line up with established fluff, because every single Might check I have ever seen in either game has been a straight up "use your muscles to do things" check.  It results in unintentionally absurd interactions where a three foot tall Orlan can lift a presumably ~6 foot tall human off the ground, by their throat, and shake them like a rag doll in a dialogue option.

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Oh, please.  Codex at least has some valid points and constructive criticism in there somewhere amid all the ranting and raving.  Usually.

 

Yep, a Codexer. Sniffed that one out.

 

 

Man I took the bait hard..

 

 

What are you talking about?

 

 

I'm saying that all the codex is is a bunch of forty year old neckbeards ranting and raving about change.

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OP is wrong, but everyone else trying to prove otherwise by claiming Deadfire is filled to brim with varied characters are also wrong. Obsidian did a piss poor job of reflecting a range of people, especially in terms of companions. This game is not even close to New Vegas in diversity of personalities, it's also worse than even Tyranny which was a much shorter game with way fewer important individuals. 

 

Also regarding your other critique such as visuals claiming Divos2 looks better just because it's 3D is simply tasteless. This game is the prettiest game I played in a long while.

 

What exactly would you consider a varied character? Tekehu is a literal shark man and Xoti is a grim reaper with a southern accent.

I think the OP has a point, it's just taken to an unhealthy extreme and isn't coming across well. Writing of female characters and minorities in video games can easily fall into lazy stereotypes and Obsidian has definitely been guilty of this. Tekehu by himself isn't a problem, but when you have a cast of seven companions with five of them being bisexual and most of them coming onto you strongly... that's a problem.

 

I don't understand. This game is based on the Renaissance era, People were super gay throughout all of history. The ancient Greeks and Romans banged anything that had a pulse. Hell, even pirates got some on the high seas, It was called "matelotage".

 

Even then Eora is a completely different planet so just maybe cuture and society there is a little different then on earth.

 

 

> People were super gay throughout all of history.

 

I have to say, I adore this sentence

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I repeat "What exactly would you consider a varied character?" That isn't an answer. I'm guessing your answer is probably an Avellone text box.

 

 

Characters that aren't one-dimensional representations of a set of traits. I assume the reputation system at large caused this, which I think is a bad system to have for companions in a RPG but that's a different problem for another time.

 

Also it isn't about the characters themselves not being one-dimensional, but also there being a varied cast of characters too, which is also lacking with somehow the available companions at your disposal being various shades of chaotic good despite being a highly competitive, pirate-infested colonial frontier. 

 

This game's companions feel like cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, basically. 

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...

You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something. 

No, but there *IS* fluff stating that physical strength is related to your *soul power*. That's a thing. In Eora, might--including physical strength--is more closely related to soul power than anything. If your soul is strong enough, you *WILL* be strong enough. That's how a 4 foot tall female Orlan can knock down an Ogre.

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Oh, please.  Codex at least has some valid points and constructive criticism in there somewhere amid all the ranting and raving.  Usually.

 

Yep, a Codexer. Sniffed that one out.

 

 

Man I took the bait hard..

 

 

What are you talking about?

 

 

I'm saying that all the codex is is a bunch of forty year old neckbeards ranting and raving about change.

 

 

****, dude, I ain't gonna dispute that.  You should see the ****fits people get into when someone suggests THAC0 is stupid and BAB is a much better, more logical system.  That doesn't mean you can't find diamonds amid all the **** they're flinging.  Even the ranty, ravey Pillars of Eternity reviews that came out of the Codex had valid points and complaints even if you thought the whole review, on average, was utter bunk.

 

 

 

OP is wrong, but everyone else trying to prove otherwise by claiming Deadfire is filled to brim with varied characters are also wrong. Obsidian did a piss poor job of reflecting a range of people, especially in terms of companions. This game is not even close to New Vegas in diversity of personalities, it's also worse than even Tyranny which was a much shorter game with way fewer important individuals. 

 

Also regarding your other critique such as visuals claiming Divos2 looks better just because it's 3D is simply tasteless. This game is the prettiest game I played in a long while.

 

What exactly would you consider a varied character? Tekehu is a literal shark man and Xoti is a grim reaper with a southern accent.

