Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I keep hearing that BG2 characters are 1 dimensional whereas PoE characters are deep and complex, but haven't really seen a lot of good arguments to justify that.

 

In PoE2, you can have *maybe* 2-3 dialogues with each of your companions outside of their main quests. In Bg2 you have about 30 with characters you're romancing and about 5-10 with certain characters (like Imoen and Sarevok) that you're not. You can turn them against one another, determine the direction of classes for some, and even change the disposition and ideological outlook of others (Sarevok, Viconia). There are some that exist as comic relief/to fulfill tropes (Edwin, Minsc, Korgan), sure, but others have complex backstories or inner conflicts (Keldorn) that require player sacrifices and decisions.

 

With the exception of Eder, there is very little of this in the PoE series, especially PoE2 (which I happen to think is possibly the best CRPG since BG2 regardless). At least PoE allowed you to help each companion come to a crucial decision point in their character arc; Deadfire can't seem to figure out much for them to do outside of their side quests. You can't influence the actions or behavior of a single one iirc, especially faction characters like Maia and Pallegina who end the game with the exact same dispositions and alliances that they started with. I was *positive* that I would be able to convince Maia to reject the RDC at some point along her personal quest given her own self-doubts, for example, but no - nothing. Same with Pallegina and Takehu - only Serafen seems the slight bit flexible re: the Principi, and even then mainly through his silence.

 

The exploration of mature themes =/= depth. And while the added interjections and inter-companion conflicts are nice, they're not enough to add meaningful growth to characters who otherwise don't have much to say and are basically immune to your influence. I'm not saying that BG2 characters are examples of brilliant writing (baby inventory item, master wraith scenes), but the idea that Deadfire is somehow better in terms of character depth ignores a lot of what made BG2 iconic. Aside from PoE1 Eder and Grieving Mother, I just don't see it.

 

I'd say it's more about perspective than arguments. Certainly, you focus on rather different things than I am inclined to do in this regard. I can't speak for anyone else of course (but it seems reasonable to assume that this indeed just varies from person to person), but for me the sense of personality I get from a character is much more important than being able to somehow influence their decisions etc. And a lot of that I get from smaller things like interjections and reactions in dialogue, the brief pop-up conversations between companions, etc. That to me adds depth.

 

The ability to steer their path in some major way is a distant second. It can certainly be a good addition as well, if done organically, but it's hardly crucial. Moreover, having that would only add anything to the extent that I am indeed invested in a character to some degree. Taking Keldorn for example, indeed there was assorted conflict and decisions there. I just never cared much about it, because I had no particular investment in the character. He never felt like much more than a collection of fantasy paladin tropes to me. 

 

And more generally I'd say, I don't see a need for all major characters to go through some major character arc or development over the course of the story. Again, if it fits well, then it can be great. But it's hardly necessary to tell a good story or to have a good character as far as I'm concerned. Often, getting to know the character over the course of a story is plenty, there is no particular need for that character to undergo some kind of major change as well. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "one-dimensional" thing stems from the Alignment system. If someone is "good", they will always be wholly "good", more or less. Anything that is slightly underhanded will upset them, there's no two ways about it. There's no explaining "given the situation..., it's necessary that we do this", or something like that. Or if you do nice things, they like you more. You could say it's the classic "black and white world no gray areas". Basically whether how much a companion likes or dislikes you revolves solely around whether you are a nice guy or a jerk. Edwin is probably the only one that is somewhat more nuanced than the others in this regard. Even though he is Lawful Evil, sometimes he would display a side of him that is actually "cute", funny, and amusing. Unlike Korgan. Definitely unlike Keldorn or Mazzy.

 

On the other hand, companions in PoE are not simply "good" or "evil". They like certain things, dislike certain things. A generally good character might let something underhanded go and not make a fuss over it. There are multiple facets to their personality. They feel closer to an actual person.

 

So personally, if I ever use the term "one-dimensional" to describe characters from BG2, this is what I mean. It's not about how many dialogues you can have with them during the game, or what could possibly happen between them and other companions. So, just pointing this out, I'm not implying which is better than which.

Edited by try2handing
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "one-dimensional" thing stems from the Alignment system. If someone is "good", they will always be wholly "good", more or less. Anything that is slightly underhanded will upset them, there's no two ways about it. There's no explaining "given the situation..., it's necessary that we do this", or something like that. You could say it's the classic "black and white world no gray areas". Edwin is probably the only one that is somewhat more nuanced than the others in this regard. Even though he is Lawful Evil, sometimes he would display a side of him that is actually "cute", funny, and amusing. Unlike Korgan. Definitely unlike Keldorn or Mazzy.

