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Missing Stuff is Great! - Replayability and Choice-Driven Content

Choice-driven Content  

263 members have voted

  1. 1. When it comes to choices in a role-playing game -

    • I don't want to miss any content in a single playthrough, so choices should be flavor alone and not lead to me missing more than a dialogue response or maybe some extra loot.
      1
    • I'd like to see most of the game on one playthrough, so choices should be mostly cosmetic or combat oriented - how my character looks, fighting style and weapons, maybe advancement choices - so if I do replay most of the new will come from my chara...
      1
    • I don't want to miss any story elements on a single playthrough, but class, race, companions are okay to have choices that I don't get to see unless on repeated playthroughs. I want the story to stay mostly the same.
      6
    • I like some game and story choices beyond my character. Mostly side quests that aren't important to the story, maybe tied to my character or my chosen companions. Options to not do non-vital missions, kill or save minor NPCs.
      8
    • I want meaningful choices - my character, my companions, side quests... but also different endings, maybe different factions I can side with. Maybe I should still be able to see most of the game, side with most people with a few exceptions.
      98
    • I need lots of choices and I need to feel that my run through the game is different than most other people's, even maybe my subsequent ones. MC and party, endings, factions, story quests and major plot points are all game.
      145
    • Open world is for me. No strong central story, and if there are companions I want to be able to ignore them. No mandatory quests; I want to run around, do whatever strikes my fancy, and the gameworld needs to reshape to my whims as I craft my own tal...
      4


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Mass_Effect_3_endings.jpg

 

I've seen too often the adage that games shouldn't include stuff that people can't see in one playthrough, or that a majority of players won't pick to see, or however you want to define content that is only available to players who choose to see it. I don't agree with this sentiment, I don't want it influencing cRPGs I play, and I hope that Project Eternity from Obsidian will follow what I feel their track record is of NOT following this industry common wisdom.

 

Replayability is greatly enhanced if the game has different things happen and different consequences based on your actions. But even if you DON'T replay the game, still getting the feeling that things could have been vastly different can make the choices you do make much more meaningful. Even the littlest of things, even when they don't really impact the overall story of the game and have zero impact on the plot, can make the game more enjoyable simply because it reacted to your decision and you got to live with the consequences.

 

fallout2_dialogue.jpg

 

Let me give some examples -

  • class, race and gender choice in character creation (metrics show that "the majority of players pick the human male fighter" so why allow other options for players, right, if you can satisfy that "75%" right there)
  • quests, missions, locations that are only available to certain characters (rogue-only side quests; NPCs that will only talk to you if you are a female and therefore only female characters get the mission; a base of operations that elves give you if you are an elf or half-elf, but you have a new enemy faction if you are a dwarf)
  • storylines that only occur if you made certain choices (you sided with the villagers of Red Town, so now Blue Town won't give you any quests and you cannot buy/sell stuff there; you backed the conquering baron who now controls the area where you could have otherwise helped to organize a free state of small hamlets under your leadership; at the start of the game you snuck out of the castle instead of fighting your way out, and as such now there's a whole mess of men-at-arms tracking you down as you make your way through the game)

I do trust that this sort of thing, more or less, will be coming from Obsidian. So this may seem like preaching to the choir...

 

But I really would like to push for more of it, a more modular story and game experience, where even the main storyline can have not only the "expected" several endings, but actually several meaningfully different paths to travel to those endings as well. There are examples of great, in-game choices that lead to interesting outcomes ... but too often they don't pay off much later beyond the immediate shown effect. Some extremely promising ones, in fact, in the end can let down when you think "Wait, since I helped so-and-so instead of killing them, why aren't I able to call on them now for help?"

 

JeanetteTherese.jpg

With less voice over and cinematics, or at least clever planning and picking what to VO and do cut scenes for, you can have a very diverse game. If you ever played Wasteland (no voice) or Baldur's Gate 2 (limited use of voice) you know what I'm talking about.

 

Most of the games Obsidian harkens to in regards to the spirit of this project have, to some extent more or less, this concept. Some don't (Icewind Dale, which I adore, is excessively linear... that's fine, I love it for what it is, but it's not my preferred way.) But even the ones that do, I'd argue, don't go nearly far enough. They hint at great reprocussions, and give you the bits here and there that can satisfy, but rare are the choices that have big impacts on the overall story in ways that the story will repeatedly remind you of.

