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I'll just post some ideas about Fallout 2, since it's the game I played (and enjoyed) the most.

 

One thing I think it's kinda "vital" is something like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and the way that affected your char.

1 in Intelligence? Your char would mostly grunt at people,

Make it 10 and you would have a rich sentences and more options to choose from.

 

Another thing is the combat system, but since Project Eternity is fantasy-based I'm not sure if Fallout's combat system would work.

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Distinguished usage of foreign languages. Everywhere you go the people either A: speak English (or the localized language that the player understands) or B: understand every language at a proficient level.


DAWUSS

 

 

Dawes ain't too bright. Hitting rock bottom is when you leave 2 tickets on the dash of your car, leave it unlocked hoping someone will steal them & when you come back, there are 4 tickets on your dashboard.

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I'll just post some ideas about Fallout 2, since it's the game I played (and enjoyed) the most.

 

One thing I think it's kinda "vital" is something like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and the way that affected your char.

1 in Intelligence? Your char would mostly grunt at people,

Make it 10 and you would have a rich sentences and more options to choose from.

 

Another thing is the combat system, but since Project Eternity is fantasy-based I'm not sure if Fallout's combat system would work.

 

Perhaps slightly off-topic, but I think the return of such an intelligence system would be welcomed. Idiot playthroughs in FO1 and FO2 were hilarious.

As an alternative, if there's a charisma or personality stat at all, perhaps raising it would unlock better dialog options? Wittier, funnier and/or more insightful/thoughtful/sympathetic ones that tend to be able to get you further in dialog, whereas low personality characters get very blunt and bland dialog options that leave them limited with social interactions? Personality/Charisma is typically a very underpowered stat, it'd be nice to see such a thing fleshed out more. New Vegas did an amazing job of making the Speech skill God-Tier quality, but the Charisma attribute still left something to be desired.

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"The Courier was the worst of all of them. The worst by far. When he died the first time, he must have met the devil, and then killed him."

 

 

Is your mom hot? It may explain why guys were following her ?

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"What is a hit point, anyway? What does it mean to lose a hit point? Does that mean that you have been hit? Or are hit points some vague combination of your character's natural strength, their focus, their luck, armour, and agility? Of course if all those things are unified, you can't have separate block and dodge and damage reduction via armour and all that nice stuff because they're already covered as hit points. And that's what I prefer, but it's not something you really see. Like, ever. Instead, hit points represent some noexistent "vitality" thing that lets one character survive one axe to the face and another survive ten axes to the face because HIT POINTS RARGH."

 

That's not how DnD hp work. How it works is clearly explained in the various PHBs down the years.

 

Anyways, on topic:

 

Yeah, resting should be limited to only be allowed 1 8ish hour shift per day, and if you rest in widlerness/hostile places, there should be a high risk of being disrupted which not only makes you udnerattack, it also hurts your chance to 'memorize' spells/regain magic points, and receieve minuses for being too tired.

 

There should be a mix of 'traditional' races like dwarves 9THERE HAS TO BE DWARVES!), and unncommonr ace. Obsidian should also try to throw in at least 1 or two of their own created races.

 

Magic needs to be used for than just combat. If classes are being used, they should at least have limited access to other classes skills at 'increased cost' ie a warrior may dabble in a handful of rogue abltiies or become expert at pickpocketing but it should come at the price of not being able to 'max' out warrior abilities.

 

Obvious I expect the traditional spells to exist but there should be some surprising uses for magic too.

 

Variied equipment like weapons and armour are a must. Time sensitive quests should exist when needed but not too overdone.

 

Traditional monsters are cool but surprise us with some too.

 

Also, multiple starting points based on race/class/background would be awesome.

Edited by Volourn

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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I'd like to see languages come into play. Intelligent/educated characters could speak more languages and when entering certain areas you either need to hire an interpreter or have a character who speaks the language.

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The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

Devastatorsig.jpg

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When you have "evil" options, make them Intelligent evil options. Not just moronic/slaughter evil.

