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2 minutes ago, wih said:

That was a joke. The only way for them to not know that you exist, is if they don't read their forums at all.

And Twitter. And Discord.
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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15 hours ago, Blunderboss said:

Also its important to realise that stuff like full voice acting increased production costs by a lot and then deadfire needed to sell much more copies to cover the costs which it didnt, i think moving forward devs should really consider if costs of Voice Acting are worth the sales they will get from people who bought game just because its Voice Acted(obviously it does not), and maybe that money could be put to better use enriching existing game features and adding more content .

I agree on that. Josh does, too. But we all three don't have a say in that unfortunately.


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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The management felt they had to include full voice acting because of DOS 2, which had it. They probably feared reviewers would criticize the game otherwise. An understandable decision. It is only bad if you know beforehand the game would undersell.

Edited by wih

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What I took away from Josh's post mortem talk: Ship Combat and Full VO did hurt the most. 

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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6 hours ago, thelee said:

As a person who wasn't love PoE, what does Deadfire do better? Honestly curious, since before I thought Deadfire was the best crpg, I thought PoE was the best crpg, so I am Keen on other perspectives. Especially from someone whose opinion of the series improves.

Companion Combat AI is a big thing, doing stuff and casting spells instead of standing around waiting for my input is just great.

I get a feel the quest dialogues are more robust, I feel I can just jump into a conversation, pick appropriate choices (for my character) and it all works out.
In PoE1 I somehow felt it's more mandatory to save before interaction, because unless the right choices are made the quest fails or breaks.
(Might be totally wrong here, but that's the feel I got)

The general feel of the game is lighter.
The setting helps, after the dark plague ridden despair sadness in PoE1, PoE2 is like a light breeze of fresh sea air.

There's a lot stronger feeling of agency. I choose what to do (even if I do actually choose to do everything).

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Replying to the OP's points here...

On 11/12/2019 at 10:13 AM, ekt0 said:

The combat mechanics have been improved. It is definitely more systematic and logical than that of PoE1. The graphic is much nicer. Other than these two, I think PoE1 is better in any other aspects.

I'll start off by adding a general caveat here to the way the game or its failure to sell is approached: much as Josh mentioned himself, had Deadfire's word of mouth been all in all negative, that could have certainly affected sales at the end of the day - but it wasn't. Most outlets deemed it a better game than its predecessor and by and large the audience reception was very good, if maybe a tad less enthusiastic than the first game. It currently stands at an 88 metacritic score whilst on platforms like Steam or GOG it averages an 84% overall approval or 4.3/5 aggregate rating, so certainly the word of mouth wasn't bad, or bad enough to have pushed players away from purchasing it on a large-enough degree. Whilst I don't pretend to have a definitive answer for Deadfire's dip in sales, I don't think any qualitative assessments are it by any stretch of imagination (though perhaps issues in *style* could have had an effect - more on that later).

On 11/12/2019 at 10:13 AM, ekt0 said:

1. The writing in PoE1 has more depth and is more stylish

I somewhat agree with the former, disagree rather strongly with the latter. I generally don't consider "depth" a quantifiable value so I always try to shy away from saying things like "A is deeper than B". I certainly got more out of the first game on a thematic or ideological level, but I also think this is because a) the writing was more on-the-nose about its ideas and b) the themes and their treatment were generally more cohesive all around. I ended up writing a 6000+ word "review" on the game*, which is not something I feel I could do with Deadfire. As for the sequel I feel that it suffers a big problem in that it is never truly able to marry its metempsychosis and humanist themes with the colonial politics and backdrop, these two seem to me to exist in very different planes to one another - though granted, I have not played the latest patch which allegedly works on this very issue.

More to the point, I also feel that with regards to the series' humanist and metaphysical themes the game is acting like a bridge between two more interesting and meatier chapters than being a particularly worthy standalone episode. If the series as a whole is about the passage of a theocentric society to a more anthropocentric one, then the first game acts as a revelation and as the moment the gods' authority, and their relationship with humanity, is put into question, yet remains unanswered at a more practical level - even when we find out the "truth", the divine/natural hierarchy as perceived by Eoran society remains unchanged. The second game, in this sense, feels pretty exclusively about the race to the conflict that will put this hierarchy and this relationship between the divine and human in crux, but again leaves the rethinking or reconfiguration of this relationship for an eventual third game. And so what you're left with essentially is a fantastic tease about topics and themes that would be looked into in the future, without tackling them fully in this episode itself, thus making it feel "emptier" on a thematic level as a result. For me anyhow.