 

Well... To an extent you are right. But still, some alignments can be changed throughout the game (Viconia, Sarevok, Nalia, Anomen), some characters fall somewhere in-between (Keldorn bounces back and forth between Neutral Good and Lawful Good, Viconia falls somewhere between True Neutral and Neutral Evil, same may be said about Edwin - Lawful Evil/Neutral Evil) and some other don't fit the character personalities anyway (Jaheira and Cernd are True Neutral only beacuse AD&D demands all druids be such, Viconia is in reality a rather dark True Neutral of "leave me alone" variety, and is only stuck with Neutral Evil beacuse drow). Sure, evil characters will complain at length when player's reputation increases too much - in Viconia's case it doesn't even make sense - but that's a problem with simplistic '2000 mechanics rather than writing. Also, Keldorn serves as a reconstruction of a "properly roleplayed" Lawful Good D&D paladin - contrasted with pre-character development Lawful Stupid Anomen.

In whole honesty, most of Baldur's Gate 2 characters have more depth to them than people give them credit for. If you look carefully, most of the cliches presented in companions have a twist to them - pampered Nalia wants to be a Chaotic Good Robin Hood figure, but has no idea what she's doing, Viconia - a drow - wants to be left alone, is not particularly malevolent unless provoked and hates signature drow Stupid Evil behaviour, Imoen is a logical conclusion of what happens to kid sidekick when put through trauma, Aerie might be quite whiny - but in reality, she's simply heavily traumatized by what in her mind is a personal tragedy and unprepared for adventurer's life - and she grows out of it eventually, Sarevok is technically Chaotic Evil brutish fighter - but he's calm, manipulative and devilishly intelligent, instead of a dumb, cackling loon that most might expect Chaotic Evil to be. Jan Jansen masks his insecurities as a crappy uncle with wacky antics. And Valygar's brooding is met with jokes/annoyance from the rest of the gang, rather than sign of him being "cool". Calling them "one-dimensional" does them a bit of disservice. Also, time marches on - those characters were created about 20 years ago. What is a cliche now, may not have been one back then. Keldorn being legitimately Lawful Good paladin instead of Lawful Stupid stuck-up zealot was quite refreshing back then for instance. And hell, Viconia not falling into Stupid Evil drow/Chaotic Good Drizzt clone dichtomy is refreshing even today  :lol:. But, still - to each it's own.

Edited by aksrasjel
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think some people here mistake complexity with depth. PoE2 characters are desighned as more complex and beleivable personalities than BG2 ones, but all this complexity mostly exists only in the designers mind. Their actual in-game implementation lacks depth.

 

And the same thing can be said about Deadfire as a whole. It explores lots of interesting and innovative concepts in both game mechanics and storytelling, but feels rushed, shallow and somehow generic. I feel no love or time put into these concepts to let them develop. They are like the sprouts of the beautiful flowers that never actually flourish. And PoE2 is a whole garden bed of such sprouts in different stages of growth. Neketaka for example feels pretty developed while the rest of archipelago looks like a barren wasteland compared to it.

 

Maybe this is a result of being underfunded and time constrained, idk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well... To an extent you are right. But still, some alignments can be changed throughout the game (Viconia, Sarevok, Nalia, Anomen), some characters fall somewhere in-between (Keldorn bounces back and forth between Neutral Good and Lawful Good, Viconia falls somewhere between True Neutral and Neutral Evil, same may be said about Edwin - Lawful Evil/Neutral Evil) and some other don't fit the character personalities anyway (Jaheira and Cernd are True Neutral only beacuse AD&D demands all druids be such, Viconia is in reality a rather dark True Neutral of "leave me alone" variety, and is only stuck with Neutral Evil beacuse drow). Sure, evil characters will complain at length when player's reputation increases too much - in Viconia's case it doesn't even make sense - but that's a problem with simplistic '2000 mechanics rather than writing. Also, Keldorn serves as a reconstruction of a "properly roleplayed" Lawful Good D&D paladin - contrasted with pre-character development Lawful Stupid Anomen.

