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My Gripe on Influence


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What I don't like about the influence system is that you miss out on so many conversations if you don't do things exactly right to please the other party members. I liked how KOTOR I worked where the more experience you have, the more conversations you can unlock with other characters. Just my .02.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

--John Stewart Mill--

 

"Victory was for those willing to fight and die. Intellectuals could theorize until they sucked their thumbs right off their hands, but in the real world, power still flowed from the barrel of a gun.....you could send in your bleeding-heart do-gooders, you could hold hands and pray and sing hootenanny songs and invoke the great gods CNN and BBC, but the only way to finally open the roads to the big-eyed babies was to show up with more guns."

--Black Hawk Down--

 

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What I don't like about the influence system is that you miss out on so many conversations if you don't do things exactly right to please the other party members. I liked how KOTOR I worked where the more experience you have, the more conversations you can unlock with other characters.  Just my .02.

 

It does seem to be the case that in order to find out everything, you have to take everyone along everywhere, so that you get the required influence with them to find out things, and... but there are only two NPC slots when you go out! help :o

 

Of course, this could be called "replayability" :)

 

It's a little irritating.

 

On the whole I think the influence system is rather cool. There's definitely more that could be done with the concept in KOTOR3 though.

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What I don't like about the influence system is that you miss out on so many conversations if you don't do things exactly right to please the other party members. I liked how KOTOR I worked where the more experience you have, the more conversations you can unlock with other characters.  Just my .02.

 

Yes, I had a hard time unlocking all of the conversations (most of them actually) the first time around. It was a little frustrating especially since I did Nar Shadaa last and that's where most of your party members are picked up and where you get the triggers for Atton's dialog about his past.

 

I'd like to see a combination of the two coversation triggers (influence & level up) in Kotor III.

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well it's because there's a little powergamer in all of us ..

 

Since we aren't really supposed to drag Diciple/Bao-Dur/Handmaiden/Mira down the dark path (from a story perspective) .. I mean you are doing 'severe' charity to win their influence in the first place, not lying or manipulating, but acting good .. and then evil .. so in an essence it's all about powergaming imo! :devil: and vice versa with the evil characters!

 

the game works fine if you stick to one allignment! but appears wierd and broken if you flip-flop to gain the maximun influence!

 

Evil characters should loose influence with the good ones .. and good characters should loose influence with the bad ones ..

Fortune favors the bald.

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I like the influence system. I don't think that in an ideal RPG, your NPCs should respond to you with the same contributions, no matter what you do. It only makes sense that different behaviour evokes different reactions. I think it's a good change. Yeah, of course, different reactions based on your own actions means you don't see 100% of the game's content on every single run through. That's natural. That's the way it should be.

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I don't think that in an ideal RPG, your NPCs should respond to you with the same contributions, no matter what you do.  It only makes sense that different behaviour evokes different reactions.

 

Right. So far.

 

I think it's a good change. Yeah, of course, different reactions based on your own actions means you don't see 100% of the game's content on every single run through. That's natural.  That's the way it should be.

 

It is a nice idea in principle, but the TSL implementation is b0rked. Not because you may miss one or the other dialogue line if a certain NPC is not in your strike team at a certain moment, but because the game tells you that there is (presumably) important background information to be had but taunts you with [influence: Failure]. Also, the game does not specify in any way the rules of this game nor is there any other feedback besides [influence: success/failure] and so your are left grope around in the dark.

 

The influence system is further problematic in two ways:

 

(1) Influence loss or gain does not only depend on your actions, but also on coincidental things like who you have in your party at the time of action, as well as who the third party member is, if any.

 

(2) Many NPCs require trigger places/actions instead of conversation choices for the influence thingy, and there are too few of them (have a look at starwars_kotor_ii_influence.txt at GameFAQs) - not enough for all of your NPCs even if you know beforehand who will react to which event, let alone if you just play the game without a detailed plan based on walkthrough FAQs.

 

The problem with (1) is this: let's say characters X and Y would normally react favourably to a certain action; if they are both in the party at that time then only one will react, unless one of them is Kreia who can really mix things up in various wonderful ways.

 

This basically means that one and the same action might potentially give different results for each of the possible three dozen ways of choosing one or two companions for a particular outing.

