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I haven’t played Kingmaker yet but I’m a veteran DM of the tabletop DnD game.

I can only say that it was a feat to make the game enjoyable for a low level party of wizard, bard and rogue.

I get that people love to powerplay but DnD games in general have the tendency to include builds that make all others irrelevant (I’m looking at you Stormlord cleric of NW2).

In that regard I think POE’s vision of all playable styles being viable and the result of being competitive with different playstyles is no small thing.

 

One additional thing I want to add is as someone mentioned above Deadfire is a really underrated game (provided I started playing in v5.0 with all dlcs)

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@Slotharingia: I do not recommend Beneath the Stolen Lands. I actually didn't play Varnhold's Lot (as it's separate from the main game), so no comment on that. I do recommend The Wildcards.

Edited by xzar_monty
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On 9/24/2019 at 9:08 AM, Lorfean said:

Oh its definitely a matter of taste. I do not like the way the system feels. And it's not that it's too complicated for me, it just doesn't captivate me and putting builds together doesn't excite me the way it does in D&D 3.5 / Pathfinder.

Same. Also found attacks and spells using the same hit calculation, stats scaling and itemization, among others, rather bland. 

On 7/22/2019 at 9:43 AM, Kilburn said:

bravo obsidian, compared to kingmaker, the deadfire devs have godlike genius intellect. 

I cant believe what a save scummy broken pile of garbage kingmaker is. Too bad because somewhere in there it feels like there's a decent game hiding. 

Thing is, P:K sold better than DF, even if it was released in a terribly buggy state, so...

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Big Macs also sell better than Canard à l'orange, so...

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Yes, the thing is that sales are not an indication of anything other than sales. Commercial success and quality exist on two totally different continuums and they don't need to have anything to do with each other. Of course it's quite natural to regard sales as a mark of quality if you happen to live in a strictly commercial culture like the US, but it's still erroneous.

I suppose it's pretty easy for anyone to come up with examples for a) rubbish that sold amazingly, b) rubbish that didn't sell, c) high quality that sold amazingly, and d) high quality that didn't sell. Whether it be literature, music, computer games, anything.

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6 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Big Macs also sell better than Canard à l'orange, so...

And coke sells better than mountain dew. "Why, I will never understand, since mountain dew is so much better". These are random examples - what we know of, is that better products tend to sell better most of the time, with many other factors involved of course. It is fallacious to claim that "better products tend to sell worse" is the rule, because being "better" is one  of the factors that factually helps its sales. No matter if other factors may topple that factor.

To the point, I agree that sales are not the sole indication, but they are definitely an indication. One's perceived measure of quality is even less of an indication. And we can go on forever analyzing factors of quality and why P:K sold better than DF, each one of us justifying their own arguments with walls of text. And it's hard to be perfectly objective. Fact is, sales are the only cold hard statistic we have available. 

I made it clear that I think P:K is of a higher quality, so this validates my view in some degree, for my own person, simply because I expected this to happen. That doesn't mean that I don't believe DF isn't a great game on its own accord and I would *hate* if JS or the rest of the designers got discouraged by a statistic. Critique though is the only path to improvement, but it has to be objective and devoid of any shred of emotion, just like the statistics you have in your disposal.

Edited by Bleak

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I don't think it's necessarily a good thing a game that was released in such a poor state sold well as it encourages the industry to think it's fine to sell unfinished products. My assumption as regards Deadfire is that the pirate theme is just too "odd" for many people, so they don't buy it.


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You can compare games to movies...

The movies considered "best" by the critics are rarely the ones with the most entries. Which one is "better" is debatable because the "elite" (critics) look for something else in movies compared to "common" (most) people. When both parts are pleased then you really have a jewel... 😉

Edited by Kaylon
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If you look at metacritics you can see that Deadfire is 10 points above Pathfinder:Kingmaker.

Sales don't tell you a lot about the quality of a product. Too much variables at play: price, trends, placement, marketing, zeitgeist, timing, reputation, fandom, nostalgia and so on and so forth. Reviews are better suited - even if they are influenced by the zeitgeist as well.

