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My ongoing peeve with Reputation gain (i.e. the pre-defined meaning and intention of conversation options) vs what I actually intended the option to mean.

Currently, in PoE(2), the reputation system is, as in most (all?) other games, static. You choose Conversation Option A, and it has already been given a meaning by the writers/devs, no matter what meaning you and your PC may put in it. Example:

In BoW, I convinced Neriscyrlas to find respite and release herself to the Void. My PC (paladin, dimplomatic, good) took this direction with the best intentions, since there's no option to release Neris to the Wheel (that I could find). But after playing the same dialogue sequence with Reptutations in conversations turned on, I found that this was in fact the "Cruel" option!

Why? Why would this me more cruel than killing her? Well, sure, you're telling her that she's already dead and have been living an utter pointless existence for centuries, but is that really cruel? It wasn't for me, until I played it with the pre-set meaning of conversation options releaved.

What I think would solve this problem, is a way to change the Reputation, i.e. the intention of conversation opotions. The example I just gave could just as well have been Honest, or even Benevolent (a peaceful solution), which was the way "I" meant it.

These static "choices" breaks the immersion, restricts your ability to RP the character the way you envisioned it. You want to RP? Well, I as my character would have said this, but according to the rep-gain my character must say that in order to be aligned with the reputation-mechanic-RP aspect, if you catch my drift. You'll end up with having to pick choices just to align with the "correct" rep gains, or choose the "wrong" convo/rep options to align with what you would say, thus ending up with an ingame-personality that does not reflect your RP. Am I making sense?

 

So, please, in PoE3, look into the possibility of being able to change the Reputation, i.e. intention/meaning of certain conversation options. E.g. dropdown for [chose your intention], where it makes sense, where you can select between a few options. I think that this would make the RP aspects of the game a whole lot more rewarding, since you can be much more dynamic in the way you approach conversations.

 

Again, this is not something particular to PoE2, but PoE 1 and 2 are the RPGs I've spent the most time playing and enjoyed. Also, I do think that the PoE devs are more receptible to suggestions than, say, Dragon Age devs would be (simply due to the more corporate, top-down nature of how Bioware/DA is managed).

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Linux

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Posted (edited)

Being able to give certain dialogue choices a "custom" meaning, tone or disposition is a really nice idea. I don't know what problems it might cause with the implementation, but it sounds pretty awesome. Maybe something like a drop-down select behind the line which is defaulted to a certain disposition (in your case "cruel") but you can change it to "benevolent" or "rational" because you interpret it like so.

You know what would be really great? If the characters in RPGs has some advanced AI that had certain goals and character traits etc. and could actually chat with you (see ELIZA). 
Maybe we'll see that some day. :) 

 

Edited by Boeroer

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Issue is that saying something isn't simply sending information. It's also receiving. Something you meant as benevolent might be perceived as cruel by others. The game tracks the latter as do other games as well. The final result so to say. Although I am interested in being able to choose disposition, it does pose issues in the implementation. Because it all boils down to intent on your (our) part, but that may not be the final result. And truth be told the result is what matters, because it's how other perceive you. And as there isn't anything like charisma in this game, or any sort of social skill (other than the locked down diplomacy and such, which don't really suit imo) there is no proper way to measure whether you are actually capable of steering your intent to be believable based on in game stats.

For instance in the beginning of the game where you have to get the pouch back from Moheka you have the option of saying "nice shiner" as a joke to Rinco. Which is marked as Clever disposition. But depending on circumstance and what type of person you're talking to this might be perceived as mean/cruel.

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Pretty much as @AeonsLegend said. Reputations represent how others perceive you, not how you perceive yourself. However, it happens often that when games tries to box various choices into boxes (be it moral stances, or ideological stances, or behaviour describers) every once in a while we will run into something that is questionable. 

I feel PoEs did a fairly good job in that regard - I play with those icons off, and reputations I gain to tend to represent the character I envisioned. And if everyonce in a while they end up doing something that others might perceive as "cruel" or "shady", then that's fine I think. One might do those things, even if they don't intend to. 

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I'm very much aware that Reputation gain is not only how you meant it but how your character is perceived by those with whom you talk. If not, you'd be able to have a complete psychopath PC with maxed out Benevolent because their intent was pure (in their eyes) 😄  But I do feel that it being couched as "disposition" does lend itself to be more influenced by how you meant it than it currently is. But withing reason.

E.g. if someone asks if their new sword is well crafted, you would be Honest and say "no, you've been duped", but it may also be seen as cruel etc by the disappointed owner. But you've stuck to your guns as an Honest PC. If it was merely how things were percevied, then you should also get Honest points for having a high enough Bluff skill, no? ;) As long as people believe your lies they're essentially truths until proven otherwise.

@AeonsLegend mentions social skills and intent, and that's what I'm getting at, even if it's not a skill. And since it's not, one could likely assume that the Watcher is equipped with at least average social intelligence. Intent is paramount, and there's always a social component to any social interaction. How you say something; your facial expression, your tone of voice, your stance; they all influence how what you say is perceived, which is why I think that giving choices (within reason of course) as to how a statement will affect your disposition. This could be a simple enough justification to change a statement from e.g. Cruel to Honest. Simply chaning your tone of voice will affect how it is Intended and how it's likely to be perceived. And if you're bound to a Code or Diety, like priests and paladins, then those also hold you responsible. How Marge down at the turnip stall perceived your Honesty regarding her new dress should not matter to your god, nor your adherence to the Code of your order

Currently you have to headcanon intent, to a large degree. I think there ought to be at least some wiggle-room for modifying your intent. Of course, within reason. I'm aware that the implementation might be tricky, especially compared to the pre-determined style which have been in use since the dawn of time. But then again, if all it does is fill up meters, then a meter is a meter.

But in all honesty, I think that if Obsidian (or someone) were able to pull off a more dynamic Disposition/Reputation system like this, it would be a leap forward in RPG mechanics.* It also gives a lot more room for dynamic interactions with NPCs, especially "important" NPCs.

*Not to mention a godsend for people like me who obess over dialogue choices being the "correct" for what I intended to say (even for dialogues that are essentially pointless/valueless in the grand scheme of things).

Linux

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