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


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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?

Nani

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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.

 

 

That Orlan is not knocking down that ogre because that would be PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE without getting into the realm of ****ing superheroes.  Not "channeling soul energy to be faster and stronger," but "Superman utterly ignoring physical laws" superhero stuff.  If this is a superhero setting, it doesn't do an effective job of selling it.

 

And if Obsidian admits that Might interactions were used in error, why did they REPEAT that error for Deadfire?  There are even more interactions, and they're all still "get swole" interactions.

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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?

Nani

 

 

A three foot Orlan cannot lift a six foot human off their feet, by their throat.  It's quite literally impossible no matter how strong that Orlan is.

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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?

Nani

A three foot Orlan cannot lift a six foot human off their feet, by their throat. It's quite literally impossible no matter how strong that Orlan is.

Why are you telling me this?

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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?

 

Umm.....have you seen what ciphers and wizards do? That's all soul-power, too. *NOTHING* about souls follows anything even vaguely resembling the laws of physics in our world.

 

It's like the Force in Star Wars, or dilithium crystals in Star Trek, or how the **** the X-Gene works in Marvel. It's the bull**** that establishes all the crazy **** that separates Eora from the real world.

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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.

 

 

That Orlan is not knocking down that ogre because that would be PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE without getting into the realm of ****ing superheroes.  Not "channeling soul energy to be faster and stronger," but "Superman utterly ignoring physical laws" superhero stuff.  If this is a superhero setting, it doesn't do an effective job of selling it.

 

And if Obsidian admits that Might interactions were used in error, why did they REPEAT that error for Deadfire?  There are even more interactions, and they're all still "get swole" interactions.

 

...it's also physically impossible to wave your hands and say some words and make a giant ball of fire appear out of midair, zoom 15 feet across the room, and explode like a small grenade, but oh, well.

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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?

Nani

A three foot Orlan cannot lift a six foot human off their feet, by their throat. It's quite literally impossible no matter how strong that Orlan is.

Why are you telling me this?

 

 

Because it's an example of where the game's implementation of fluff is unreliable, wrong, or just outright impossible.  So where we don't have established fluff to cover, we should then assume Eora obeys the same basic physical laws as the real world does.  Even if an Orlan female is every bit as powerful as an Orlan male due to the soul power thing, they still can't violate the laws of physics.

 

In other words, certain actions are still just abstractions.

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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.

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*.

 

 

I'm saying that "It was two lines of dialogue" is not an adequate response to people who have a problem with the content.

 

Whether or not my example aligns with what Mizhena says is irrelevant.

 

>  literally the issue that people are up in arms about is that it depicts an NPC as trans

 

You didn't read the post I quoted, did you?  That's not why most people don't like the character at all.

 

Also, there isn't any evidence, as far as I can see, that OP is a participant in the Gamergate hashtag.

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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?

 

Umm.....have you seen what ciphers and wizards do? That's all soul-power, too. *NOTHING* about souls follows anything even vaguely resembling the laws of physics in our world.

 

It's like the Force in Star Wars, or dilithium crystals in Star Trek, or how the **** the X-Gene works in Marvel. It's the bull**** that establishes all the crazy **** that separates Eora from the real world.

 

 

Except fighters and other martials are explicitly said to be just "moving really fast" or "hitting really hard."  They aren't creating energy or matter or using telepathy or other overtly supernatural powers, so their actions still must logically follow physical laws.  A vampire in a White Wolf game can move at superhuman speeds and possess the physical strength to throw cars like they're linkin logs, but they still have to obey the physical laws of that world's universe.  Unless you've got more of that guidebook that you aren't sharing, the same must then apply to fighters, barbarians, etc here.

 

We could explore the physics of that fireball the mage is throwing, but trying to tie overtly supernatural things to real-life physics is usually a bad idea - SO PEOPLE USUALLY JUST ACCEPT IT'S ALL AN ABSTRACTION.

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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?

Nani

A three foot Orlan cannot lift a six foot human off their feet, by their throat. It's quite literally impossible no matter how strong that Orlan is.

Why are you telling me this?

 

 

Because it's an example of where the game's implementation of fluff is unreliable, wrong, or just outright impossible.  So where we don't have established fluff to cover, we should then assume Eora obeys the same basic physical laws as the real world does.  Even if an Orlan female is every bit as powerful as an Orlan male due to the soul power thing, they still can't violate the laws of physics.

 

In other words, certain actions are still just abstractions.

 

 

But I'm not debating that with you.  I was merely pointing out that you said something that you claimed you didn't say.

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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".

 

 

Sigh, well OK fine, it would be reasonable if a neo-nazi skinhead said it.  But surely you see my point.  'It's just two lines of dialogue' is not a reasonable argument.

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I agree with some things you said. But those women leaders are largely overshadowed by the male kings still. 