Deadfire is of better quality than Kingmaker in most aspects. It should be - it had a much bigger budget and the developers were more experienced (on average). That doesn't necessarily mean it also meets the taste of most potential customers.

Lots of people like that movie Fast & Furious - more than Drive. Does that mean that Fast & Furious is a better movie than Drive in terms of quality? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a superb movie. Did is sell well? Erm...

Edited by Boeroer

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2 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

If you look at metacritics you can see that Deadfire is 10 points above Pathfinder:Kingmaker.

Sales don't tell you a lot about the quality of a product. Too much variables at play: price, trends, placement, marketing, zeitgeist, timing, reputation, fandom, nostalgia and so on and so forth. Reviews are better suited - even if they are influenced by the zeitgeist as well.

Deadfire is of better quality than Kingmaker in most aspects. It should be - it had a much bigger budget and the developers were more experienced (on average). That doesn't necessarily mean it also meets the taste of most potential customers.

Lots of people like that movie Fast & Furious - more than Drive. Does that mean that Fast & Furious is a better movie than Drive in terms of quality? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a superb movie. Did is sell well? Erm...

Making examples of underrated masterpieces to subtly correlate them to the P:K - DF analogy, only shows your personal prejudice that tries to justify the "injustice" that happened, nothing more. There are far more examples on average, of recognized good products which sold better than worse ones, than examples of bad products which sold better than good ones because of other variables. 

I am prejudiced in favor of P:K but at least I am pretty open about it. It met my taste in regards to having much richer RP, a wealth of skill checks and world interaction in general, impactful choices/consequences, a more interesting rule-set (hadn't even heard of Pathfinder before the actual game was released), which includes better character development, combat and the right dose of the RNG factor. Of course, all these are merely opinions. 

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There is no injustice. Deadfire didn't meet the expectations of its target audience and thus it didn't sell as well as expected. 

But you made the assumption that sales numbers indicate quality. My examples merely show that this is not the case. Even only one negative example would be enough to falsify that theory.

Sales numbers are influenced by a lot of variables - quality of the product is just one of them. Thus, drawing conclusions about the quality of a procuct while looking at sales numbers is a logical fallacy. Even if there are lots of examples where high sales numbers correlate with high quality this does not mean that there is causality. Because: there are examples that show otherwise.

I'm not prejudiced. I played both games and my taste just happens to coincide with the observations of most critics who say that Deadfire is the better game. It even coincides with the taste of Steam users (who give it an overall "very positive" review while Kingmaker is "mostly positive"). I played other games that are of lower quality than their competitors but still liked them better. But me liking such a game wouldn't lead me to the assertion that it's a game of (overall) greater quality.

You simply can't know why Kingmaker sold better (did it sell more copies though? I don't have numbers). Since sales numbers don't indicate quality per se - and you can't even know how those numbers come about in the first place - you can't use them to determine the quality of a game. And you cannot use them to compare games when it comes to quality. I mean you can, but then it's faulty reasoning.

 

Edited by Boeroer
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2 hours ago, Bleak said:

And coke sells better than mountain dew. "Why, I will never understand, since mountain dew is so much better". These are random examples - what we know of, is that better products tend to sell better most of the time, with many other factors involved of course. It is fallacious to claim that "better products tend to sell worse" is the rule, because being "better" is one  of the factors that factually helps its sales. No matter if other factors may topple that factor.

