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17 hours ago, thelee said:

Prose and flowery language can be nice and I do like the indulgence at times (Grieving Mother in PoE), but sometimes less really is more.

You're dead right. But it's hard to write well. Good writers are few and far between. I would argue that pretty much every style can work if the writer is good enough. Your parody of PoE/Deadfire style is good, though, and I do agree that when verbosity goes overboard, it's really easy to spot and it looks more foolish than most. But it's also true that simply working at "less is more" doesn't make anyone a Hemingway. It's a style that's really hard to do well, too.

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19 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

What also bothers me a lot is that the game so obviously cheats against the player. This is a huge no-no. In tabletop role-playing world, GMs like that would lose their players very quickly. I honestly can't understand what they were thinking.

this is very similar to my complaint. when googling around about this, apparently the philosophy for a lot of encounters was "come back later". I'm playing on hard, so I expect quite the challenge. But what invariably happens is that I'm in an area clearing mobs without much problem, and then--in my most recent case--my level 6 party suddenly comes across three level 18 mobs. In tabletop, this would be inexcusable - each enemy alone would be CR18 iirc, way out of reach for a level 6 party (though in the same area there was a single level 17 monster which also felt inexcusable but I gave it a pass because it felt like a boss fight since it was the final part of a quest). Three level 18 mobs combined, out of nowhere, as part of nothing, I don't know what the game designers were planning. And I did end up beating the encounter, but I had to cheese the bad AI, which left a bad taste in my mouth. And the loot reward for doing this? A +1 weapon. Even as a "come back later" encounter, the loot is basically balanced around a level 6 party, which just makes no sense.

it's just so deeply frustrating to be playing a game normally and everything comes screeching to a halt out of nowhere, and I'm stuck in between wondering whether I'm just an idiot, or the encounter is intended to be literally (or at least very close to literally) impossible at your current setup. I'm fine losing and having party wipes (lord knows I've had a lot in PotD Deadfire), but it has to feel like a "fair" loss.  The 3x level 18 encounter was just the final straw on the camel's back.

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20 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

What also bothers me a lot is that the game so obviously cheats against the player. 

The enemies are buffed quite a wee bit, but outright cheating would mean the dice are rigged, which they aren't. 

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2 hours ago, Sven_ said:

The enemies are buffed quite a wee bit, but outright cheating would mean the dice are rigged, which they aren't. 

There are other ways to cheat than rigging dice. A blatantly obvious example of the way P:K cheats against the player is the encounter at Verdant Chambers where the PC has to go alone to meet the nymph. Enemies and even traps appear out of nowhere into the map (mainly, the plant creature and the difficult trap outside the gate) once you speak with the nymph. There is no way to legislate for that, that is cheating plain and simple.

There is also a wolf lair where wolves appear out of nowhere into areas you have already walked through and made sure are empty. And these are ordinary wolves (even if big), they don't know how to teleport.

So I very much stand by my argument that P:K cheats against the player and appears to be quite happy to do so.

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3 hours ago, thelee said:

Three level 18 mobs combined, out of nowhere, as part of nothing, I don't know what the game designers were planning. And I did end up beating the encounter, but I had to cheese the bad AI, which left a bad taste in my mouth. And the loot reward for doing this? A +1 weapon. Even as a "come back later" encounter, the loot is basically balanced around a level 6 party, which just makes no sense.

Yeah, I know this. It's utterly baffling, and my thoughts mirror yours: what were the game designers planning/thinking? It's so strange. But yes, you are right, this kind of thing is a definite weakness in the game, and I can see why someone could quit because of it.

I did not quit, however, and I did finish my playthrough, although it has to be said that the whole final part of the game is utter nightmare in terms of design: unbelievably cruel encounters all the way through. It seems as if the designers wanted you to metagame, i.e. enter an area, get beaten, reload the game, completely rework your strategy, enter the same area again, either get beaten or not (and either repeat the reload X times or not, at this point), then enter the next area, and repeat. This was extremely poor and received a whole lot of perfectly warranted criticism. There was no sense of adventure or discovery, it was very much a grind-fest.

