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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - Owlcat Games' next isometric Pathfinder RPG


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https://wrath.owlcatgames.com

https://www.pcgamer.com/pathfinder-wrath-of-the-righteous-announced/

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous announced
A new CRPG with a new setting, as an indirect sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

QxowwJKXtrRJ3YDNbtgETW.jpg

I never set out to become a king, but apparently the king life can just choose you, as my poor confused Cleric found out in my first playthrough of 2018's Pathfinder: Kingmaker. He showed up trying to pay off his student loans and ended up sitting on a throne fending off dryads, giant owlbears, and tax collectors.

At release, Kingmaker offered deadly CRPG combat and memorable moments of humor (like the Inconsequent Debates quest) alongside a unique kingdom management aspect. "The muscle memory I developed playing Baldur’s Gate for hundreds of hours came straight back to me," Andy Kelly wrote in our review.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous today, the studio looks to build on the series' foundation. “We learned a lot from the launch of the Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Now we are making a lot of effort to make sure the game will be released far more polished. A lot of issues came from the fact that the player has a lot of choices in the game, and some of those choices (especially ones that are set apart by 20-30 hours of gameplay) tend to interact in the ways that we didn’t predict.” said Alexander Mishulin, creative director at Owlcat. Mishulin also described additional tools that have been created to help level designers “follow the entire decision tree to make sure the team appropriately addresses all branches.”

Wrath of the Righteous will migrate the RPG to a new part of the world of Golarion, the Worldwound, a demon-infested wasteland where a planar tear to the Abyss—which you’ll be able to visit—has opened. This unfortunate landscape is where you’ll be thrown into a war between mortals and demons. I imagine that a widespread demonic siege will ratchet up the stakes a bit. I’m definitely more worried about rampaging demons than whether or not to pay off a mafia of bards, as I frequently found myself doing in Kingmaker.

Wrath’s setting is actually based on the adventure module for the Pathfinder tabletop game of the same name, so “players of the original adventure path will encounter a lot of familiar faces and encounters, but [there] also will be new characters, twists, and stories,” said Mishulin.

With this change in setting comes a corresponding shift in visual style, moving Pathfinder towards a darker vibe. A meager, single piece of art has been released so far, but from it I can see that the emphasis on the angelic versus the demonic is heavy, and that the action is more dangerous: swords are bloodied and demons are having their faces disassembled.

Owlcat is also bringing at least two new base classes and the mythic progression system from the Pathfinder tabletop game. This system will let you pick from six different Mythics, including a mischievous trickster, an immortal lich, a celestial angel, and others. The mythic progression system grants quite a few powerful ability choices in the tabletop game, so you can expect to have an extra layer of customization on your main character.

Regarding new classes, we know for sure that the Witch—who operates precisely like you’d expect with spells, hexes, and a witch's familiar—will be making an appearance. Alongside them, the Oracle, who is a kind of belief-oriented holy spellcaster, is joining the cast to butt heads with the demonic hordes. There’s no concrete details on which other classes or prestige classes will appear, but there will be new ones beyond those that appeared in Kingmaker, and there’s also going to be a new race and new archetypes to play with.

The unique part of Kingmaker was certainly the kingdom management, and I’m hoping the system will add more meaningful choices in assembling settlements and reduce the number of high risk/low reward events. “In the Wrath of the Righteous we want to keep the best parts of the mix of strategic and RPG experiences," Mishulin told me. "Make it slightly deeper, with a better connection to the core experience and tailored to the story of the Wrath of the Righteous. And of course, we will be listening to our fans to make this system even more enjoyable.”

From the sounds of it, we’ll see a return of a similar system. Perhaps Wrath will put a focus on managing the war effort against the demonic invaders similar to Mass Effect 3? I’d certainly like to see my next befuddled cleric confront a more serious threat, though I imagine he’ll probably be trying to figure out if his loan servicer will accept demon scales.

Owlcat hasn’t shared a release window with this announcement, but more information should come with time over on Wrath of the Righteous' official website.

