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PoE II What is Different? Would you recommend me PoE II: Deadfire? I played PoE 1


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Hi All,

From time to time, I get these "need to play an RPG" moments. I am wondering if I should give PoE: II a shot. Before you say "just try it man, why are you even asking, and wasting our time" let me provide my experience with PoE 1.

I have a fondness for Obsidian, probably because I always saw it as a continuation of Black Isle Studios, and I assume that they kept following this manifesto "Simply put, our goal is to create the best electronic RPG's on the market. Our team is made up of core RPGer's who work on nothing else. We create the kind of games we want to play, and by doing so, hope to stay true to the RPG enthusiast"

I backed PoE 1, and I was disappointed. I found it over the top on the worldbuilding aspect, over the top dialogue, with dull characters, static environments etc. It seemed to me that the designers have focused more on playing Tolkien circlejerking with the fans who like this kind of stuff and forgot about what makes a good RPG, which is engagement, involvement, a story which tags you along and keeps you curious and surprised. At least, that is what I see when I look at Planescape Torment, Baldur's Gate 2, and Fallout 1 & 2, which has been rated on the top RPG charts since forever.

At the time I saw some people who share this opinion, but the general consensus was "come on guys, let us think of this one as Baldur's Gate 1 they are just setting up the world, they needed to get their finances in order etc., PoE 2 will be much better just like BG2 was far better than BG1". I shared the same opinion, until, sometime during development I saw post about devs/designers (names will not be given) boasting about some language glyphs they have been working on which made me lose hope about the second game.

Some poeple might enjoy this kind of stuff, but I do not find coming up with a custom language, custom names etc. remotely interesting in this day and age, it has been done and done, given enough effort (far less than the time in the order of game development time)  anyone can create a custom language. This is the kind of creativity I would expect from a Bethesda designer/developer "let us change the names of weekdays by replacing -day to -tagh, awesome". Honestly I remember quite many things from BG2 even though I have not touched it in ages, but I only remember that there was a bearded villain jumping about from people to people and had something to do with the Gods, while I needed an English-PoE Welsh Hybrid language dictionary, from PoE. 

The characters, and the story felt like "lets take stuff from venerated titles, amplify the good and remove the bad, it will turn out to be fine". It is not fine. Everything felt so over the top, every companion has some exoticness, some deep something, some excessive personality. Maybe not Eder, he was a fine fighter dude (did he have something with his brother? I do not remember). I believe that subtlety, is an art. If you stick something into someone's face it does not make it interesting.

With characters and NPCs it is better if the player reads into their character, rather than them screaming at the player "I am a conservative elf who hates slavers because I was taken as a slave from my homeland of Glifnifchflhg (which means the pride of the elves in our language) and taken to Engwoth(which means big castle in our language) I am insecure about my magic abilities and my life's purpose is to find my dads ring, Frhwh (Frhwh is a curse in our language it is similar to the F word in your language, I just wanted to clarify it to you)"     

This is again my opinion but I think modern RPGs fail with regards to making the player connect with the character they are playing, and keep the curiousity and engagement flowing, this also applies to the villain. This is where Planescape and Baldur's Gate really shine.

Taking BG2 as an example, wait why am I in a cage? ok weird wizard dude experimenting on me, minor villain?, talking about potential, helping me or what, wait where did shadow thieves come from what does this have to do with anything. Hmm, strange dungeon, why is there an elvish looking room here with alarms, dryad mentioned her, what is this guys problem, oh wow we are out, wait what is going on suddenly cowled wizards, oh oh it seems like this wizard is the main villain, wait what they took my sister dang! And suddenly you find youself in an area full of life, there are mundane merchants some useless bars, an actually useful merchant, an interesting quest in a circus tent, go to slums, there is a locked sphere here what is that, some cool thief character (Gaelan Bayle, this is how you make a good NPC, everyone remembers Gaelan although he is not that significant, and talks plain English) hmm ok seems like I need to collect money, go to Copper Coronet, again lively environment, capturing music, stuff to do, like seriously guys (Dog fights, slave fights, Firkraag, child murderer on the top floor was just the things I remember stuffed in Copper Coronet) And suddenly Bodhi, another offer, what does the vampires have anything to do with me? should I spy for the thieves guild, double cross the rival guild, Edwin? nether scrolls?. I mean one can continue forever, regarding the villlain, this dude gets into my dreams, some stuff he talks about are interesting, oh dang sister/brother stuff, oh no my soul is gone etc. etc. We were kept in constant engagement with the villain

Simply throwing a lame backstory about your magic abilities and what makes you special, and not revisiting this at all and throwing you in a dull world where events has nothing to do with you personally does not make the story about you. PoE was not terribly bad at this, but felt like bad copy and paste. I recently played Kingmaker, same issues there, 