Not quite. Being "better" helps, but many other factors have far greater prevalence over whether a product sells, especially if "better" is entirely a question of subjective value and, say, not performance or features or the likes. Most cinephiles wouldn't argue that the better slice of life films are far better than any superhero film, yet even the worst superhero films tend to do ten times the amount the best of the former do. Reasons can be a broader interest and investment in a genre amidst casual audiences, but also the likes of marketing, brand awareness, brand loyalty and so on. Even if Transformers or The Amazing Spider-Man were widely derided, people still showed up to each new film in these franchises in greater quantities than they did Pacific Rim or Hellboy, despite these being generally considered better films, let alone the likes of The Florida Project or Shoplifters to name some of the most successful slice of life films of the past few years - and this is because everyone knows what Spider-Man and Transformers are, people will show up to these regardless of how good they are, and people will be aware of their existence more than any mid-budget masterpiece simply because they have more resources to invest in marketing and the likes. In the case of Kingmaker and Deadfire, neither game was particularly big budget and both aimed at a rather specific niche - but which IP do you reckon has the greater brand awareness, Pillars of Eternity or Pathfinder? Which company do you reckon has the greater financial backing, Obsidian on their own or Owlcat with the backing of Paizo (KS/Fig numbers aside)? My understanding is that this is the first proper CRPG with the Pathfinder licence, and if so it's entirely within reason that regardless of how good or bad it would turn out, Pathfinder would attract attention and interest based off its brand alone.

When quality falls entirely down to taste, there can always exist very specific niches or audiences that hold their own idiosyncratic parametres to what constitutes a "good product" - the way classic arcade FPS enthusiasts and military shooter fans hold very different standards over what makes a good FPS despite both working within a pretty similar genre for example. What seems "tactical" or "realist" to one group seems "drab" or "stilted" to the other, whereas the other might abhor saturated colour palettes and "run and gun" playstyles and consider them garish or unimmersive or the likes. To go back to the first comparison I made, even if the common consensus amidst cinephiles is that Shoplifters is a far better film than anything Michael Bay's ever produced, Michael Bay without a doubt has an audience which couldn't care about his action sequences being incomprehensible, flashy guff; or the jingoistic, fetishistic approach to the military; or the frequently racist and sexist caricatures that exist in place of actual characters - they jive with the garishly maximalist spectacle that he often props up, it's "epic", it's "awesome". That's what they're looking for and what they get, and they would likely be bored stiff by what Shoplifters has to offer. So, again, even if "quality" can be a determining factor for the success or endurance of anything, the fact that "quality" is so fluid and abstract as a variable makes it practically moot. Same as there's an audience for Shoplifters and there's an audience for Transformers and there's an audience for Deadfire and there's an audience for Call of Duty, there's also an audience for The Room or Goat Simulator since they too offer a great experience for their own idiosyncratic niche, according to what that niche looks for. It certainly doesn't make them better products, despite likely having sold more than many other far better and more competent examples out there.

And of course the opposite isn't true either. Just because something is "niche", it isn't entitled to being "better" than something more popular or mainstream. Success and quality are at the end of the day pretty independent to one another.

Edited by algroth

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15 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Even if there are lots of examples where high sales numbers correlate with high quality this does not mean that there is causality.... you can't use them to determine the quality of a game not to compare games when it comes to quality. I mean you can, but then it's faulty reasoning.

I definitely agree that you can't determine the quality of a game by that alone. But I don't agree it is not an indication or that there is no causality between good products and high sales. Good quality is a factor that definitely affects sales - however, as you say, it is easily possible for other factors to topple the result and that is how the examples you mentioned are created. 

Gist is... I think there is a way of knowing why - an "objective truth" if you will - if one deconstructs the differences between the two games and taking all major factors into account, making a good educated guess of why something works the way it does. Can't possibly be analyzed over a forum, but it's always a good thing to pit your opinion against others and discuss about it.

Edited by Bleak

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11 minutes ago, algroth said:

snip for space

I merely point out that "being better" helps, like you did. The target audience is a factor - not a huge one though like the examples you mention because I think it is safe to assume that both games' target audiences have a lot in common, since we are talking about games of the same genre after all. That fact alone may have helped Pathfinder since it used a "traditional" system and the brand was surely a factor. The press or the terrible functional state of the game long after release didn't. Their budget was also quite lower - and tbh that shows in the quality of the art/world assets (DF beats P:K in that regard imho). And one could go on and list many more factors in favor of both of the games.