In whole honesty, most of Baldur's Gate 2 characters have more depth to them than people give them credit for. If you look carefully, most of the cliches presented in companions have a twist to them - pampered Nalia wants to be a Chaotic Good Robin Hood figure, but has no idea what she's doing, Viconia - a drow - wants to be left alone, is not particularly malevolent unless provoked and hates signature drow Stupid Evil behaviour, Imoen is a logical conclusion of what happens to kid sidekick when put through trauma, Aerie might be quite whiny - but in reality, she's simply heavily traumatized by what in her mind is a personal tragedy and unprepared for adventurer's life - and she grows out of it eventually, Sarevok is technically Chaotic Evil brutish fighter - but he's calm, manipulative and devilishly intelligent, instead of a dumb, cackling loon that most might expect Chaotic Evil to be. Jan Jansen masks his insecurities as a crappy uncle with wacky antics. And Valygar's brooding is met with jokes/annoyance from the rest of the gang, rather than sign of him being "cool". Calling them "one-dimensional" makes them a bit of disservice. Also, time marches on - those characters were created about 20 years ago. What is a cliche now, may not have been one back then. Keldorn being legitimately Lawful Good paladin instead of Lawful Stupid stuck-up zealot was quite refreshing back then for instance. And hell, Viconia not falling into Stupid Evil drow/Chaotic Good Drizzt clone dichtomy is refreshing even today  :lol:. But, still - to each it's own.

Yeah I was just pointing out that we use the same word to describe different things. In this case, "one-dimensional" might be used to describe the straight stick that has "good" on one end and "evil" on the other, measuring how nice of a guy you are in the game, and how much companions like/dislike you hinges solely on your score on that stick. This rule is not affected by the fact that someone's alignment can be changed to something else. It's not a word that I would use to describe companion personality in general.

 

A nice thing about PoE2 (and maybe PoE1 too but I never finished it) is how the game takes companions away from this good vs. evil dimension. Your companions can like you because you make a funny joke in a certain situation even though you're essentially being a prick. They might like you if you're being kind to animal (only Eder?). They might like/dislike you if you display good attitude toward certain groups or organizations. And so on.

 

Other than that, I agree with most of the stuff you pointed out about BG2 companions.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I keep hearing that BG2 characters are 1 dimensional whereas PoE characters are deep and complex, but haven't really seen a lot of good arguments to justify that.

 

In PoE2, you can have *maybe* 2-3 dialogues with each of your companions outside of their main quests. In Bg2 you have about 30 with characters you're romancing and about 5-10 with certain characters (like Imoen and Sarevok) that you're not. You can turn them against one another, determine the direction of classes for some, and even change the disposition and ideological outlook of others (Sarevok, Viconia). There are some that exist as comic relief/to fulfill tropes (Edwin, Minsc, Korgan), sure, but others have complex backstories or inner conflicts (Keldorn) that require player sacrifices and decisions.

 

With the exception of Eder, there is very little of this in the PoE series, especially PoE2 (which I happen to think is possibly the best CRPG since BG2 regardless). At least PoE allowed you to help each companion come to a crucial decision point in their character arc; Deadfire can't seem to figure out much for them to do outside of their side quests. You can't influence the actions or behavior of a single one iirc, especially faction characters like Maia and Pallegina who end the game with the exact same dispositions and alliances that they started with. I was *positive* that I would be able to convince Maia to reject the RDC at some point along her personal quest given her own self-doubts, for example, but no - nothing. Same with Pallegina and Takehu - only Serafen seems the slight bit flexible re: the Principi, and even then mainly through his silence.

 

The exploration of mature themes =/= depth. And while the added interjections and inter-companion conflicts are nice, they're not enough to add meaningful growth to characters who otherwise don't have much to say and are basically immune to your influence. I'm not saying that BG2 characters are examples of brilliant writing (baby inventory item, master wraith scenes), but the idea that Deadfire is somehow better in terms of character depth ignores a lot of what made BG2 iconic. Aside from PoE1 Eder and Grieving Mother, I just don't see it.

 

I'd say it's more about perspective than arguments. Certainly, you focus on rather different things than I am inclined to do in this regard. I can't speak for anyone else of course (but it seems reasonable to assume that this indeed just varies from person to person), but for me the sense of personality I get from a character is much more important than being able to somehow influence their decisions etc. And a lot of that I get from smaller things like interjections and reactions in dialogue, the brief pop-up conversations between companions, etc. That to me adds depth.

 

The ability to steer their path in some major way is a distant second. It can certainly be a good addition as well, if done organically, but it's hardly crucial. Moreover, having that would only add anything to the extent that I am indeed invested in a character to some degree. Taking Keldorn for example, indeed there was assorted conflict and decisions there. I just never cared much about it, because I had no particular investment in the character. He never felt like much more than a collection of fantasy paladin tropes to me. 

 

And more generally I'd say, I don't see a need for all major characters to go through some major character arc or development over the course of the story. Again, if it fits well, then it can be great. But it's hardly necessary to tell a good story or to have a good character as far as I'm concerned. Often, getting to know the character over the course of a story is plenty, there is no particular need for that character to undergo some kind of major change as well. 