Depending on how open it is , and whether your characters can take the way of being a complete and utter magnificent bastard. Not just a good guy or a idiotic slaughterhouse.

 

Or at least, some way of recognising when you might choose a "good" option purely because it suits your purpose for later down the line because you are just that sort of evil git who believes that's the way to get ahead in that particular situation...

 

It's a very hard line to walk in rpg's in general, let alone figure out a way to do with a computer game. But that fine line of being boy scout good, ruthlessly pragmatic while looking at the overarcing goals for what you're seeking to do, or just being an utterly ruthless mastermind for your own benefit...

 

Along with that, the way the reputation of your character builds in the gameworld depending on your actions and how you portray yourself. Which leads to how various factions might react to you as the game progresses. Some groups being more suspicious, hostile, or downright friendly...

You might be purely out for your own benefit, but depending on how you act with people, they might think you are some wonderful hero. I kind of doubt it could be implemented in any simple manner, but it would be an interesting thing to see...

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.

 

Agreed. It was especially impossible for me ever to make a female character that'd side with the Legion; not that I couldn't think of reasons why one would, just that they weren't the sort that resonanted with any female characters I'd ever create, because they generally would make her out to be a victim going along with the stronger, male-dominated society. I want my major options to feel attractive to me both in themselves and because my character thinks they'll make them better (whatever that means for them) both immediately and after the game's ended. Something where you start off, say, as a discriminated-against character helping the racist faction because it's your only option and can later jump ship to something better, or stay because you see hope to change how you're viewed and gain greater rights for yourself/your kind is fine. Knowing that 6 months after the curtain drops on the game your character's going to meet with an unfortunate accident because their success is inconvenient to their faction's philosophy isn't.

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Choices

 

Some painful, some impossible, and some to be proud of

 

Example: "You paid dearly for doing the right thing. As a child slave, you decide to help a friend avoid punishment. You get caught and your hand is chopped off in retribution. Later on, you can't use bows and 2h-weapons. Furthermore, the wound is a stigma of a caught and convicted petty thief."

In the later game, those friends' actions have special significance to the player, and create immersion. If later on a magic liquid metal hand that restores lost abilities, can shapeshift and execute killmoves happens to be found, it'll be enjoyed all the more.

On the other hand, any injury can be avoided by not helping the friend in the first place.

 

Not paying attention makes it easy to inadvertently go down the wrong path. You want to be a good guy? Be prepared to swallow rage and forsake the satisfaction of vengeance. Vigilante killings are recognized as such by society. It's not easy to be just, and almost impossible to entirely avoid being manipulated. Prudent choices such as "bringing someone in" instead of killing them outright are available. It's impossible to succeed every time, and players are confronted with moments of intense frustration.

  • No guiding hand

An immersion breaker in modern games is the relentless pace. Not in Project Eternity. Here it is important to pay attention to the dialogue. Little is gained by following quest markers or checking objectives. Facts are recorded, but the player jots down his/her own conclusions in the journal next to them, and chooses his/her plan of action. The minimap is not a substitute for looking at where you are going, players need to familiarize themselves with the game world. Help is readily available by talking to people, but the right questions need to be asked. Superior solutions to quests apparent only with understanding and immersion are available next to regular endings.

  • Mystery

The player is placed in a wondrous place, and is not all that powerful nor important. He/She isn't able to battle everything, and might need to run from a conflict without ever having a chance of besting an opponent. In PST the lady of pain set a great mood. Beating everything into submission does not solve anything, nor does it even seem a worthy endeavor.

 

 

I like these ideas a lot. The main one for me is make the player make interesting and tough choices. The other main thing is don't design the damn game around the quest marker. If you have to leave the compass marker as an optional thing when you get stuck or better yet implement some kind of a hint system that helps you out but doesn't tell you exactly what to do. Along those lines, I'd love to see quests involve multiple uses of non combat skills and combat skills alike. In other words, these quests should be somewhat of a puzzle where your characters' skills have to be used effectively in order to succeed.

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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.