As for the second point, however, I just flat-out disagree with the first game being more stylish in its writing than the latter. Whilst I love Pillars (note: I'm using "Pillars" as a reference to the first game specifically because it's easier to abbreviate it that way relative to Deadfire) for the themes it touches on and the way it expands on them, a lot of the dialogue was also often very flat and expositional, telling ideas as they are straight at the player, often to less effect had they been insinuated instead. Lady Webb and Iovara are two egregious cases in point for this, merely existing for being massive info dumps and, in the latter's case especially, exposing the game's ideas so ponderously and hamfistedly that they actively undermined their enduring power. Deadfire isn't without its more expositional moments but even in the worst ones, i.e. our conversations with the gods, there's an effort made to involve several parties and mindsets and make them into more of a conversation and back-and-forth of ideas which at the very least made these scenes appear more dynamic in feel. More to the point, a stroke of brilliance in Deadfire's writing is that the game really manages to create and capture very different feels and cadences for each culture and the way they talk and interact with one another. A Huana never sounds like a Vailian or an Aedyran or a Rauataian, you can tell right away who you're talking to and not just because they say the occasional "ekera" or "Tangaloa" or "I say". Every character seems to have their own dialect or idiolect, thus making them feel like their own unique voice in this setting. The work put into capturing this aspect and highlighting it as strongly in a setting that is precisely about colonial-era cultural clashes is really a master stroke for the game, and really has the first game beat.

Again though, we must return to the first point: whatever dip in writing quality you perceive between Pillars and Deadfire, they were neither big enough to affect the overall reception of one game relative to the other, nor something I reckon has any significant effect on why one game sold better than the other. Part of the reason is that even if you were to find the writing in Deadfire to be worse, you would only know after having played the game, which in most cases would imply you'd already bought the game anyways; and if it is worse, it certainly wasn't worse enough for players and reviewers to make note of it consistently across their reviews, at least enough for it to leave an impression on people who were on the fence about buying it. If anything, dialogue and writing were still often highlighted as strong points in favour of the game in user and professional reviews alike, regardless of what forums like this or the Codex would argue.

The other point is that for every person that criticized Deadfire's writing, in my experience and as per the devs' own feedback there were as many or more who complained about the first game being too wordy, too drab and serious, that the dialogue wasn't voiced thus forcing players to read through several novels' worth of text, that the story felt distant and alienating, and so on. In their videos during Deadfire's production the devs talked about how they were trying to add more levity, to reduce the amount of exposition and descriptive dialogue, how they were committed to adding more V.O., how they wanted to have a clearer hook into the story, and so on, all in response to these same complaints. If anything I think an argument could be made that the writing in the *first* Pillars - and its lack of full V.O. - was a greater drawback for interest in Deadfire than any concerns in Deadfire's writing specifically.

But the final point I'd make here regarding writing as a drawback is the following: even if we'd agree Deadfire's writing was worse than Pillars', is it so much worse so as to drive people away from it in a medium where BioWare, Bethesda and Ubisoft games receive praise for their writing? Even at its worse I don't see how Deadfire's writing is possibly worse than post-KOTOR BioWare, or Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or The Elder Scrolls, or Divinity: Original Sin or Pathfinder: Kingmaker or even the Witcher series for that matter. Regrettably I just don't think "good writing" is that strong a hook in this medium.

On 11/12/2019 at 10:13 AM, ekt0 said:

3. Side quests are more interesting. Some is dramatic. Some is political. In PoE2, most side quests are all about politics.

This point is the one I have the strongest disagreement about. Much as I love the first Pillars and think its side-content was mighty fine throughout, it is night and day compared to Deadfire's own, almost but not quite the jump equivalent to Baldur's Gate onto Baldur's Gate II. In Pillars most of the quests are relatively small and straight-forward, dealing with tiny missions that start and end with themselves. Much like the kid looking for his lost dog in Baldur's Gate, the flavour given to these missions is often one of context, dressing, thematic input or a clever subversion to the same (think the looters at the bridge for example), but on their own they're pithy and to the point, hardly memorable as a "quest". Those which are longer, beefier and which act almost as the set-piece to a particular section or act of the game are few and far between, be they the assault on Raedric's Hold, the exploration of the Endless Depths of Od Nua, or the Skaenite cult at Dyrford. Raedric's Hold is particularly interesting amidst these inasmuch as it can often happen as a response to *other* quests and deeds you've been doing around Gilded Vale, and is itself succeeded by a small quest later in the game; yet this one aside, the only other quests that seem to connect to others to form something of a narrative of their own are really just the faction quests, which themselves are not that extensive as arcs the way they are in Deadfire.