Edited by Infinitron
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Indeed. I would preferred Carrion Crown or Curse of the Crimson Throne, but yes, can’t wait for more PF goodness!

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am not a fan o' the particular ap being used, but am suspecting it will be a popular choice. wrath is the munchkin ap. wrath uses the pathfinder mythic rules which gives players and foes special abilities and powhaz.

Spoiler

in the penultimate module in the ap (5 of 6,) the party faces a demon lord with a challenge level of 27.

"round 1: baphomet casts time stop. on the rounds that follow, he summons a balor and a labyrinth minotaur. if he has any additional rounds after these, he summons more balors-- he can summon a total of three of these demons.

"round 2: baphomet cats imprisonment on the party's most accomplished healer (or if one exists, any spellcaster capable of casting freedom,) and quickened greater dispel magic to remove the most dangerous of the PC's current spells in effect."

module FIVE.

sooper weapons and uber villains in abundance.

is not a great sandbox ap and is perhaps less depth than many o' the other adventure paths from paizo-- is a paucity o' creative non-combat options.  that said, if you wanna have your party o' demigods face down epic fiends and their hordes o' powerful minions, this is the ap for you. 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Looks promising. Though I do hope that there will be no rolls for out-of-combat skill checks. Timers are fine.

7 hours ago, Infinitron said:

Now we are making a lot of effort to make sure the game will be released far more polished.

I am very skeptical about it, but purchasing games at launch is a bad idea in general, unless you want to support the developers.

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My impression was that the reception to 2nd edition was rather lukewarm as a result of it distancing itself from its D&D 3.5 roots and making concessions towards those who had defected to D&D 5. That said Owlcat has said in their FAQ that they found some elements of 2nd Edition Pathfinder interesting and are looking into whether or not those very changes can be integrated in the WotR cRPG.

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"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

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9 hours ago, KaineParker said:

I'm a little disappointed tbh, the 2nd edition of Pathfinder is significantly better and it's a shame they're seemingly sticking to the first edition.

In contrast, I am maybe to much conservative, but our gaming group is not very happy with 2nd Ed of rules, so I am really happy about another game in 1st Ed.

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5) Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PS3 - 200+ hours

6) Tales of Xillia - PS3 - 135+ hours

7) Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 - PS3 - 152+ hours

8.) Grand Turismo 6 - PS3 - 81+ hours (including Senna Master DLC)

9) Demon's Souls - PS3 - 197+ hours

10) Tales of Graces f - PS3 - 337+ hours

11) Star Ocean: The Last Hope International - PS3 - 750+ hours

12) Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - PS3 - 127+ hours

13) Soulcalibur V - PS3 - 73+ hours

14) Gran Turismo 5 - PS3 - 600+ hours

15) Tales of Xillia 2 - PS3 - 302+ hours

16) Mortal Kombat XL - PS4 - 95+ hours

17) Project CARS Game of the Year Edition - PS4 - 120+ hours

18) Dark Souls - PS3 - 197+ hours

19) Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory - PS3 - 238+ hours

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https://venturebeat.com/2019/12/05/pathfinder-wrath-of-the-righteous-is-pointing-the-way-for-indie-studio-owlcat-games/view-all/

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is pointing the way for indie studio Owlcat Games


Pathfinder-Wrath-of-the-Righteous.png?fi

Pathfinder has been good to Owlcat Games. The Moscow-based indie studio put out its first game last year, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, winning acclaim and awards (even if it was a bit rough at launch). It helped Owlcat secure $1 million in funding for its next game, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, which it announced Wednesday.

Wrath of the Righteous is an adaptation of the Pathfinder adventure path that launched in 2013, similar to Owlcat’s debut with Kingmaker. The campaign has this corner of Golarion (the world of the Age of Lost Omens setting) under a demonic assault, and you and your adventuring party must deal with it. It also adds mythic progression, which your characters can take on mantle of lichdoom … or the wings of an angel. It’s for PC, with no release date yet.