Spoiler

the story is not about you, it is Nyrissa's story, you are a side person with a name, main villain (Lantern King) makes a couple of appearances. There is absolutely no personal connection to you at all, apart from the fact that Nyrissa's story causes troubles for your barony. You go from meaningless owlbear, dweomer owlbear, owlbear like treant, treant like owlbear, owlbear like human, owlbear like lich, furious treant like giant owlbear battle to another one with other kinds of owlbears in it. But it is easily seen that devs/designers have put an insane amount of effort in this game, and it does feel like the second installation will be quite satisfactory

 

I am sorry for the long post, and a bit of rant. Look, to each his/her own, but this is my opinion about RPGs and games. Being in software business myself I know that it is tedious and hard to make games, juggling funding and finances on top of it makes it even harder, I am not the best writer out there, neither am I an accomplished game designer. I would like to know if this game is for me because I would like to play something that I would enjoy, take me a bit away from daily headaches.

Final Note: I remember enjoying Tyranny very very much. Apart from Barik's voice, nothing personal against the voice actor, but I just cannot stand this voice actors, ehmm.. voicing?.  I wish Obsidian would expand Tyranny, or developed on it.

If you read through all of this, I appreciate it, and your comments are appreciated

 

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Cheers!

After reading through your post I will say that Deadfire most certainly is not for you.

 

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But since Deadfire is not expensive nowadays and because you're in the software business and therefore won't be a pauper you could still give it a shot - just to be really sure that you definitely don't like it. Else you might have this nagging thought in the years to come: "I know I won't like it, this Boeroer guy told me... but what if... what if I skipped the greatest CRPG of all times?" ;)

I mean looking at your opening post you seem to have some free time at hand. ;)

 

 

Edited by Boeroer
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On 3/14/2021 at 9:54 PM, guguma said:

If you read through all of this, I appreciate it, and your comments are appreciated

I felt similar to you about all of the complicated PoE lore. I wasn't all that interested in learning yet another universe's history and theology. I played all the way through, skimming over the more esoteric stuff.

I found that PoE2, while still heavy on the gods, is much easier to follow. It turns out that I learned a lot of the lore from the first game in spite of myself. You seem to remember it pretty well, so I think you might enjoy PoE2 more too.

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You go from meaningless owlbear, dweomer owlbear, owlbear like treant, treant like owlbear, owlbear like human, owlbear like lich, furious treant like giant owlbear battle to another one with other kinds of owlbears in it.

holy moley did you made me cackle. 

 

i have similar thoughts about BG2 - i could not finish BG for the longest time but BG2 really had me hooked into the narrative with a killer opening. I didn't finish BG until long after I had cleared BG2 multiple times.

I think the narrative in PoE2 is quite a bit tighter than in PoE1. I notice that you liked Tyranny, which also is lore-heavy. I wonder if the difference lies in how the lore-building is conveyed. Tyranny introduced the system where lore-topics were highlighted in-text, and you could hover over something for a quick summary or full details if you wanted, or you could just skip it altogether and just focus on what's going on, whereas PoE1 sometimes had extremely exposition-heavy dialogue. PoE2 uses the Tyranny system.

 

If there's a steam sale you might want to give it a shot. You have a couple hours to give it a shot and still refund it.

 

edit: I think JE Sawyer commented on Tyranny and said that Paradox owned the rights to Tyranny, so the likelihood of a sequel is pretty slim. If Chris Avellone is accurate with how Feargus handled dev with Paradox, there might be some bridges burned there so the likelihood of Obs developing any Tyranny sequel is even more vanishingly unlikely.

 

edit 2: personally speaking, I recommend new people skip PoE1 and jump straight to PoE2. Don't get me wrong, I really loved PoE1 (before Deadfire knocked it out of the spot, PoE1 was my top RPG), but I personally think PoE1 is too dense and janky and frantic for people who aren't already hard fans of the IE RTwP genre for its own sake. Deadfire is a lot tighter and convincing in terms of narrative (I'm going to use the example that factions in PoE1 you just kinda stumbled into and after like two tasks for one faction you irrevocably pissed off everyone else without much warning; Deadfire has much more scaffolding and a better build up of the tensions). It also is more accessible in terms of overall systems design IMO (combat in particular). It also is just more "modern" in terms of design sensibility. If anything you might enjoy Deadfire a lot more than PoE1 for similar reasons, though obviously it's your money on the line, not mine.

Edited by thelee
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12 hours ago, thelee said:

but I personally think PoE1 is too dense and janky and frantic for people who aren't already hard fans of the IE RTwP genre for its own sake.

Also, in PoE1, they essentially removed XP gain from battles. Fair enough. But they didn't remove the battles; they're all over the place, all the time. You don't get XP, you hardly ever get loot worth mentioning: it's just a godawful waste of time. What a mistake that was.

