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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Older games like BG2 have a lot of classes that don't have active abilities (or very few) but ,ostly feed off of passives. So having three or four of those doesn't really make a difference in terms of micromanagement. 

Oh yeah, this was shortly adressed some also here…  
 



and in this Thumbs podcast  AFAIR (be aware that the guys didn't seem to like PoE's combat in general. It's a more general gaming side, I found this interesting to listen to back then -- bit of a different perspective). edit: Yeah, it's at 19 minutes in
https://www.idlethumbs.net/3ma/episodes/to-infinity-engine-and-beyond-1 Mind you, if you wanted to, you could focus on passive abilities in Deadfire entirelly.

Not sure how that translates to the topic at hand. But, if you take a Closer look (and if Obsidian do one day), it's that Original Sin is a very different beast -- not merely in terms of Combat, but the entire focus of the game. Which is probably a reason why Larian find they have so much of an overlap with an audience of X-Com, perhaps moreso than other isometric RPGs (or PoE).

PS: Sometimes I yearn for simpler times, actually. But that's just personal preference. There's lots of stuff that has crept into more traditional RPGs from MMOs imo, such as cool-downs and stuff (Tyranny), which I've much never liked myself as well. In an MMO you're just playing one character, that's fine. In party based games, your party basically is your character.

Edited by Sven_
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After Deadfire Josh (from Obsidian) spoke to Swen (from Larian) and they found out that the overlap of D:OS- and PoE-players is only about 40%. 

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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4 hours ago, Sven_ said:

PS: Sometimes I yearn for simpler times, actually. But that's just personal preference. There's lots of stuff that has crept into more traditional RPGs from MMOs imo, such as cool-downs and stuff (Tyranny), which I've much never liked myself as well. In an MMO you're just playing one character, that's fine. In party based games, your party basically is your character.

Meh, I thought PoEs struck an pretty good balance. I dislike when too many active abilities are introduced to combat, mostly because I feel those games encourage focusing on single character, rather then a party. I felt PoE1 issues stemmed from frequency and encounter variety, rather then combat itself. I am someone, however, who is more interested in getting involved in encounter, rather then doing automated builds. PoE2 custom AI system, I hope delivered a lot of automation for those who desire it.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Wormerine said:

Meh, I thought PoEs struck an pretty good balance. I dislike when too many active abilities are introduced to combat, mostly because I feel those games encourage focusing on single character, rather then a party. I felt PoE1 issues stemmed from frequency and encounter variety, rather then combat itself. I am someone, however, who is more interested in getting involved in encounter, rather then doing automated builds. PoE2 custom AI system, I hope delivered a lot of automation for those who desire it.

I've never used the AI, because on these games I'm a control freak.  😄 That said, this is just a personal Preference. I've enjoyed both PoEs. It's just that things have gotten bigger over the years (which oft applies to tabletop systems too). If I should make a comparison: Back then I'd much prefered Myth with its distinct but few types of units over any of those Command&Conquer clones that tried to beat the original at its own game by introducing ten times the amount of units (all of which a slight variation of one another). Eventually, there may come a point where you wonder how many shades of healing abilities do you need and how many gradually buffs to to-hit chances stacking on top of another? 

I'm the same in terms of itemization etc. too. Back on BG1 finding your first useful armor (wasn't even magical) was a moment to cherish. Now the supposedly "unique" stuff depending on the game can be all over the place, same as the inevitable level-up to reward the player at every opportunity. On Deadfire, you've barely escaped from Monkey, er, Tutorial Island and already went through that process a handful of times per character each. Eventually, if everything is supposedly some slightly differents kind of special -- nothing truly is. edit: That said, to bring that back on topic, going that approach of more and bigger should if at all be a boost to sales though. 

Edited by Sven_
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But even if more and bigger does sell more copies: it also costs a lot more to make. 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Guest Ontarah
Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Boeroer said:

"Ok, how can me make combat more appealing to pedants and how can we piss off Ontarah the most?"

He explicitly said in the video that they dismissed the complaints of people who played the beta who were saying that the game was too easy and that this was a mistake.  And he also explicitly ties reducing party size to being able to drop enemy size so as to make the game more easy to visually process.