In some ways, Owlcat feels like a Pathfinder studio, similar to Beamdog and its focus on lovingly preserving old Dungeons & Dragons games.

“[Pathfinder’s] catalog is fantastic. When you browse through their world guide and see a nation, you want to have an adventure there,” Owlcat creative director Alexander Mishulin said in an interview last week. “The stories told in the adventure paths are really great, and you either want to play them or game-master them. And here, what we’re doing, we’re really game-mastering to the whole RPG audience.

“This is what draws us. All the stories about this world are great and inspire us to bring even more to this world and tell more stories about it.”

Owlcat Games head Oleg Shpilchevskiy notes how using Pathfinder for their studio’s base is akin to working from a foundation.

“Pathfinder is based on a very mechanical system, with which you can build everything,” he said. “So combining deep mechanical stuff with the imagination of the Golarion setting, which we’re crazy about, with great characters –”

And Mishulin interjects with “and great, great character building. And the people who are into these kinds of games are into the mechanics and the fighting, and Pathfinder brings both stories and mechanics into the mix.”

Wrath of the Righteous is bringing back the 15 classes and seven prestige classes from Kingmaker, adding the witch and oracle (Owlcat says it’ll reveal more in the future). Paizo published the second edition of Pathfinder in August, and while Owlcat has had some time to look over it, don’t expect Wrath of the Righteous to use the 2E rules. “Right now, we’re sticking to the first edition, probably with some additions and advancements,” Mishulin said.

Mishulin and lead writer Alexander Komzolov return to head the narrative team, and longtime RPG writer Chris Avellone will contribute as well.

“As in Kingmaker, we consider ourselves the game master, so the tone will not change,” Mishulin said. “It will be in the same area as the adventure path, and the main storyline will be close to the adventure path. But as in [Kingmaker], we’ll add some things, remove some things, add some emphasis of our own to introduce you to the key NPCs of the adventure path.”

 

Why Wrath?
Owlcat-Oleg-Shpilchevskiy-Alexander-Mish
Above: Owlcat Games head Oleg Shpilchevskiy (left) and Alexander Mishulin don’t just make Pathfinder games — they love the tabletop RPG.


Pathfinder has more than two dozen adventure paths (which in part explains why I see so many products for the game at my local used book store). Why does Owlcat thinks Wrath of the Righteous lends itself to a video game adaptation?

“It tells a very ominous story, but we can tell it in a way that nobody else has told that story,” Mishulin said. “What does a demonic invasion mean? How do the Crusaders feel after waging a 100-year war against them? How does it feel to be a volatile force in this conflict, and what price will you pay? How relationships with your friends and neighbors change when you acquire this power?”

Wrath gives players a chance to acquire great power with mythic progression. But Mishulin’s right when he notes the narrative payoff of seeing how your relationships and alliances change once you go down the path to lichdom. You allies may not want to hang around an undead wizard who uses rotting corpses as tools.

But Mishulin also notes that Wrath presents some fantastic foes: demons.

“[Wrath] gives us some cool enemies, because a lot of enemies are big, strong, powerful, and usually interesting,” he said. “And this adventure path brings mythics, and mythics add an additional layer of character development for already deep system, so it becomes even more interesting and allows you to build even more interesting characters, tell more interesting stories.”

I also asked Paizo’s Mark Morland, the franchise manager for Pathfinder, for his perspective views on why Wrath lends itself to a video game adaptation.

“Wrath of the Righteous is truly an epic story of the battle between good and evil, with the literal fate of the world in the player’s hands. In this campaign, players ascend to the pinnacle of mortal power, eventually treating with deities and even battling a few. Who doesn’t want to go toe to tentacle with a demon lord or two, stop a demonic invasion that threatens the very fabric of reality, and become a hero (or villain) worthy of myth in the process?”

Mythic movements
In Wrath of the Righteous, players can embark on the mythic progression paths. This gives them some cool powers, but it also changes the storyline and decisions you make. Owlcat is adding the lich (big spells plus undead minions); the trickster (it’s about finding mischief and fun, but you can also turn those critical failures into successes); and the angel (you get celestial allies and can throw around bolts of divine judgment).