 

APSis.jpg

 

One of my favorite things about Alpha Protocol, for example, is the little things here and there that each new playthrough gave me that I hadn't experienced in previous plays. My least favorite thing about Alpha Protocol, however, was that on each playthrough it became increasingly obvious to me how much of the experience remained almost exactly the same. And that realization comes with me still feeling that Alpha Protocol is one of the best modern examples of actually having great replayability where the player's choices and actions in game matter to how the story plays out.

 

So, I'm curious - what are everyone else's thoughts on this? And do we have anything at all from Obsidian yet about how this concept plays out in Project Eternity yet?

Edited by Merin
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I voted on the fifth option because I don't expect a game larger than life. That said, the last few words kinda bum me: 'siding with most people' feel like choosing a guild in Skyrim. There's no dilemma if there's a fourth 'EVERYTHING' option.

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Chose the sixth option - "I need lots of choices..." but could go with the fifth one also.

 

With all the talk of the game being very IE inspired, I must admit that this is one of the areas that are a bit worrying to me. I have all the confidence in Obsidian's abilities to make a game with very open content (Alpha Protocol and New Vegas are prime examples of this, in very different ways). But the IE games were not as choice heavy. So I really hope Obsidian will flex their muscles here again.

Edited by Starwars

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Agreed. I want as much acknowledgement from the world towards my character's actions as possible. Every little bit makes the world feel more credible and adds a lot of replayability, allowing me to see things through my character unspoiled. And an unspoiled experience is a stronger one.

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Whenever I think of a game that has good design when it comes to choices and consequences it would be Arcanum. Having the mechanical/technological versus the magical was just such an awesome concept. I'd love to see more polar opposites that the character would have to make a choice on who/what to back.

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I'm a number 6 myself, however just past 5, would be happy with 4 I guess, and don't really want 7 - I do still want a strong story. ;)

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I want it done like in The Witcher 2 - I want choices that drastically change the plot, even if it means seeing different locations and not being able to meet all of the most important characters in one play-through. That's even more realistic than the approach of other games.

I won't describe the choices as it would be too much of a spoiler but if the OP liked Alpha Protocol he should definitely check out The Witcher 2.

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I went with 6.

 

I want to see branching pathways, with multiple outcomes based on multiple choices.

 

Alpha Protocol, NV these games did it well, but can still be improved upon, with not having full VO, I'm very optimistic about what Obs can do.

Edited by Bos_hybrid

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I made a separate topic for new game plus but yes I would love choices to be meaningful and separate plays of the game to be different. I just don't think they should pull a bioware and leave choices open ended. That just leaves the mess of pleasing everyone in a sequel.

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Player choices should definitely lock you out from/give you access to certain story elements. Your playthrough will be shorter, true - but it's worth it when you start a new character and experience new content that you didn't see on your last playthrough.

 

Exclusive content based on choice makes your choices more important, as well as gives you a good reason to play through the game again. I think it really improves the experience as opposed to letting the player do everything in one playthrough (like in Skyrim).


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Joker: [Failure] "Very poor choice of words."

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Meaningful choices. I want what I do to make a difference. I liked that in Arcanum.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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I want it done like in The Witcher 2 - I want choices that drastically change the plot, even if it means seeing different locations and not being able to meet all of the most important characters in one play-through. That's even more realistic than the approach of other games.

I won't describe the choices as it would be too much of a spoiler but if the OP liked Alpha Protocol he should definitely check out The Witcher 2.

 

I pre-ordered TW2 on GOG. I own it, and The Witcher, but I've not even finished the first game yet. It's been awhile since I tried. I plan on getting through both, however, and am looking forward to TW2.

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I voted for meaningful choices.

 

In general, the shorter the game, as more c&c it should have, imo. If the game is very long, then I am less a fan of it, because I probably won't do more than one or two playthroughs in a very long time (I simply lack the time nowadays to play 60 hour games, as example). Alpha Protocol was fancy in being reasonable short, but featuring so much c&c, that the end could look different in every single playthrough (and I did 9 at least).

Edited by Lexx

"only when you no-life you can exist forever, because what does not live cannot die."