Take those together and I don't see how you can get anything but "Anything that has a practical effect of making the game less tactical, other than to make it slightly easier to visually process the tactics needed, is right out."

And "tactical" is basically a synonym for pedantic.  By definition the more rules there are, the more rules there are to follow.       

In other words, they will not consider simplifying the rules.  They will only reduce the number of characters you have to apply the rules to.  And even then, they will only do that if they can retain the player controlled character to enemy ratio. 

Also, you do *not* have to actively manage everybody's abilities except on higher diffiulties.  I spent most of the time controlling my character and letting the AI handle the others.   I would selectively control characters.  I might manually tell Maia to interrupt with Concussive Shot.  I might manually tell Eder to apply Sundering Blows to something with high armor.  I might manually tell Aloth to cast some appropriate AoE spell.  But this whole "pausing every other second to give people orders" is not something I ever had to do outside of like Oracle of Wael type boss fights.  I only had to turn off party AI maybe 5% of the game.   I actively selected passives over active at levelup just to reduce the amount of junk I had to tell characters to do.

Edited by Ontarah
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6 minutes ago, Ontarah said:

Take those together

That's the false assumption. Why would you? There were two complaints: "Deadfire's too easy" (it was - it was ridiculously easy on the highest difficulty setting and that had to be fixed) and "Combat's a mess" (which isn't completely false). Those got adressed. No need to spin this into a "We cater to the pedants and screw the casuals" conspiracy.

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Guest Ontarah

Because one (reducing party size being a prerequisite to reduce enemy numbers) is about retaining tactical difficulty.

And the second (listening to the complaints of power gamers in your beta) is an admission that reduction in difficulty is a mistake.

Both of those are independent evidence that a central goal is maintaining tactical difficulty.  And if that's a central goal, it goes without saying that other features or options (party size, some people finding the ruleset pedantic) will just have to bend to accommodate that.  

That's not a conspiracy.  It's a realization that this game chiefly isn't for me.  However, given how much I like Infinity Engine and Bioware games, I see 0 reason to bugger off and stop reminding Obsidian or whoever might be listening that people like me exist.   

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15 hours ago, 4ward said:

i don't disagree completely, but your melee guys have special weapons/items/potions in Bg2; just because you don’t click on an icon like in the pillars games doesn’t mean you’re always just swinging your sword. It’s just that in the easier fights you don’t use your potions/items since they’re limited/have a number of uses. But you can summon say an air elemental from a staff. The system encourages thus change of weapons for non-trash fights and is less repetitive since the player has resource management.

 

Melee guys have e.g. to make decisions whether they shall use a healing potion (especially if the option „rest until healed“ is turned off) or change target, retreat, change weapon to ranged and such. You’re more actively moving around and e.g. retargetting because you want to help out a disabled character. There’s loads of interesting enemies like vampires, shadows, liches, beholders, dragons and so on, and they have cool abilities. I find them more interesting and fun than what modern games offer.

 

Combat in modern games actually gets for me interesting when i have used up my abilities during the battle. Newer games encourage to unload them at start and in most cases the player unloads them in very similar order like using a queue indepedent of the enemy. I think that players tend to think that this is more tactical than in the old days but it isn’t; i’m much more countering effects in a game like BG2 than i’m in modern games.

 

You had to actively rearrange your whole strategy based on what you were fighting.  You don't fight illithids the same way you fight dragons.  I've never felt PoE did this.  POE to me has always sort of felt like "the 999 ways of getting through some specific type of damage reduction: the Game." 

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I'm the same in terms of itemization etc. too. Back on BG1 finding your first useful armor (wasn't even magical) was a moment to cherish.

That's something I strongly disagree, but again - it's preferance. Deadfire item system is my gold standard of item design in an RPG like that - having such a wide range of weapons to choose from and compliment your character build from mechanical and roleplaying reason is a superb thing for me. I found BG1s breaking weapons and rare magical weapons somewhat appealing but not a right fit for the game's structure. 