In the end, it doesn't matter who "wins". But it's a fact that the financial result may hinder future PoE releases. And I don't think anyone wants that, so the question should always be how things could be improved. And this is better discussed when examining individual mechanics/features alone.

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7 minutes ago, Bleak said:

I merely point out that "being better" helps, like you did. The target audience is a factor - not a huge one though like the examples you mention because I think it is safe to assume that both games' target audiences have a lot in common, since we are talking about games of the same genre after all. That fact alone may have helped Pathfinder since it used a "traditional" system and the brand was surely a factor. The press or the terrible functional state of the game long after release didn't. Their budget was also quite lower - and tbh that shows in the quality of the art/world assets (DF beats P:K in that regard imho). And one could go on and list many more factors in favor of both of the games.

In the end, it doesn't matter who "wins". But it's a fact that the financial result may hinder future PoE releases. And I don't think anyone wants that, so the question should always be how things could be improved. And this is better discussed when examining individual mechanics/features alone.

It remains to be seen if it does. Whether it's underplaying the game's failure for the sake of publicly saving face or else, Josh Sawyer and a few others have said Deadfire performed "okay" relative to their expectations - and with the first Pillars being a success there's probably some interest in trying again, especially with Microsoft now offering their support. There's also strong hints elsewhere that a new Pillars is already in production, though whether that's a direct sequel to Deadfire or an entirely different project based on the setting/IP, we'll have to wait and see.

Edited by algroth

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I dont think Obsidian forum is right place to compare other games to deadfire since people who are still active in this forum are mostly PoE fanboys (including me to some extent )

PFK is amazing game it is obviously more successfull game than deadfire, since deadfire is commercial failure.

This is the only true fact anything else is just useless discussions and randim opinions from self proclaimed single player game pros 😂

 

Edited by Blunderboss

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Over on the Beamdog forum the forum manager posted an excerpt from a post by Josh Sawyer from somewhere called badgame.net for which you need an account there to access it yourself. At the bottom of the excerpt there is a sales comparison with P:K.

https://badgame.net/index.php?topic=54476.msg14375799#msg14375799

"i don't really know how productive this discussion can be because it's hard to pinpoint definitively why people bought or didn't buy something. deadfire was made on the assumption that the sales and reviews of that game indicated both a general desire for games of that type in the market and that the press and consumers thought that we did a good job overall. it made money and it reviewed well in the press and among players, which doesn't mean it's objectively good, but to us it indicated that 1) we should make a sequel and 2) we should identify the things that people didn't enjoy in the first game and address them.

i was involved in the PR and marketing pushes for both games and we had a lot more trouble getting marketing pieces out for deadfire. when we did research into how product awareness was tracking, deadfire was struggling leading up to its launch. it's true that critical role did draw a lot of attention to the game, but it's unclear how far that reached outside of our core market. yes, by now many more people are aware of the game, but the bulk of most games' sales are still made in the first two weeks following its release.

whether the scores and sales are deserved or not, pillars 1 had an 89 metacritic and sold over a million copies within a year of its release. deadfire had an 88 metacritic and sold much worse. i don't think i stuck my head in the sand re: criticism for pillars 1, so if there was a strong undercurrent of indifference or dislike for the first game and i just completely botched the sequel, it's hard for me to identify where i went wrong. the reason why i didn't/don't want to direct another pillars game isn't just general fatigue, but also because i don't think i have the critical insight to understand how to move forward with the series. the quality of the game is my responsibility, so if it's really that bad, it's my fault. still, by the numbers we had, general awareness was low outside of our core leading up to the launch.

D:OS2 sold incredibly well, way better than pillars 1. pathfinder: kingmaker sold better than deadfire. idk if it sold better than pillars 1."

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Afaik Deadfire was a disappointment (also because PoE was a pleasant surprise and Obsidian thought that a sequel would be a sure-fire success), but not a commercial failure. At least that's what Josh was hinting in his talks ("was doing okay"). So even in this case there is no true fact™ - unless you know the actual numbers.