 

Let's say there are only a dozen actions/events in the game that are influence triggers (and assuming you know about them, which is not necessarily a given). The result is that you have to play the game almost five hundred times in order to cover all possible paths. Since some triggers influence only some NPCs you might not even know that a certain event/action is a trigger and so you might miss it altogether in your diligent playthroughs.

 

Couple that with the sloppy scripting and you've got a mix that is a killer of replay fun (if you know about it) or a potent source of frustration (if you don't).

 

There are various ways to build a solid influence system but this is not one of them.

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I also found the Dark Side Corruption and Light Side Enlightenment to be out of place. The descriptions basically say for both that these powers intensify the alignments of those around you -- DSers are driven even more to the DS, LSers are driven more to the LS, no matter if you are a Sith Lord or a Jedi Master yourself.

 

Thus, Hanharr, HK-47, Visas Marr, and G0-T0 should all be driven deeper to the DS, while Bao-Dur, T3, Mira, and Disciple being driven to the LS, with Atton following the character's lead and Kreia remaining eternally grey, whether or not you are Dark Side or Light. That's not how it works, however.

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What I miss about KOTOR I is how certain conversations with your party members unlock side quests. Although they were somewhat buggy (missions brother), they gave you an entertainable way of finding more information about an NPC's past. Anyone else agree?

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

--John Stewart Mill--

 

"Victory was for those willing to fight and die. Intellectuals could theorize until they sucked their thumbs right off their hands, but in the real world, power still flowed from the barrel of a gun.....you could send in your bleeding-heart do-gooders, you could hold hands and pray and sing hootenanny songs and invoke the great gods CNN and BBC, but the only way to finally open the roads to the big-eyed babies was to show up with more guns."

--Black Hawk Down--

 

MySpace: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea...iendid=44500195

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^ both yes and no .. I miss the fact that it worked in KOTOR1 and you didn't need to 'work the system' to learn about vital plot info ..

 

but that said it left very little for replay value .. in theory KOTOR2 was a great system, which allowed you to influence different characters in different playthroughs, but as Darth Frog so elequently said "There are various ways to build a solid influence system but this is not one of them."

Fortune favors the bald.

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^ both yes and no .. I miss the fact that it worked in KOTOR1 and you didn't need to 'work the system' to learn about vital plot info ..

 

but that said it left very little for replay value .. in theory KOTOR2 was a great system, which allowed you to influence different characters in different playthroughs, but as Darth Frog so elequently said "There are various ways to build a solid influence system but this is not one of them."

 

KOTOR II plays much like the Suikoden games. You have NPC's you will always find, NPCs that you can miss but are not too hard to get. And you have your "secret" NPCs which are a case of either being very lucky, or very patient. Gau in SIV took me 20+ random battles to find second time around. Only 3 first time (which is the only reason I knew he existed).

 

What does this have to do with KOTOR ? Well you have your obvious Jedi that you cant miss, Kreia and Vissis. You have the NPCs that just scream out look at me I'm a jedi but I dont know it yet (Atton,Mira etc) And you have Bao Dur who probably fits into the "luck" catagory as there is nothing obviously Jedi about him. The fact he cant wear robes kinda throws you off too.

 

If you feel that you are being punished because you are missing something, then these are probably not the games for you. If on the other hand you like to find something new every time you replay these sort of games will almost guarentee it unless you used a walkthrough. I found something significant each time I played KOTOR II. Actually on my last play taking Bao Dur to Dxun he has a lot to say.

 

On finishing KOTOR II my only thought was wow there is a lot there that this particular character didnt experience and I dived straight back in with a new concept. On finishing KOTOR I was, well thats the story done nothing much to add there even from the darkside.

 

My only real issue with the influence system is the pacing. Which either by luck or design can lead to it feeling too fast rather than as a developing relationship. But none of that "you gain a level so heres another spoonful of story" that Bioware uses. Something much more organic.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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Evil characters should loose influence with the good ones .. and good characters should loose influence with the bad ones ..