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Posted (edited)

I like it that you won't find a Carsomyr +5 in Deadfire and immediately know that you have to reroll a Paladin right now. :)

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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4 hours ago, Ontarah said:

You had to actively rearrange your whole strategy based on what you were fighting.  You don't fight illithids the same way you fight dragons.  

But that's because BG2's combat frequently revolved around meta-knowledge to counter silly insta-kill abilities. Typical scenario - you enter a fight where you don't know what's going to happen, and get annihilated. Reload, cast spells, drink potions, read scrolls, summon creatures, try fight again, win easily.  

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Posted (edited)

Pretty much *any* effective strategy involves meta-knowledge.  An example I experienced from Deadfire.  I didn't really bother to invest in Interrupt abilities because they are mostly pointless.  Then the dracolich (sorry, I'm lazy about remembering her name) cremated my party because it's very, very, very, very important that you interrupt her.  So in playthrough 2 I gave Konstanten that ability that interrupts, set up a chant that consisted of nothing but him singing that over and over, and then brought him with me to do nothing but stand there and chant that.  The fight went from infuriating to trivial, just like that. 

And, yes, in this case it's one of the cheaper fights in the game, but I wouldn't say it's because you need metaknowledge to do well.  It's because it's one of the few fights in the game like this and so is completely inconsistent with the rest of the game.  Most every other fight in the game is based on focusing on whatever the thing's lowest defense is and countering whatever particular afflictions it throws at you.  If it's susceptible to slashing attacks and reflex attacks and applies Intellect afflictions, you focus on those.  Because you develop a meta-knowledge that overcoming various defenses is more important than protecting against "insta-gotcha" spells and abilities, you diversify your build accordingly.     

In BG, you very quickly learn that "insta-gotcha" attacks are a thing and you prepare for them.  I make sure everybody has a helmet of charm protection.  I make sure to keep potions of mirrored eyes and scrolls of Stone to Flesh on hand.  This is meta-game knowledge, but just of a different type.  And it's consistent throughout the game.    

This is insanely subjective about which of these types of systems is more enjoyable.  I much, much prefer the BG model. 

I like the feeling of seeing a siren, equipping the helm of charm of protection I have kept for just such a situation, and then stomping her into paste.  I also do like fights that I have to earn by step by step tactical decisions for big epic enemies like dragons.  There's no way I know of other than fog of war abuse to not have to actively manage all your people to beat Firkraag.  I don't want my dragon slaying to feel like all I had to do was have the Sword of Dragonslaying.  But having prepared sensibly for vampires because I knew I was entering a crypt by casting negative plane protection?  Yeah, I like beating them handedly.       

*Edit*

It does make more narrative sense when you know there's sirens or vampires or whatever because your rogue scouted ahead or because your ranger used tracking.  And it's too bad there's not really a better implemented mechanic like that.  The 3e based games generally did a better job with stuff like that.  Still, it's really not difficult for me at all the imagine that the reason my party know that X is ahead is because the druid saw the tracks or the mage sensed the weird dweomer or whatever.   

Edited by Ontarah
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I can't see how it's desirable for the difficulty to swing from 'extremely difficult' to 'cakewalk' based on foreknowledge; that just seems like bad game design. Consider the Soulsbourne games  - learning your enemies' moves and abilities is vital, but the combat doesn't become trivial because these are action games that depend on your hand-eye coordination to utilise your foreknowledge. That obviously isn't the case for CRPGs. If preparation is all that makes the difference, the combat is pointless. 

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Posted (edited)

This is why I said it's completely subjective.  My experience with Deadfire is basically exactly as you described "swings from extremely difficult to cakewalk based on knowledge."  POE was less like that, more consistently difficult throughout, but I also thought it was considerably less fun than Deadfire.  It's just that in BG the "knowledge" in question tends to be spell loadout/gear based and in Deadfire it's PC build and party member based.

Any number of fights went from very hard to "eh" because I swapped out a party member or because I paid to respec my character at an inn or because I applied some particular combination of food buff with sleeping in a particular inn room.

There is no less metaknowledge in POE than in BG.  Being good at an RPG, any RPG, involves metaknowledge.

