I'm not getting into the balance debate but I don't believe the obsession for balance makes for fun games (especially when it comes to single player games).
I think this depends on personal opinion.
There is nothing I feel more epic than having a party with complementary talents.
Same for action movies (that's why I enjoyed so much Seven Samuraïs or Rogue One ) )
If a couple of builds steal the spotlight from everyone else, I feel sad.
Also, in a tactical game, I like feeling a bit of challenge, while not being constrained to use a couple of semi-obscure builds (IWD2 was even worse in this aspect).
That's the reason why I was playing exclusively with companions in BG2. Their builds were not so OP and rather balanced between them, which adressed a bit the problem of OPness. (It's OK if MC is a bit above the pack.)
That's the reason why PoE series finally feel like "my favorite system".
I had tons of fun with BG2, but I cant' prevent myself from finding the system "old".
The whole game, of course, is as ageless as a high level druid.
In all fairness in BG characters do have different roles.
The big fighter type may make fun of the thief but if they're going in a dungeon it will be the thief's turn to shine simply because the entire party would die without him or her.
That's why I like playing thieves in the BG series. A thief character is definitely not the strongest in a straight fight but there is the self reliance factor and it opens up possibilities to recruit NPCs without having to worry about having someone on trap finding and lockpicking duty.
To me a balanced party is not exactly the same thing as having balanced classes.
To me it's a bit of a deal breaker. If you want to make NPCs that feel like real people then they have to be believable and that means that they should be able to leave if you stray too far (I know of one character in Deadfire who will leave but all the others have very flexible morals).
all the faction npcs have triggers that make them leave, and tbf theyre all misfits one way or another, tekehu resents his obligations, serafen dislikes the principi leadership, palleginas loyal to the republics, but that loyalty only goes one way. maias become jaded. feel theyre all taking time out from their lives for whatever reason even if they plan on going back. like maia pursues a relationship with cloud-cuckoolander xoti of all people, if that aint indicative of wanting to escape *something*, i dunno what is.
i really dont feel their presence is that much of a stretch when there are plenty of people in FO, BG, Arcanum etc. that have no reason to be hanging with u other than they were standing on certain road when u passed.
also i dont think is helpful to consider npcs as real people, even if they can be catalysts for very real emotions. devs are constrained by resources. only so much time in day for narrative designers to compose different variations of each encounter. judging work by how well it reflects 'reality' without acknowledging limits and tendencies of medium just not productive imo. like u can go through every conversation in deadfire and say 'serafen should say this', 'serafen should say this' yadda yadda but suspect alex scokel needed to sleep and eat at some point - and liam o'brien costs money.
characters in other games may be written more thoroughly and to the same end - every conversation bespoke and complete - but expecting big open-world, branching crpg to reap benefits of linearity just recipe for disappointment. i feel is better to start from bare minimum of content required to satisfy form then consider why certain things were added - rather than start from simulacrum of real world and subtract.
as i mentioned earlier in thread, more writing means more holes to pick. back in day, peeps wouldnt have imagined computer game acting remotely lifelike. branching conversations were a rare treat ud excitedly count on ur fingers. u wouldnt think of comparing it to natural conversation, wouldve been like holding cave painting to standard of photograph. we now getting to the uncanny valley where were falling between abstraction and replication.
I was specifically comparing Deadfire to Dragonfall on the subject of NPCs.
You can't keep a straight face and say that the NPCs in Deadfire have such good reasons to tag along compared to the NPCs in Dragonfall.
Edited by gloomseeker, 01 January 2019 - 07:30 AM.