 

Would be funny if there was a unique "Princess in Distress" styled women who was a chanter, but has unique "Help Me!" chants that summon her soldiers to protect her instead of skeletons and such.  

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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?

Nani

A three foot Orlan cannot lift a six foot human off their feet, by their throat. It's quite literally impossible no matter how strong that Orlan is.

Why are you telling me this?

 

 

Because it's an example of where the game's implementation of fluff is unreliable, wrong, or just outright impossible.  So where we don't have established fluff to cover, we should then assume Eora obeys the same basic physical laws as the real world does.  Even if an Orlan female is every bit as powerful as an Orlan male due to the soul power thing, they still can't violate the laws of physics.

 

In other words, certain actions are still just abstractions.

 

 

But I'm not debating that with you.  I was merely pointing out that you said something that you claimed you didn't say.

 

 

Because I had not yet seen the post that talked about the guidebook explaining how I was incorrect...

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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?

 

Umm.....have you seen what ciphers and wizards do? That's all soul-power, too. *NOTHING* about souls follows anything even vaguely resembling the laws of physics in our world.

 

It's like the Force in Star Wars, or dilithium crystals in Star Trek, or how the **** the X-Gene works in Marvel. It's the bull**** that establishes all the crazy **** that separates Eora from the real world.

 

 

Except fighters and other martials are explicitly said to be just "moving really fast" or "hitting really hard."  They aren't creating energy or matter or using telepathy or other overtly supernatural powers, so their actions still must logically follow physical laws.  A vampire in a White Wolf game can move at superhuman speeds and possess the physical strength to throw cars like they're linkin logs, but they still have to obey the physical laws of that world's universe.  Unless you've got more of that guidebook that you aren't sharing, the same must then apply to fighters, barbarians, etc here.

 

We could explore the physics of that fireball the mage is throwing, but trying to tie overtly supernatural things to real-life physics is usually a bad idea - SO PEOPLE USUALLY JUST ACCEPT IT'S ALL AN ABSTRACTION.

 

But the fighters abilities are overtly supernatural. *SUPERHUMAN* speed, *SUPERHUMAN* strength, etc. They're using an explicitly supernatural ability--soul-power--to enhance their physical capabilities to an extent that is *beyond natural limits*. When that charge takes you across half the room in the blink of an eye--that's because soul-power allowed you to move halfway across the room in the blink of an eye, and that's *overtly supernatural*. It's physical, but still supernatural--like a werewolfs transformation, or that vampire throwing a car (which will get you a Masquerade violate if done in public because it's a blatant supernatural act). They *don't* have to follow physical laws at all; they don't have to grow muscle fibers or anything, because it's not their muscles doing it--it's the explicitly supernatural soul-power allowing them to do something that is *blatantly* impossible, as you keep pointing out.

 

The orlan using their soul-power to knock down an ogre depends as much on their muscles as Aloth's casting a spell depends on *his* muscles. That's what you're not getting; Knock Down is *every bit as much a supernatural ability as Fireball*. And the effect is has is just as impossible--a fireball conjures heat and crushing power from mid-air, and Knock Down let's a three foot tall orlan knock down an ogre. Both equally impossible, both accomplished supernaturally.

Edited by Katarack21
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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.

 

 

It is two sentences, that's the problem. It clearly was just included to make the writer look good and not to actually craft a character. It was insulting for all parties involved.

 

The Minsc banter was just included because someone was extremely bitter and couldn't control themselves.

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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.

 

Yeah, that's a severe problem with romance pacing. 

 

Five minutes of Maia in my party and she's already asking if I'm banging anyone. 

 

There are times when I wonder if my watcher has Aloth, Eder and Pally rotating shifts outside his door to keep the horndogs away.

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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.

 

Yeah, that's a severe problem with romance pacing. 

 

Five minutes of Maia in my party and she's already asking if I'm banging anyone. 

 

There are times when I wonder if my watcher has Aloth, Eder and Pally rotating shifts outside his door to keep the horndogs away.

 

Yup, that's a confirmed bug. The relationship pacing is *all* off.

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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.

 

Yeah, that's a severe problem with romance pacing. 

 

Five minutes of Maia in my party and she's already asking if I'm banging anyone. 

 

There are times when I wonder if my watcher has Aloth, Eder and Pally rotating shifts outside his door to keep the horndogs away.

 

 

It's a bug in the reputation system though. Really they shouldn't be doing that unless they're 3-4 I would imagine, but I can't even get anyone above a 2, and even companions at -1 are hitting on me.

Want to play a dragon in Deadfire?

 

Try my subclass mod here!
https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/76

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It is two sentences, that's the problem. It clearly was just included to make the writer look good and not to actually craft a character. It was insulting for all parties involved.

 

The Minsc banter was just included because someone was extremely bitter and couldn't control themselves.

 

 

I mean yeah, that is definitely one of the criticisms that was levelled at the character.

 

Minor spoiler for BG2:

 

I'm reminded of what happens to Edwin in BG2.

