Jump to content

Why is PoE2 not successful ?


Recommended Posts

15 hours ago, Boeroer said:

You know what? What if they had made a mechanics lesson/explanation that would have been presented before the game starts (skippable of course). Done in a P&Paper rulebook manner (meaning description + examples) and in style of all the other scripted scenes and ship combat "on sepia paper" you have in the game. With those watercolor drawings/paintings left and right which help to visualize the explanations and examples. Fully voiced. Like if the Dungeon Master read the rulebook for you. Maybe even interactive so you could navigate to certain chapters. Not necessarily superlong an in detail, but at least to cover all the basics.

Do you think that would have worked? And would that have been worth the effort?

It would be nice, though the basics seemed reasonably easy to understand. Certainly, easier, than in D:OS, at least.
I suppose, putting it into the in-game encyclopedia, while explicitly informing the player that reviewing the information is highly recommended, would be preferable, as long tutorials at the beginning are hard to get through without context. So, when the player encountered a new ability or a combat situation, they were unfamiliar with, the information would be accessible.
Though, there were tool-tips/contextual information already and the encyclopedia covered some subjects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't really know. The most we can see is a rough estimate of copies *owned* on Steam, which also includes copies redeemed from the crowdfunded campaign or included in bundles. SteamSpy estimates those copies as 500k-1million (the estimates have a very wide margin since Steam hid a lot of information that was used to come up with more accurate estimates).

You also have to consider that other factors play a part in the game's financial performance: how discounted were those copies? how much money did Obsidian spend supporting the game? was the DLC successful relative to the main game sales?

Basically, we don't have a lot of information on what's going on with the game financially and even Sawyer's information is apparently slightly out of date, but it all points to the game underperforming compared to the original even though the budget was clearly higher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I have that much to add to a 10 page thread that's all speculation, but here are my guesses / grievances:

  1. There's very little about the game that's joyful.  Stupid little jokes that you put in for the player to see.  I'm not sure that a ton of people had fun making this game.  The adventurer portraits in BGII, the Bob Newhart(?) tasloi autograph in BG I, the rug in the city tavern in Pathfinder Kingmaker, the Wild Wasteland Perk in F:NV, the 30s preacher clips in Wasteland II.  Other than the unique way of assassinating a pirate, I don't see a whole lot of that in this game.
  2. It didn't give a large part of its audience what they wanted.  Many players just wanted a 3.75 campaign, complete with cartoonish characters, vancian casting, rounds built in, power treadmill etc.  Something Josh mentioned is that Pathfinder Kingmaker sold more than they did.  I am currently playing Pathfinder Kingmaker, and am deeply unhappy with some parts of the game and while other parts are pleasant and innovative, but I recognize it as giving those players what they want.  Apparently that works.  It's worth pointing out that the Pathfinder devs. have separated from their publisher, so it probably didn't set the world on fire either.
  3. The combat lacks variety of player actions.  It seems like Josh's reaction was to criticism was to hack out any attempt at a strategic layer, particularly the rest, health, and Vancian casting.  The problem is that for any players preferred party this creates an ideal economy of actions with few at all differences in each fight.  This had not one, but two negative side-effects:  Wizard spells got the oomph taken out of them (which a significant minority of players expect, right or wrong); now you can do the same actions over, and over, over again, every fight.  It made battles almost algorithmic, certainly some were tedious. This is really significant, because one of the reasons Josh took prebuffing out is that it made certain actions feel superfluos and game-y; with the new system it made all of combat that way.
  4. Related, but different.  The combat lacks dynamic range.  Since there's no Vancian casting / strategic layer, the very little difference between the mobs in place and bosses, and I didn't feel like we got proper boss fights until the end game boss and Forgotten Sanctum.  No easy fights means not getting to see your power grow, but it also means there's a very tight limit on how difficult the bosses can be.  They responded to this criticism with soulless, narrative free 20 minute boss marathons.
  5. The game is not very ambitious.  They already had the changes they were going to make in mind and partially implemented when they went to kickstarter.  Like dual-classing, full VO, and character portraits.  That's all well and good, and the portraits and dual-classing made the game more interesting.  Josh talks about why on his tumblr.
  6. The plot is just not great in Pillars II.  It (and the limited advertising) misleads you into thinking it's a vengeance plot, when it's a pilgrimage plot.  It was short-sighted not to let the players try to fight Eothas.  Furthermore, it's superfluous compared to the much better, much more interesting faction mechanics.
  7. The characters are just not great, particularly the new ones.  Very few of them have actual dilemmas in their personal quests.  Very few of them have good reasons for joining or staying with you.  They don't have a funny character (Eder is working overtime to fill different narrative roles.)
  8. A lot of people bought Pillars I, played it before Whitemarch was released and walked away unhappy.  Whitemarch really should have been a standalone game like Dragonfall.  The difference with the DLC is astonishing.
  9. It needs more content.  About 10 more islands, maybe 15.  Obsidian seems stuck in a place where they're having a hard time doing short (under 3 paragraphs), atmospheric story-telling.  TToN, which had many other problems was better about this.  Pathfinder is very good at this.  BG I is the master of this.  Obsidian has been working on shoestring budgets for so long, that they might have forgotten about the thrill of exploration and running across tiny little pieces of flash fiction in the wild.