Also, just to get into the deep weeds of subjectively, I would say that for me combat of itself is mostly pointless.  I don't want every fight to be a challenge.  I *like* predictable spikes and dips in difficulty.  Fighting generic undead when I'm mid to high level should be trivial.  Fighting a dragon should not.  Sometimes I want to feel powerful.  Sometimes I want to feel like I'm fighting for my life.  Fighting Kua-Toa in the Undedark in BG2 is trivial.  Fighting the beholders is not.  Fighting Firkraag's orc guards is trivial.  Fighting Firkraag is not. This is entirely appropriate.         

There's another argument to be made that finding every random assortment of junk you happen upon being challenging no matter how strong you are or what the assortment of junk consists of isn't good design.  It makes leveling up feel pointless. 

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I stand by what I said here two years ago: it was a mistake to make it a continuation of the Watcher’s story. The setting and factions in Deadfire are fantastic. All the convoluted Watcher/Eothas storyline achieved was to detract from that more interesting story and make it difficult for new players to jump in without playing PoE 1.

I feel like every other successful developer already figured this out: a franchise can continue, but each instalment must be self-contained and must always be totally accessible to people new to the franchise. If the question ‘Do I need to have played the earlier game/s?’ cannot be answered with an unequivocal ‘No’ then something has gone wrong.

The horrific balancing issues early on were a shame too, because I feel like they had some great ideas with the gameplay mechanics, which were all then totally undermined by the absence of challenge.

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1 hour ago, flamesium said:

I stand by what I said here two years ago: it was a mistake to make it a continuation of the Watcher’s story. The setting and factions in Deadfire are fantastic. All the convoluted Watcher/Eothas storyline achieved was to detract from that more interesting story and make it difficult for new players to jump in without playing PoE 1.

I feel like every other successful developer already figured this out: a franchise can continue, but each instalment must be self-contained and must always be totally accessible to people new to the franchise. If the question ‘Do I need to have played the earlier game/s?’ cannot be answered with an unequivocal ‘No’ then something has gone wrong.

The horrific balancing issues early on were a shame too, because I feel like they had some great ideas with the gameplay mechanics, which were all then totally undermined by the absence of challenge.

Do I laugh in Witcher or Mass Effect here?

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Posted (edited)

Hello all,

Kind of new here but just wanted to mettre mon grain de sel as we say in french.

The  continuation of the Watcher story was quite a plus-value to buy Deadfire for me.  PoE1 ended on a cliffhanger and I wanted to have more time to react to all this new information about the nature of the universe I spent 120H getting into. Moreover, I wanted more change to  involve my character in the world with this hard-acquiered knowledge. So,   PoE2 was a great opportunity to do that  ! I felt like it was a great gift to players to keep the same character and storyline (friends, history, linked with previous events) for those who were with the franchise from the begining.

For my perspective (of a 30ish guy playing RTwP RPG since teenage but still have a job and not much time to game), the low-sale issue of PoE2  seem linked to the issues in the first game. Many people tried PoE1 thinking they were purchasing a Baldur's Gate game and instead got something they perceived as a novel-in-a-game style, with a lot of new mechanics (compared to classig D&D) and handful of lore to take in (instead of well known FR setting).   Some (very much) liked it (*raising hands*), but many felt they lacked the time, attention or motivation to get into that new world and shelved the game. If I just introspect at my experience with PoE1, I feel it was from the attentional span PoV more akin to reading a book  or playing chess than playing a traditionnal RPG. I loved it -  It was high-investment, high-reward, but many didn't have the time or interest to do that. Add to that the fact that the first game was plagued with loading times issues and bugs at launch, so you really needed to be MOTIVATED to get it to the end.  I think I saw some stats somewhere showing that less than 50% of people who played PoE1 finished it ? I don't know if the source was reliable (didn't archive it), but I have no problems imaging that this was indeed the case. I can't count how many of my friends were enthusiasts about PoE1, tried it but didnt finish it and didn't want to hear about it past patch 2. So don't talk to them about a possible sequel. 

