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Actually Witcher III is great at giving you time to do side-quests. You quickly realise (as Geralt, player knows it even sooner) that Ciri is not in any immediate danger as she’s well capable of defending herself, so you don’t have to brake a neck chasing her. Plus it’s something of a tradition for Geralt, since even in the books he spends all winter in Touissant, although he didn’t know where Ciri is and if she’s safe. Even when following a story it gives you moments of respite like that rest in Kaer Morhen before the battle which is great for juxtaposition and enhancing the impact of more brutal moments.

And almost no quests are really stupid like Skyrim’s or PoE’s barrage of fetch quests. They actually feel like an actual short story in which you can invest yourself on the way. And most of them are interlinked with the main quest somehow like the vampire murder links with searching for Dandelion, or witches link with Bloody Baron and his connection to Ciri.

So I strongly oppose putting it anywhere near Skyrim or Deadfire in terms of main quest urgency.

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Although I'm one of those who question the decision for a complete (systems and mechanics) overhaul I'd still recommend buying Deadfire 2. It's a good game. The multiclassing is done in a nice way and balanced with single classes, Power Levels are a good concept. Some stuff I don't like (PEN/AR for example) - but overall a really good RPG if you like character building.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Actually Witcher III is great at giving you time to do side-quests. You quickly realise (as Geralt, player knows it even sooner) that Ciri is not in any immediate danger as she’s well capable of defending herself, so you don’t have to brake a neck chasing her. Plus it’s something of a tradition for Geralt, since even in the books he spends all winter in Touissant, although he didn’t know where Ciri is and if she’s safe. Even when following a story it gives you moments of respite like that rest in Kaer Morhen before the battle which is great for juxtaposition and enhancing the impact of more brutal moments.

And almost no quests are really stupid like Skyrim’s or PoE’s barrage of fetch quests. They actually feel like an actual short story in which you can invest yourself on the way. And most of them are interlinked with the main quest somehow like the vampire murder links with searching for Dandelion, or witches link with Bloody Baron and his connection to Ciri.

So I strongly oppose putting it anywhere near Skyrim or Deadfire in terms of main quest urgency.

 

Might just be me, but whilst I enjoyed The Witcher III just fine I cannot agree with any of the above - I never felt invested in the story, never felt a reason to care, and frankly outside a quest or two none have really left an impression on me. No quests are like Pillars' barrage of fetch quests? Huh? What of all the utterly standard contracts and treasure hunts littered throughout the maps? The Witcher III felt like a step or two above Skyrim content-wise for certain but it still had that "randomly generated quest" feel to much of the content that populated much of the game's superfluously open world. Deadfire sure isn't perfect and there's a big problem at its heart which is that it heavily relies on a sense of urgency to engross the player whilst having it be directly at odds with all the open exploration that is encouraged elsewhere, but man, at least there's some interesting themes and ideas brought forth throughout; and in terms of quest design it's a beast. But the former can definitely be levied as a criticism against The Witcher III, whilst presenting none of the latter to engage in some other fashion instead.

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

Currently playing: Fallout 2

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Look at most open world games with a main plotline, you will see similar. Why would the Dovahkin blow off dealing with the dragons that are ravaging the countryside to go do mage college stuff? Why would the protagonist in Baldur's Gate 2 stop trying to rescue his friend or reclaim his soul to go do all the side quests you stumble across? It seems to be a problem with making the player engage with and be interested in the main plotline to not just ditch it while also giving free reign to choose as they like. Its a contradiction that many developers seem to struggle with, so it seems to be harder than it appears.

 

Anyway, I like Deadfire, I am enjoying it. No game will ever be perfect for anyone unless it is specifically tailored to that person, and then it will probably only appeal to them. It's made my list of great games, so nyeh to everyone. Nyeh!

 

 

Nah, I think BG2 did a great job of hitting the balance between open world and a compelling main quest. Minor spoilers ahead for those who haven't played.