 

That is not to say I'm against the idea of an "evil" faction. Only that I'd like every faction to offer believable incentives to join or support. I don't ever want to feel as if one choice is clearly superior to another. Perhaps it might be easier if none of the main factions were the primary antagonists. Unless having an option for Evil McEvil characters to join the Big Bads is intentional; in which case ignore this whole post. :p

 

It made sense somewhat for Caesar's Legion to be less represented, though. The NCR and even House were much more of a presence in the setting of the game whereas Caesar was trying to make headway in that area. I don't really see why every faction would be equally compelling, equally good, and equally bad. They should have different motivations, different things they'd be willing to do to accomplish their goals, etc.

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I wouldn't mind if every bit of (DnD and other classical RPG) tradition was thrown in the garbage bin and made anew. Let's start with a couple ideas.

 

Mana:

What is this mystical force that fuels the miracles you perform? Make it somehow critical and essential in every being; make the lack of it be as deadly as lack of blood in your veins, or fresh air to breathe. Maybe casting spells is literally sacrificing some of your own life force. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but something more meaningful than simply exhausting a pool of infinitely regenerating points or sleeping a few hours. Maybe have finite, but immensely large pool of mana that never regenerates (unless through drastic measures?) and physically and mentally affects the character.

 

Hit Points:

Why not measure individual wounds instead: This can allow for behaviour where a single wound can be very lethal, but a high number of minor wounds with total worth similar to that of the lethal wound aren't nearly as lethal. This drastically changes the importance and balance of damage ratings to more interesting direction. E.g. character dies of a single wound worth 10 points, but can take 100 wounds worth 1 point and still live - although badly beaten up.

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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.

 

Agreed. It was especially impossible for me ever to make a female character that'd side with the Legion; not that I couldn't think of reasons why one would, just that they weren't the sort that resonanted with any female characters I'd ever create, because they generally would make her out to be a victim going along with the stronger, male-dominated society. I want my major options to feel attractive to me both in themselves and because my character thinks they'll make them better (whatever that means for them) both immediately and after the game's ended. Something where you start off, say, as a discriminated-against character helping the racist faction because it's your only option and can later jump ship to something better, or stay because you see hope to change how you're viewed and gain greater rights for yourself/your kind is fine. Knowing that 6 months after the curtain drops on the game your character's going to meet with an unfortunate accident because their success is inconvenient to their faction's philosophy isn't.

 

 

Re: Factions, I thought Obsidz did a pretty good job in FONV. Yes, the Legion was more or less abominable for female characters (or for any character / player with a principled opposition to slavery) but the faction's philosophy was internally coherent. There were reasons they did the things they did - it wasn't necessary that those reasons actually justified their actions, just that their actions made sense (and the Legion's did, ultimately). That's the difference between, say, the Master's Army and some random D&D orc tribe - the Master sought domination for reasons, the orc tribe seek domination because that's just the way orcs are. They're just violent. That's not compelling.

 

Likewise, the NCR was meant to elicit a reflexive, sympathetic response from most players in the same way the Legion is meant to be repulsive and frightening - their ostensibly republican values are common first principles among players, especially in America. But like the Legion, as you go through the game you learn that they aren't just "the way they are". They're intemperate, greedy, wasteful, and immensely dysfunctional (like some western democracies you'd care to name). Your preference for them might not change, but you don't have to do a 180 on a faction in order for that faction to be well-realized.

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Regarding things like discrimination (Legion antagonizing female PCs, etc.) I think it is important to retain those elements in games because I just happen to ascribe to a sort of post-structuralist orientation w/r/t power. I have an intense dislike for the power fantasy aspect of most recent RPGs, in which your character might be of some sort of minority group but you as an individual are able to bypass all the structural barriers that members of your group face daily (Dragon Age, etc.) Games like Fallout 2, though they aren't perfect by any means, serve an important functions. You enter the testosterone-drenched crime family strongholds in New Reno and you will be continually disrespected, maybe even turned away outright. That's something that happens to be people all the time, but it makes gamers uncomfortable. I played it as an 11-year old and that was the first time I realized that it might severely suck to be a woman a lot of the time.