 

 

I agree that it's definitely a matter of perspective re: what players are looking for in terms of character development. In terms of influencing character's paths, I don't see it as necessary and it's not at the very top of my list, but reactivity is - I tend to prefer characters who remember my input and are *impacted* by it, if not necessarily "changed." 

 

Mask of the betrayer did an excellent job of this and it didn't even have a complex disposition system iirc. I can distinctly remember Kaelin the Dove, Gann, and Safiya's character traits because those traits came into play as I made decisions that impacted both them and the world in ways that they felt strongly about (do any of your companions even care how you choose to influence Eothas at Ukaizo?). I don't remember changing any of MoTB's characters in any core way, but the many conversations I had with them also made me feel like I played an important role in their development throughout the story. PoE2 simply doesn't have this - there are hints of character complexity and a lot of potential for exploration, but your ability to interact with your companions is just too limited to really get to the meat of any of it. I remember having multi-line dialogue paths talking to Safiya about her complex relationship with her mother; Aloth, meanwhile, has an abusive father that I can only ask to be reminded of.

 

Granted, I get a feeling that a lot of newer players just aren't that into exploring multiple dialogues with NPCs, but that could just be me being a curmudgeon. I still think Deadfire is probably the best CRPG that I've played since BG2, but it's not because of the character work - if Obsidian would devote as much time to character reactivity and interaction in PoE3 as they have to their excellent world-building in PoE1-2, it might be able to pull off the best CRPG of all time. From my perspective ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

And dont tell me about nostalgia becouse its not the case.

I'm gonna tell you about it anyways, because it is in parts about nostalgia. If you replay Baldurs Gate II now, the dialog is often really cringe worthy. And descriptions and mechanics aren't up to par for this age. I look at BG II with rose tinted glasses, because it might be my favorite game of all time. But I was 20 years younger back then, and I was more excitable and knew  a lot less about most things.

 

Personally, I find it impossible for games now in my early thirties, with all the games I have played by now, to replicate the feelings I got when I played Baldur's Gate II the first time, thou I admit Twitcher 3 did a grand job of trying. But if I played BG II for the first time now, it wouldn't be nearly as good or impactful for me, as it was then. 

 

You may like BG II more, but that is not objective. I like PoE's mature and complex writing much more now, than I like the immature, D&D trope style writing from BG II. So don't discard nostalgia like that, because it does play a significant role in your perception of games you play now.

 

I remember when I was a kid and played through BGII, I thought the Jaheira romance was so beautiful and romantic. The best I have seen in any game. Now when I replayed it a few months ago,  It seems rushed, suddenly over, and I was left with an overwhelming "...that's it?" Such is nostalgia, I suppose.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it feels like Pillars of Eternity companions are the way they are as a direct opposition to BG 2 companions. They are supposed to be "deep" and "mature" as compared to presumably "cliched and over-the-top" companions from BG 2. The problem is that, as a result PoE companions are just not sufficiently memorable and interesting - at least for me. 

A quick Red Letter Media personality test - quickly describe Pallegina's/Maia's/Sagani's/Grieving Mother's personality in one sentence. Then do the same for Aerie/Viconia/Naila/Imoen. For additional difficulty, don't use words like: "badass, independent, strong". And if you're suicidal, don't use phrase "loyal to faction X". 

 

As for my *very* personal pet peeve with PoE/Deadfire companions: for me, they are just not likeable. I just don't want to hang around those characters (OK, to be somewhat objective: Eder, Serafen, Ydwin and Rekke were cool). Minsc was a cardboard cutout comic relief, for sure - but I really enjoyed his company. The same goes for Keldorn, Viconia and even Aerie. I remember that Josh Sawyer once stated that companions don't have to be likeable, only interesting - I respectfully if strongly disagree. People hate Anomen for a reason for instance.

 

Anomen is on the short list of best characters in the entire series, but unfortunately you have to romance him to really see it (to be fair, same can be said for Viconia.)  Anomen changes COMPLETELY based on his personal quest and romance results, for the better or for the worse.  If you get the good endings, he goes from being a stuck-up pampered brat with MASSIVE insecurity issues to being... a genuinely cool and good guy, and not the Lawful Stupid kind either.  Aerie learns to cope with what's been done to her and grows a backbone (to the point that she'll fire right back at villains), Jaheira... stays mostly the same just swapping Khalid for CHARNAME (but Jaheira didn't have any severe personality flaws that needed fixing to begin with, even if she can be a bit of a bitch), etc.  My only complaint for BG2, retroactively, might be that you can't really see this character growth without banging them.