It has to be reiterated, though, that the game does have a lot of charm as well, because I did finish my playthrough. And because we still have corona and I started another playthrough (surprise for myself as well), I noticed that there's one thing where P:K has the upper hand over Deadfire: in Deadfire, everything is pretty much all the same every time (give or take a little), whereas the randomness built into P:K means that individual games look more different from one another. This is good and increases replayability, although I am not in the habit of replaying.

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my 2 cents:

PoE2: The main cover shows a ship fight against a kraken. You do not have this in the game ( kraken yes, ship fight yes, but not kraken on ship). Plus this cover makes me think of the pirates of the caribean movies, but the game gives me a different feeling. Maybe they should hire Johnny Depp for PoE3 😉

P:K: I played the game in german and I did not think that the writing is bad. I think the game is very good, but it is also very difficult and confusing if you are not a DnD nerd. I made a bad char, but at some point I switched to story mode difficulty and finished the game. I did not have problems with bugs, but I started playing several month after release. The devs promised to explain stuff better and improve UI to make it easier for new players to get along in the sequel, but pathfinder has super complex rules and the fans always want more classes, races feats and so on and the new game has many more options than PK.

D:OS1+2: I finished part 1 and I liked it, main dislike was random equipment. I never finished D:OS2 even though I was a backer. Totally random items, extreme level scaling with inflating stats ( generic item of one level is better than epic item 2 levels lower), extremely simple system where you max out one stat and skill to one shot everything, I did not like the physical/magic armor system and I did not like that the whole map was covered with necrofire or electricity after the first round in every combat. I think Larians problem is that Divine Divinity was a Diablo Clone game mechanics wise ( random items that have a level ) and they kept this system when they went from a single character action game to a party based and turn based game. I am happy that they moved to DnD, everything I see from BG3 looks fantastic. This will be one of the best games ever.

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3 hours ago, Madscientist said:

PoE2: The main cover shows a ship fight against a kraken. You do not have this in the game ( kraken yes, ship fight yes, but not kraken on ship).

It's not a big thing, but I also happen to think that the cover and repeating loading screen is a blemish on the game. It makes you expect something that never happens. This is not good.

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On 8/29/2020 at 10:43 PM, thelee said:

Three level 18 mobs combined, out of nowhere, as part of nothing, I don't know what the game designers were planning.

 

On 8/30/2020 at 1:49 AM, xzar_monty said:

There is also a wolf lair where wolves appear out of nowhere into areas you have already walked through and made sure are empty. And these are ordinary wolves (even if big), they don't know how to teleport.

These are things I also agree are very frustrating in P:Km (though not nearly enough for me to quit the game; I just play on low difficulty). But I feel these are things that result from a game design and development team that is (a) passionate but completely inexperienced, and (b) very small in number. If they had had a bigger team that also included some experienced devs, someone in the team would've said something the moment they noticed these kinds of situations in the game. You can tell this was the case because when these types of issues were brought up in their forum or elsewhere, the devs were genuinely surprised. The good news is that instead of digging in their heels and insisting they were right and knew what they were doing, they immediately acted to try and fix as many of these issues as possible. But there were just too many of them in the game for the devs to fix them all, and there can be no substitute to not designing a game this way in the first place. So I am (cautiously) optimistic things will be different in the next game because their development team is now both more experienced and a whole lot bigger.

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I am also optimistic. The dev team simply must have learned quite a bit from all the criticism it received from the first game. It's also good to know that the team is a lot bigger now; this was news to me.