I think the OP has a point, it's just taken to an unhealthy extreme and isn't coming across well. Writing of female characters and minorities in video games can easily fall into lazy stereotypes and Obsidian has definitely been guilty of this. Tekehu by himself isn't a problem, but when you have a cast of seven companions with five of them being bisexual and most of them coming onto you strongly... that's a problem.

 

I don't understand. This game is based on the Renaissance era, People were super gay throughout all of history. The ancient Greeks and Romans banged anything that had a pulse. Hell, even pirates got some on the high seas, It was called "matelotage".

 

Even then Eora is a completely different planet so just maybe cuture and society there is a little different then on earth.

 

 

> People were super gay throughout all of history.

 

I have to say, I adore this sentence

 

 

They aren't wrong.  I've always wondered what people think when they look at the Spartans, long held to be a prime example of super manly masculinity, and discover that buggery wasn't just seen as acceptable, it was encouraged and some books I've read on Ancient Greece/Sparta make it sound like it was more common for dudes to be banging boys than it was for them to be banging their wives.

 

But yeah, that sentence is awesome.  I'm stealing it for later.

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I repeat "What exactly would you consider a varied character?" That isn't an answer. I'm guessing your answer is probably an Avellone text box.

 

 

Characters that aren't one-dimensional representations of a set of traits. I assume the reputation system at large caused this, which I think is a bad system to have for companions in a RPG but that's a different problem for another time.

 

Also it isn't about the characters themselves not being one-dimensional, but also there being a varied cast of characters too, which is also lacking with somehow the available companions at your disposal being various shades of chaotic good despite being a highly competitive, pirate-infested colonial frontier. 

 

This game's companions feel like cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, basically. 

 

 

I still don't thing that answers anything. Most of the game revolves around traits. Traits are what *make* a character a character.

 

I'm just going to chalk this all up as an agree to disagree before the topic gets locked for being a full on flame war.

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...

You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something. 

No, but there *IS* fluff stating that physical strength is related to your *soul power*. That's a thing. In Eora, might--including physical strength--is more closely related to soul power than anything. If your soul is strong enough, you *WILL* be strong enough. That's how a 4 foot tall female Orlan can knock down an Ogre.

 

 

That's because it's a gameplay abstraction unless you're suggesting a typical Orlan can become literally superhuman (superorlan?) by getting really angry or something.  Saying that it's a concrete example would mean Obsidian needs to put a lot more effort into explaining how "soul power" literally and flagrantly violates the laws of physics, or explain how Eora's basic physical laws are markedly different from those in real-world Earth despite them never commenting on something that would be so fundamentally important to the setting.

 

So I'm going with the simpler "it's a gameplay abstraction" explanation.  Your orlan isn't punching the ogre so hard they fall over because that would require an obscene, impossible amount of leverage and energy - instead, it's probably just a way to abstract them ducking between the ogre and tripping them or something.

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Oh, please.  Codex at least has some valid points and constructive criticism in there somewhere amid all the ranting and raving.  Usually.

 

Yep, a Codexer. Sniffed that one out.

 

 

Man I took the bait hard..

 

 

What are you talking about?

 

 

I'm saying that all the codex is is a bunch of forty year old neckbeards ranting and raving about change.

 

 

****, dude, I ain't gonna dispute that.  You should see the ****fits people get into when someone suggests THAC0 is stupid and BAB is a much better, more logical system.  That doesn't mean you can't find diamonds amid all the **** they're flinging.  Even the ranty, ravey Pillars of Eternity reviews that came out of the Codex had valid points and complaints even if you thought the whole review, on average, was utter bunk.

 

Sorry, I'm only debating you on the writing in the game, The mechanics of course still need improvement. I'm just being a little too passionate.

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You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something.  And even then, they'd still be at a practical disadvantage because shorter limbs would result in reduced leverage, even if their muscles were just as strong despite being smaller.  Gameplay abstractions are just that - abstractions.

 

Attributes themselves in Pillars are explicitly abstractions.  Supposedly a Wizard with 18 Might is just really, like... mentally powerful or whatever, not a Duke of Swoletown.  Unfortunately, in-game crunch doesn't line up with established fluff, because every single Might check I have ever seen in either game has been a straight up "use your muscles to do things" check.  It results in unintentionally absurd interactions where a three foot tall Orlan can lift a presumably ~6 foot tall human off the ground, by their throat, and shake them like a rag doll in a dialogue option.