 

It's a problem, then, that Pillars and Deadfire characters feel like steps backward more often than they feel like steps forward.  The character concepts are there, but the development and personality just aren't (except for Durance and Eder, and maybe Serafen.)

 

The "one-dimensional" thing stems from the Alignment system. If someone is "good", they will always be wholly "good", more or less. Anything that is slightly underhanded will upset them, there's no two ways about it. There's no explaining "given the situation..., it's necessary that we do this", or something like that. Or if you do nice things, they like you more. You could say it's the classic "black and white world no gray areas". Basically whether how much a companion likes or dislikes you revolves solely around whether you are a nice guy or a jerk. Edwin is probably the only one that is somewhat more nuanced than the others in this regard. Even though he is Lawful Evil, sometimes he would display a side of him that is actually "cute", funny, and amusing. Unlike Korgan. Definitely unlike Keldorn or Mazzy.

 

On the other hand, companions in PoE are not simply "good" or "evil". They like certain things, dislike certain things. A generally good character might let something underhanded go and not make a fuss over it. There are multiple facets to their personality. They feel closer to an actual person.

 

So personally, if I ever use the term "one-dimensional" to describe characters from BG2, this is what I mean. It's not about how many dialogues you can have with them during the game, or what could possibly happen between them and other companions. So, just pointing this out, I'm not implying which is better than which.

 

That's never been a thing with the alignment system - that kind of mentality is specifically why Lawful Stupid, Stupid Evil, Chaotic Stupid, etc tropes exist in the first place, they're literally mocking people that think the alignment system means your character must be a one-dimensional robot.  In actual play, the alignment system has never been restrictive on what your character can and can't do - it's just a set of guidelines and, if you play a relevant class, a limitation on what spells your class has access to (Clerics of a Good deity or neutral Clerics who choose to channel positive energy cannot use any spell with an Evil descriptor and cannot channel negative energy, for example) or may convey a set of behavioral guidelines (Monks must behave lawfully, Paladins must be both good and lawful, etc.)  They do not define your character any more than the lines in a drawing determine what colors, materials, or textures you use to fill in the space between.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

And dont tell me about nostalgia becouse its not the case.

I'm gonna tell you about it anyways, because it is in parts about nostalgia. If you replay Baldurs Gate II now, the dialog is often really cringe worthy. And descriptions and mechanics aren't up to par for this age. I look at BG II with rose tinted glasses, because it might be my favorite game of all time. But I was 20 years younger back then, and I was more excitable and knew  a lot less about most things.

 

Personally, I find it impossible for games now in my early thirties, with all the games I have played by now, to replicate the feelings I got when I played Baldur's Gate II the first time, thou I admit Twitcher 3 did a grand job of trying. But if I played BG II for the first time now, it wouldn't be nearly as good or impactful for me, as it was then. 

 

You may like BG II more, but that is not objective. I like PoE's mature and complex writing much more now, than I like the immature, D&D trope style writing from BG II. So don't discard nostalgia like that, because it does play a significant role in your perception of games you play now.

 

I remember when I was a kid and played through BGII, I thought the Jaheira romance was so beautiful and romantic. The best I have seen in any game. Now when I replayed it a few months ago,  It seems rushed, suddenly over, and I was left with an overwhelming "...that's it?" Such is nostalgia, I suppose.

 

 

It's both the best and the worst of them, because Jaheira is the only option that isn't ****ing insane to begin with (Viconia is obviously struggling to parse her new life on the surface with her life as a Drow for however many centuries before she was exiled, Aerie is working through what's clearly PTSD and has less spine than a jellyfish, Anomen is an unlikable insecure ****, etc), but she also grows less than the others.  All three of the others experience remarkable character growth (especially into ToB, where Aerie is running around fighting dragons and demons while very pregnant, and Viconia can be convinced to change alignment to Chaotic Good), while Jaheira largely remains the same.  Then again, because Jaheira didn't really NEED much growth... that's not such a bad thing.