As long as I'm concerned very few discussions are actually useless. The most useless thing I encounter in forums is the overuse of the word "useless". ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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I feel really terrible for Josh. He needs to understand he did not make a bad game. PoE2 is an incredibly good game, regardless of the purchase decisions of RPG gamers.

Edited by kanisatha
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I still blame it on the setting (mostly) - although I personally like it. But a lot of RPGamers are a bit conservative when it comes to settings.

No idea if that's really the reason though. To me it also felt like Deadfire's marketing was nearly non-existent.

Edited by Boeroer
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I had read that quote yesterday, didn't want to mention it because I couldn't confirm the source. But if it's true, someone should give him a proverbial slap in the face and tell him to work on improving any shortcomings, because he still is one of the few good designers around. 

As a company, Obsidian wants to grow, become independent and create more projects and IPs with 100% creative freedom. Not just make up for the production of their previous game. I don't know their actual fiscal score but that disappointment probably stems from that.

Edit: I am no expert, but FYI that forum doesn't seem to hash their passwords...

Edited by Bleak

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They were bought by Microsoft - so there's that with the independency and the fiscal score. ;)


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I played Kingmaker for maybe 2 hours, picked a feat that didn't work and ran into several bugs. I'm going to wait a few more months and then give it another go in the hopes it isn't a mess.

Anyways I'll echo complaints about sales figures not correlating to quality. I think that Deadfire made some pretty egregious errors like the inversion stuff, the ship combat, and a lack of sea monsters in a region that's supposed to be infested with them. But flawed games still sell well so gameplay issues alone aren't necessarily a good indicator of why or why not something sold poorly. I doubt any one thing is really a good explanation as to why Deadfire was a commercial disappointment, so I think claiming whatever game that did something different is better because it sold more copies isn't a very good argument.


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52 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

I still blame it on the setting (mostly) - although I personally like it. But a lot of RPGamers are a bit conservative when it comes to settings.

I share your theory. You know that "Cat proximity" thing of XKCD? Like, the closer a human gets to a cat the stupider things they say? There has to be this "Baldur's Gate 2 proximity" that works on grogs, where the more the game apes BG2, the bigger the chance of blind day 0 purchase and flowery praises regardless of poor writing, obtuse system that offers bupkis help to newbies, designed-by-axe UI, having more bugs than a garbage truck stop in a tropical forest and being impossible to bloody finish for months after release, and I'm saying this as someone as who liked P:K quite a bit.

Personally I blame Tolkien. Dude made his elves-dwarves-Brits-and-tea fantasyland so alive nobody ever dares to stray away from it, neither creators nor consumers. :getlost:

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1. "sold ok" "not a commercial failure" pretty sure this is just putting positive spin on bleak news. The payout on fig shares was/is extremely poor. Not just taking a small haircut poor, but never in the realm of possibility of even close to getting within a football field of even getting half your money back (I think so far like 40% money paid out after more than a year). I think at best this means that Deadfire sales wasn't the reason why they sold to Microsoft (sounds like they were banking PoE sales pretty well).

2. I understand JE Sawyer's perspective though. If he doesn't know why Deadfire did poorly, and we on the forum don't know it did poorly, then we're obviously very bad people to decide what direction a hypothetical PoE3 should go.

 

Though I do agree with Boeroer's pet theory - there was a lot of complaint on these forums early on about two things: 1) the setting, 2) per-encounter mechanics. A shame, because I loved both decisions. I have to imagine that if they get a competent marketing person on staff/contract, and then put PoE3 in a vaguely European medieval/renaissance setting and restored per-rest mechanics (except with multiclassing) they'll get gangbusters sales again (pitch it as a "return to its roots" or whatever). Maybe not PoE1-level sales (due to higher crpg competition now), but definitely more than Deadfire. Also: don't waste time on a silly minigame like ship combat, and limit the voiced characters for budget's sake.

Though then again, Tyranny had a wild setting (roman-era tech in a crazy world basically) with per-encounter mechanics and sold better than Deadfire. So I dunno...

Edited by thelee
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