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Opinions and suggestions on how to improve companion relationships and crew interactions

Companions Crew Ship crew Relationships Reputation Suggestions

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34 replies to this topic

#21
aksrasjel

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Aloth tells Xoti in a conversation that what he admires her for is her guts to believe in her own thing despite being looked down by others from her order.

Huh. I never got that line. My bad then. I dunno, I think he should have been a bit more eye-rolling about her antics, regardless. He considered my stoic character irresponsible for cracking wise. It's a weird system.
Edit: Cell phone posting is a treat. Never again.

Edited by aksrasjel, 05 June 2018 - 10:33 AM.


#22
Slotharingia

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Aloth tells Xoti in a conversation that what he admires her for is her guts to believe in her own thing despite being looked down by others from her order.

Huh. I never got that line. My bad then. I dunno, I think he should have been a bit more eye-rolling about her antics, regardless. He considered my stoic character irresponsible for cracking wise. It's a weird system.
Edit: Cell phone posting is a treat. Never again.

 

Seems a bit weird that Aloth would hardcore suck up to Xoti just cos of that one thing, which like most things he admires, he only actually somewhat admires, yet fail to spot any redeeming features in Serafen or Tekehu, who have plenty. I also wonder why Xoti collecting souls is so amazing to him but the Watcher doing it isn't worth mentioning. :p


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#23
algroth

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Woo, I can reply!

 

 

Incidentally, what were you experiences with the in game “relationships”? I was in a relationship with a large yellow female who will remain unnamed. However, after becoming an item, absolutely nothing changed. No snu-snu scene. No extra lovers dialogue. Nothing. I’ve never been in such a boring relationship in my life. Bug or feature?

 

Spoiler

 

 

While I’m ranting: I wish the on-ship dialogue options would be updated sometimes! Seriously, it would have been really cool if they occasionally had something slightly different to say when you visit them below decks. Instead, throughout the game, you get the same dialogue tree. What’s the point of going down there for a chat?

 

I would agree. I've forgot to mention right here that a larger dialogue tree for many of our companions would be nice too - I cannot remember right now how many questions we could ask per character in the first game but it sure as hell felt like more than two or three. And despite the many interjections and bits of banter we see with our companions this time around, they never seem to flesh out a character as much as our personal conversations did with the companions throughout the first game.

 

And whilst I recognize it would mean a lot of work at this venture, it'd be nice for each unique crewmember, of those we recruit via quests and unique interactions at least, to be fitted with their own dialogue trees, if a smaller one at that - just to set them apart as unique individuals a little more at least. But, again, I recognize that could be a bit much to ask.

 

 

@algroth

I think your suggestions and comments are on point and basically I agree with all of them, though in general I'd say focus on improving companions first, then sidekicks and then crew. If there has to be a priority I mean.

 

Oh, I wasn't really proposing these things should be given equal priority, and I reckon I would also argue that the companions should be looked at before the crew - however, considering how much time we spend out at sea and how our crew essentially acts as our party through these patches of time, I think they shouldn't be overlooked either (even if, again, in my opinion they're in a much better state than companions are in currently).

 

 

I don't think the approval system should be invisible as it would be extremely frustrating in its current incarnation. Aloth would hate probably 90% of players and no one would know why. If it's going to be invisible, it should make sense and pertain to things the Watcher does and says that actually matter/are directly relevant to the person/entail a certain level of rationality. As it is now, the Watcher can be super benevolent but still hated, or an **** and still loved, which makes companions feel stupid to me (as do a lot of their traits/reactions which frequently feel more like bigotry/closed-mindedness than personalities). However, visible or not, all approval systems of this type encourage metagmaing. Of the approval systems I've seen in games, I like ones that use rivalry/friendship the best, such as in DA2, where Hawke's companions were loyal if it was high enough in either direction, but not if it was lackluster in the middle. This makes sense because people can be friends and loyal to one another without having sycophantic relationships where one person is always pandering to the other, which positive-weighted systems can often feel like and where the PC will just go behind companion's back to do stuff they dislike and lie to them. Nevertheless, even that system usually results in players engaging in metagaming to push the relationship in the direction they want, be it by using the Wiki or reloading.