 

 

 

Well which is it? You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other in spite of the abstractions and then you pointed out that the in-game might checks that contradicted what you just said. It's fine that you think it's absurd, but that's how the game world works. 

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I still don't thing that answers anything. Most of the game revolves around traits. Traits are what *make* a character a character.

 

I'm just going to chalk this all up as an agree to disagree before the topic gets locked for being a full on flame war.

 

 

Naturally I don't want to write an essay on this regarding each of the companions, but they are flavours of similar archetypes. Individually, there wouldn't be much wrong with them, but together they suffocate the cast with overlapping personality traits that are also not displayed in an intricate way. The latter issue I think being more tied to mechanical reputation system they tried to do than anything else. If you compare and contrast your available companions in either New Vegas and Tyranny, it shouldn't be hard to see how varied they are in terms of character but also intricate representations of their traits compared to Deadfire. 

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...

You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something.  And even then, they'd still be at a practical disadvantage because shorter limbs would result in reduced leverage, even if their muscles were just as strong despite being smaller.  Gameplay abstractions are just that - abstractions.

 

Attributes themselves in Pillars are explicitly abstractions.  Supposedly a Wizard with 18 Might is just really, like... mentally powerful or whatever, not a Duke of Swoletown.  Unfortunately, in-game crunch doesn't line up with established fluff, because every single Might check I have ever seen in either game has been a straight up "use your muscles to do things" check.  It results in unintentionally absurd interactions where a three foot tall Orlan can lift a presumably ~6 foot tall human off the ground, by their throat, and shake them like a rag doll in a dialogue option.

 

 

 

Well which is it? You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other in spite of the abstractions and then you pointed out that the in-game might checks that contradicted what you just said. It's fine that you think it's absurd, but that's how the game world works. 

 

 

lol, what?  No, I didn't.  I specifically explained how gameplay does not line up with fluff and provided a concrete example of exactly why - I don't care how much "soul power" affects a person's physical strength, it is quite literally impossible for a three foot Orlan to lift a six foot human off the ground by their throat.  You can be the strongest soul on Eora and you still cannot open a door if you need to have arms that are 3'6" in length and they are only 3'3", and so on.

 

The point, then, is that gameplay cannot be used to support fluff because it's quite clear that gameplay regularly ignores or even violates fluff.  I have no clue how you got "You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other" out of that.

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You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something. 

No, but there *IS* fluff stating that physical strength is related to your *soul power*. That's a thing. In Eora, might--including physical strength--is more closely related to soul power than anything. If your soul is strong enough, you *WILL* be strong enough. That's how a 4 foot tall female Orlan can knock down an Ogre.

 

 

That's because it's a gameplay abstraction unless you're suggesting a typical Orlan can become literally superhuman (superorlan?) by getting really angry or something.  Saying that it's a concrete example would mean Obsidian needs to put a lot more effort into explaining how "soul power" literally and flagrantly violates the laws of physics, or explain how Eora's basic physical laws are markedly different from those in real-world Earth despite them never commenting on something that would be so fundamentally important to the setting.

 

So I'm going with the simpler "it's a gameplay abstraction" explanation.  Your orlan isn't punching the ogre so hard they fall over because that would require an obscene, impossible amount of leverage and energy - instead, it's probably just a way to abstract them ducking between the ogre and tripping them or something.

 

Yes, that is *explicitly* how it works, according to the lore. That's how Fighters do their things--superhuman feats of strength, speed, etc. from training up their soul-power. It's in the guidebook and in other sources. It's not about "getting really angry", it's actually something they *train to be able to do* while they learn to be a fighter, barbarian, etc. It's the same process Wizards use to cast spells, just funneled in a different way.

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You said this, though:
 

> Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc. 

 

So you did say one gender is clearly stronger than the other.

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I repeat "What exactly would you consider a varied character?" That isn't an answer. I'm guessing your answer is probably an Avellone text box.

 

 

Characters that aren't one-dimensional representations of a set of traits. I assume the reputation system at large caused this, which I think is a bad system to have for companions in a RPG but that's a different problem for another time.

 

Also it isn't about the characters themselves not being one-dimensional, but also there being a varied cast of characters too, which is also lacking with somehow the available companions at your disposal being various shades of chaotic good despite being a highly competitive, pirate-infested colonial frontier. 