 

First off, you do not know your soul has been taken or tampered with initially. You might suspect as much, but none of this knowledge is certain until you finally catch up to the antagonist for the first time.

 

Second, you're given a perfect hurdle to complete the main quest, a gold amount. And it usually requires completing at least two of those larger stronghold-related quests from chapter two.

 

Third, you're told, repeatedly, that you're facing a powerful wizard. You lost almost all of your good gear from the previous game and you have plenty of reason to want to power up in some fashion.

 

Fourth, you're given plenty of reason to agonize over your choice between the game's two main factions. The game clearly wants you to take your time with this decision.

 

Lastly, you don't have to want to save your companion. The game gives you enough dialogue options so that you don't have to roleplay that way.

 

I'm not going to compare how this works to Deadfire, but I've always felt that the arguments on here that BG2 compels you to pursue the main quest ASAP to not be an accurate recounting of the game. Yes, you can roleplay BG2 that way. But there's also plenty of in-world motivation for your character to take their time in chapter two.

Edited by cokane
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Well, algroth that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. At some point preference plays bigger part in our eventual opinion than any objective criticism (and I already discussed with somebody else on this forum if something like objective criticism can even exist). However I’d like you to consider some points, just for yourself, as any further posts and discussion about Witcher on PoE forum will be nothing short of littering:

-no treasures are presented as „Hello traveler, I’ve heard that there’s a treasure nearby”. Every single one has a nice little story around it: viking writing his dying words to son, slaver’s ship log describing in detail their journey, farmer with a clever dog and not so clever attitude towards danger; small details like that set this game apart any other and bring to mind early Fallouts or Torment but with infinitely better gameplay.

-themes presented in the game are not only varied but also match our real world, from simple alcoholism to religious/conservative freaks taking over nations (I love the quote from Djikstra when he says that a strong nation is the one with strong economy, alliances, fair justice system and culture not the one filled with angry mobs, that pretty much summed the situation in Russia, Hungary and Poland perfectly). THAT’s a theme. While Deadfire is interesting with it’s faction conflict and I found it hard to decide which one is the best for the world after destruction of the Wheel, this is just interesting. Witcher poked at some real world sh*t. And with people reacting to it like real people, flawed and far from what we’d like them to be.

-almost every single quest had a twist. They were never simple stories, but rather complex plots; witch from Touissant, plague ghost in the tower, serial killer in Novigrad, whole Olgierd story, orphans at the bog, all of them and many more are like a good tv episodes with unique approach and characters rather than another side quest in a game. I’d also point out that in many cases good and evil are replaced with our own personal perspective but Obsidian also does that in all their games so Witcher doesn’t get any points for that. However with Obs you can more or less tell which option is the best, while in Witcher many quests are like „what the hell was I supposed to do?”. There are no right answers with decisions like saving the orphans/saving whole village or letting Cat School witcher go/killing him.

-the atmosphere is dense as f*ck in Witcher, thanks to all the pagan influences. Scenes like the berseker transformation, dealing with the dead child/fetus, summoning ghosts with the villagers are all creepy and unique. I’d like to see an isometric game in a universe like that, borrowing something more than mere names and monsters from the darker myths of Scandinavian and Slavic origin. This is something that no ammount of mad cultists or edgy subjects in generic fantasy can replace.

Edited by Zaris
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I played Witcher 1. Because there never seemed to be a good or bad choice, even from the subjective point of view of my character, i never felt involved in the main plot. Why would i side with anyone when no one would side with me? I played as long as possible without siding with anyone... Until i had no other choice in order to progress. That is when i dropped the game, and the whole franchise. I've never played it again.

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I am not having the issue with the open world vs narrative contradiction - while not perfect each and every step so far is pretty logical in the narrative and even exploring - can't say the same as for the amount of time that passes though!!!! - but Eothas challenge fixed this ...

 

The same can even be said for POE1, BG2, BG1, IE1, etc ad infinitum, DOS1/2, FF, DQ, Ultima open or semi-open world RPG - time seems to pass - months, years, days, lol there literally is no solution for this accept for what I have read PF:K did - put a timer on quests, which is a good solution and would force Deadfire to address this in the narrative, which in terms of the Eothas challenge, well its a race against the clock ...