I asked Paizo about mythic progression, just to learn a bit more about it. Turns out Wrath is special because it’s the only adventure path published so far to use the mythic rules from the Pathfinder Mythic Adventures supplement. “The mythic paths available to players under that system, archmage, champion, guardian, hierophant, marshal, and trickster, were each tied thematically to one of the six ability scores at the core of a character’s statistics. In the forthcoming adaptation of the campaign, Owlcat will be exploring other sources of mythic power beyond these original mythic paths,” Morland said.

And it turns out that a lot of this mythic stuff requires a game master to work, at least on the tabletop.

“In play, a PC can’t just become a lich; they need to work with their GM to do so. That’s how mythic levels work as well. A GM presents the players with trials they have to overcome in order to advance in their mythic path,” Morland said. “So think of ascending to angelhood as just another option for the GM, in this case, the computer game itself, to offer to players to tap into mythic power. It’s a really exciting and innovative way of adding narrative elements to the mythic rules and adapting them to a medium that doesn’t have a human game master.”

It sounds cool. Who doesn’t want to be a lich, ordering undead hordes around, or a trickster who can twist fate? But don’t these mythics present a balance challenge when adapting a tabletop game with a game master to make final calls and adjustments with computer code that can’t tweak things on-the-fly? A respect for the rules lead Owlcat into some situations with Kingmaker that felt like would’ve been resolved with a human game master, not a game AI.

pathfinder-kingmaker.jpg?resize=1024%2C4
Above: Pathfinder: Kingmaker is Owlcat’s first game.


“It’s an additional dimension of character-building, and of course there are some feats and powers that click together, and some that extremely not, from paper to digital, and we’ll find this out before it happens for the players,” Mishulin said. “And also, we want you to feel powerful. So all your abilities, whether you’re a lich or a trickster or an angel, they are really powerful and kinda game-breaking, but we will have counters for that.”

Take the trickster. Mishulin says that at certain times, they can manipulate the world itself. It’s a high-level ability. When they miss (with a roll of a 1 on a 20-side die), they can change it to a 20. “And you see the roll changes before you, as he’s tweaking the dice that underlay the world and the game.”

[As an aside, this reminds me of the most enjoyable magic item I ever created for my old D&D group: The Orb of Boonedoggerish Luck, which turned all natural 1s into natural 20s. I made it for a friend (whom we sometimes called “Boonedogger” and who rolled an inordinate amount of natural 1s. Of course, once he got this, his first roll was a … natural 20.]

You’ll also face some disadvantages. What happens when you start adventuring as a lich?

“We still want you to feel powerful, so the positives will be better than the negatives. But there will still be some negatives. Some of this will come from the story and your relations to your companions, because not all of them will like what you’re doing and what you’re becoming,” he said. “Some of them are really good-natured … and they will not look kindly on you turning into an evil mastermind, a master of necromancy.

Demonic devilry
Demons are the adversaries in Wrath of the Righteous. In the adventure path, you end up matching wits with powerful nobles and lords such as Baphomet, the succubus queen Nocticula, and Deskari, Lord of the Locust Host (who also is known as the “Usher of the Apocalypse.” I was curious about what Owlcat thought of the demonic foes they’d be throwing at players in their next game.

“The one I do like most I can’t tell you about the most because it would spoil the story,” Mishulin said. “I really like balors. If you play them right, they can be very smart, intimidating opponents and leaders of the demon armies.”

The Pathfinder balor, of course, is similar to the powerful balor from D&D, itself largely influenced by the balrogs of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Shpilchevskiy picked one a little more … weak. “I personally like dretches. They’re quite funny. It’s interesting that there are some funny moments in the supremely dark atmosphere of the 100-year crusade.”