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on the flip side, playing p:k made me think that turn-based mode in Deadfire could be very easily tweaked by adding a "flat-footed" mechanic. i had no idea if initiative would ever be relevant in a RTwP version of 3e/pathfinder, but in practice being flat-footed and having an initial delay is immensely powerful (maybe mostly on higher difficulties, where it could mean the difference between your party snowballing a bunch of sneak attacks on otherwise-sky-high enemy AC or getting hit by a bunch of wolves first and tripped and attack-of-oppornitied to death in a round or two). i wonder if something similar was added to turn-based deadfire over night you'd buff up the importance of dexterity and initiative/recovery (which currently has a hard time mattering).

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56 minutes ago, thelee said:

i wonder if something similar was added to turn-based deadfire over night you'd buff up the importance of dexterity and initiative/recovery (which currently has a hard time mattering).

Ha. Recovery is actually something I've thought about, at least in passing. I've never played Deadfire on PotD, as it just doesn't appeal to me. Are you saying that recovery doesn't mean much even at that difficulty? For it surely doesn't appear to matter (basically) at all on the lower difficulties.

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55 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

Ha. Recovery is actually something I've thought about, at least in passing. I've never played Deadfire on PotD, as it just doesn't appeal to me. Are you saying that recovery doesn't mean much even at that difficulty? For it surely doesn't appear to matter (basically) at all on the lower difficulties.

yeah, i haven't played much turn-based but for the most part it seems optimal to load virtually everyone up on heavy armor. the only exception is if someone has some powerful snow-balling power (mostly charm effects where you can really snow-ball a fight by charming someone before all the bad guys get a turn). outside of turn-based, though, i don't think flat-footing or something similar makes sense. it happens to make sense in P:K rtwp because everything is still stuck in a "round" format, so the first "round" is still very turn-based because of initiative.

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5 minutes ago, thelee said:

it happens to make sense in P:K rtwp because everything is still stuck in a "round" format.

It's funny that although both P:K and BG2 are both rtwp, they are still both very much stuck in a "round" format, as you say.

It's doubly funny because for me, turn-based is a total turn-off. It is reason enough for me not to even give BG3 a try. It just looks stilted, so artificial, even if I'm fully aware that rtwp in P:K and BG2 are technically almost the same, under the hood. But when everyone pauses in turn-based and then everyone moves on their turn, it just looks so damn awful in my view. Can't help it, I'm afraid.

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26 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

It's doubly funny because for me, turn-based is a total turn-off.

turn-based has a place for me, but i picked up wasteland 3 on release (game pass is awesome btw) which has changed into an x-com style "each team has a turn" vs BG3/DoS2/D&D/Pathfinder-style "everyone has their own turn." I don't know how wide spread this style is (I've only seen it in X-Com), but as an RPG combat mechanic it works really well and is probably the best "compromise" I can think of between pure-turn-based and RtWP. Being able to fluidly move your own team and coordinate actions between them and having enemy actions happen simultaneously gives you kind of the rapid flow and tactical coordination of RTwP but the Action Points and "team-based" turn gives you room for the typical strategic consideration of pure turn-based. I still prefer RTwP or RtWP-like systems, but if the audience is really moving away from RTwP as a viable format, team-turn-based seems like an OK compromise.

 

(it's not perfect, e.g. I still don't know how initiative works in a team-based turn format and it seems to be purely random which team goes first as a result, but I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.)

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48 minutes ago, thelee said:

but if the audience is really moving away from RTwP as a viable format

I am not convinced of this at all. Even a recent poll done by a major gaming website in the aftermath of BG3 being announced as TB, shows support for TB v. RTwP at 53% to 47%. Polls on the Larian BG3 subforum themselves also are similar. What I find is that TB fans are about 51-55% but make 90% of the noise, and that's what people (and cRPG developers) are reacting to.

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10 hours ago, kanisatha said:

What I find is that TB fans are about 51-55% but make 90% of the noise, and that's what people (and cRPG developers) are reacting to.

This tends to be a major difficulty in everything on the internet: from the noise itself, you cannot determine which percentage of opinions it represents.