 

I don't disagree, but I would say that the current system being bugged is a different issue to the criticism we're raising about the reputation system. Yes, the bugs lead to plenty of weird and unpredictable reactions from the companions, but I think that even if these were ironed out and everything was working as it should, the issues regarding metagaming, companions reacting more to offhand comments than to relevant decisions and courses of action, or their apparent shallowness and artificiality would all still remain as problems. Also I don't think it's exactly feasible to bring the whole character system down and rebuild it from scratch, so what I'm trying to suggest are ways in which I feel the current system could feel more natural. Yes, these traits could still exist and define a facet of these characters, but I still feel the critical decisions should hold a greater weight and to rebalance the system around these would probably help a lot more to make the companions feel more natural and their arc/progression a little smoother and so on.

 

Spoiler

 

 

Relationship system seems like a cool idea, which doesn't really add much. I always liked the idea of "reputation system" with companions, though I never enjoyed the implimentation - I probably like KOTOR2 the most, DA:O origins I disliked because: 1) most interactions happened in private conversation so it felt like I am catering to each companion after another with none being aware me doing that instead of being my characer and companions reacting to it. 2) gifting system made the whole thing obsolete.

 

The gifting system was a terrible idea, I agree, and one which I feel shows just how artificial this whole system usually feels. Reward some characters a few gifts and all of a sudden you transform a character previously hostile to you into your closest companion (well, maybe never quite so drastically, but it did create some awkward pacing in a companion's relationship with your MC, and their overall development). Anyways, I agree with your overall post.

 

 

Dont know how to use spoiler tags.
 

 

Likewise I feel like events such as *** ought to ellicit some reaction or change in disposition from her considering how she expressly asks us to ***

 

She has a very strong reaction. If you have her with you while doing these things. If you leave her on the ship, she does not notice what happened.

 

I had her with me during that quest yet recall no reaction from her whatsoever when it was all said and done. I recall waiting for her to react to or comment on how we dealt with it, thank us about it or something, but she remained quiet, and I was rather disappointed in turn. But I could be misremembering too.

 

 

I got pretty attached to the initial crew members you start the game with.

In the opening area of the game, they have unique personalities and unique dialogue, so it was pretty disappointing that they only had generic lines when you spoke to them on your ship afterwards.

 

 

I'm not a fan of the crew personality system because your crew members are no longer unique after recruitment.  I honestly would have preferred a smaller boat crew over a bunch of generic characters who say the same lines on deck and in the scripted interactions.  I didn't find myself getting attached to any of my crew members after I recruit them. 

 

I would be inclined to agree with these two remarks, yes, though I liked several of the snippets throughout the game involving the crew and liked how the game remained pretty consistent on who would react in what way and so on. It did seem to characterize a few of these characters in a pretty specific manner. But I agree that they could have had a bit more content specifically tailored for them or involving them throughout the rest of the game and not merely during their introduction. Which is partly why I suggest some of the above interactions.

 

As for other remarks stated so far, I largely agree. Here's hopes that future patches will try to expand and correct on some of these points.


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#24
4ward

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that e.g. Xoti tells you that you shouldn‘t tell the guard in the gullet of the sick roparu shows where she‘s coming from and if you like her you‘ll listen to her. It‘s good to show that the chars are no robots, but ultimately they need to do what you want them to do. There‘s no ‚i don‘t want to move there‘ or ‚i don‘t want to perform that action‘. An approval system doesn‘t and shouldn‘t have gameplay value but be just flavour so investing serious development time like we‘re playing some dating sim, what‘s the point? If Aloth doesn‘t like Serafen or chars disagree that‘s all fine but should i care about that? Everyone has their personal reason to follow you, your helping them so in the end they pull themselves together for a more important cause. If there‘s a great disapproval of your actions then that should be resolved in a game ending slide IMO, but definately not when you levelled up a char and progressed with him through the game and then just as you‘re about to face that big enemy boss the char decides to leave the party.