The second time around
At launch, Kingmaker had issues. It had a lot of bugs: long loading screens, long bootup on slower, older hard drives, trouble with spells and cleric domains, and many more. It also had some balance issues and other opaque mechanics, such as needing area-of-effect damage to kill swarms of creatures like spiders (this was an infamous issue with one early quest). This was Owlcat’s first launch, and managing a game of this size and scope is a challenge for many studios, especially smaller, independent houses.

“That was not a pleasant moment,” Shpilchevskiy said about Kingmaker’s launch. “Those days, we experienced a lot of troubles and technical issues, and some of them, we could’ve predicted them. … We realize that actually, we had to invest our events into polishing the game.”

Pathfinder-full-art.png?resize=1024%2C52
Above: Demons and angels star in Wrath of the Righteous — but I’d love to see some Slaadi.


Part of this came from the nature of the Pathfinder system. Shpilchevskiy said that even they didn’t realize some of the interactions with the complex ruleset, and even parts that they had polished several times still had aspects that players were able to exploit … or whose decisions resulted in bugs. “Some interesting, and some not so interesting bugs,” he said. “This time, we’re focused on maintaining the quality at the best level and invest a lot of efforts in what is functional quality assurance, what we’re doing right now, and some technical instruments we’re using now to ensure that quality is the center of our focus.”

The $1 million in funding should help with this, along with the knowledge gleaned from making Kingmaker and learning how to best balance the complicated Pathfinder system. And larger companies like Larian Studios (Divinity: Original Sin) and Obsidian (Pillars of Eternity) have had their share of issues with bugs and balance with big, complicated RPG systems and interactions.

“With a classical RPGs, the amount of choices are so big that they tend to lead to very, very complex systems. And right now, when we design the game, we are going to, mind you, not reduce the complexity, but to visualize this complexity fully to understand if we have some branches that are not addressed, and we’ll need to do this,” Mishulin said. “And it’s all part of that special effort that Oleg talks about. It’s special tools that allows the writer and model designers to understand what information they bring along from one story to another story and how they can all address it.”

One way they’re addressing this is with a system a bot system that’ll play Wrath for hours upon hours during development.

“[It will] try to explore as many branches of the decisions tree as possible,” Shpilchevskiy said. “Now, this bot has played several hundreds of hours, and we believe it will help us find a lot of issues that just couldn’t be found by a functional test.”

Mishulin related one story of an unexpected interaction from Kingmaker, the sort of thing they hope the bot and testing catches before launch with Wrath.

“We received a save that led to the player losing the game due to Vordakai [a foe who can become your adviser] destroying the kingdom with his magical Oculus,” he said. “You pressed next day, and your kingdom gets destroyed. The problem is that Vordakai gets killed by this player, and somehow, the Oculus still ends up working. It took us a while to understand that what really happened was that this player was rushing to kill Vordakai because he was getting the warning that his kingdom would get destroyed if he’d get into this dungeon. … He actually killed Vordakai 6 minutes before the next day started.”

But, Mishulin said, they designed the kingdom to grow on a daily basis, not a minute basis. “And this late day didn’t actually count for this player,” he said. “And by the goal day, he was already dead. But the system will dock him the next day.”

Mishulin said by the time they’d received this bug report, Owlcat had fixed the problem. But they’d learned was actually “the James Bond of this fight against Vordakai.” He’d managed to accomplish his goal 6 minutes before the cutoff, but because the game didn’t recognize minutes in such a manner, it still killed the player. Even though he should’ve been alive.

Let’s just hope that this time, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous won’t kill anyone after they pull off a James Bond-esque move.

 

Edited by Infinitron
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I loved Chapter 1, and the game overall has so much potential. But I hated the Kingdom management just as much, so hearing that they will keep serving up that pain in the donkey means that I will give this game a hard pass. I had no previous investment in the world(s) of Pathfinder, except Obsidian's card game, so I have no craving for it per se.

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1 hour ago, IndiraLightfoot said:

I loved Chapter 1, and the game overall has so much potential. But I hated the Kingdom management just as much, so hearing that they will keep serving up that pain in the donkey means that I will give this game a hard pass.