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I do not know about the %, but at least for BG3 I can say that many threads have been closed because they turned into a turn based vs real time rage and the official thread for this topic is growing all the time even though it is known for month that the game will definitively be turn based only.

Personally I do not care. There are many turn based and also many real time games that I like.

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2 hours ago, Madscientist said:

Personally I do not care. There are many turn based and also many real time games that I like.

NetHack and chess are turn-based, and I enjoy both. But in isometric cRPGs, it just doesn't work for me -- so the context and setting are also extremely important. It will be interesting to see how BG3 succeeds. I know very little about D:OS2, because I quit it rather early on, but it didn't give me any impression of great storytelling.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/24/2020 at 1:53 AM, xzar_monty said:

The turn-based option was not an intended standard (though I'm not sure what you mean by this), it was an extra.

Also, your argument doesn't really work, because Poe2 sales were poor from the start, and at that point people certainly didn't know what was wrong or right with the game, especially because the reviews were perfectly normal.

I have no idea what you guys are talking about...;) That *is* my point...;)

Yes, the game sold poorly at first--yes--because it was released in very bad shape.  That's *why*.  They even had to redo the Introduction because it was so verbose it was terrible.  I literally cringed...no kidding...;)   Also...I understand that turn based is an "extra"--but that's irrelevant, too, because it's a darned nice feature and I thought it worked great.  Again, it took the better part of nine months to fix the game and to add the DLC & the turn based mode.  Had the game been released 9 months later as a complete package it would have done much better.  It was simply a premature, very early release.  The *finished* game is very nice--very nice.  But by the time this game was "finished"--their audience had moved on to other games and already, unfortunately, chalked off this game from their "to buy" lists. 

Seems obvious to me...;)

EDIT:  I wanted to respond to the comment about TOW being an entirely different game.  It was/is--but here's the difference I was talking about.  TOW was released in much, much better shape than PoE2...I was very surprised, actually, at the quality of the release--being in mind to think of Obsidian releases moving like molasses with PoE1/2!  TOW was eminently playable before the first patch, even--PoE2 really wasn't--and really, really could have used the extra development time.  I don't know what else to say. Yeah, the content and themes of the two games are much different, but that wasn't my point.   By the time PoE2 came together as a coherent game in all the particulars including bug fixes and DLC and turn-based--the interest of its primary audience had waned and moved on.  Again, I was very surprised that POE2 was released in the shape that it was. 

If Obsidian decides to do another RPG like PoE2, I hope they'll take my freely offered advice next time...

I also think it's too bad, though, that most game devs today stop development on their big titles 6-12 months after initial release.  I wish they would take a page from CDPR and others who have done like wise (Larian, for instance), and keep up the development on these titles a lot longer than they do.  As a result, CDPR has been raking in the dough on its Witcher games--and even now the company has stated they are going to totally revamp W3 for the new generation of hardware--and so they will sell several thousand more copies of Witcher 3--(update is free for all current game owners) which has been selling well since 2015 and will continue to do so for years to come. 

The global gaming market is huge today--absolutely giganormous compared to what it was in 1990, let's say...;)  Taking a game that sells poorly initially and chucking it in a black hole somewhere--along with a bad attitude, as if it's the market's fault it didn't sell well rather than Obsidian's--is not a sound strategy.  Not today isn't!   'nuff said--there's nothing else to say.  You can lead the horse to water...etc.  Bad attitudes in game developers and/or publishers won't make a dime, I guarantee it.

 

Edited by waltc
Add info

It's very well known that I don't make mistakes, so if you should stumble across the odd error here and there in what I have written, you may immediately deduce--quite correctly--that I did not write it... :biggrin:

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8 hours ago, waltc said:

Yes, the game sold poorly at first--yes--because it was released in very bad shape.  That's *why*.  They even had to redo the Introduction because it was so verbose it was terrible.

It's not as simple as this. Sales were poor right from the start, which indicates that a lot of people were not interested in the game in the first place. The reviews did not really suggest that the game was in a very bad shape. (It could be argued that it wasn't.)