If we look at Deadfire however, whilst there's several quests in the game that are small and self-contained, this same sort of reactivity and interconnectivity is seen far more frequently, and the end result is that what initially seems like a simple quest can soon lead to a new quest and to another right after, thus creating an adventure or side-story all of its own. See the Arkemyr arc for example: you arrive at Periki's Overlook and find two people who want you to infiltrate Arkemyr's manor and retrieve a sacred text from within, offering you several options to enter the manor whilst you're at it. One of them involves getting Fassina to give you her key, should you want to enter through the front door. Chances are that at this point you haven't entered the Dark Cupboard yet, and with this piece of information you're then prompted to do so, upon which you witness Fassina's companion stealing a pair of gloves from the shop. This in turn prompts another small quest which takes you to a different district to attempt to get these gloves back. Being able to acquire the gloves, getting the key to the manor, and then stealing the sacred text and so on, you are then contacted at the moment of delivering the text by Arkemyr, who then opens up the quest Bekarna's Folly, which leads you to confronting Concelhaut again and finding out about the current of souls leading to Ondra's Mortar and so on. At the end of it all, what you have there is a riveting adventure spanning three individual quests that all seem to have naturally sprung from one another as a consequence of your actions and exploration. That's exactly the sort of thing Baldur's Gate II for example excelled at, and where many other RPGs including some of Obsidian's own don't often do: transforming quests into actual adventures and not mere objectives in a list of things to do. Deadfire does it here, but it also does it with the Storms of Poko Kohara, with Blowing the Man Down and our eventual interactions with Aeldys, with the maze of quests and areas that is the Gullet, with the conflict between the Valeras and the Bardattos, with any of the far deeper faction questlines and so on. Even what seem like a normal set of bounties can eventually give you a map that has you travelling to and discovering the Drowned Barrows, which in turn may have you searching across the Deadfire for a set of spellbooks for an overgrown imp which yet again leads to a ghost port and its own wacky adventure there. Deadfire's quests aren't just meatier, they're also better interconnected so as to create the impression of stories and adventures in a way no other game has since Baldur's Gate II in my opinion.

This is all without touching on the flexibility offered by these quests either. The first Pillars offers plenty of flexibility in certain spots such as with the three-path design for Raedric's Hold, but this isn't nearly as consistent and integrated as a general design philosophy as it seems to have been for Deadfire. It really does feel like every quest and situation offers you several paths to not just resolve a certain conflict, but to *get* to that resolution as well. This isn't an attempt to knock Pillars down, but rather to state that to me Deadfire is a masterclass in quest design.

On 11/12/2019 at 10:13 AM, ekt0 said:

7. Even Obsidian does not love this game that much. They left so many story-related bugs up until now. I have reported some of them recently and none of the staffs responds. When you are selling RPG game, the most important thing is story, not game play.

I really don't buy this. I haven't seen anything that suggests Obsidian is somehow displeased with Deadfire as a game or as an artistic product. The disappointment I've seen stems from its commercial success or lack thereof, or with very specific elements like the ship-to-ship combat, and not because it's somehow a less "worthy" game. The existence of bugs and the discontinuation of support isn't a result of their lack of love for it but simply the fact that the game didn't perform well and that it's not in their best financial interests to keep a group patching and working on the game a year after release. Far as I'm concerned, they did what they could. They rebalanced the game completely a few patches in, they released three expansive DLCs (one of which is absolutely brilliant, if you don't mind my saying so), they added a whole new combat mode and even introduced new narrative content in response to feedback. Pillars in comparison was a much more successful game and its success easily justified its continued support - but with the way Deadfire performed, if anything it's a show of commitment that they supported the game for as long as they did and with as much post-launch content as they ended up making.

 

As for the rest of your points, OP, I don't disagree with them as individual criticisms of the game... Yet I still hold that none of them explain Deadfire's disappointing performance. Again, I don't feel that any of these points were brought up with the kind of frequency or gravity so as to drive people away from purchasing it - and most that do share these thoughts will have already played and likely purchased it anyways, as they'd have no other way of making such specific qualitative assessments otherwise. I have my own thoughts about how maybe there's certain elements of the style of the first Pillars and the franchise altogether that could have contributed to a general disinterest in the franchise, but I'll get to it in a separate response.