 

This game's companions feel like cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, basically. 

 

 

I do feel that the reputation system has to be looked at very closely, but this aside I don't think you can properly summarize any of the characters in question through their likes or dislikes, or that their reasons for having such preferences is a simple one. Maia for example can be pretty self-effacing and reacts positively to a light-hearted remark - but her reasons for taking or enjoying this approach are thoroughly different to Serafen's, or Edér's, or Xoti's. In Maia's case it acts pretty deliberately as a means to deflect or look away from the moral quandries behind her role within the Royal Deadfire Company. She's not merely secretive the way Aloth may be, who by all means assumes the gravity of his mission and actions, but also deliberately tries to deflate them and look away as if shirking the gravity of some of her actions. Serafen's past as a slave completely informs his light-heartedness and his love for the Principi life too - he's a freedom-lover, a libertine and avid adventurer and embraces this life as someone who knows the opposite end to the freedom he eventually earned for himself. I think each character has their own personalities and histories that are fairly distinct from one another, regardless of how one can maybe find a general enough label to homogenize them all with.

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I repeat "What exactly would you consider a varied character?" That isn't an answer. I'm guessing your answer is probably an Avellone text box.

 

 

Characters that aren't one-dimensional representations of a set of traits. I assume the reputation system at large caused this, which I think is a bad system to have for companions in a RPG but that's a different problem for another time.

 

Also it isn't about the characters themselves not being one-dimensional, but also there being a varied cast of characters too, which is also lacking with somehow the available companions at your disposal being various shades of chaotic good despite being a highly competitive, pirate-infested colonial frontier. 

 

This game's companions feel like cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, basically. 

 

 

I do feel that the reputation system has to be looked at very closely, but this aside I don't think you can properly summarize any of the characters in question through their likes or dislikes, or that their reasons for having such preferences is a simple one. Maia for example can be pretty self-effacing and reacts positively to a light-hearted remark - but her reasons for taking or enjoying this approach are thoroughly different to Serafen's, or Edér's, or Xoti's. In Maia's case it acts pretty deliberately as a means to deflect or look away from the moral quandries behind her role within the Royal Deadfire Company. She's not merely secretive the way Aloth may be, who by all means assumes the gravity of his mission and actions, but also deliberately tries to deflate them and look away as if shirking the gravity of some of her actions. Serafen's past as a slave completely informs his light-heartedness and his love for the Principi life too - he's a freedom-lover, a libertine and avid adventurer and embraces this life as someone who knows the opposite end to the freedom he eventually earned for himself. I think each character has their own personalities and histories that are fairly distinct from one another, regardless of how one can maybe find a general enough label to homogenize them all with.

 

 

Well said.

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This is some Codex level stuff right here.

 ZDo6Eni.jpg

 

What's really disgusting me is how freaking *many* of these "There are women doing things that I don't like women doing in this game!" so-called reviews have been showing up lately.

Really makes me question my self-identity as a "gamer" when I see what's up with parts of gamer culture these days.

I just don't understand why of all games it's this one that's getting ragged on for these reasons. So far this is like the least "political" game I've played all year.

RPGs seem to be particularly vulnerable to this stuff for some reason. The worst I've seen was the Beamdog forums during the release of Siege of Dragonspear a few years ago. The devs included a minor NPC with two lines of dialogue about gender fluidity and gamergate launched a weeks-long review bombing campaign knocking the metacritic and GoG scores down to 3 (meanwhile: 7.5 among verified Steam purchases). The developer downsized and hasn't released any OC since.

Yet it's somehow the "SJWs" who are still charicatured in the gaming community as the unreasonable value crusaders. Goes to show that gamergate was never really about combating censorship in gaming so much as fighting cultural change and representational diversity.

I mean, I get it. When games have been made with no care for any demographic but yours for the past thirty years, it's hard to adapt when the industry *finally* notices that other people want to play too. Same thing is happening with comic books – a female Thor and a black Spiderman are always going to cause some people's heads to just explode.

 

I was actually one of the people that had a problem with SoD. Now THAT was just virtue signaling garbage. It was embarassing. Don't get me started on the state of Marvel comics.