I can't say I agree. Evil characters should be adept liars and masters of deception, unless they happen to fall into the all too familiar 'dumb evil' archetype that runs rampant in far too many games. As such, working the system to gain the trust of NPCs is less powergaming than it is fully immersing yourself in the role of an intelligently evil PC... at least that's how I justify it to myself :p

 

I want my evil PC to be intelligent enough to feign righteousness and compassion while under the scrutiny of lightside companions to gain their trust (there's never enough [lie] dialogue options for darksiders, in my opinion), then get to work currupting the good natures of those companions once they're wrapped around my little finger.

 

Darkside and deception would seem to go hand in hand, and a well fleshed out influence system should allow a darkside character to remain firmly entrenched in their darkside mastery, all the while playing lightside NPCs for the easily manipulated saps that they are. A lightside PC, however, should have a much more difficult time doing this with darkside NPCs, since lies and deception aren't nearly so closely tied to the path of light as they are to the dark. Lightsiders should have to go the pansy redemption route instead.

 

Hopefully, the influence system in KotOR 3 (assuming it gets made) is more dynamic in this regard, and allows for more subtlety in influence manipulation.

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Not because you may miss one or the other dialogue line if a certain NPC is not in your strike team at a certain moment, but because the game tells you that there is (presumably) important background information to be had but taunts you with [influence: Failure]. Also, the game does not specify in any way the rules of this game nor is there any other feedback besides [influence: success/failure] and so your are left grope around in the dark.

 

I'll have to disagree with this a bit. The Influence rules are pretty straightforward if you understand the character in question. And is the information really all that important? Interesting, yes, but iportant?

 

(2) Many NPCs require trigger places/actions instead of conversation choices for the influence thingy, and there are too few of them (have a look at starwars_kotor_ii_influence.txt at GameFAQs) - not enough for all of your NPCs even if you know beforehand who will react to which event, let alone if you just play the game without a detailed plan based on walkthrough FAQs.

 

Don't exaggerate. You can get max influence with all characters for your alignment without too much difficulty if you do the planets in the right order. For instance, if LS, do Nar Shaddaa first - a good rule anyway - for enough influence to Jedify Atton and Bao-Dur. Then switch Mira in... etc. Visas is such an influence **** that you don't really need to worry about influence, and T3 Disciple, Handmaiden, and Kreia have enough shipbaord dialog to max them. (An LS player wouldn't want to max HK-47, GO-TO, and Mandalore). So one playthrough DS, one playthrough LS.

 

And how does it "kill replay fun" to not be able to completely exhaust all dialogs in a single playthrough?

 

My big problem is that the NPCs don't seem to know that they've changed alignment. People have mentioned the fallen LS character, but it goes both ways. Someone with LS mastery shouldn't want to cleanse a bar of life, and you shouldn't lose influence for forbidding her to do it.

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Not because you may miss one or the other dialogue line if a certain NPC is not in your strike team at a certain moment, but because the game tells you that there is (presumably) important background information to be had but taunts you with [influence: Failure].

 

I'll have to disagree with this a bit. The Influence rules are pretty straightforward if you understand the character in question.

 

LOL, I just went to the flophouse in order to have a chat with Lootra and Aidaa (sp?), because for some strange reason this talk is necessary for p*ssing off the Exchange. I experimented a bit by reloading and having different LS chars with me for this but none of them reacted; then I put Kreia in the party, expecting her to go ballistic but instead I got ++INF with her, because she regarded the LS pep talk as nicely manipulative. Straightforward indeed.

 

It also seems that Kreia is sometimes required as a sort of catalyst for NPCs to be influenced by certain actions/events. Just have a look at the influence FAQ to see the straightforwardness in all its glory.

 

Also, none of my NPCs ever achieved alignment mastery in any of my games, even though they were at maxed-out alignment most of the time and I did lots of appropriate deeds in their presence. I was given the impression that this was due to lack of influence.

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Also, none of my NPCs ever achieved alignment mastery in any of my games, even though they were at maxed-out alignment most of the time and I did lots of appropriate deeds in their presence. I was given the impression that this was due to lack of influence.

 

I only had this problem with the LS. I didn't try a Consular/Jedi Master though, but Watchman I had no such luck. I plan to try a Guardian/Weapons Master at some point, but I doubt it'll be any different. :shifty:

 

For DS, I've had no problems getting their mastery with an Assassin or a Marauder. And the Sith Lord was just insanely easy to corrupt everyone due to their bonus.

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Evil characters should loose influence with the good ones .. and good characters should loose influence with the bad ones ..