 

*I'm not sure why, but currently the only copy I'm finding of the review I wrote is hidden in a spoiler tag in this post, if you'd like to read it:

 

Edited by algroth
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My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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20 hours ago, Blunderboss said:

Dude, without any respect to you you are clueless you compare deadfire to mainstream bethesda titles like oblivion and fallout .

You are, once again, engaging in personal attacks without ever once being able to make a coherent argument in support of your claims. The last time you did this (venting your anger at me), you were told off by a refreshingly large number of forum members -- why did you not take the hint? This forum is intended for respectul discussion and argumentation, and you are consistently trying to take it down to a mud-slinging level. Can you recognize, from this thread, that you are the only one who has any interest in it? Please just stop. If you ever feel like writing a personally nasty comment aimed at somebody on this forum, simply do not do it. Nobody is interested.

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7 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Never did I say or even think that Deadfire is the greatest game ever created (that's obviously FTL).

"FTL" is a funny way to spell "Cities: Skylines"

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7 hours ago, wih said:

The management felt they had to include full voice acting because of DOS 2, which had it. They probably feared reviewers would criticize the game otherwise. An understandable decision. It is only bad if you know beforehand the game would undersell.

 

7 hours ago, Boeroer said:

What I took away from Josh's post mortem talk: Ship Combat and Full VO did hurt the most. 

yeah, in the postmortem talk, Josh seemed apologetic in that their use of full VO basically has upped the ante for other small developers as well.

Wanting full VO is truly a perspective I have difficulty getting behind, though I do understand the pressure, and I do see the demand. TOW is still getting criticism for having an unvoiced protagonist, even though everything else is fully voiced. I guess it's just because I grew up on SNES RPGs and old PC games that I'm used to reading walls of text, and frankly I find VO alienating sometimes (in part because I have a fast reading speed so I only ever really hear the first few words of any snippet of dialogue).

 

What I imagine could be a "cost-saving" measure in the future for smaller RPG devs is to rely more on prose description and limit actual dialogue that needs to be voiced. Or not voicing the narrator.

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9 minutes ago, thelee said:

"FTL" is a funny way to spell "Cities: Skylines"

"Cities: Skylines" is a funny way to spell "Planescape: Torment". Punctuation's right at least. 😛

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

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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@algroth

I appreciate your arguments. I have read them all and I see your points. Some are different than mine, but I still respect them. Anyway, I still stand by my prior opinions. Here's why.

First of all, I must say that English is not my native language. I live in Thailand, a country which some of you may not even know of. So, sometimes, I may not be able to find the right adjective or adverb to use in my sentences, which may lead to misunderstanding.

1. About the writing

My previous adjectives may not be correct, especially "depth". Here I cannot find the right word to explain my feeling toward the writing. So, I would just summarize that I prefer the writing in PoE1 to PoE2. I like them more. I find them more attractive, even being too wordy sometimes like you said. The style of PoE1 is like those written in a book, while that of PoE2 is like a direct normal conversation that people talks everyday in their daily life. This might be subjective though. It is about preference.

For the record, I have read every book, every back story of irrelevant NPC in PoE1. I have done the same with PoE2 too.

3. About side quests

I agree with you that side quests in PoE2 allows players to choose more freely, while those in PoE1 are more restrictive and straightforward. Nonetheless, it is not the freedom of how the quests are done that I talked about. I care more about the story behind them. I feel most of side quests in PoE1 are more impactful. They leaves something memorable, which is a good thing for me.

For examples, the quest at Arkemyr's manor is less impactful to me than the first quest to find a potion for a pregnant woman in Gilded Vale. I find the latter more realistic and has some depth in thinking. When you returns to the woman, you have to think whether you tell her the truth or not. On the other hand, the tablet stealing quest feels unrealistic to me. Two women from two powerful factions in the city cannot get the tablet from a wizard citizen. They are so desperate that they have to ask a stranger to intrude the manor and steal it for them. I find this illogical a bit. Even an arch mage should at least listen to a queen's request over an ancient fable tablet. It should be easy for the Huana representative to acquire it.

7. About bugs

As I have graduated in Computer Engineering, I am compelled that all "known" bugs must be fixed. It is the developers' responsibility. I do not ask for an eternal support for the rest of their lives, but they should take care of their product (PoE2) for at least 2 years, like the general standard from any development company. [The game was initially released on May 8, 2018]

I personally have reported 3 minor text story-related bug, which, in my opinion, should be easily fixed. Yet I have had no response. This makes the game less immersive for me.