 

Honest, you just cannot argue that CRPG games do not suffer from this, and if you get into the realm of one over the other well if you ask me BG2 is the worst (just to make the die hard BG2 fans go into death threat mode) ... jk!!!  I usually just ignore it, get to a point in the narrative where it seems like I can explore and go for it - Deadfire gives you this chance.  I mean it is one of those things that goes along the lines of the ability to wipeout every NPC in the game, sometimes you just do it because you can :)

 

EDIT:  However this being said there are many motivations for letting time pass that make sense in the narrative, and time and again I am happy and surprised by the writing that lends to this,

Edited by aaronghowell

“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

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-no treasures are presented as „Hello traveler, I’ve heard that there’s a treasure nearby”. Every single one has a nice little story around it: viking writing his dying words to son, slaver’s ship log describing in detail their journey, farmer with a clever dog and not so clever attitude towards danger; small details like that set this game apart any other and bring to mind early Fallouts or Torment but with infinitely better gameplay.

 

I believe the same could be said of any number of games of this ilk including Skyrim and the usual Bethesdas, but the difference comes down to how they affect the overall perception to the same. Personally I enjoyed the touches here and there, but quite frankly I still found these to feel very formulaic and repetitive what with the structure to the same being incredibly rigid and telegraphed, what with each being some very barebones variation of "find letter" - "use witcher senses" - "get loot". And much as the actual stories are on occasions nice, the loot or the overall construction of the quest hardly play upon whatever theme or story the letters support, thus making the treasure hunts play largely like a guide to randomly generated treasure and not like anything remotely compelling or with relevant content. You mention the likes of the early Fallouts or Torment but whatever quests you can find in those games, they usually don't feel as telegraphed and by-the-numbers as the likes in The Witcher 3, and more importantly in the latter case at least help inform the themes and overall point of the game by often revealing a new facet about the current incarnation or the past incarnations and thus further expanding the picture for the multiplicity of individuals the Nameless One actually embodied.

 

 

 

-themes presented in the game are not only varied but also match our real world, from simple alcoholism to religious/conservative freaks taking over nations (I love the quote from Djikstra when he says that a strong nation is the one with strong economy, alliances, fair justice system and culture not the one filled with angry mobs, that pretty much summed the situation in Russia, Hungary and Poland perfectly). THAT’s a theme. While Deadfire is interesting with it’s faction conflict and I found it hard to decide which one is the best for the world after destruction of the Wheel, this is just interesting. Witcher poked at some real world sh*t. And with people reacting to it like real people, flawed and far from what we’d like them to be.

 

Colonialism isn't some real world ****? The influence of religion and creed over culture and society isn't a theme with real world applications? There's a *lot* in Deadfire that is very real and very relevant, and most of all observed with a pretty keen attention to detail. Not sure where you live, Zaris, but I come from a former colony and current third world country and there's a *lot* of aspects regarding the clash and fusion of cultures as well as the societal dynamics that emerge from it that speak *very* closely to the real world as I see it where I live. The whole business with the Wheel isn't just some wacky high fantasy contrivance but also deliberately functioning as a - rather heavy-handed I'll admit - reference to the ongoing theme of the moral hierarchies being challenged and reformulated in light of a cultural shift away from a theocentric society into a more secular or humanist one. Most of all I believe these are themes Deadfire very deliberately wants to tackle and isn't just using as some manner of shorthand or setting spice, which is definitely how I feel it comes across in The Witcher 3 - because whilst I can broadly recognize the elements you mention I can't in any honesty say the game approaches these topics with any particular insightfulness or sensitivity, and are rather painted in very broad strokes. But, as you say, this all falls down to how these topics resonate with us and maybe you got more out of it than I did.