It was two lines of dialogue + a cheeky Minsc bark. The rest was imagined by gamergate conspiracy theorists and has since been roundly debunked – I won't sift through it again here. Regardless, no team of developers should have to go through something like that over something so minimal. Go back sometime, read the **** that was said to and about Amber Scott, read the metacritic review spam, and honestly defend that reaction as proportional to the "offending" content.

 

Gamergate has become everything that it claimed to hate about so-called "SJW's" — driven by victim/outrage politics, unreasonably prosecutorial, and finding cause for offense under every rock and behind every corner. OP practically wrote a manifesto on how a game that features cosmic space pigs and drug-addled monks is on a mission to emasculate him, FFS. That's not normal.

 

Gamers should be able to criticize content they don't like without assuming a pervasive and malicious agenda behind every creative decision. This culturally aggrieved conspiracy mongering has been out of hand for a while now.

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Well which is it? You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other in spite of the abstractions and then you pointed out that the in-game might checks that contradicted what you just said. It's fine that you think it's absurd, but that's how the game world works. 

 

lol, what?  No, I didn't.  I specifically explained how gameplay does not line up with fluff and provided a concrete example of exactly why - I don't care how much "soul power" affects a person's physical strength, it is quite literally impossible for a three foot Orlan to lift a six foot human off the ground by their throat.  You can be the strongest soul on Eora and you still cannot open a door if you need to have arms that are 3'6" in length and they are only 3'3", and so on.

 

The point, then, is that gameplay cannot be used to support fluff because it's quite clear that gameplay regularly ignores or even violates fluff.  I have no clue how you got "You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other" out of that.

 

 

 

I didn't get it out of that, I got it from your previous comment where it is almost a direct quote of what you said. To refresh your memory, here is what you said earlier:

 

... Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength,

 

It is going to be difficult to have a conversation with you if you don't remember (or look back at) your previous comments and then deny that you made them.

Edited by Yonjuro
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This is some Codex level stuff right here.

ZDo6Eni.jpg

 

What's really disgusting me is how freaking *many* of these "There are women doing things that I don't like women doing in this game!" so-called reviews have been showing up lately.

Really makes me question my self-identity as a "gamer" when I see what's up with parts of gamer culture these days.

I just don't understand why of all games it's this one that's getting ragged on for these reasons. So far this is like the least "political" game I've played all year.
RPGs seem to be particularly vulnerable to this stuff for some reason. The worst I've seen was the Beamdog forums during the release of Siege of Dragonspear a few years ago. The devs included a minor NPC with two lines of dialogue about gender fluidity and gamergate launched a weeks-long review bombing campaign knocking the metacritic and GoG scores down to 3 (meanwhile: 7.5 among verified Steam purchases). The developer downsized and hasn't released any OC since.

Yet it's somehow the "SJWs" who are still charicatured in the gaming community as the unreasonable value crusaders. Goes to show that gamergate was never really about combating censorship in gaming so much as fighting cultural change and representational diversity.

I mean, I get it. When games have been made with no care for any demographic but yours for the past thirty years, it's hard to adapt when the industry *finally* notices that other people want to play too. Same thing is happening with comic books – a female Thor and a black Spiderman are always going to cause some people's heads to just explode.

I was actually one of the people that had a problem with SoD. Now THAT was just virtue signaling garbage. It was embarassing. Don't get me started on the state of Marvel comics.

It was two lines of dialogue + a cheeky Minsc bark. The rest was imagined by gamergate conspiracy theorists and has since been roundly debunked – I won't sift through it again here. Regardless, no team of developers should have to go through something like that over something so minimal. Go back sometime, read the **** that was said to and about Amber Scott, read the metacritic review spam, and honestly defend that reaction as proportional to the "offending" content.

 

Gamergate has become everything that it claimed to hate about so-called "SJW's" — driven by victim/outrage politics, unreasonably prosecutorial, and finding cause for offense under every rock and behind every corner. OP practically wrote a manifesto on how a game that features cosmic space pigs and drug-addled monks is on a mission to emasculate him, FFS. That's not normal.

 

Gamers should be able to criticize content they don't like without assuming a pervasive and malicious agenda behind every creative decision. This culturally aggrieved conspiracy mongering has been out of hand for a while now.

"Hitler did nothing wrong" is one sentence but I imagine you'd have a problem if an NPC said that.