Edited by ekt0
fix grammar

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For others who think that in-game criticism does not involve in sale drop,

I disagree. We live in the era of internet. Almost everything in our life is reviewed in video format, including video games. I personally have watched Cohh Carnage's playthrough of PoE1 on YouTube, before buying the game myself. I had heard both the good and the bad about this game before I made my decision.

There is no such thing as you have to buy it first before knowing it. People read reviews or listen to others' opinions all the time.

The point is when something is bad, it always shows eventually. That is why I criticize most in-game things. I believe that sale is directly related to the quality of the product.

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38 minutes ago, ekt0 said:

As I have graduated in Computer Engineering, I am compelled that all "known" bugs must be fixed. It is the developers' responsibility. I do not ask for an eternal support for the rest of their lives, but they should take care of their product (PoE2) for at least 2 years, like the general standard from any development company. [The game was initially released on May 8, 2018]

I don't think anyone's disputing or disagreeing with you that it would be nice to get a really bug-free experience (I'm more than a little annoyed that at some point along the way from 4.0->5.0 the once-solid potion usage--especially compared to PoE1--is back to being almost as buggy as PoE1 *sigh*), most of us was disagreeing with you that Obsidian "didn't love the game."

I also work in the tech industry and sometimes there are plenty of things I want to keep improving or fixing on a product but higher ups will decide that dev resources are better spent elsewhere. It's just an ugly fact of business. It's why in most big RPGs I spend a lot of time looking around for a bugfix patch (like for Skyrim) because hobbyists are the ones who have the endless time to keep fixing a game (and sometimes devs in their spare time, too; the one non-critical-bugfixing mod I will use for F:NV is Josh Sawyer's own tweaking mod).

 

Speaking of which, now that I no longer have to keep a pristine copy around for my ultimate run, time to go see about that bugfixing community mod.

Edited by thelee

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@ekt0: Good point about streamers and other influencers in social media and so on. But still: if the quality of Deadfire would have been the problem then that would find its way into user revies which are still (until today) at 84% at steam - and thus a lot better than those for Kingmaker for example. So, not only critics give Deadfire a good rating but most users, too. 

Thus I think the overall argument (poor quality hurt sales) is not valid - or better: it doesn't explain the massive sales drop. 

And (even more) seriously now: who doesn't know Thailand? :)

 


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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2 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

@ekt0: Good point about streamers and other influencers in social media and so on. But still: if the quality of Deadfire would have been the problem then that would find its way into user revies which are still (until today) at 84% at steam - and thus a lot better than those for Kingmaker for example. So, not only critics give Deadfire a good rating but most users, too. 

Thus I think the overall argument (poor quality hurt sales) is not valid - or better: it doesn't explain the massive sales drop. 

And (even more) seriously now: who doesn't know Thailand? :)

 

More to the point, P:K was excoriated for bugs (the reason why the completion rate was so low was in part because there were bugs preventing people from getting to the endgame, and even after that, from logging the achievement). Even here, there was some schadenfreude from regular forum-goers mocking P:K fans (who were PoE-ers who flounced away) for the bugginess of their preferred product. Didn't seem to have hurt their sales.

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It most likely hurt the reviews. Nearly all negative steam reviews mention the bugs. 


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Still, I just would like to one more time, remind that discussing player experience after finishing the game is fairly irrelevant, as we are not discussing whenever PoE1 is better then PoE2. We discuss why whole bunch of players who bought PoE1 didn't buy PoE2. What their experience would be if they played the game, isn't of importance.

Sometimes good things don't sell, sometimes bad things sell. I think it is fair to say, that PoE2 didn't blow people's socks off enough to have a positive word-of-mouth, but that shouldn't matter: it is a sequel to the game which sold well, and if people would want the sequel they would give POE2 a go, even if it had some downsides. You know how people threaten reviewers when their favourite game, which they didn't play get's lower score then they wished for? I doubt criticism like "the story didn't grip me as well as before" would make a dent, if audience from PoE1 was actively interested in PoE2.

I would go so far, as to say that PoE1 must be the reason why PoE2 didn't sell. One might blame new setting, and minor changes the game made, but I just don't believe that if someone enjoyed PoE1 thoroughly, they wouldn't give PoE2 go. I think it is fair to say, that setting of PoE2 shouldn't feel or look alien to someone who engaged with PoE1, beyond: "screenshots remind me of Baldur's Gate". 