 

I know Josh is up to the task with this stuff though. He's gonna blow some minds.

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I would like EVERYTHING about all the things we take for granted to be explained in in-game lore.

 

Why are there elves, dwarves and humans? Are they related, or were they created in different forms by gods? How does magic work? Are there different forms of magic? How does the cosmology look like? Why do the cultures look the way they do? How are the different countries ruled and how does this impact their inhabitants?

 

Arcanum was great in this regard and I expect nothing less from this game.

 

:)

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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What about joining a cult that worships god, demons, or some entity? They are usually the "evil" faction that you fight, but I cannot think of any RPG that allowed you really to join up with them. It would be nice to join a cult (and/or secret society). Something different for a change.

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One of the flaws I have found in the typical CRPG model is that there are only two states of the world: peaceful and deadly hostile. In the real world if I were to steal a toaster the person may only verbalize they are upset(this can be scripted in all rpgs today) or try to physically stop me, but they will not murder me. Even in most communities in the fallout world the jump from peace to fighting to the death is instant and inappropriate for social life. A fisticuffs, restraint, and other medium violence combat option would open up the role playing options a lot. This may be more suited to single avatar games and the reactivity is making time costs soar but this is what has always bothered me about open world RPGs. This also makes the party capture scripted event less unbelievable.

 

A more general thing would be tracking as much as possible in the game and throwing comments on some of it. Killing all the monsters between Dyrford and Twin Elms should get a comment about how sociopathic that is. Pay attention to timing too, if someone is trying to farm xp in a zombie ghost hellhound attack and goes to resupply those zombie ghost hellhounds should win.

 

For combat I find that most games have the quantity to quality ratio backwards and use a high number of encounters that play mostly the same. Fewer, longer, explicitly designed encounters would be a lot more enjoyable than waves of combat.

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Haha, so here I come, head full of ideas I want to get down, and as I read along... I discover most people have had the same idea! Fancy that. Anywho, I do have somethings I wish to add, though...

Just blue-sky thinking here, but wouldn't it be neat if there were some sort of countervailing mechanic that served as a disincentive to rest? Not talking "spirit meter" territory, but it'd be kinda cool if there were an area of magical/mystical abilities that actually peak in effectiveness when you've gone a long while without sleeping.

 

"Well, we're pretty beat up and should probably camp for the night, but that's going to bring our Psionicist (or whatever) back to his 'groggy early morning' state, and we used up all of our espresso supplies three days ago."

 

(Or perhaps Barbarians just can't get up the urge to Rage properly until after they've had lunch... and ripped off a couple of limbs.)

 

I like this idea. Additionally: Maybe for that first hour or so after resting, you get a minor penalty to represent the fact that you're still waking up. Their could also be a perk or background choice that mitigates the penalty.

 

One thing I would love to see change is having 'quests' be time sensitive.

 

For example: You might get a quest to go save someone who was kidnapped for a ritual. You might then only have 7 in game days from the time of pick up to complete the quest. If you don't complete it in those 7 days, something related to that quest happens. Not getting there in time might mean you then end up having to fight some horrible monster or something later on, or like... some part of a town gets destroyed, and the prices in that town go up or something.

 

It's probably wishful thinking, since it'd be a pretty ambitious undertaking to do it well... but it'd be really nice to see quests that don't wait around for the hero to get there, kinda deal.

 

A thousand times this. I love the idea of time sensitive quests, as long as the time limit is plausible.

 

It probably goes without saying, but, on the topic of quests, I would love to see most quest results have an additional effect down the line. For instance, maybe you saved an adventuring archer along the way; later on, in some encounter when you get ambushed--just as an example-- he suddenly pops up, and kills one of the enemies, and generally makes the other enemies panic. That panic can be exploited, and allow the player to turn around an otherwise bad situation.

 

Why does that happen? Because the archer felt like he owed you one. But, now that debt is paid, and he's got work to do elsewhere, so don't expect to see him again for some time, if at all.