All this said, I liked the game quite a bit on my one and only playthrough.  I think it's probably the most polished and well-put together crpg of the new era that I've played so far.  However, I'm not going back and replaying it.  For one or all of the reasons above I had 500 hours in Pillars I and 100 in Pillars II.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, ABearIsHere said:

We don't really know. The most we can see is a rough estimate of copies *owned* on Steam, which also includes copies redeemed from the crowdfunded campaign or included in bundles. SteamSpy estimates those copies as 500k-1million (the estimates have a very wide margin since Steam hid a lot of information that was used to come up with more accurate estimates).

You also have to consider that other factors play a part in the game's financial performance: how discounted were those copies? how much money did Obsidian spend supporting the game? was the DLC successful relative to the main game sales?

Basically, we don't have a lot of information on what's going on with the game financially and even Sawyer's information is apparently slightly out of date, but it all points to the game underperforming compared to the original even though the budget was clearly higher.

I mean, 500k-1m sounds pretty damn good, at least theoretically, for a CRPG. On gog as well it's pretty much always doing pretty decent and is always at the top of the list (by this is mean top 3 and sometimes literally #1) when sales come up. When I check the max player count it's had on steam charts vs Pathfinder Kingmaker, POE2 has had more max players, so if Pathfinder did so much better - which seems sketchy, given its mixed rating with pages of complaints - it certainly isn't visible on steam charts. Someone else said on this discussion that you can't really expect casuals to get into cRPGs, it's just not the right target audience. Make no mistake about it, I've beaten POE1, 2 and numerous other cRPGs and I still have to look up almost everything when it comes to stats and leveling up in my second playthrough of POE 2 after beating it a few months ago. Most casuals aren't up for that.

Edited by Jill7894
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pathfinder: Kingmaker most likely didn't do in the same ballpark as PoE1 but it's a relative success because it was developed on a lower budget. Even the most conservative budget for PoE2 (before it was decided to go full VO) was something like 40% more than PoE1 (which I think ended up costing around $7 million), so the fact that commercially did worse than its predecessor and apparently lower than the grognard-friendly, more budget-conscious Russian Pathfinder IE-like, is certainly proof that something in Obsidian's strategy/choice to iterate on PoE1 in the ways they did failed to attract the necessary audience.