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13 minutes ago, Wormerine said:

I would go so far, as to say that PoE1 must be the reason why PoE2 didn't sell. One might blame new setting, and minor changes the game made, but I just don't believe that if someone enjoyed PoE1 thoroughly, they wouldn't give PoE2 go. I think it is fair to say, that setting of PoE2 shouldn't feel or look alien to someone who engaged with PoE1, beyond: "screenshots remind me of Baldur's Gate". 

This is why I also fall back on my experience with peers/friends. Pure anecdote, but of all the many people who bought/backed PoE1 only two followed through with Deadfire (and one only after it had been out for a while). I haven't asked them directly but the sense from the non-Deadfire-players mostly seems "meh" even though they liked PoE1, which suggests to me that some nostalgic niche had been satisfied or low enough awareness that they aren't motivated to get it. (And it's not like they picked up P:K instead, either. In fact, only the two Deadfire players have picked up other top-down RPGs [excluding things like bethesda games], one played DOS2, the other picked up Wasteland 2.)

 

edit - we are all also several years older than when PoE1 is out so it might also just be life getting in the way. hard to tell, if only someone had the money to do actual market research here.

Edited by thelee

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On 11/12/2019 at 7:13 AM, ekt0 said:

When you are selling RPG game, the most important thing is story, not game play.

With this last bit I strongly disagree. Gameplay is paramount in any game.  Great gameplay can excuse bad writing in the same way that great art, in a comic or graphic novel can... But the same is not true of the reverse. Bad art will kill even the best written script, as surely as bad gameplay will; both sap at the will to continue the experience, and are immediate cause to abandon it.


I have comics that I have never read, because I don't want to look at them; I have games that I know nothing about, because I don't want to play them. Conversely, I have comics that are almost nothing but pretty pictures—fun despite/ even because of that. With games (being their own special kind of interactive experience), having outstanding gameplay can excuse even horrendous art along with having poor writing—or even complete lack of a story. Why?  Because in games, the art and story are just decoration for the game mechanics.  Only good game mechanics makes a good game; the rest makes for a pretty game—if game at all.

 

I was really liking Pillars [1] until a gameplay flaw stopped my game. There is a text encounter with a wall of thorns that can be slipped through—but only in one-direction (which you learn afterwards). What I found out on the other side was an encounter impossible to survive in my party's condition, so (having no other option) I sent them further down the adjacent stairs.  The next map was something they could handle, and most of the map after that, but seeing as there is no means of healing the party—even on an entirely non-hostile map, without a campfire [🤪] they could never escape the dungeon, and withered away to just a few hitpoints each; and I quit. 

Bad game mechanics IMO.

Edited by Gizmo

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8 hours ago, ekt0 said:

@algroth

I appreciate your arguments. I have read them all and I see your points. Some are different than mine, but I still respect them. Anyway, I still stand by my prior opinions. Here's why.

First of all, I must say that English is not my native language. I live in Thailand, a country which some of you may not even know of. So, sometimes, I may not be able to find the right adjective or adverb to use in my sentences, which may lead to misunderstanding.

I getcha, don't worry. English isn't my native tongue either, I'm from Argentina myself. No judgement passed on my part. 😄

8 hours ago, ekt0 said:

My previous adjectives may not be correct, especially "depth". Here I cannot find the right word to explain my feeling toward the writing. So, I would just summarize that I prefer the writing in PoE1 to PoE2. I like them more. I find them more attractive, even being too wordy sometimes like you said. The style of PoE1 is like those written in a book, while that of PoE2 is like a direct normal conversation that people talks everyday in their daily life. This might be subjective though. It is about preference.

For the record, I have read every book, every back story of irrelevant NPC in PoE1. I have done the same with PoE2 too.

3. About side quests

I agree with you that side quests in PoE2 allows players to choose more freely, while those in PoE1 are more restrictive and straightforward. Nonetheless, it is not the freedom of how the quests are done that I talked about. I care more about the story behind them. I feel most of side quests in PoE1 are more impactful. They leaves something memorable, which is a good thing for me.

For examples, the quest at Arkemyr's manor is less impactful to me than the first quest to find a potion for a pregnant woman in Gilded Vale. I find the latter more realistic and has some depth in thinking. When you returns to the woman, you have to think whether you tell her the truth or not. On the other hand, the tablet stealing quest feels unrealistic to me. Two women from two powerful factions in the city cannot get the tablet from a wizard citizen. They are so desperate that they have to ask a stranger to intrude the manor and steal it for them. I find this illogical a bit. Even an arch mage should at least listen to a queen's request over an ancient fable tablet. It should be easy for the Huana representative to acquire it.