 

The problem with her romance is that it IS very rushed.  You come across Khalid's gruesomely defiled corpse on the way out, she has a total emotional breakdown... and you can **** off straight to the Docks district and buy her a necklace (and the dialogue makes it explicitly clear this is not a "just friends" sort of gift!) less than one in-game day later and she gets tsundere as **** over it, like it's a ****ing anime or something.  Her early interactions are clearly not romantic in nature and are in fact quite normal considering you're the only SANE person she knows (Imoen got abducted, Khalid is extra dead, and Minsc is even more Minsc-y than usual owing to him witnessing Dynaheir's gruesome death in the pre-game fluff) and a close friend besides.  But it doesn't take more than a few in-game weeks (at most; romance progression is based on actual real-life time played than in-game time if I remember right, you could pause the game and leave it running overnight then take a nap and be guaranteed to hit the next romance interaction if it's available) before it's gone way past the point of relying on a close friend and into flirting and ****ing tsundere bull**** as though she's some kind of shy, chaste virgin like ****ing Aerie and Anomen (Viconia ****ing you barely a few weeks in makes a hell of a lot more sense than any of the other three's behavior in regards to sticking things into holes.)  It's also kind of concerning how Jaheira is kind of almost like a surrogate aunt or mother figure to CHARNAME (who is a youngster of their respective race, although that gets a little goofy if you pick a long-lived race like Elf, Dwarf, or Gnome... hard to imagine calling a 150 year old elf a child and it actually sticking.)

 

Granted, BG2 succumbs mightily before the if/then block, as evidenced how you can spend in-game months or years in Chapter 2 and Irenicus will just spend the time playing hearts with Bodhi, Imoen, and Wanev until the player gets their lazy ass in gear and decides to advance the plot.

Edited by PizzaSHARK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BG2 had a strong gripping deeply immersive story in a rich lore filled world

 

Deadfires narrative is boring at best. Obsidian need a new narrative team I think there current team have done there best and it is time for them to move on

Edited by no1fanboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, speaking of well-written characters: Siege of Dragonspear introduced one extremely well-written character into the BG world. I mean the goblin shaman, M'Khiin. She was simply superb. A very badly treated woman who has retained her dignity and is noticeably perceptive and kind. Boy, that was good. She was a lot better than all the other new characters put together (Voghlin was particularly poor).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps we should all sit down and listen to some free-form jazz.

LMAO!

All Infinity Engine style games are bad, you guys are a disease keeping them alive.

Can't say you're wrong but at the same time, they were good at one point which is why they sold well. I mean, yes they've aged horribly but that's remasters are for ;)

 

Geez... the war on the thread. I love it! Lol Now, let's weed out the weak.

Edited by SonicMage117

Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anomen is on the short list of best characters in the entire series, but unfortunately you have to romance him to really see it (to be fair, same can be said for Viconia.)  Anomen changes COMPLETELY based on his personal quest and romance results, for the better or for the worse.  If you get the good endings, he goes from being a stuck-up pampered brat with MASSIVE insecurity issues to being... a genuinely cool and good guy, and not the Lawful Stupid kind either.  Aerie learns to cope with what's been done to her and grows a backbone (to the point that she'll fire right back at villains), Jaheira... stays mostly the same just swapping Khalid for CHARNAME (but Jaheira didn't have any severe personality flaws that needed fixing to begin with, even if she can be a bit of a bitch), etc.  My only complaint for BG2, retroactively, might be that you can't really see this character growth without banging them.

 

It's a problem, then, that Pillars and Deadfire characters feel like steps backward more often than they feel like steps forward.  The character concepts are there, but the development and personality just aren't (except for Durance and Eder, and maybe Serafen.)

Yeah, I may have done poor Anomen a disservice here - he's quite a dynamic character and his character growth is really impressive if he gets knighted for a Paladin. That's the point, actually. If he doesn't, well... But that's a direct consequence of player screwing up - what other game does that? And as you mentioned - the list goes on, with Viconia, Sarevok, Aerie, Keldorn, Imoen, even goddamn Jan and Nalia. If I were particularily mean-spirited, I would ask to compare that to Maia, Pallegina, Aloth or Xoti in Deadfire (Xoti's only "development" is to either remain the way she is is - an immature fundamentalist, or become a deranged serial killer - that's not much of a growth IMO). And we are comparing a "pioneer" game from 2000 with a modern RPG with all technical advantages that it entails and years of mastering the craft of writing companion mechanics.

As for the character growth being limited to romance - yeah, agreed on that. I atually never romanced Anomen myself, just observed my girlfriend's playthrough, as she bravely decided to romance him "for science" (She was more of a Kesley mod kind of an enthusiast). Although, I'm not sure if the "knighting" alignment change isn't connected to his sidequest. But still, the point stands.

Yet again, we are talking about a game from 18 years ago. The entire idea of companions interjecting, getting into fights, having quests and *romances* was revolutionary back then. Usually, back then in Western RPGS we had either full party creation IWD style, or generic one-note companions with no interaction, similar to sidekicks/custom companions in Deadfire. I think the only WRPG back then that tried a companion "romance" was Treasure of the Savage Frontier - and correct me if I'm wrong with that. And suddenly, we have fully fleshed-out romantic storylines, questlines, banters and what-have-you with hours of content in BG 2 (I'm guessing JRPGs may have had some influence there). So, I'm usually cutting the game some slack for not introducing, let's say friendship talks for the rest of the companions.