Perhaps Divinity: Original Sin 2 gave Obsidian a false sense of confidence when it's the exception to the rule and the audience for these games just isn't that big. Perhaps Pillars 2 didn't have enough marketing or the marketing was of poor quality/didn't get the message across. Perhaps the original game failed to resonate in spite of good sales with a long tail and people didn't feel the need to come back for a sequel. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. There are a million possible reasons and I'm no armchair market analyst (I certainly think the discussion of the pros and cons of PoE2 also doesn't necessarily have a *huge* effect on its sales outside of maybe word of mouth, given the game failed to reach its audience in the first place rather than getting an overwhelmingly negative reception from the people that bought it) so I really can't give an informed opinion besides the fact that it obviously was a commercial failure for Obsidian.

 

P.S. : Also, we discuss copies sold and owned a lot, but I wanna reiterate: 1) copies sold could be sold at a very steep discount, reducing the profit margins; 2) SteamSpy estimates "copies owned" so it's also counting all the people that own Steam copies because of the Figstarter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Been checking GOG sales over the weekend and I haven't noticed Deadfire or any of the expansions at reduced price at all wheras Divinity Original Sin 2 and Pathfinder Kingmaker have. Obsidian just forgot to do anything or don't care anymore now they are part of MS?

nowt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe the fault lies with Obsidian. 

Role-Playing games for the PC have consistently shown that they accrue success over time rather than being big trendy hits over the week. That has only somewhat been disproven by DOS2, which, by itself, is not actually that good of a role-playing game, but rather relies more heavily on it's presentation, which for a cRPG is awesome. I would never want anything more in terms of graphics or sound design in a role-playing than what DOS2 did... but gameplay is a different story. In addition, DOS2 did not have any competition when it released and people were damn hungry for a cRPG at the time. 

Putting that aside, I also compare how smaller modern cRPGs have evolved over time and look at Deadfire... and I think Obsidian have lost vision for that game. The atmosphere and tone of the first Pillars was more consistent. Gameplay was not so grindy and slow. Ultimate Achievement felt like an adventure rather than chore-work. 

I think Obsidian have gone through a lot of changes since F:NV, and Deadfire got treated as a CoD release rather than a continuation of a cRPG - ''If we put these features in the game it should work.'' The first time I saw that Outer World commercial after 76 released, I knew that the mentality that has created Fallout 1 has shifted. 

  • Like 2

IP5ok2U.png

m0x5eY5.pngtBxm170.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Hulk'O'Saurus said:

Role-Playing games for the PC have consistently shown that they accrue success over time rather than being big trendy hits over the week.

Can you please back this up somehow? I don't think you are right. As Josh Sawyer himself commented when discussing the poor success of Deadfire, a vast percentage of sales come from the very first days/weeks the game is out. I think the quote is in this very thread (do correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain this is precisely what Sawyer said).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/1/2019 at 1:22 AM, ABearIsHere said:

We don't really know. The most we can see is a rough estimate of copies *owned* on Steam, which also includes copies redeemed from the crowdfunded campaign or included in bundles. SteamSpy estimates those copies as 500k-1million (the estimates have a very wide margin since Steam hid a lot of information that was used to come up with more accurate estimates).

You also have to consider that other factors play a part in the game's financial performance: how discounted were those copies? how much money did Obsidian spend supporting the game? was the DLC successful relative to the main game sales?

Basically, we don't have a lot of information on what's going on with the game financially and even Sawyer's information is apparently slightly out of date, but it all points to the game underperforming compared to the original even though the budget was clearly higher.

the more accurate numbers have been pulled from the fig financial reports and fig dividends, which are legally bound by a specific formula. it's only updated every six months, but that's where the sub-"500k-1million" numbers come from. steamspy is quite inaccurate and would also count copies that don't actually count towards revenue, nor account for sales from other channels (GoG mainly).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, xzar_monty said:

Can you please back this up somehow? I don't think you are right. As Josh Sawyer himself commented when discussing the poor success of Deadfire, a vast percentage of sales come from the very first days/weeks the game is out. I think the quote is in this very thread (do correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain this is precisely what Sawyer said).

yeah, a lot of people say what Hulk-a-saurus say, but it's not true. The vast, vast majority of sales happen up front, which is why landing a game launch well is so important.