#25
Slotharingia

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that e.g. Xoti tells you that you shouldn‘t tell the guard in the gullet of the sick roparu shows where she‘s coming from and if you like her you‘ll listen to her. It‘s good to show that the chars are no robots, but ultimately they need to do what you want them to do. There‘s no ‚i don‘t want to move there‘ or ‚i don‘t want to perform that action‘. An approval system doesn‘t and shouldn‘t have gameplay value but be just flavour so investing serious development time like we‘re playing some dating sim, what‘s the point? If Aloth doesn‘t like Serafen or chars disagree that‘s all fine but should i care about that? Everyone has their personal reason to follow you, your helping them so in the end they pull themselves together for a more important cause. If there‘s a great disapproval of your actions then that should be resolved in a game ending slide IMO, but definately not when you levelled up a char and progressed with him through the game and then just as you‘re about to face that big enemy boss the char decides to leave the party.

 

I don't have a problem with characters leaving *as long as it makes compelling narrative sense*. Unfortunately in most scenarios it doesn't and just makes them look like idiots. In DAO, for instance, a game that allows for a massive grey area in your character, and where practically everyone can turn on you, the only one that makes sense for a non-evil character is Zevran, as his only reason to stay is for the Warden's friendship. For most of the others leaving comes across as gross irrespsonsibilty, even if the main character is evil. In Deadfire

Spoiler
I'd personally also like the opportunity to kick some people out if they cannot take a hint and leave of their own devices. 



#26
Wormerine

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Incidentally, what were you experiences with the in game “relationships”? I was in a relationship with a large yellow female who will remain unnamed. However, after becoming an item, absolutely nothing changed. No snu-snu scene. No extra lovers dialogue. Nothing. I’ve never been in such a boring relationship in my life. Bug or feature?

Spoiler

My experiences with romances has been lame. Didn’t commit to any in my playthrough but I did explore different paths and reload. I usually remember initial dialogue (companion getting horny), then some middle point and the “finale” comes near the end. Certainly my dislike for those comes from bugged dispositions and most of the companions initiating romance minutes after getting recruited. Aside from being weird it also throws pacing out of the windows as acts1&2 of romance come early within the game, while I had to wait tenths of hours for it to move forward. I also didn’t feel there was any growth between my character and romancable person.

If one is looking for shark meat and gets frustrated:
Spoiler

Edited by Wormerine, 06 June 2018 - 12:49 AM.


#27
4ward

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@Slotharingia

in BG2 - a game that doesn‘t have complicated approval systems of later games - there‘s a char who betrays the player to the villain so he leaves the party (which IMO is really the only narrative reason for someone leaving that works for me), then there‘s a char who if you screw up the romance you can get it going again by doing a miniquest dialogue. And you can get rid of your chars whenever you want to.


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#28
Yria

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I was surprised that there was no option to kick someone out. In the first game we could give Durance the boot at any time and refuse to keep Aloth around after a certain plot point. I think it would be reasonable to at least give us an opportunity to kick Maia out after her quest, same as it was with Aloth after Act 2.

 

Another thing that could use some tuning is companion +1 and +2 (as well as -1, -2) conversations triggering the moment you hit the required relationship mark. I think it would be more convinient if those were player-initiated, not companion-initiated, because the way it is now it leads to some awkward situations like people confessing their love and eternal devotion to you while standing knee-deep in enemy corpses. I once hit +1 with Maia in a scripted interaction on some random map, and the moment we loaded into the location right next to a bunch of ogres she decided it was a great time to flirt with me. The ogres patiently waited.

Instead, perhaps those things could trigger after resting, or give us a separate line to pick, like "You look like you want to talk", which would lead to the companion expressing their thoughts about your relationship.


Edited by Yria, 06 June 2018 - 05:11 AM.

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#29
Slotharingia

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I was surprised that there was no option to kick someone out. In the first game we could give Durance the boot at any time and refuse to keep Aloth around after a certain plot point. I think it would be reasonable to at least give us an opportunity to kick Maia out after her quest, same as it was with Aloth after Act 2.
 