 

Or maybe he just sort of turns into the equivalent of the Mysterious Stranger perk.

 

When you have "evil" options, make them Intelligent evil options. Not just moronic/slaughter evil.

Depending on how open it is , and whether your characters can take the way of being a complete and utter magnificent bastard. Not just a good guy or a idiotic slaughterhouse.

 

Or at least, some way of recognising when you might choose a "good" option purely because it suits your purpose for later down the line because you are just that sort of evil git who believes that's the way to get ahead in that particular situation...

 

It's a very hard line to walk in rpg's in general, let alone figure out a way to do with a computer game. But that fine line of being boy scout good, ruthlessly pragmatic while looking at the overarcing goals for what you're seeking to do, or just being an utterly ruthless mastermind for your own benefit...

 

Along with that, the way the reputation of your character builds in the gameworld depending on your actions and how you portray yourself. Which leads to how various factions might react to you as the game progresses. Some groups being more suspicious, hostile, or downright friendly...

You might be purely out for your own benefit, but depending on how you act with people, they might think you are some wonderful hero. I kind of doubt it could be implemented in any simple manner, but it would be an interesting thing to see...

 

I have nothing to add to this. I just love this idea.

 

Regarding things like discrimination (Legion antagonizing female PCs, etc.) I think it is important to retain those elements in games because I just happen to ascribe to a sort of post-structuralist orientation w/r/t power. I have an intense dislike for the power fantasy aspect of most recent RPGs, in which your character might be of some sort of minority group but you as an individual are able to bypass all the structural barriers that members of your group face daily (Dragon Age, etc.) Games like Fallout 2, though they aren't perfect by any means, serve an important functions. You enter the testosterone-drenched crime family strongholds in New Reno and you will be continually disrespected, maybe even turned away outright. That's something that happens to be people all the time, but it makes gamers uncomfortable. I played it as an 11-year old and that was the first time I realized that it might severely suck to be a woman a lot of the time.

 

I know Josh is up to the task with this stuff though. He's gonna blow some minds.

 

A thousand times this. A bit of fantasy racism/sexism actually makes a whole lot of sense. Unless we're dealing with a society that is entirely one-hundred-percent egalitarian, the idea of which actually hurts my head, and would kill my own immersion, unless done exceedingly well (something like a hive-mind society; like how all worker bees really are equal to all other worker bees, etc).


Do you like hardcore realistic survival simulations? Take a gander at this.

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We've got a crowdfunded project with many many rpg veterans chipping in. I'm ready for some innovation and experiments. Here are some features of my imaginary, perfect 'Project Eternity', add your own below!

  • Resting

Spells/abilities regenerate instead of becoming unavailable after use until the party rests. The party acts at 100% efficiency when well rested, but gradually becomes more vulnerable and loses effectiveness in all skills when tired. Spells not only cost mana, but tire casters independently. The same holds true for physical skills without consuming mana. The party can rest anywhere to regain up to e.g. 50% efficiency, but can only recuperate to 100% in designated resting areas.

 

One thing I'd like to see with resting is to have things like Firewood and Food actually be helpful to resting. Maybe having Firewood/Food or whatever allows you to get up to 75% efficiency while outside of the designated rest areas... but it'll be another item you have to remember to stock up on and carry with you, which might make you unable to carry something else you think you might need.

 

 

  • Choices

Some painful, some impossible, and some to be proud of

 

 

I would just like to say here that I love encountering situations where I agonize over possible dialogue choices. The more often, the better.

 

 

 

Another big thing I'd like to see changed... or at least looked at. Weapon and Armor "customization". There was a magical item added at one point in D&D 3.5 known as an Augment Crystal. This was an item that could be attached to, or removed from, an item without much hassle, and granted the item in question a certain magical property based off the crystal. Adding a mechanic similar to this would make it much easier for players to carry different utility magical effects for their gear without having to carry an entirely new weapon on the off chance they need it. This could specifically be done for things such as elemental resistance properties on armor, or elemental damage properties on weapons, and would go a long way in making inventory management less of a hassle if inventory management is, indeed, going to be a thing.