I can understand a preference for the first game's dialogue, I think it fits a particular mood the first game is able to capture really well, in terms of it being a grimmer, more desolate experience, finding yourself in a setting that is trying to cope with the loss of an entire generation and possibly of all kith in an eventual future. It's an atmosphere of hopelessness, of desperation, of deep existential turmoil manifesting into social unrest. The dialogue is flatter, more muted, more ponderous, but it largely fits that context and story. I certainly love it, I just wouldn't call it more "stylish", if you catch my drift (I would hesitate to call it "better" either, but I wouldn't oppose an argument in favour of it necessarily either).

However, I think we're missing the point here. The question isn't why one would prefer the first game over the sequel, but rather why the sequel didn't sell as well. For the sequel to not have sold as well these thoughts and opinions have to transcend mere personal taste, and I don't think they do with enough frequency so as to affect public prejudice towards Deadfire, and thus its sales. More on this point here...

8 hours ago, ekt0 said:

For others who think that in-game criticism does not involve in sale drop,

I disagree. We live in the era of internet. Almost everything in our life is reviewed in video format, including video games. I personally have watched Cohh Carnage's playthrough of PoE1 on YouTube, before buying the game myself. I had heard both the good and the bad about this game before I made my decision.

There is no such thing as you have to buy it first before knowing it. People read reviews or listen to others' opinions all the time.

The point is when something is bad, it always shows eventually. That is why I criticize most in-game things. I believe that sale is directly related to the quality of the product.

This is very true, nowadays people get informed by video reviews, streamers and influencers, and even engage with games differently than they did in the past. Nowadays *watching* games is as much a means of enjoying a game as is *playing* it, and I reckon Deadfire and CRPGs in general fail inasmuch as they don't provide very good "backseat gaming" experiences the way games like Fortnite or League of Legends might - or even World of Warcraft or Skyrim or The Outer Worlds (whose sales are exceeding expectations) for that matter. But more on this later.

The issue I have with this point is that I too like to consume a fair bit of YouTube channels, Twitch streams and the likes and see how other people play these games and what their thoughts on them are. See, Cohh himself played Deadfire at the time of release... And he loved it. He thought it was an excellent game, praised the writing, praised the setting and quest design and so on. Other channels and reviewers like Worth a Buy, gameranx, ACG et al. also reviewed the game and praised it to high heavens, in part for all these elements. Even channels and streamers like Stratedgy or Lorerunner, who were less enthused by the first game, expressed very positive opinions for the sequel. Working from memory the only two that seem less enthused by Deadfire overall seem to be Super Bunnyhop - who did find the game to feel shallower and so on, as you did too - and NeverKnowsBest - who was also pretty negative on the first game to begin with. In this regard, I think we can safely say that opinions were once again generally quite positive. Word of mouth, in general, was positive, so again, it couldn't possibly have acted as a deterrant.

However, the issue here stands with those people who *didn't* cover the sequel when they did so the first game. Angry Joe, Jim Sterling, The Escapist, and others who reviewed and spoke in depth about the first game didn't cover Deadfire. Why? Did they not enjoy the game? Did they not play it whatsoever? Silence is an even bigger killer than negative reception in the end - at the very least a negative review reminds the reader that the game exists.

All in all, whilst it's certainly true that word of mouth will affect sales, and bad games that ride on the success of their franchise or else will drop off sooner rather than later - but one's own opinions aren't necessarily shared by the wider audience out there, and again, there's nothing in the reviews and user scores we have that indicate word of mouth for Deadfire was anything less than positive.

Finally, a small bit on this...

8 hours ago, ekt0 said:

7. About bugs

As I have graduated in Computer Engineering, I am compelled that all "known" bugs must be fixed. It is the developers' responsibility. I do not ask for an eternal support for the rest of their lives, but they should take care of their product (PoE2) for at least 2 years, like the general standard from any development company. [The game was initially released on May 8, 2018]

I personally have reported 3 minor text story-related bug, which, in my opinion, should be easily fixed. Yet I have had no response. This makes the game less immersive for me.