 

Your logic doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

 

Here's what one person said about Mizhena:

 

Hey there Beamdog forums. I just wanted to give my feelings on the inclusion of this character from the perspective of someone who is trans.

 

For background: I was born 1991, as a biological male. As early as I can remember, I have wished that I was born female. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said a girl. My parents first recognized (but not accepted) my feelings when I was four and thought I would grow out of it. I thought I would to, but I didn't. I'm 24 now, I've been on hormone replacement therapy for a while and am trying to make the best of my situation and live my life in the way I feel is most comfortable for me.

 

Baldur's Gate is one of my favorite games of all time. I first got the game when I was 10 and loved it. I remember deliberately giving my character the belt of femininity/masculinity because back then I didn't know it was possible to 'change' your gender, I had never heard the term transgender and didn't even know there were other people in the world who had feelings like me. It gave me a deep sense of personal investment in a game series that was already incredible without it, and I've replayed the games more times than I can count.

 

I was really excited to hear about Siege of Dragonspear because playing new content in one of my favorite old games is like a dream come true. I won't get into my feelings about the expansion, I just want to talk about the inclusion of Mizhena.

 

Mizhena is a cheap, lazy, 'safe' character who is included for the sole purpose of having a transgender character in the game.

 

Let me just say that as a transsexual I would never, EVER introduce myself to someone by telling them that I am a transsexual. Being trans is not fun. People are mean and cruel to you. You are mean and cruel to yourself. I do not do the things I do because I want to be a transsexual, I do them because I want to be a woman. I want to blend in as a girl as a best I can, the last thing I would EVER do is draw attention to myself for being trans (except for this thread of course, har har). Even when people are trying to be nice it feels awful. I have had people come up to me, tell me they liked my clothes or hair, converse with me, make me feel good, and then end the conversation with "You know, I think people like you are so brave" and that sentence just makes me want to die. I just want to be seen as a normal person. Of course, usually when you get attention for being trans, it is not positive at all, which brings me to my next point:

 

The way your character converses with Mizhena is almost totally different than it is for everyone else in the game. You can be rude, mean, funny, or just throw a witty retort or remark to almost everyone in the game over the smallest thing, but even an evil blackguard who murders everyone in sight can only say "What a lovely name, tell me more", "How interesting" or "Good day to you". I understand that it would be politically incorrect to be rude or insult a transgender character for being trans, but to me all that does is highlight that being trans is different. The trans character is not on the same level as every other character, who can 'take' abuse from you. The trans character has to be protected from this because they're different. The way the trans character is implemented doesn't make me feel like "I'm just like everyone else" as I imagine the writer intended, it just makes me feel more like a freak or novelty. It's unrealistic.

 

The inclusion of Mizhena is utterly pointless. Having a transgender character just to have one brings nothing to the story, all it does is take you back to the 'real world', which to me ruins the immersion I'm supposed to feel playing a fantasy game. I would rather there be no trans character than a pointless one.

 

I also think that this was a massively missed opportunity for something special. There have been transgender people in many cultures across all of human history, and there are certainly stories to tell here. Why couldn't it have been done in a fun or interesting way that actually fits the game? Maybe there could have been a transgender npc who asks you to find the belt of masculinity/femininity for them. Then if you asked them why, they would actually have some context to explain that they're trans. Or why not make the trans character a full on party member? You could have Jaheira call Mizhena out on being an abomination against nature (choice words from my own mother by the way), and maybe over your travels the two characters bond and Jaheira learns to accept and appreciate Mizhena for being who they are. And if you actually made Mizhena fun, witty, and interesting, and had good dialogue and interactions along the way, maybe somebody in real life would actually have better feelings towards transgender people after enjoying that quest line. Wouldn't that be something.

 

Harshness aside, I do want to say that other than this I think the expansion is fun and I applaud Beamdog for working hard on it, especially for getting the old voice actors back. I'm still looking forward to what you guys release in the future.

Edited by Yosharian
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You know there is no proof that in Eora men are physically stronger comparing to women, 

 

 

 Yes. In fact, there is proof of the reverse - you can make both male and female characters with any combination of attributes and background. 