Another thing that could use some tuning is companion +1 and +2 (as well as -1, -2) conversations triggering the moment you hit the required relationship mark. I think it would be more convinient if those were player-initiated, not companion-initiated, because the way it is now it leads to some awkward situations like people confessing their love and eternal devotion to you while standing knee-deep in enemy corpses. I once hit +1 with Maia in a scripted interaction on some random map, and the moment we loaded into the location right next to a bunch of ogres she decided it was a great time to flirt with me. The ogres patiently waited.
Instead, perhaps those things could trigger after resting, or give us a separate line to pick, like "You look like you want to talk", which would lead to the companion expressing their thoughts about your relationship.

 

I was desperate to kick Maia out my first pt, and am really struggling this time (trying to go for RDC ending). She's one of those rare characters I get a total bee in my bonnet about and cannot abide. xD

 

@Slotharingia
in BG2 - a game that doesn‘t have complicated approval systems of later games - there‘s a char who betrays the player to the villain so he leaves the party (which IMO is really the only narrative reason for someone leaving that works for me), then there‘s a char who if you screw up the romance you can get it going again by doing a miniquest dialogue. And you can get rid of your chars whenever you want to.

 

Damn. BG1 & 2 have been sitting on my puter for a while waiting for me to get over the feeling of dread the buggy interface and the fact I had to both google how to complete and died in the tutorial gives me. xD


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#30
Verde

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Is there any actual benefit or negative to the relationship numbers?

#31
Slotharingia

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Is there any actual benefit or negative to the relationship numbers?

 

Positve: they will romance you (where applicable) and react pleasantly in convos. Negative, they react as such in convos onClick. Other than that, idt so. Which is probably good since they like/dislike you/each other mostly for daft crap.



#32
Tigranes

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I've had great mileage out of turning off all of the various displays from the start, ignoring the little 'reaction' pieces in dialogue, and just roleplaying the PC and seeing how it turns out. I don't know how it would ever work well to show the player all these numbers and invite them to treat dialogue like a bunch of +/- puzzles.


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#33
algroth

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Is there any actual benefit or negative to the relationship numbers?

 

Positve: they will romance you (where applicable) and react pleasantly in convos. Negative, they react as such in convos onClick. Other than that, idt so. Which is probably good since they like/dislike you/each other mostly for daft crap.

I would say it's no small matter either - the system as it is right now basically defines your relationship with the companions and (allegedly) how the companions interact with one another. In a game that places so much emphasis on storytelling and worldbuilding and so on, our relationship with our party is pretty crucial regardless of whether there's any practical consequence for it, for the sheer effect and emotional response we get out of it all.


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#34
Slotharingia

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Is there any actual benefit or negative to the relationship numbers?

 

Positve: they will romance you (where applicable) and react pleasantly in convos. Negative, they react as such in convos onClick. Other than that, idt so. Which is probably good since they like/dislike you/each other mostly for daft crap.

I would say it's no small matter either - the system as it is right now basically defines your relationship with the companions and (allegedly) how the companions interact with one another. In a game that places so much emphasis on storytelling and worldbuilding and so on, our relationship with our party is pretty crucial regardless of whether there's any practical consequence for it, for the sheer effect and emotional response we get out of it all.

 

 

Yeah if you care about it, it controls your gameplay (I think that's what you meant). If you don't care about it, or on a technical level, I don't think it does anything though.



#35
Palas

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Maybe not more for deadfire, but for PoE3: some more feedback from the companions about quests would be nice. Like in Shadowrun: Hongkong, in the base you could ask the companions about about their opinion about the last run. At least for the mainquests this would be great for deadfire, and maybe comments about the way you solve the quest.

Or that companions change their mind on factions. You can ask Aloth about his opinion about each faction. It woulb be nice, if his answers differs as we learn about the dark secrets of each faction.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Companions, Crew, Ship crew, Relationships, Reputation, Suggestions

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