 

 

I'll dive into a few molds I would like to see kept now, though.

 

- Limited inventory. Some sort of inventory cap should exist. A system based mostly around weight restrictions would be nice, so long as weight is somewhat realistic. Carrying 15 different longswords and 3 suits of full platemail shouldn't really be an option unless you've got something like a bag of holding.

 

- Elemental immunities and resistances. Fire elementals should take no damage from, or potentially even be healed by, fire damage. Players having to carry things like fire resist potions and such things. All a part of good dungeon prep, which any good dungeon crawler should have a certain amount of.

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More than anything I'd love to see a really meaty tactical combat system which legitimately demands a great deal of careful thought to succeed. I want to feel challenged when I face a powerful boss and his minions, not like I need to grind more so I can spam stronger spells.

 

I guess this would entail detailed environmental interaction and encounters carefully designed to offer loads of ways to deal with the same situation. While my warrior might charge fearlessly into the boss's lair my rogue should be capable of sneaking in to sabotage his lair, orchestrate some elaborate trap, and goad him into it.

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It would be great if your perception changes based on your behavior/choices/temperament. For example, if you're always forgiving of others, then NPC's appear less suspicious. If you're always choosing the aggressive/angry options, then other characters seem more confrontational.

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Sleeping in a dungeon sure should get you ambushed by tough encounters, IMO there should be more life to a dungeon than there is in today`s rpg`s: not just keep monsters waiting for you in everyroom, make monsters patroling the dungeon, you know giving more life to the dungeon by having its inhabitants have a relation.More ways to go through a dungeon than just storming the place should be available too.

Edited by Nigro
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I would like EVERYTHING about all the things we take for granted to be explained in in-game lore.

 

Why are there elves, dwarves and humans? Are they related, or were they created in different forms by gods? How does magic work? Are there different forms of magic? How does the cosmology look like? Why do the cultures look the way they do? How are the different countries ruled and how does this impact their inhabitants?

 

Arcanum was great in this regard and I expect nothing less from this game.

 

:)

This, dwelling through lore for the 'why' of things is something I enjoy, and hope to be possible.

Dude, I can see my own soul.....

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Regarding things like discrimination (Legion antagonizing female PCs, etc.) I think it is important to retain those elements in games because I just happen to ascribe to a sort of post-structuralist orientation w/r/t power. I have an intense dislike for the power fantasy aspect of most recent RPGs, in which your character might be of some sort of minority group but you as an individual are able to bypass all the structural barriers that members of your group face daily (Dragon Age, etc.) Games like Fallout 2, though they aren't perfect by any means, serve an important functions. You enter the testosterone-drenched crime family strongholds in New Reno and you will be continually disrespected, maybe even turned away outright. That's something that happens to be people all the time, but it makes gamers uncomfortable. I played it as an 11-year old and that was the first time I realized that it might severely suck to be a woman a lot of the time.

 

I know Josh is up to the task with this stuff though. He's gonna blow some minds.

 

All structural barriers, certainly not, and I'll certainly agree that the Legion was well done in itself. I think the problem only comes in when a fairly common trait for PCs is such that one of the few main options in the game isn't really available to you because you've got no chance of bypassing any of the barriers, ever, and you'd have to be a complete moron to join up. Your average character is going to be pretty powerful and proactive by the end, not someone who'll just sign on to be enslaved down the road. Keep the unrepentantly racist, sexist factions, but as "minor" factions in terms of the game paths. More Khans than Legion, say.

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I would also love for the quest/choices/consequences bit to be pushed as far as humanly possible on this project. Give us complex quests, that interweave with everything else, screws you over badly and also rewards you handsomely. Then when you least expect, the consequences come back yet again making you go "OH MAH LAWD!".