I can't say I agree. Evil characters should be adept liars and masters of deception, unless they happen to fall into the all too familiar 'dumb evil' archetype that runs rampant in far too many games. As such, working the system to gain the trust of NPCs is less powergaming than it is fully immersing yourself in the role of an intelligently evil PC... at least that's how I justify it to myself :shifty:

 

and I wasn't arguing that .. that just isn't the case in this game! here you either play pure DS or LS, since going gray is rather futile.. and yes you do have the option of taking your LS companions down the DS road, but as we have all seen, this doesn't affect dialouge, so my bet it's more for show than actual role-playing reasons ..

 

to sum it up .. the point of the game, imo, is to alienate those who you don't have the same alligment with (which will in turn boost their own and make them more DS or LS) since they will follow 'character' through the entire game that way .. and to influence your own and make them even more goody or baddy..

Fortune favors the bald.

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Yep, the influence thing is flawed in it's current state.

The idea they presented for KOTOR2 (but isn't included) was good:

They corrupt/purify and act like that, or if they didn't want to leave LS/DS they left and you could get an other NPC (with your prefered LS/DS) to take their missing place.

Now the only important thing is influence, gained in convo's, but the color switch doesn't does a thing while having to do so.

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It also seems that Kreia is sometimes required as a sort of catalyst for NPCs to be influenced by certain actions/events. Just have a look at the influence FAQ to see the straightforwardness in all its glory.

 

I have. I always read Dan Simpson's FAQs. But it looks like Dan missed the LS influence chance with Lootra -- you should send it in.

 

I really don't understand the Kreia effect for random murders; then again, I haven't seen it in actions, since I haven't played DS yet.

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The influence system would work differently if you had a different character (not the exile). The exile knowingly or unknowingly forces his will on people around him, especially force sensitives.

 

Thats why characters will often say "I dont know why I did that" or why you can ask Mira why her code against killing dosnt seem to apply when she is around you.

 

The higher or lower your influence with someone is, the more this happens,their alignment will come to match your own. Especially if you have a high charisma as well.

I have to agree with Volourn.  Bioware is pretty much dead now.  Deals like this kills development studios.

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The Influence system appears to be born out of the cry babies that wanted to turn NPCs into the dark side.

 

I only see it done well in BG2, with Anomen and Virconia and those were scripted events, Juhami in KotOR could have been turned at one point.

 

As it stands the system does not work for two reasons.

 

First, the NPCs dont change their personality reguardless of were they stand on the force aligment.

 

Second, the NPC influcence the player and not the way around.

 

Now the easier way to solve would be to strip the LS/DS point gain of infuence replies but that would not be a fix.

 

The real fix would be make LS and DS replies that influence characters and make such characters have a LS and DS behavior.

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One possible solution (that obviously can't be done in this game) would be if you could actually comprise a party of MORE than three (PC + 2 NPCs) characters to something like maybe five, or possibly more.

 

This way, the player would (supposedly) have more chances at gaining and losing influence with more party members at the same time, thus, possibly speeding up certain NPC influence while alienating others. The other benefit would be that the increased combinations of "party member dependant" influence matrixies would be increased about 10 fold as well giving even more replay value...

 

That could also be viewed as a bad thing given the "hidden" nature of the current system as it multiplies the chances of NOT gaining and losing influence just the same as it increases it.

 

The major criticism I have of the current influence system is that too much of the core story -- why you are doing thigs; who Scion and Nihilus are; who Kriea is, etc. -- Is hidden within the Influence system and is almost like the devs did this to justify the influence system since as others have mentioned, it's great to be able to "turn" NPCs to your will and allignment (which doesn't really work in the end)... But there is a very good chance that a player is going to miss a more fleshed out story because main story is too dependent on the influence to get it.

 

And before some of you take the self-grandiose, intellectually superior route of "then stick to more straightforward games that spoon feed you everything"...

 

The fact is this is a GAME first and foremost. It is meant to ENTERTAIN.

 

I and many others are intelligent people and use our brains all day long.

 

I am willing to think, but to be honest, somethings, like the current Influence system, have a lot to be desired due to its mostly "hidden" nature and this points more to a failure in implementation/execution than players just not being "smart enough to get it".

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