I totally agree with you when it comes to BG2 and BG1. BG2 is superb, and I also started with that by the way, whereas BG1 is just bad. I did finish it once, but it was not worth it. There's so much aimless walking around on mostly empty maps.

Deadfire is up there with BG2, I'd say. In my view, BG2 beats PoE1, because of the battle thing above.

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1 hour ago, xzar_monty said:

Also, in PoE1, they essentially removed XP gain from battles. Fair enough. But they didn't remove the battles; they're all over the place, all the time. You don't get XP, you hardly ever get loot worth mentioning: it's just a godawful waste of time. What a mistake that was.

But they removed a lot of filler combats with a patch. Although in WM there are again some unnecessary fights (looking at Russetwood and Longwatch Falls).

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

But they removed a lot of filler combats with a patch. Although in WM there are again some unnecessary fights (looking at Russetwood and Longwatch Falls).

Both true. I recently did a playthrough of PoE1, and it was good to see that the number of fights had gone down. However, as you say, some areas in the White March are just awful. It just makes no sense. You get nothing from those fights, it's only wasting your time.

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On 3/20/2021 at 8:57 PM, thelee said:

I think the narrative in PoE2 is quite a bit tighter than in PoE1. I notice that you liked Tyranny, which also is lore-heavy. I wonder if the difference lies in how the lore-building is conveyed. Tyranny introduced the system where lore-topics were highlighted in-text, and you could hover over something for a quick summary or full details if you wanted, or you could just skip it altogether and just focus on what's going on, whereas PoE1 sometimes had extremely exposition-heavy dialogue. PoE2 uses the Tyranny system.

I am not entirely sure why I enjoyed Tyranny more than PoE !. Honestly I am not really a fan of hover-over lore info  on highlighted text. It probably did not feel over the top, or it might be this "tightness" you are mentioning. If I understand correctly by more tight you mean something like it does not drag on, more compact and to the point?

Quote

If there's a steam sale you might want to give it a shot. You have a couple hours to give it a shot and still refund it.

 

edit 2: personally speaking, I recommend new people skip PoE1 and jump straight to PoE2. Don't get me wrong, I really loved PoE1 (before Deadfire knocked it out of the spot, PoE1 was my top RPG), but I personally think PoE1 is too dense and janky and frantic for people who aren't already hard fans of the IE RTwP genre for its own sake. Deadfire is a lot tighter and convincing in terms of narrative (I'm going to use the example that factions in PoE1 you just kinda stumbled into and after like two tasks for one faction you irrevocably pissed off everyone else without much warning; Deadfire has much more scaffolding and a better build up of the tensions). It also is more accessible in terms of overall systems design IMO (combat in particular). It also is just more "modern" in terms of design sensibility. If anything you might enjoy Deadfire a lot more than PoE1 for similar reasons, though obviously it's your money on the line, not mine.

Yes, I will probably have a trial, or play through a shared library. It is not the money that I am bothered about, when you think about it even bad games are actually worth their money if you calculate their cost in entertainment/hour. It is about time, If i can enjoy something better, why waste time on that.

Honestly, I would not hesitate to pay for quality, something like BG2 quality I would pay quite a bit for, but that is not how it actually works in life :)

I think I can agree with you on " If anything you might enjoy Deadfire a lot more than PoE1 for similar reasons" point and give it a shot. 

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I'd say the chances that you'd prefer Deadfire over PoE are pretty big.
For some of the reasons you didn't like PoE, I like it (a bit) better than Deadfire. So that' a hint. ;)

Looking at the game mechanics and also FX, AI and all of the other technical stuff Deadfire objectively is the superior game. A lot more systemic, less complicated (still not easy to grasp though) and yet provides a ton of options.
Balance of classes and abilites is unmachted I'd say. It's really hard to build a character (in good faith) that totally sucks. You can have fun with whatever character idea you might come up with. Yet it leaves room for especially good and innovative stuff - for people with puzzle drive or powergaming ambitions for example.
The rest (naval theme, tone is lighter than PoE etc.) is more a matter of taste I think.

The main story line is very short though but side-quest lines are plenty. The pacing is a bit off imo.

But lore dumps and long texts (which I personally like) are mostly gone, there's way less filler combat, too. You'll still have the made-up languages for every culture (which I like although sometimes it's a bit too much) and things like Gul = Ghoul, Fampyr = Vampire and there are Elves and Dwarfs and so on - but I guess one can get past that if the rest is fun. One has to keep in mind that PoE was done as a spiritual successor to the IE games and backers expected certain types of races and enemies. If it weren't so Josh Sawyer would have gone with completely different stuff as he mentioned several times. But because of the initial Kickstarter campaign there were "creative restrictions". PoE tried to ride the wave of nostalgia and Deadfire can't deviate too much because it's a sequel after all.