Edited by aksrasjel
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Anomen is on the short list of best characters in the entire series, but unfortunately you have to romance him to really see it (to be fair, same can be said for Viconia.)  Anomen changes COMPLETELY based on his personal quest and romance results, for the better or for the worse.  If you get the good endings, he goes from being a stuck-up pampered brat with MASSIVE insecurity issues to being... a genuinely cool and good guy, and not the Lawful Stupid kind either.  Aerie learns to cope with what's been done to her and grows a backbone (to the point that she'll fire right back at villains), Jaheira... stays mostly the same just swapping Khalid for CHARNAME (but Jaheira didn't have any severe personality flaws that needed fixing to begin with, even if she can be a bit of a bitch), etc.  My only complaint for BG2, retroactively, might be that you can't really see this character growth without banging them.

 

It's a problem, then, that Pillars and Deadfire characters feel like steps backward more often than they feel like steps forward.  The character concepts are there, but the development and personality just aren't (except for Durance and Eder, and maybe Serafen.)

Yeah, I may have done poor Anomen a disservice here - he's quite a dynamic character and his character growth is really impressive if he gets knighted for a Paladin. That's the point, actually. If he doesn't, well... But that's a direct consequence of player screwing up - what other game does that? And as you mentioned - the list goes on, with Viconia, Sarevok, Aerie, Keldorn, Imoen, even goddamn Jan and Nalia. If I were particularily mean-spirited, I would ask to compare that to Maia, Pallegina, Aloth or Xoti in Deadfire (Xoti's only "development" is to either remain the way she is is - an immature fundamentalist, or become a deranged serial killer - that's not much of a growth IMO). And we are comparing a "pioneer" game from 2000 with a modern RPG with all technical advantages that it entails and years of mastering the craft of writing companion mechanics.

As for the character growth being limited to romance - yeah, agreed on that. I atually never romanced Anomen myself, just observed my girlfriend's playthrough, as she bravely decided to romance him "for science" (She was more of a Kesley mod kind of an enthusiast). Although, I'm not sure if the "knighting" alignment change isn't connected to his sidequest. But still, the point stands.

Yet again, we are talking about a game from 18 years ago. The entire idea of companions interjecting, getting into fights, having quests and *romances* was revolutionary back then. Usually, back then in Western RPGS we had either full party creation IWD style, or generic one-note companions with no interaction, similar to sidekicks/custom companions in Deadfire. I think the only WRPG back then that tried a companion "romance" was Treasure of the Savage Frontier - and correct me if I'm wrong with that. And suddenly, we have fully fleshed-out romantic storylines, questlines, banters and what-have-you with hours of content in BG 2 (I'm guessing JRPGs may have had some influence there). So, I'm usually cutting the game some slack for not introducing, let's say friendship talks for the rest of the companions.

 

 

Nah, Chaotic Neutral Anomen is the only fun version of that character. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted, I get a feeling that a lot of newer players just aren't that into exploring multiple dialogues with NPCs, but that could just be me being a curmudgeon. I still think Deadfire is probably the best CRPG that I've played since BG2, but it's not because of the character work - if Obsidian would devote as much time to character reactivity and interaction in PoE3 as they have to their excellent world-building in PoE1-2, it might be able to pull off the best CRPG of all time. From my perspective ;)

 

This might indeed be a factor. And perhaps in tandem with that, the relative development costs: branching and conditional dialogue trees take more work for less reward at least in the sense that fewer players are likely to encounter a particular path the more it branches out. Though of course there is a lot of pay off if it helps improve immersion and make the world feel more cohesive and alive. So definitely, more reactivity and interaction would be great. Though I'd love to see more of that beyond the companions as well, applied to other characters and the world itself; see those vary and change over time and in reaction to events more as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Granted, I get a feeling that a lot of newer players just aren't that into exploring multiple dialogues with NPCs, but that could just be me being a curmudgeon. I still think Deadfire is probably the best CRPG that I've played since BG2, but it's not because of the character work - if Obsidian would devote as much time to character reactivity and interaction in PoE3 as they have to their excellent world-building in PoE1-2, it might be able to pull off the best CRPG of all time. From my perspective ;)

 

This might indeed be a factor. And perhaps in tandem with that, the relative development costs: branching and conditional dialogue trees take more work for less reward at least in the sense that fewer players are likely to encounter a particular path the more it branches out. Though of course there is a lot of pay off if it helps improve immersion and make the world feel more cohesive and alive. So definitely, more reactivity and interaction would be great. Though I'd love to see more of that beyond the companions as well, applied to other characters and the world itself; see those vary and change over time and in reaction to events more as well. 