 

Also, it would be grand if the classes (or just different builds) will really feel different not just in terms of combat, but in terms of everything else. Write as much specific dialogue as possible if you're a mage versus a thief or whatever the case. Volourn touched upon it earlier but allow a broader focus for magic, maybe have skill checks involving magic spells (charm someone, magically open a locked door, toss a fireball in someone's face before combat starts etc). Also, it'd be great if warrior characters aren't just... the classic "smash everything well but have nothing else to do". Make them have some unique flavor in dialogues as well.

 

Basically, lots and lots of unique dialogue. EVERYWHERE!

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I think in general I am excited by the notion of reactivity in the world, probably something close to The Witcher, much as I disliked that game. To illustrate what I mean, take an example:

 

Say your PC is entering a city for the first time and is going to infiltrate the local thieves' guild (or equivalent) for some other faction. You meet your faction contact but are interrupted by a group of local thugs. These thugs just happen to be racist. If you're an elf, say, they will attack you and you will have to kill them. If you're a human, they'll let you go (or you can kill them). In this case, it would appear that the human got off easy, but as it happens, later on in the infiltration quest the thug leader will show up at an inopportune time, recognize you, and blow your cover (barring some serious slick talking). An elf character, though subject to hassle the human isn't, is saved a major headache in the long run.

 

That sort of thing is something I'd like to see!

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Re: Factions, I thought Obsidz did a pretty good job in FONV. Yes, the Legion was more or less abominable for female characters (or for any character / player with a principled opposition to slavery) but the faction's philosophy was internally coherent. There were reasons they did the things they did - it wasn't necessary that those reasons actually justified their actions, just that their actions made sense (and the Legion's did, ultimately). That's the difference between, say, the Master's Army and some random D&D orc tribe - the Master sought domination for reasons, the orc tribe seek domination because that's just the way orcs are. They're just violent. That's not compelling.

 

Likewise, the NCR was meant to elicit a reflexive, sympathetic response from most players in the same way the Legion is meant to be repulsive and frightening - their ostensibly republican values are common first principles among players, especially in America. But like the Legion, as you go through the game you learn that they aren't just "the way they are". They're intemperate, greedy, wasteful, and immensely dysfunctional (like some western democracies you'd care to name). Your preference for them might not change, but you don't have to do a 180 on a faction in order for that faction to be well-realized.

 

I loved the way House and the NCR were handled by contrast. In my first game I actually stood in front of Yes Man for a good twenty minutes after finishing the "Side Bets" quests and thought very carefully about whether my character would betray house. She eventually did, and although I felt justified in my decision it never sat completely well with me.

 

I was put off by the NCR before long for the reasons you cited and more. To me they are almost as unappealing an option as the Legion is. However, the key difference is presentation. With the NCR, I get to meet many of their rank and file and see they are decent people caught up in a machine. I meet a disenfranchised ranger relegated to gathering intelligence, a crippled former ranger, well meaning scientists, and so on. There is contrast. For every shifty NCR character there were a few who were decent or at the very least, understandable given their lot.

 

Caesar's Legion by contrast is full of wall to wall psychos. Other than that one merchant, a line or two from Raul, and Caesar's own words, I'm not shown anything to suggest these people are more than cartoon villains that get their kicks from the suffering of others. I see slavish, ruthless devotion to a cause and that's all. On top of that, I encounter numerous examples of how the Legion lies and manipulates people to their ends. Yes they keep roads safe in their territories, but the tradeoff as presented is horrific and it is not until the ending that you get any inkling a Legion led west might not be a pure hellhole forever.

 

Contrast this with House who wants to set himself up as a dictator and asks me to kill a bunch of people in one quest, but is otherwise almost benign in his goals.

 

I suppose the big disconnect between us is I believe reasons should justify actions for a faction to have any credibility as a believable entity. Caesar may have his reasons for what he does, but his army is actually little different from the orcs you used as an example. Using terror to assimilate then maintain order to build your people into a vast conquering army sounds pretty orcish to me.

 

In the end, I was left with the impression that the Legion were the main antagonists of New Vegas for no other reason than that kept being reinforced from as early as Goodsprings. I'm hoping this will not be the case in PE.

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