 

 

That's a gameplay abstraction to avoid the old "-4 Str" arguments.  Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc.  It's silly to assume that the two sexes possess equal physical strength, on average, unless there's fluff somewhere that states that females have increased muscle fiber density or something.  And even then, they'd still be at a practical disadvantage because shorter limbs would result in reduced leverage, even if their muscles were just as strong despite being smaller.  Gameplay abstractions are just that - abstractions.

 

Attributes themselves in Pillars are explicitly abstractions.  Supposedly a Wizard with 18 Might is just really, like... mentally powerful or whatever, not a Duke of Swoletown.  Unfortunately, in-game crunch doesn't line up with established fluff, because every single Might check I have ever seen in either game has been a straight up "use your muscles to do things" check.  It results in unintentionally absurd interactions where a three foot tall Orlan can lift a presumably ~6 foot tall human off the ground, by their throat, and shake them like a rag doll in a dialogue option.

 

 

 

Well which is it? You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other in spite of the abstractions and then you pointed out that the in-game might checks that contradicted what you just said. It's fine that you think it's absurd, but that's how the game world works. 

 

 

lol, what?  No, I didn't.  I specifically explained how gameplay does not line up with fluff and provided a concrete example of exactly why - I don't care how much "soul power" affects a person's physical strength, it is quite literally impossible for a three foot Orlan to lift a six foot human off the ground by their throat.  You can be the strongest soul on Eora and you still cannot open a door if you need to have arms that are 3'6" in length and they are only 3'3", and so on.

 

The point, then, is that gameplay cannot be used to support fluff because it's quite clear that gameplay regularly ignores or even violates fluff.  I have no clue how you got "You said one gender is clearly stronger than the other" out of that.

 

Yes, the in-game writing screwed up with it's use of the "Might" skill. This has been acknowledged as an *error* and apologized for by Obsidian. The "Might" interactions are not to be taken as reflective of the actual gameworld; they are mistakes.

 

As for how soul-power and fighters work, this is what Obsidian said:

 

"Though it may not look like it to see them in battle next to wizards and priests, fighters are just as able to tap into the power of their souls to devastating effect: accelerating their attacks to a superhuman speed, striking foes with such power that nearby opponents are knocked off their feet, and maintaining a phenomenal endurance that allows them to rapidly bounce back from even terrible wounds."

 

That orlan is *actually* knocking down that ogre. It's not an abstraction; the orlan is *actually hitting that ogre* and *actually knocking it down*. When a fighter uses Knock Down, it's as much a soul-powered effect as Ningauths Shadowflame, and as such it has to obey the laws of physics about as much as Ningauths Shadowflame does.

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You said this, though:

 

> Men are quite clearly stronger than women for all of the kith races we've seen because sexual dimorphism is on full display and the males are noticeably larger than the females - this would directly translate to increased physical strength, longer reach, etc. 

 

So you did say one gender is clearly stronger than the other.

 

Which is clearly incorrect, because "soul power" explains how... muscle fibers are more dense or whatever practical application of it you'd like to use.  I didn't get the guidebook backer tier, so there's clearly stuff that I don't know because it's not explained anywhere in-game.

 

Does it explain how "soul power" can violate the laws of physics?  Or does it explain that Eora's physical laws are substantially different from our own, despite the setting being presented in a way that makes it appear to be pretty similar to our own aside from obvious things like souls?

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This is some Codex level stuff right here.ZDo6Eni.jpg

What's really disgusting me is how freaking *many* of these "There are women doing things that I don't like women doing in this game!" so-called reviews have been showing up lately.

Really makes me question my self-identity as a "gamer" when I see what's up with parts of gamer culture these days.

I just don't understand why of all games it's this one that's getting ragged on for these reasons. So far this is like the least "political" game I've played all year.
RPGs seem to be particularly vulnerable to this stuff for some reason. The worst I've seen was the Beamdog forums during the release of Siege of Dragonspear a few years ago. The devs included a minor NPC with two lines of dialogue about gender fluidity and gamergate launched a weeks-long review bombing campaign knocking the metacritic and GoG scores down to 3 (meanwhile: 7.5 among verified Steam purchases). The developer downsized and hasn't released any OC since.

Yet it's somehow the "SJWs" who are still charicatured in the gaming community as the unreasonable value crusaders. Goes to show that gamergate was never really about combating censorship in gaming so much as fighting cultural change and representational diversity.