 

 

I would like to see that too but unfortunately the current system in PoE2 makes it all too easy to please NPCs in the party and unless you're going out of your way to make them angry they will like you no matter what. All you have to do is pick some humorous lines and chances are most will approve.

 

Not saying BG2 did it better since without being so elaborate it was roughly the same thing (some NPCs would leave if you made some choices but there were ways to cope with that). 

 

All in all I do find it particularly odd that Deadfire doesn't take into account a character's allegiance as much as we would be let to expect it to. For instance raiding ships belonging to a faction to which an NPC has dedicated his or her life should entail some sort of consequence or at the very least some form of acknowledgement and that's simply not the case here. 

 

This being the no spoiler forum I won't elaborate but I do believe that in order to have some deeper interaction with NPCs there needs to be some extra verisimilitude when it comes to an NPC's allegiance and life choices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reputation system was terrible in BG2.. I mean you have 18 rep and all is fine, but one good deed, get to 19 and suddenly Edwin wants to leave because eF you!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reputation system was terrible in BG2.. I mean you have 18 rep and all is fine, but one good deed, get to 19 and suddenly Edwin wants to leave because eF you!

 

I totally agree. Because of that I cannot play with evil chars in my party, though I would like to have Edwin as mage or Viconia as cleric.

The fact that 20 reputation halves the shop prizes and you get a bonus how ALL people react to you ( like charisma) plus the fact that good options usually give the better reward makes it really hard NOT to have max reputation. The game absolutely wants you to be a hero. It is not bad that the game is so heroic, I am just sad that I cannot use some interesting characters.

 

I think we should abandon the concept of alignment or Karma completely.

I play The Witcher (part 1) now and I love it. You do something, you see the consequences of your actions but you will not get karma points.

If you betray or kill an importent character of a faction, they will not work with you or they might even attack you while another faction might like you because of it.

 

example:

The game reacts when you kill a lawful good paladin who insulted your girlfriend because she was a thief in the past and it also reacts if you work together with an insane mass murderer because you think this gives you the highest chances of success to save the world from an army of demons. But it is up to you if call this good, acceptable under these circumstances or outright evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I play The Witcher (part 1) now and I love it. You do something, you see the consequences of your actions but you will not get karma points.

If you betray or kill an importent character of a faction, they will not work with you or they might even attack you while another faction might like you because of it.

 

 

So, you are not bothered by the fact that everything you do is instantly known by everybody in the game world? I found that somewhat hard to take at times, although I do agree that one's "reputation" is a convenient shorthand for knowledge of your deeds eventually spreading around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, speaking of well-written characters: Siege of Dragonspear introduced one extremely well-written character into the BG world. I mean the goblin shaman, M'Khiin. She was simply superb. A very badly treated woman who has retained her dignity and is noticeably perceptive and kind. Boy, that was good. She was a lot better than all the other new characters put together (Voghlin was particularly poor).

 

Yep. As butthurt as people get over the EE games, I really liked Dorn as well. Certainly the best evil party member in BG. M'Khin was solid and I liked her class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what is a good rpg to play then ?

 

Anything in PnP form with a decent GM. No video game can hold a candle to your imagination, good companions, and snacks.

  • Like 2

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what is a good rpg to play then ?

Dragon Age Origins, Dragon Age 2, Nier, Arcanum, Neverwinter Nights 2, Dragon's Dogma, Witcher 1&3, Fallout 1-2 & New Vegas, Shadowrun Returns, Dragonfall, and Hong Kong, to name a few.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to the character depth argument, I think a big part of it is that the BG2 npcs are written as characters. They all have obvious, exaggerated personality quirks that slots nicely into existing fantasy molds, while bucking specific aspects of those molds. Keldorn is mostly a straight laced paladin, but has home troubles because of his dedication to his church over his family. Mazzy is the perfect ideal of a paladin who properly balances good vs. law and is pragmatic enough to work well with different alingments, but is not allowed to actually be a paladin because of racism. Minsc is your standard superhero archetype, always following good actions and protecting other people, but has a disability and requires guidance from someone more level headed.

Conversly Pillars npcs are written as people. You can't sum them up in one sentence and they don't have any exaggerated quirks or flaws. THey are just people. And in gengeral, real people just aren't all that interesting. You interact with people every day, so less of an impression is left. Eder and Sagani are the only really interesting characters from PoE1 for me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...