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TiLT42

Number of companions vs number of classes

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I'm mildly alarmed by one trend I'm seeing in the current stretch goals for this game on Kickstarter: You seem to be planning one companion per available class. Now I know you guys at Obsidian know what you're doing, but I still feel as if I should mention this.

 

 

You're writing complex, believable characters. The problem with such characters is that, as in real life, it's very individual who you end up liking and who you end up disliking, sometimes strongly. Some of the best fantasy fiction out there has characters that some people love while others hate. Take A Song of Ice and Fire for example. There's only a small handful of characters in that story who the readers can agree about. That's a sign of good writing.

 

 

It also represents a problem for games where you have to not only interact with these characters, but also choose whether or not to bring them along with you on your adventures. Let's say there's one class in this game that is best at healing, but the companion that has this class is an unlikeable jerk (which seems to be a common trend with healers for some reason). You're left with only two alternatives: 1) Bring him along anyway and hate every moment of it, or 2) Create a character of that class for yourself, which requires that you know about this character and his flaws before you even start the game.

 

 

I feel it's important that we're always given a real choice when it comes to companions, particularly for a game which is likely to take dozens of hours to complete. This means that there should always be more than one companion per character class, preferably two or more.

 

 

Dragon Age 2 is a good example of how this can go wrong. There's a very limited selection of companions there, some of which can be missed entirely during a playthrough. When I played the game I never got the kind of party the game assumed I was going to use to have a fighting chance, for the most part because I chose to play a mage. I never had that problem in the first Dragon Age, which showered you in companions.

 

If Project Eternity was my game, I would have done one of the following:

  • Eliminate classes and go for a class-less system. This way most companions could be adjusted towards what you most need them for. This is the ideal solution to me for more than one reason.
  • Add more companions so that the ratio is two companions per class.
  • Remove classes so that the ratio is two companions per class.

The way things stand right now, the amount of companions as presented on your Kickstarter represents a design issue the way I see it. You may have a master plan that eliminates my concerns, but I'm not seeing it.

 

Please reconsider the ratio of classes vs companions!

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I'm hoping for something that surpasses Baldurs Gate 1 in regards to available companions.

 

At least a couple of comps pr class, it gives diversity and improves replayability since you can in concurrent playthroughs pick up different comps and get an entirely different feeling of your party.

 

I've always felt that there were too few party comps available in Baldurs Gate 2 for instance.


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I hope the emphasis is on characters first and their roles second. I am willing to sacrifice functionality for entertainment value. If it is like Baldur's Gate, it might be possible to solo the entire game (except not being able to do a lot of optional stuff and maybe not the highest difficulty) with any class.

 

EDIT: I remember having a paladin that was immune to all attacks except maze, but very few enemies used that.

Edited by Gurkog

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I feel it's important that we're always given a real choice when it comes to companions, particularly for a game which is likely to take dozens of hours to complete. This means that there should always be more than one companion per character class, preferably two or more.

 

Or alternatively, design the game so it doesn't absolutely require any particular class to be represented in the party in order to play. Do you skip the chapters of A Song of Ice and Fire that feature characters you hate?

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I think a simple solution is to allow companion characters a variation of classes, within reason. So a mage can also be a healer and a warrior can also be a paladin etc

 

If that makes sense?

 

Ooh, that's an interesting solution to the problem, or at least you're on the right path. The problem described in my initial post could be solved by allowing the player to choose between, say, two different classes for a companion. This gives added flexibility and choice without forcing Obsidian to write double the amount of companion characters.

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A lesser party size would be also a fairly good solution. If you're required to have 2 or 3 companions to function as a full party (as opposed to the classic 5), you can experiment a lot more.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I see this approach as a positive, not a negative. If my party needs a healer and the only available choice is a smug immoral jerk, I like the idea that choosing to leave him behind has a tangible consequence. Clinging to your convictions is not always going to be easy. While I welcome more characters to interact with, I don't think Obsidian should include a bevy of alternatives solely so every player can have their cake and eat it too.

 

Sometimes in life you gotta work with people you don't like to accomplish a goal. It's not an unusual circumstance.

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In my opinion at least the important roles (healers comes to mind), should have more than 1 companion attached to it so you are not stuck with someone who you don't like / don't fit the party. And if you go make spellcasters brokenly overpowered gods as in BG2 then please add more than 1 wizard companion as well.

 

Some of the above ides also seems nice, where you can choose between say 2 different classes for a companion. Maybe they have a base class and through a quest you get to influence how they evolve, both on a personal level but also in regards to class. Having overlapping classes might also help, like both having a priest and a cleric companion, or a paladin and a fighter companion.

Edited by Nerevatar

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People tend to forget that part of what made combat in both BG games interesting (but BG2 to a much larger extent) was your party configuration. Battles would play out veeeery differently based on the characters/classes you had in your party. I hope Obsidian takes this into consideration, because a 6 man party with 8 available characters wouldn't really be able to provide something like that.

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