I'm not a computer engineer or a programmer of any sort, so I'll approach this as a layman. @thelee makes an interesting point bringing up Pathfinder: Kingmaker, a game that allegedly sold better whilst being absolutely, undeniably broken on release. I'd also suggest some other games here too: Fallout: New Vegas was itself a buggy, broken mess upon release, and yet remains Obsidian's greatest hit. KOTOR 2, similarly broken. These games are so broken they even require mods and fan-made patches to be properly enjoyable in this day and age. In comparison to these games Deadfire was nowhere as buggy or broken - I myself was able to finish the game on release with only a few issues here or there, which didn't really affect my overall perception of the game at the end of the day.

The issue present with all the above examples is that they all belong to far bigger and more established IPs as well. Pathfinder: Kingmaker may have been a rather average and completely bugged game, but it was still a Pathfinder CRPG, the *first* Pathfinder CRPG as far as I'm aware. Fallout and STAAAR WAAARS (/Rich Evans) are likewise massive IPs. Pillars, in comparison, far less so.

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

Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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One thing I don't see many people mention.

It's a sequel. To a dense classic crpg. Which demands lots of reading, and strategic understanding.

People apt to get it are likely older, whose time is limited. Where the first game satiated their fix and other things are now more important. Where the new comers choose to play the first in belief they'll go on to purchase the second, but never even finish the first game.

The fig campaign raised almost as much funding, with half of the funders. I think that is evidence that the series is largely cared for by a niche of a niche, and it's the whales coming out to bolster the numbers. Fig always seemed a bit like writing on the wall to me, as if you know you're going to play it. It's cheaper and you likely get more if you back early. So a lot of people didn't even find that compelling this time around. They knew if they would ever get the game, it would be in a deep holiday sale on steam or gog years down the road when maybe they've finally beaten the first game.

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13 hours ago, algroth said:

The issue present with all the above examples is that they all belong to far bigger and more established IPs as well. Pathfinder: Kingmaker may have been a rather average and completely bugged game, but it was still a Pathfinder CRPG, the *first* Pathfinder CRPG as far as I'm aware. Fallout and STAAAR WAAARS (/Rich Evans) are likewise massive IPs. Pillars, in comparison, far less so.

dang that's a good point. this is why everything is part of a larger franchise these days *sigh*

 

12 hours ago, injurai said:

The fig campaign raised almost as much funding, with half of the funders. I think that is evidence that the series is largely cared for by a niche of a niche, and it's the whales coming out to bolster the numbers. Fig always seemed a bit like writing on the wall to me, as if you know you're going to play it. It's cheaper and you likely get more if you back early. So a lot of people didn't even find that compelling this time around. They knew if they would ever get the game, it would be in a deep holiday sale on steam or gog years down the road when maybe they've finally beaten the first game.

this is also a good point. Yeah, the fig campaign funding stream was shallower and this time around had speculators (due to the presence of fig shares work) instead of some true-believer fans. However, I also saw some (minor) backlash that PoE1 was successful, so why were they reaching out to fans to help fund the sequel? I don't know how much of a factor that could've been (maybe not much).

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For me its quite clear what went wrong with PoE 2, it is direct sequel. Many people havent completed first part so starting direct sequel feel quite uncomfortable. Situation would totally different with another hero and story. Setting and lore is so great in PoE soni really hope they will make more PoE games. We just need a another hero.

 

Of course there were some quite derious flaws. Difficulty was balanced very poorly, games being much too easy. And on hardest difficulty levels game just start to feel like work, not challenging, just boring work. Another thing, when you playing crpg and reach level cap halfway game something is very wrong. These problem are in all newer Obsidianin games, PoEs, Tyranny and Outer Worlds. I still love these games but that is what separates from being true classics. And i believe these things annoy other hardcoreplayers too, and hardcoreplayers are core audience for these kind of games. If core audience appriciates then bigger audiences may follow after good word spreads around.

 

My tips for Obsidian in nutshell:

1. Dont do direct sequels, but use great settings you are already created.

2. Dont try to balance your games with all for everyone mentality, remember your core audience, and balance your games strictly for them. 

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I think that ultimately Pillars as a franchise is aimed at a very narrow niche and Deadfire just didn't appeal to enough of this already small market. It's an isometric D&D-like game that's nonetheless not actually D&D and thus doesn't have the familiarity or brand power. PoE 1 had this "whoa, it's just like Baldur's Gate" wonder factor that Deadfire couldn't replicate, both due to timing and moving away from it in terms of mechanics, story and setting. So its lack of success is just a messy bundle of timing and demand. We'd all like to find one big thing to point a finger at, but there isn't one.

Edited by MortyTheGobbo
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