It's hard to tell what other players will like because you can apporach the game (as most RPGs) in so many different ways and with different preferences.    

 

Edited by Boeroer

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5 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Balance of classes and abilites is unmachted I'd say. It's really hard to build a character (in good faith) that totally sucks. You can have fun with whatever character idea you might come up with.

Given this (and given that I also think this is true), do you feel there is any definite "excellent loot" in the game? Items that are almost certainly worth getting despite the characters you play.

I would argue that Tidefall is superb in PoE, it will do you good and it's always worth getting. The bow, Persistence, is also very very good, at least as far as I understand the system (do correct me if I'm wrong). BG2 contains loot that is most definitely better than most. But what about Deadfire?

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Deadfire has some very good items, but they are not as obviously bonkers as some of the old IE items.

The Red Hand for example is a must-have if you want to play a gunner with an arquebus, Devil of Caroc's Breastplate is in 75% of character builds it seems and so on.

But there are not really items that every class should get. Most of times there are good items for build idea x but other good ones for build idea y. And I really like that. Imo nothing's more boring than an item that everybody always uses because it's just too good.

I'd say there are more exiting items than in PoE due to the more specialized enchantment system. PoE's enchantments (besides the ones unique items came with) were all the same so of course they felt more same-y I guess.

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37 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

The Red Hand for example is a must-have if you want to play a gunner with an arquebus, Devil of Caroc's Breastplate is in 75% of character builds it seems and so on.

I haven't really used the Red Hand, but Devil of Caroc's Breastplate is one I always buy. And when I play with Berath's blessings so that I have the mythical adra stone, this armor has always (that is, twice...) been the thing I use it upon. Rationale: excellent armor, you get it early, so the mythic status gives a long-lasting benefit (which, granted, is more useful early, rather than late in the game).

Anyway, thanks for the comment!

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Ahh, so it can be stolen from one of the containers in the store? That's clearly what you're saying.

Interesting. This is one of the things I've often wondered. I've never really developed sleight of hand, intimidate or bluff, so I actually don't know what you could accomplish with them... (Does intimidate have any serious benefits?)

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In this case you need mechanics. Lots of it. But party assist works so it's not that difficult to achieve. You also need sparkcrackers to lure away the left guard. 

Sleight of Hand gets you the keys for only one of the containers iirc. Sleight of hand can be fun but you also need stealth to pull it off (if you don't want to use Bounding Boots cheese). 

Intimidate has a big impact on the armor you get from the Valera "boss" (Casita Samelia's Legacy). Besides that it's mostly for dialogue options as all the other skills from the second skill group. 

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Ok, thanks.

It would be interesting to be very aware of the way the different skills are implemented in the game, i.e. which of them are more useful in terms of actual checks. I have completely ignored Explosives, Bluff and Intimidate, and I don't really care about Sleight of Hand and Streetwise, either. But then, I don't really know whether my Metaphysics skill has ever paid off.

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Metaphysics has at least one big effect in the Watershaper's Guild/Water Dragon quest. I believe you need 8(?).

Besides that I very often use the large shield Cadhu Scalth which is awesome with high Metaphysics (and Athletics). Essence Interrupter is also better with high Metaphysics.

Streetwise is not that impactful I think. With Bluff and Intimidate you can pick some nice dialogue options rel. often. Explosives is mostly for using bombs. It has some options in scripted interactions but I don't recall which ones and how many exactly. 

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I am currently playing a character with high Res and high Int, especially for dialogue / problem-solving purposes, and I do get a nice amount of new dialogue options that way, too.

I know there is an option that allows you to see even the dialogue options that aren't available to you (because of stat or skill limitations), but I don't want to see that stuff, spoils too much.

The scripted interactions are sometimes annoying in the sense that you get to choose a character for your interactions, but you can't really be certain what the criteria are going to be. There can be some confusion especially about whether what's being measured is Perception (ability) or Survival (skill).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Too wordy. We dont need that much context, tangent and background for everything.

Do ya like rpgs? If yes then try it. If no then dont. If you like the rpgs these games are famously imitating then try it. If not then dont. 

 

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8 hours ago, asnjas said:

Too wordy. We dont need that much context, tangent and background for everything.

This thread has a perfectly good discussion going, nobody was complaining about anything. You really have no reason to be so unpleasant to the OP. His post was perfectly fine. If it rubs you the wrong way, don't respond. Everybody will benefit.

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On 4/1/2021 at 3:58 AM, asnjas said:

Too wordy. We dont need that much context, tangent and background for everything.

Do ya like rpgs? If yes then try it. If no then dont. If you like the rpgs these games are famously imitating then try it. If not then dont. 

 

This is a forum. not twitter.

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nowt

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