Huh? Confused. There's no kingdom management style anything in the new game. What am I missing?

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5 hours ago, kanisatha said:

Huh? Confused. There's no kingdom management style anything in the new game. What am I missing?

"The unique part of Kingmaker was certainly the kingdom management, and I’m hoping the system will add more meaningful choices in assembling settlements and reduce the number of high risk/low reward events. “In the Wrath of the Righteous we want to keep the best parts of the mix of strategic and RPG experiences," Mishulin told me. "Make it slightly deeper, with a better connection to the core experience and tailored to the story of the Wrath of the Righteous. And of course, we will be listening to our fans to make this system even more enjoyable.”

"From the sounds of it, we’ll see a return of a similar system. Perhaps Wrath will put a focus on managing the war effort against the demonic invaders similar to Mass Effect 3? I’d certainly like to see my next befuddled cleric confront a more serious threat, though I imagine he’ll probably be trying to figure out if his loan servicer will accept demon scales."

am ambivalent 'bout the next owlcat offering for multiple reasons, but significant 'cause o' the return of kingdom building, which were unintuitive and frequent obtuse. 

am not a mythic fan, so wrath, even if is done well, is not our ideal. 

wrath also makes relationships with pivotal npcs part o' core gameplay, which is actual a standard aspect o' most single-player party-based crpgs, no? in pnp, you got a party o' rl players, but in crpgs, your fellow gamers is ordinarily replaced by joinable npcs who have their dialogues and stories written by the developers.  unlike most pnp adventures, wrath already contemplates the equivalent o' 8 (+8) potential party npcs. potential joinable npcs already have considerable development in wrath. a few o' those joinables is if not essential to wrath, then at least have a high order o' importance. 

...

writing o' the companions (writing period) were kinda sucktastic in kingmaker. does not bode well if one cares 'bout narrative issues. am thinking owlcat should kinda play to their hack n' slash strengths rather than getting themselves into a situation where enjoyment o' a title depends on quality o' writing.

but again, if you were a big fan o' kingmaker combat encounters and you like epic 1007s and monsters, then mythic looks like an ideal offering. 

aside: am thinking the three bestest ap's from paizo for pathfinder, regardless o' our personal tastes, were kingmaker, skull and shackles and carrion crown. the kingdom building which were a hallmark o' the pnp ap were handled poorly by owlcat. haven't played owlcat's game in months, so maybe they fixed eventual while we weren't looking, but am wary 'bout investing more hours of frustration in the title. skull and shackles were another sandbox ap with ships and pirates... were kinda what we hoped deadfire coulda' been. even so, am thinking it would be silly for owlcat to do a pirate game following deadfire. carrion crown were what we were hoping for, and such is in spite o' fact we do not actual like most gothic horror elements.  there is a couple dozen 1e pathfinder aps. wrath wouldn't be in our top 10. our anticipation for the next owlcat game is therefore inordinate swayed by our pnp experience, which may be unfortunate.

HA! Good Fun!

ps please note that wrath involves mass combat. for example, installment #2 in the ap, best in the ap, has the players commanding a small army o' 100 paladins as they overcome numerous challenges and obstacles. 

"at times during "sword of valor," the pcs will face small armies of demons and cultists. these encounters are intended to be resolved with the narrative mass-combat rules detailed on pps. 234-250 of pathfinder rpg ultimate campaign."

owlcat is biting off much to do wrath faithful. converse, they is gonna be leaving much undone if they wanna keep simple. wrath is an odd choice. am hopeful the developers pull off the strategic and narrative elements in wrath better than in kingmaker, but regardless, we cannot accuse owlcat o' going conservative or playing safe.

Edited by Gromnir
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"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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really?

rise and return of ruinlord seems a much better choice

and will they still use that system base on ancient awful math homework pathfinder 1e rule or will throw years of hard work away and try to develop a new system base on pathfinder 2e?

and they are keeping the management element?

why?it was the worst part of the game even during daily patch period of the game

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