It is true that RPGs and similar genres might have better long-term performance, but that long-term performance is a very slow trickle and will likely happen at lower average sales prices.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/29/2019 at 2:56 PM, Hawke64 said:

It would be nice, though the basics seemed reasonably easy to understand. Certainly, easier, than in D:OS, at least.
I suppose, putting it into the in-game encyclopedia, while explicitly informing the player that reviewing the information is highly recommended, would be preferable, as long tutorials at the beginning are hard to get through without context. So, when the player encountered a new ability or a combat situation, they were unfamiliar with, the information would be accessible.
Though, there were tool-tips/contextual information already and the encyclopedia covered some subjects.

(sorry for triple posting). Yeah, players don't play separate tutorials. They also don't read manuals. (As someone who loved the thick Ultima manuals with their art and bestiary, the decline of rich RPG manuals makes me sad and is one reason why I backed so I could get a cloth map.) There's a reason why so much info gets stuffed into loading screens. Codexes are alright, but none of this is really relevant because at this point we're just talking about people who have already bought the game and are playing it.

I'll admit I'm the worst judge for how well mechanics are explained, since I would be happy if the game just shows you all the equations it uses, so I don't know what necessarily puts people off or not. Though frankly if millions of people could figure out THAC0 in the infinity engine games, I don't see why they couldn't also get anything about Deadfire (except maybe inversions).

  • Like 1
  • Hmmm 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

Can you please back this up somehow? I don't think you are right. As Josh Sawyer himself commented when discussing the poor success of Deadfire, a vast percentage of sales come from the very first days/weeks the game is out. I think the quote is in this very thread (do correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain this is precisely what Sawyer said).

Final Fantasy, BG Series and Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines are just some of the titles that have made more money for their proprietor over their lifetime than their first week of release. Granted - you might say that Troika is no more, but their attention and resources were split in many directions at the time. 

Underrail is one modern example of an extremely small cRPG - the base game was drawn in MS Paint by one man, that has garnered fan support for 3 years into a financially successful Expansion, only to have the devs announce another unexpected - even for the devs - expansion, precisely because they were so successful. 

The whole idea of an RPG HAVING to be successful on it's first week is, in my opinion, destructive, because these games thrive off community just as much as they do from sales. But community = sales over time, and you do not suddenly build community, you foster that - gently, slowly, methodically.

As much as Josh and Obsidian want to be Cash McGoldnuggetngton, they're not. If they want to be, they have to make a different product. Ones that won't interest you or the rest of the people posting in this thread.

To cut all the ramblings out - they're trying to serve the contents of a Michelin medium fillet mignon with the speed of a minute steak down at the bistro. Ain't no body who can do that. Not even Elon ''Broken Glass'' Musk. 

Now, I am not particularly attached to this opinion, but I just want to make an observation from reading this thread that maybe people are defending Obsidian a bit too much. Reminds me in part of the latest CDPR thing where people are saying that CD will never have microtransactions in their mp games, while CDPR have already put lootboxes in their 2018 mp game. 

Edited by Hulk'O'Saurus
  • Like 2

IP5ok2U.png

m0x5eY5.pngtBxm170.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Hulk'O'Saurus said:

Final Fantasy, BG Series and Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines are just some of the titles that have made more money for their proprietor over their lifetime than their first week of release.

You wrote: "Role-Playing games for the PC have consistently shown that they accrue success over time rather than being big trendy hits over the week." I asked you to back your claim up. You mention less than five titles. This does not constitute anything resembling proof, not even close. The main point remains that the overwhelming majority of sales takes place right after release, and even though there are anomalies (there tend to be, no matter what the subject), what you say doesn't change it one bit.

Again, care to back your original claim up somehow?

Edited by xzar_monty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

You wrote: "Role-Playing games for the PC have consistently shown that they accrue success over time rather than being big trendy hits over the week." I asked you to back your claim up. You mention less than five titles. This does not constitute anything resembling proof, not even close. The main point remains that the overwhelming majority of sales takes place right after release, and even though there are anomalies (there tend to be, no matter what the subject), what you say doesn't change it one bit.