 

 

 

-almost every single quest had a twist. They were never simple stories, but rather complex plots; witch from Touissant, plague ghost in the tower, serial killer in Novigrad, whole Olgierd story, orphans at the bog, all of them and many more are like a good tv episodes with unique approach and characters rather than another side quest in a game. I’d also point out that in many cases good and evil are replaced with our own personal perspective but Obsidian also does that in all their games so Witcher doesn’t get any points for that. However with Obs you can more or less tell which option is the best, while in Witcher many quests are like „what the hell was I supposed to do?”. There are no right answers with decisions like saving the orphans/saving whole village or letting Cat School witcher go/killing him.

 

In all honesty I have a hard time recalling some of the stories you mention above. I do believe some of the quests in The Witcher 3 are rather good and have some interesting twists to them (I do recall that plague wraith one particularly fondly), but I don't think these are as representative of the whole as you say. Most quests in the game, based on my memory, relate to contracts, and despite the occasional change on the formula like that quest early on involving the werewolf and woman's disappearance, most of them frequently boil down to very formulaic "talk to guy" - "track beast with witcher senses" - "kill beast". Meanwhile I do not agree that the choices in Deadfire were simple at all... And yet I don't necessarily use that in its favour either, because I do believe that on occasion there's a great option that could appease all parties that isn't accounted for in the options given, and thus you have to conform with one of several less than optimal choices instead.

 

 

 

-the atmosphere is dense as f*ck in Witcher, thanks to all the pagan influences. Scenes like the berseker transformation, dealing with the dead child/fetus, summoning ghosts with the villagers are all creepy and unique. I’d like to see an isometric game in a universe like that, borrowing something more than mere names and monsters from the darker myths of Scandinavian and Slavic origin. This is something that no ammount of mad cultists or edgy subjects in generic fantasy can replace.

 

So, I'll preface this by saying that I think we're veering well outside of what I responded to originally regarding The Witcher 3, because I talk talking about quest design and whilst mood can definitely engage an audience, I do think that's not really what we were talking about before. Anyhow... As someone that loves to delve a fair bit into the more obscure and esoteric side of things, I was pretty nonplussed with The Witcher 3's mood in general. I actually liked it more when it veered away from the folk metal cod-paganism of Velen into more tried and true generic medieval high fantasy with the Novigrad and Skellige areas for example, because I felt the game felt less blunt and overwrought about it all over there. I mean, this is the game that chooses a sub-Sally Oldfield folk-pop ditty to melt the ice around Geralt's heart, you kind of get the idea of what the devs think to be edgy, and jeez does this game *try* to sell its own self-perceived edginess to us, what with the nudity and drones and body horror and paganism and whatnot. The result can be interesting and neat at times but it's never ballsy enough to be more than that, and frequently just feels cheesy instead (moreover it all feels very superficial and never really supporting what themes and ideas are in the game).

 

I loved the feel of the first Pillars on the other hand, because I feel like it went for a more deliberately muted, longing feel and pulled it off really well, especially what with playing into this creeping apocalypse with what with the Hollowborn plague and all. At its best the music felt very reminiscent of Olivier Messiaen or Michael Nyman, and that couldn't be higher praise far as I'm concerned. The darkness is all in the undercurrents and it felt very effortless and genuine to me, it's what immediately drew me in and what I still find the game holds over many other more generic fantasy RPGs. It also may have done too good a job so as to set some very specific expectations for a sequel, so Deadfire on the other hand has its host of issues and inconsistencies regarding tone to my mind - I feel like it doubles down on the high fantasy stuff and that often feels at odds with the remnants of the first Pillars' feel. I went a little more into detail on another thread. Regardless, when it works I do think it can be incredibly evocative, yet again managing to capture the right transcendent feel to lend its main quest the kind of otherworldly gravity it seeks.

 

Generally speaking, keep in mind that I liked The Witcher 3 a lot - I think there are moments that I definitely like and would see the points you mention, just not in a comparison with the Pillars games which to me are on a whole other level. But as you say, it's all a matter of opinion and personal preference/experience.

Edited by algroth

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

Currently playing: Fallout 2

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