This is the nature of open world RPGs and always has been. Fallout 1 literally threatens to kill all the npcs if you don't follow the main plot. Fallout 2 has you go what, three mandatory places and then an endgame dungeon. Skyrim's quest has almost nothing to do with the other quests in the game, and is a tiny portion of the amount of time you can spend in the game. There's a trade off between linearity and open worlds; I suspect that the only way to solve it is by throwing tons of money at the problem.
And Baldur's Gate, well... I think the Baldur's Gate series were some of the best rpgs, but I think people are remembering them poorly:
BG I: "My father's dead. I should probably investigate anomalous metallurgy." The hook getting you to Nashkel was particularly weak.
BG II: "Hey you, get 20,000 gold! Here's the first 3/4s of the content, do whatever you want." I tried using that hook in a pnp campaign and the players were mutinous. I wasn't exactly hurrying to rescue Imoen; I killed two dragons, an elder brain, several liches, and a demilich before getting to her the first time. The point here is that the sidequests weren't integrated at all into the main story; that's why they're sidequests. The reason Baldur's Gate II succeeds is that it's so massive there's enough space to have two quite large games in there.
I couldn't disagree more. Most of the issue can be solved by either adding a breath-holding/night before the battle period, or staggering some gates on areas as other people said. You need to justify them, but honestly? I'll suspend my disbelief to support that narrative if a decent explanation is attempted. I think it'd be fair to critique a bad one, but I'd hope people would appreciate an attempt more than just waving a hand over it as if that discards it. (Fallout 1 also removed the timer in the first patch because it was controversial even internally, and Skyrim fails to give you a moment where you know Alduin can't be pinned down. Meanwhile Fallout 4 burns you through the main personal quest and *does* give you the quiet time at least, albeit with no real payoff and a general malaise as a result since they stop all tension unless you're really into that faction fight. At least the final tension of confront Thaos with everything kept the flame alive even with Pillars slowed down a bit.)
BG I you don't just decide to investigate anomalous metallurgy for ****s and giggles, both 2 shady ass companions you meet who are also outwardly friendly to you *and* the caretakers your foster father sent you to find in the exact case something happened to him are going down there. You can ignore them both but then every sixth fight your damn sword is breaking and Imoen's probably turned to stone if you wander afield. There's no reason not to seek safety (particularly after the attack and father dying) in numbers and if everyone's just heading south then you do too. Either the shear frustration of your weapons breaking all the time until you find some magical ones, or the literal lifelines / potion gifting allies you meet first thing, heading to Nashkel is more than enough reason to at least *go* with them and there's danger crawling up your ass every which way that you head down there. Forlorn wandering / becoming a farmer and turning off the game options aside, its a pretty strong motivation to stick with the people introduced almost like a beloved aunt and uncle, or at least the first helpful and dangerous allies you meet, imo.
Its the 20,000g and the fact that you *know* you're going into a dangerous as hell Wizard's stronghold. Half the questing, to me, was preparation for either buying off wizards, or a fight against a literal wizard army that I just saw contain Irenicus, a dude who captured me single-highhandedly, apparently. Additionally your table may have just been the wrong one for it, just like I don't think *everyone* would like BGII if they played it. That's RPGs after all, but I think it'd work well on me if the motivation was well given. Granted you're right, the sidequests aren't directly part of main story save in that they become part of it, if you do them to meet the justifications presented - albeit loosely. Plus there's not a lot of urgency to get to Imoen, as far as you know she's in limited danger, you just want her free of the wizards too and maybe to stab Irenicus in his face if the wizard's are amicable to the concept. Or maybe even if they aren't.
Also, pretty sure you're wrong about the Elder brain, you've met her by the time you're in the Underdark. You're just missing a piece of your soul at that point, iirc.
Honestly, the same reason Imoen and the raising money via quests thing works in BGII until you get your soul stolen (and then the quests are mostly about getting the frig out of the underdark a.s.a.p and there's just a few options to do that) could have worked for POE2, if they just explained that Eothas was actively being slowed by the souls he'd absorbed fighting him and/or effective godly interventions and he was stuck/buried in an unknown place that the gods didn't want him to stay (maybe by a heart of adra where he continued to interrupt the flow of souls and maybe continued to absorb them slowly making him a ticking time bomb with an unknown fuse length save that it was long) and you needed to find the now darkening luminous adra to pinpoint him, and have acquired the resources to fight him. Then you could have gotten there, *that* could have prompted a fight with some of the more militant Gaunites who had found him through dreams, and their deaths and faiths coupled to burn his fuse and he continued his quest. You'd have to provide more a reason to go to Magran's place afterward maybe (unless they made Magran's explosion be what seals him, but also drops him next to where they don't want him which causes other timing issues) but pretty much anything actually pinning Eothas down for a bit and giving you a 'bulk up now that you have some realistic time, you might be fighting a god' would be welcome.
Edited by Rheios, 24 July 2018 - 05:16 PM.