I mean, I get it. When games have been made with no care for any demographic but yours for the past thirty years, it's hard to adapt when the industry *finally* notices that other people want to play too. Same thing is happening with comic books – a female Thor and a black Spiderman are always going to cause some people's heads to just explode.

I was actually one of the people that had a problem with SoD. Now THAT was just virtue signaling garbage. It was embarassing. Don't get me started on the state of Marvel comics.

It was two lines of dialogue + a cheeky Minsc bark. The rest was imagined by gamergate conspiracy theorists and has since been roundly debunked – I won't sift through it again here. Regardless, no team of developers should have to go through something like that over something so minimal. Go back sometime, read the **** that was said to and about Amber Scott, read the metacritic review spam, and honestly defend that reaction as proportional to the "offending" content.

Gamergate has become everything that it claimed to hate about so-called "SJW's" — driven by victim/outrage politics, unreasonably prosecutorial, and finding cause for offense under every rock and behind every corner. OP practically wrote a manifesto on how a game that features cosmic space pigs and drug-addled monks is on a mission to emasculate him, FFS. That's not normal.

Gamers should be able to criticize content they don't like without assuming a pervasive and malicious agenda behind every creative decision. This culturally aggrieved conspiracy mongering has been out of hand for a while now.

"Hitler did nothing wrong" is one sentence but I imagine you'd have a problem if an NPC said that.

Your logic doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Considering what the two sentences in question are, neither does yours. I think it's a rubbish couple of lines myself but the content is hardly of a damning or incendiary ilk the likes of what you're using as an example. I mean, literally the issue that people are up in arms about is that it depicts an NPC as trans. That's *it*. Edited by algroth

My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Fallout 2

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This is some Codex level stuff right here.

ZDo6Eni.jpg

What's really disgusting me is how freaking *many* of these "There are women doing things that I don't like women doing in this game!" so-called reviews have been showing up lately.

Really makes me question my self-identity as a "gamer" when I see what's up with parts of gamer culture these days.

I just don't understand why of all games it's this one that's getting ragged on for these reasons. So far this is like the least "political" game I've played all year.
RPGs seem to be particularly vulnerable to this stuff for some reason. The worst I've seen was the Beamdog forums during the release of Siege of Dragonspear a few years ago. The devs included a minor NPC with two lines of dialogue about gender fluidity and gamergate launched a weeks-long review bombing campaign knocking the metacritic and GoG scores down to 3 (meanwhile: 7.5 among verified Steam purchases). The developer downsized and hasn't released any OC since.

Yet it's somehow the "SJWs" who are still charicatured in the gaming community as the unreasonable value crusaders. Goes to show that gamergate was never really about combating censorship in gaming so much as fighting cultural change and representational diversity.

I mean, I get it. When games have been made with no care for any demographic but yours for the past thirty years, it's hard to adapt when the industry *finally* notices that other people want to play too. Same thing is happening with comic books – a female Thor and a black Spiderman are always going to cause some people's heads to just explode.

I was actually one of the people that had a problem with SoD. Now THAT was just virtue signaling garbage. It was embarassing. Don't get me started on the state of Marvel comics.

It was two lines of dialogue + a cheeky Minsc bark. The rest was imagined by gamergate conspiracy theorists and has since been roundly debunked – I won't sift through it again here. Regardless, no team of developers should have to go through something like that over something so minimal. Go back sometime, read the **** that was said to and about Amber Scott, read the metacritic review spam, and honestly defend that reaction as proportional to the "offending" content.

 

Gamergate has become everything that it claimed to hate about so-called "SJW's" — driven by victim/outrage politics, unreasonably prosecutorial, and finding cause for offense under every rock and behind every corner. OP practically wrote a manifesto on how a game that features cosmic space pigs and drug-addled monks is on a mission to emasculate him, FFS. That's not normal.

 

Gamers should be able to criticize content they don't like without assuming a pervasive and malicious agenda behind every creative decision. This culturally aggrieved conspiracy mongering has been out of hand for a while now.

"Hitler did nothing wrong" is one sentence but I imagine you'd have a problem if an NPC said that.

That depends on the character. It's not a statement I would agree with, but if it was said in-game by a neo-nazi skinhead, then hell no I wouldn't have a problem with it--it's an accurate reflection of the character, even if all we know about that character is "neo-nazi skinhead that we meet for two seconds and says one line".

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