I know devs fixed many things in PoE2, but it was CRUCIAL to get the word out on these changes and I think marketing failed at this point.  I guess it's the drama of doing sequels : always carrying the burden (and success) of previous issues. In this case, it was quite necessary to turn the tide and it wasn't done in time. Result : only hardcore fans of the series purchased it, leading to a mess from a sale perspective even if the reviews and hardcore fans were in awe.

Nevertheless, I hope it's not the end. Eora and the mechanics in PoE have potential to revitalize RTwP instead of always remaking D&D adaptations. But for future marketing campaign to change the tides (and perception of casual gamers) about the PoE series, I think they really need to adress core issues and present the game for what it is (and isn't) with strength and authenticity. For instance, in the case of Deadfire it's different than Baldur's Gate, more mature in theme, grasping politics and religion and  the overrall focus is a LOOOT more on combat and political strategy with pirates than friendships and dragon-related epicness. So be prepared to play with a coffee and immerse yourself for a few morning (or evening) to fully enjoy it. It's just my humble opinion, but I think if the dev tried to convey a more focused message regarding what PoE2 is and isn't, it could have been a different outcome since people would have known a bit more what to expect from it (and thus, less disapointment).

 

Edited by Aerethiel
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4 hours ago, Achilles said:

Do I laugh in Witcher or Mass Effect here?

Take your pick. The Witcher is deliberately easy for new players to jump in at any instalment in the franchise. You need to have played earlier Witcher games to enjoy the latest one about as much as you need to have watched earlier James Bond films to enjoy the latest one. The attempt at a continuing narrative in Mass Effect had unravelled so badly by the end of ME3 that it sparked a backlash which left the franchise a toxic wasteland.

I love that it was attempted, but I don’t think anyone in the industry is looking at the trajectory of Mass Effect now and thinking ‘let’s do that’. 

It can’t be proven of course, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Deadfire would have fared significantly better without the convoluted narrative baggage from PoE1. Larian avoided this mistake with DOS2 and I suppose Owlcat will avoid it with WotR.

 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, flamesium said:

Larian avoided this mistake with DOS2 and I suppose Owlcat will avoid it with WotR.

 

Owlcat so far base their games on already existing, self-contained Pathfinder P&P adventure paths / modules. So they will get around that. https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Wrath_of_the_Righteous Will be interesting to see how the game does. That said, how BG3 does may be more important as to the future of party-based tacticval RPGs. Fingers crossed (also fingers crossed it's going to be a good game). Maybe there will be more decent D&D in the future too. :) 

I also think that Deadfire's narrative hook (some God from a prior game on a mission) was a really tough sell to newcomers. But that still wouldn't explain the significant drop in sales compared to PoE1. As usual, there will likely be a host of reasons. It is human nature to look for the one  explanation that covers it virtually all. And that's not arguing that this wasn't one of those factors, mind!

Edited by Sven_
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34 minutes ago, flamesium said:

Take your pick. The Witcher is deliberately easy for new players to jump in at any instalment in the franchise. You need to have played earlier Witcher games to enjoy the latest one about as much as you need to have watched earlier James Bond films to enjoy the latest one. The attempt at a continuing narrative in Mass Effect had unravelled so badly by the end of ME3 that it sparked a backlash which left the franchise a toxic wasteland.

//

All the convoluted Watcher/Eothas storyline achieved was to detract from that more interesting story and make it difficult for new players to jump in without playing PoE 1.

To get the full experience from the Witcher games, you need to have played all the games and actually you need to read the books as well. You only really appreciate everything that was put in there that way. Of course, if your only objective is to "kick some monster ass lul" then story and worldbuilding isn't really important.

I'm one of the people for whom that "convulted storyline" is a big bonus point. Deadfire feels like there should be even bigger things to come in the future and I love that.

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5 hours ago, Aerethiel said:

The  continuation of the Watcher story was quite a plus-value to buy Deadfire for me.  PoE1 ended on a cliffhanger and I wanted to have more time to react to all this new information about the nature of the universe I spent 120H getting into.

 

I understand the appeal from an existing fan perspective, but you are also quite nicely describing the problem this creates with attracting new players to the franchise.