Again, care to back your original claim up somehow?

Err... toss in the non-Beth Fallouts and with the rest that's more than five... 

Pretty much most of these types of games follow the same pattern - Avernum series, Shadowrun series, ATOM rpg, Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark(not a crpg per se, but beloved by the crpg fans). Haven't looked at Arcanum, but I'd suspect it's the same. I even think PoE might have sold more over time than on release, to be honest.

Only Deadfire's creators don't like it enough. 

IP5ok2U.png

m0x5eY5.pngtBxm170.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, thelee said:

the more accurate numbers have been pulled from the fig financial reports and fig dividends, which are legally bound by a specific formula. it's only updated every six months, but that's where the sub-"500k-1million" numbers come from. steamspy is quite inaccurate and would also count copies that don't actually count towards revenue, nor account for sales from other channels (GoG mainly).

I did point out that SteamSpy's inaccurate and counts copies owned and not sold, but it's the only source available now that Microsoft bought Obsidian and Fig isn't paying dividends anymore (they paid a final lump sum).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, thelee said:

(sorry for triple posting). Yeah, players don't play separate tutorials. They also don't read manuals. (As someone who loved the thick Ultima manuals with their art and bestiary, the decline of rich RPG manuals makes me sad and is one reason why I backed so I could get a cloth map.) There's a reason why so much info gets stuffed into loading screens. Codexes are alright, but none of this is really relevant because at this point we're just talking about people who have already bought the game and are playing it.

I'll admit I'm the worst judge for how well mechanics are explained, since I would be happy if the game just shows you all the equations it uses, so I don't know what necessarily puts people off or not. Though frankly if millions of people could figure out THAC0 in the infinity engine games, I don't see why they couldn't also get anything about Deadfire (except maybe inversions).

I've read about the presentation of information in Pathologic 2 and I think it could be applied to cRPGs (at least, the "Put info on the map" part).

https://gameworldobserver.com/2019/08/12/pathologic-2-narrative-design/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

So the question is, where do you get your numbers from?

http://www.vgchartz.com/ has some info on F:NV and cursory glance over the wiki and google reveal higher sales number over time than on release. 

Arcanum actually looks like it's in the same boat... Not that I looked it up in the date sites, but another cursory look over the wiki and google suggest higher numbers over time. 

It seems that PoE is about 50/50 in this regard. Tyranny has definitely sold less over time than on release...

Bloodlines is infamous for selling over time.  

 The Baldur's Gates and the Fallouts were looked up at date sites for American and European sales back then, and people were comparing the games' sales on older message boards. I don't think you can get the same information for those as you can for the newer games. The Baldur Gates have sold in the millions over the years. The Fallouts not so great with about 100k for the first 12 months, but continuing to sell over time, as well. 

For the smaller games you can actually ask yourself over their message boards - with ATOM rpg and Underrail in particular you'll probably get the devs replying, although if you read their dev blogs the information basically is there. Can do the same for the Avernum titles, or any other title in the same boat. 

IP5ok2U.png

m0x5eY5.pngtBxm170.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, ekt0 said:

One thing to add, I think the sound of Pillars 1 is better.

As if soundtrack? I doubt it had an effect on sales but I would agree. Considering the change of the setting, I expected the OST to change more. The world map and character creation music grates on my for some reason. Perhaps the melodic line sticks out too much? I find video game soundtrack to work best when they are vague mood pieces, without much direction. Give it a memorable melodic line on a loop and it can become irritating, even if the music is nice. I was hoping music will incorporate a bit more of the setting into it - there are traces of it, but very subtle. Then again, trying to write something in the vein of Polynesian folk music, without time for in-depth study might be a very poor idea. 
 

My favourite tracks are still from PoE1: main theme, sun in shadow, tavern song from White March. PoE2 has some nice stuff, too. District specific Neketaka stuff, In-Between music are all good. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
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...