Also, they did not redo the Intro. They gave the option to skip it. Two totally different things.

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9 hours ago, waltc said:

I have no idea what you guys are talking about.

 

That much is obvious. 

9 hours ago, waltc said:

Had the game been released 9 months later as a complete package it would have done much better. 

That completely ignores that inflow of money is not an automatic, endless stream. Smaller studios without recent world success titles under their belt have to ship or perish. Especially studios who only kept their head over water because of a rel. small (in terms of budget and revenue) crowdfunding title. 

Just calculate 100 studio devs getting full pay for 9 months (without any inflow of money in the meantime). If every one of them costs 2000$ a month you would have to spend 1.8 Million which you maybe don't have. It may be the difference between closed studio and buggy release. Also publishers are usually the ones more concerned with shipping while devs would really like to spend more time on bugfixing.

9 hours ago, waltc said:

I also think it's too bad, though, that most game devs today stop development on their big titles 6-12 months after initial release.  I wish they would take a page from CDPR and others who have done like wise (Larian, for instance), and keep up the development on these titles a lot longer than they do. 

 

It would be absolutely unreasonable to throw money at a game that nobody plays anymore and/or a game that was'nt successful right from the start. It may be nice for the players - but in the long run it wouldn't benefit them because their beloved studio is broke. The examples you name were huge successes which started strong (so there's a lot of money in the bank to use to keep interest high). Note how PoE (good sales given the niche genre) was supported a lot longer than Deadfire (poor sales). As the owner of a company with employees you have to pay you can't make decisions solely on what you like or what your customers might like. Especially if you're on the brink of bankruptcy.

9 hours ago, waltc said:

EDIT:  I wanted to respond to the comment about TOW being an entirely different game.  It was/is--but here's the difference I was talking about.  TOW was released in much, much better shape than PoE2...I 

Technically TOW and PoE/Deadfire are VASTLY different games. TOW was done as a pure 3D game with the Unreal engine (which costs a lot lot more than Unity3D which was used to make PoE and Deadfire) while the latter was a 2D/3D hybrid with bre-rendered maps etc. which was never done before like that. Also often he majority of high-priority bugfixing (the bugs that let the game crash, not the gameplay bugs) stems from framework/middleware. I guess Unreal is more mature and thus more robust than Unity3D. 

9 hours ago, waltc said:

If Obsidian decides to do another RPG like PoE2, I hope they'll take my freely offered advice next time...

 

 

*experiencing pure second-hand embarrassment*

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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11 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

It's not as simple as this. Sales were poor right from the start, which indicates that a lot of people were not interested in the game in the first place.

Pre-sales exceeded PoE1, but then post-release sales cratered. So there was definitely some sort of bifurcation in the market about people were enthusiastic about the game versus everyone else.

 

10 hours ago, Boeroer said:

That completely ignores that inflow of money is not an automatic, endless stream. Smaller studios without recent world success titles under their belt have to ship or perish. Especially studios who only kept their head over water because of a rel. small (in terms of budget and revenue) crowdfunding title. 

i think people just have extremely selective memories on everything related to game releases. I think, at best, Deadfire could've delayed like a few weeks because their first patch was such a huge nerf hammer that it left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths - clearly they thought it was needed but for some reason could not bring it together quickly enough to make it a day-0 patch. that's about as far as i can see it.

but aside from that, deadfire was an incredibly stable and polished game, and only got better from that. wasteland 3 (which i've been playing recently) is an incredible mess - ridiculously trivial things are busted [like keybindings, and even simple controller detection] and major tentpoles were/are nonfunctional at release [co-op]. even pathfinder:kingmaker, which has taken lot more sales than deadfire and many more years of patches is still jankier and buggier than deadfire.