 

 

I actually think it'd be quite interesting for a character to have to go through that process, having the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity change them, but the change be permanent as opposed to temporary as it is in BG2, and seeing the character come to terms with being a completely different gender.

 

The Minsc thing isn't even defendable, it was utterly stupid.

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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.

 

Yeah, that's a severe problem with romance pacing. 

 

Five minutes of Maia in my party and she's already asking if I'm banging anyone. 

 

There are times when I wonder if my watcher has Aloth, Eder and Pally rotating shifts outside his door to keep the horndogs away.

 

 

Gee it's almost like people sometimes act, swiftly, on impulse when they're physically attracted to someone.

 

Also, anecdotal, but yours was too: Maia had been in my party for many hours of gametime before she asked me about that.

 

Also also, because it's actually kind of important: the way in which that conversation plays out is actually quite witty, even if it's quite blunt.

 

Anyway, I don't agree that anything described in these two posts is 'a problem'.

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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?

 

What's so hard to believe that men and women are physically the same despite looking different in a world where you can summon a big ass dragon out of no where just by singing songs?

 

Real world physics rules was never important in any fantasy world, otherwise it won't be called fantasy.

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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.

 

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*.

I'm saying that "It was two lines of dialogue" is not an adequate response to people who have a problem with the content.

 

Whether or not my example aligns with what Mizhena says is irrelevant.

 

> literally the issue that people are up in arms about is that it depicts an NPC as trans

 

You didn't read the post I quoted, did you? That's not why most people don't like the character at all.

 

Also, there isn't any evidence, as far as I can see, that OP is a participant in the Gamergate hashtag.

I replied before you added the quote, but didn't realize the "quote" function here added it in. With regards to the post you made, that is exactly my problem with it, and with the depiction of many trans characters in media. But still I think the intention, and the vast majority of complaints levied towards it, is a whole other kettle of fish to saying "Hitler did nothing wrong": the Beamdog line fails in misunderstanding a condition it's portraying (though then again I know many who *would* openly call themselves trans), but its intentions are in the right place; that is not the case at all with the latter, as it rather explicitly states mass genocide is "nothing wrong". The reason why Gamergate and many others acted against and actively demanded its removal was not the above quote, it was sheer plain transphobia, and again, all for something that is *minimal*. It's *nineteen seconds* of dialogue. That's what makes this especially ridiculous.

 

For the record, so does it do the same of Amber Scott's statements, about being "proud" of being an SJW and so on so forth. It's all ridiculous, from either side of the argument.

Edited by algroth

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Not this s...stuff again.

 

In general I've found that any time someone uses the acronym "SJW" in a non-ironic way there is a 97.3% that everything they say can be safely ignored.  This rule of thumb has served my blood pressure well.  Unfortunately if everyone were to follow this rule it means that a bunch of misogynstic, transphobic, homophobic garbage would go unrebutted.  So I salute you folks who have the patience to engage.  Ad astra per aspera!

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I'm saying that "It was two lines of dialogue" is not an adequate response to people who have a problem with the content.

 

Whether or not my example aligns with what Mizhena says is irrelevant.

 

> literally the issue that people are up in arms about is that it depicts an NPC as trans

 

You didn't read the post I quoted, did you? That's not why most people don't like the character at all.

 

Also, there isn't any evidence, as far as I can see, that OP is a participant in the Gamergate hashtag.

I replied before you added the quote, but didn't realize the "quote" function here added it in. With regards to the post you made, that is exactly my problem with it, and with the depiction of many trans characters in media. But still I think the intention, and the vast majority of complaints levied towards it, is a whole other kettle of fish to saying "Hitler did nothing wrong": the Beamdog line fails in misunderstanding a condition it's portraying (though then again I know many who *would* openly call themselves trans), but its intentions are in the right place; that is not the case at all with the latter, as it rather explicitly states mass genocide is "nothing wrong". The reason why Gamergate and many others acted against and actively demanded its removal was not the above quote, it was sheer plain transphobia, and again, all for something that is *minimal*. It's *nineteen seconds* of dialogue. That's what makes this especially ridiculous.

 

For the record, so does it do the same of Amber Scott's statements, about being "proud" of being an SJW and so on so forth. It's all ridiculous, from either side of the argument.

 

 

Alright, I chose a poor example.  It was simply my intention to show that two lines of dialogue can be contentious to people in a non-trivial way, despite being a very small fraction of a game's content.

 

I'll grant you that the intentions of the developers were somewhat in the right place, as far as inclusion is concerned, but I also contend that they are in the wrong place insofar as they, in my opinion, intended to lecture the player.

 

> The reason why Gamergate and many others acted against and actively demanded its removal was not the above quote, it was sheer plain transphobia

 

It really wasn't.

 

> It's *nineteen seconds* of dialogue.

 

I appear to have been wasting my time if you still don't understand why this is not a good argument.

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