It’s probably a net positive for the vast majority of people in the ‘played and finished PoE1’ group (a few hundred thousand people at most) but it presents a significant barrier to the -much larger- ‘maybe interested in this sort of game but haven’t played and finished PoE1’ group. They have significantly cut the size of their potential market by going this route, even if it has locked in the existing fans as buyers.

Now I’m sure some people did buy Deadfire without playing through PoE1, or even playing it at all, but it’s definitely not something I would recommend to anybody, and I have to imagine it was fairly rare. Conversely, I expect the overwhelming majority of existing PoE fans still would have been very likely to buy Deadfire even if it had been more of a standalone sequel.

While going this route may be good for existing fans in the short term, it’s not necessarily better for them in the long term if it contributes to the second game in the franchise flopping so hard in sales that it kills the franchise.

 

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1 hour ago, Sven_ said:

Owlcat so far base their games on already existing, self-contained Pathfinder P&P adventure paths / modules. So they will get around that. https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Wrath_of_the_Righteous Will be interesting to see how the game does. That said, how BG3 does may be more important as to the future of party-based tacticval RPGs. Fingers crossed (also fingers crossed it's going to be a good game). Maybe there will be more decent D&D in the future too. :) 

I also think that Deadfire's narrative hook (some God from a prior game on a mission) was a really tough sell to newcomers. But that still wouldn't explain the significant drop in sales compared to PoE1. As usual, there will likely be a host of reasons. It is human nature to look for the one  explanation that covers it virtually all. And that's not arguing that this wasn't one of those factors, mind!

BG3 will be very interesting. My biggest concern with that game is they make the same mistake as Deadfire -which would be madness, especially given the amount of time which has passed since BG2 was released- but given they avoided it with DOS2 I have to imagine they will avoid it again here.

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Posted (edited)

BG3 takes place over 100 years after BG2. It also doesn't use the Bhaalspawn storyline at all, only references it.

I don't think the continuation of the Watcher story had any effect on the sales numbers. They could have made a similar game but with a new protagonist and it would have sold equally bad. In Deadfire you don't really need to have played PoE1. You reroll your char anyway, you can just pick a background to simulate PoE1 and off you go.

I'm following Josh Sawyers Twitch streams and so far the devs suspect the following reasons for the low sales numbers:

  • poor marketing
  • move from Kickstarter to Fig 
  • RTwP is not very popular atm
  • unpopular/non-traditional setting
  • no multiplayer
  • nostalgia needs were sated/increased competition in that small party-based, isometric RPG niche
  • several issues with the game itself, like difficulty, reputation system, import failures, ship combat, not well perceived main story

Remember that PoE had very good reviews and user scores despite its quirks. Stuff like initial bugs and performance problems can be a problem - but those can't explain the massive sales drop compared to PoE (which had similar problems at the start - like many games). Older games of Obsdian had those problems as well and so do other games. Yet they are doing fine (see Pathfinder).

Also for almost all RPGs it's normal that a huge percentage of players doesn't finish. D:OS I and II are no exception but sold tremendously better. The sequel even sold better than the first installment. Atm I think multiplayer is a bigger factor than I though it would be.

I'm follwing the development of Death Trash atm. The developer is very active on Twitter. It's astonishing how many Twitter users ask if it will come with multiplayer options. That's the feature that's requested the most by far. Since I don't care for that at all I might have a blind spot there.  

  

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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6 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

I'm following Josh Sawyers Twitch streams and so far the devs suspect the following reasons for the low sales numbers:

  • no multiplayer
  • It's astonishing how many Twitter users ask if it will come with multiplayer options. That's the feature that's requested the most by far. Since I don't care for that at all I might have a blind spot there.  

  

I think before developers rush to add multiplayer there should be a check of the actual metrics. How many people played the D:OS or D:OS2 campaign Co-Op or multiplayer? The vocal minority is a serious problem when gauging what players want. POE2 is a beautiful game, and a great example of the best of this Genre. I think it can find success in the future and the POE world is so rich that the IP deserves another chance. 

In my view, and it's strange, Pathfinder is a much worse game, with character development and story that cannot compare to PoE2. Yet it did well. I think the cause should lie squarely at the feet of marketing. 

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