 

not everyone can be like bethesda, blizzard, or valve and have the luxury of constant steady revenue to allow them to endlessly tinker on a AAA product for years on end (and even then, bethesda still releases extremely buggy games). For a smaller studio, "just wait 9 months" can be a death sentence. That's the only explanation that I have, for example, that Wasteland 3 came out now when it did even with such basic things broken - they basically needed to keep the lights on in-house and they would have missed the last part of the summer, where game sales are easier.

And for the record, both PoE1 and Deadfire *were* delayed for polish. What you got was actually the stable versions of the game. Both were slated for more like christmas releases, and both got delayed because of bug fixes and such. Obsidian was in such dire straits the first time around that Feargus told the leads at the time that if they missed the delayed deadline they'd have to quit on the spot. The version of the game one would be comparing against is the one that almost got released on christmas, not some hypothetical mythical one that came around another 9 months after their actual release. (By the way, many of the patch changes that came out after release were in response to player feedback, which is by definition not something you can do without a wide release. Some of the patch changes were intended to be after-release updates as well, to keep up player engagement, in the vein of "games as a service.")

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It was quite a surprise that such a great sequel didn't sell like the first game. After all, pillars team did a great job with these two games, many of us waited so long to enjoy with games like these again, and it was a pleasure to crowdfund these for my part. After burn out with these projects, better just take your time. No reason to work new titles without proper passion.

Open world game, with good DLC's and sea shanties worked totally for me. Some players seem to like more the first one, others tell that second one was better. I think there was good deal of development made for the second game, some of which made it easier to play. Second one was easier, but I enjoyed playing it with potd, it feels like hard+ instead of more difficult potd in POE1. Open world was enjoyable, but there was nothing wrong with the previous poe's world either.

I could suggest major and addictive "cat and mouse"-play with enemy whose story also advances and end with yours (like BG 2 and POE 1). I am not counting living statue god as such a dear enemy. And keep it simple, most of players aren't philosophers really. In BG 2 they used well that double enemy team (tragic siblings Irenicus and Boddhi with inner motives that are easily identified) creating drama, also showing time to time a bit of their travels. In POE2 there was a bit of "cat and mouse"-play with Benweth in "blow the man down" quest, but only for starters.

Team members story could intertwine with your story via their enemies, who should be dealt before moving the end of your storyline. So instead of POE's team members  voluntary sidequests, those enemies would be part of your story if you decide join certain team member. So if you decide to team up with a gambler, run away prostitute or hiding assassin their history follow you no matter what. This would increase replay value, since you would be facing different yet powerful enemies with different team members.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think there might have been exhaustion with Pillars 1 and no desire to play more of it in a sequel, and it's also possible that some players may have felt like they had to play the first one before the sequel... I really doubt it had anything to do with the sequel's quality, I think the issue might have been people's nostalgia for "Baldur's GatE" had played out during the first campaign.

Could also argue that Fig didn't market Deadfire well and Fig doesn't have the same attention-grabbing aspects that Kickstarter does, but I can understand with the Obsidian owners being on Fig's board, it was important that they use Fig, even for all its fault and how it might hurt the sales of Deadfire - which seems counterproductive. I also feel bad for the Fig investors in the product, they got screwed as well, but that's the risk you take.

Have to confess, I thought Pillars 1 was okay, but I definitely thought the story and characters in the sequel were worse... but that didn't affect my purchase, as I didn't know how the story and characters would be when buying it.

I know there was mention of a lot of bugs in Pillars 2's release, so that could have slowed sales as well. It could have done with some more delays for quality, but it looks like they fixed them all (at least the PC version, the console versions still seem kind of... eh).

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13 hours ago, Tencatta said:

Could also argue that Fig didn't market Deadfire well and Fig doesn't have the same attention-grabbing aspects that Kickstarter does, but I can understand with the Obsidian owners being on Fig's board, it was important that they use Fig, even for all its fault and how it might hurt the sales of Deadfire - which seems counterproductive.

my pet theory is that the insistence on using fig crippled deadfire's word of mouth, which is the main mechanism that smaller-studio games have of marketing.

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