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Ah, I don't like the most popular option. At all. :( I want meaningful choices and deep story, and they just can't come together with replayability on a greater scale (not talking about small quests and details here). It's just that... PS:T has plenty of choices, yet it's pretty linear, which allows for great elaboration and really engaging stories. But you can't have TWO differently engaging stories after the choice (or I've never seen it done), it just doesn't work that way! And I'd definitely prefer one good story to two meh stories.

 

Take plot-twists. Say there's a door, behind which lies the scroll which says that Darth Vader is your father. So what do you do? Do you give the player the choice as to whether to open the door? It's stupid, 'cause it's a non-choice, really. Opening the door is always more interesting.

 

Do you sell your faithful companion into slavery? Do you side with A or B? Do you pursue your companion's quest? Do you take the matter into your own hands or leave it to the NPC to decide what to do? These are all non-freaking-choices. I don't sell him. I try to find peace or stay inbetween (or get both). I do. I do. Except for the second, all these choices are always obvious. They're pretending to be a choice by providing an "interesting" option and a "boring" one. I'm yet to see an interesting-versus-interesting dilemma.

 

(In PS:T, my favourite game, you may choose to side with the rats or with the undead. My result? I don't give a damn about both, 'cause the game tells me both can be omitted.)

 

I think I've actually got to the point now. Everything that can be omitted instantly becomes less interesting, 'cause if the authors have devised domething really good, they wouldn't let me omit it. I want it that way so I don't miss the awesome stuff.

 

So what I want is this: don't let me choose what to do! Let me choose how to do it and how I react to this. If my character sees something mysterious, for god's sake don't pretend my character has a choice to walk past it, 'cause that's simply not true. The player's mind doesn't work that way. No, let my character come closer, look at the mysteroius thing in detail, and then let me choose what he thinks: was it a wise thing to do? Is he too impulsive? Was this choice awesome? Let me talk to my companions about this!

 

Please, please, please, I don't want shallow choices.


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Ah, I don't like the most popular option. At all. :( I want meaningful choices and deep story, and they just can't come together with replayability on a greater scale (not talking about small quests and details here). It's just that... PS:T has plenty of choices, yet it's pretty linear, which allows for great elaboration and really engaging stories. But you can't have TWO differently engaging stories after the choice (or I've never seen it done), it just doesn't work that way! And I'd definitely prefer one good story to two meh stories.

 

Take plot-twists. Say there's a door, behind which lies the scroll which says that Darth Vader is your father. So what do you do? Do you give the player the choice as to whether to open the door? It's stupid, 'cause it's a non-choice, really. Opening the door is always more interesting.

 

Do you sell your faithful companion into slavery? Do you side with A or B? Do you pursue your companion's quest? Do you take the matter into your own hands or leave it to the NPC to decide what to do? These are all non-freaking-choices. I don't sell him. I try to find peace or stay inbetween (or get both). I do. I do. Except for the second, all these choices are always obvious. They're pretending to be a choice by providing an "interesting" option and a "boring" one. I'm yet to see an interesting-versus-interesting dilemma.

 

(In PS:T, my favourite game, you may choose to side with the rats or with the undead. My result? I don't give a damn about both, 'cause the game tells me both can be omitted.)

 

I think I've actually got to the point now. Everything that can be omitted instantly becomes less interesting, 'cause if the authors have devised domething really good, they wouldn't let me omit it. I want it that way so I don't miss the awesome stuff.

 

So what I want is this: don't let me choose what to do! Let me choose how to do it and how I react to this. If my character sees something mysterious, for god's sake don't pretend my character has a choice to walk past it, 'cause that's simply not true. The player's mind doesn't work that way. No, let my character come closer, look at the mysteroius thing in detail, and then let me choose what he thinks: was it a wise thing to do? Is he too impulsive? Was this choice awesome? Let me talk to my companions about this!

 

Please, please, please, I don't want shallow choices.

 

I can understand where you are coming from.. and I certainly don't want shallow story, either... hence why I'm not too big a fan of open world.

 

You chose 4 then? I'd be satisified with 4. :) Just pushing for 6 as much as possible.

 

Given the choice between mediocre story with meaningless but many choices and uninspired yet different endings vs. one good ending and meaningful but few side choices, I'd probably want the later as well.

 

I think those of us in the 5 and 6 range still want good writing and good story. I shouldn't speak for everyone, though. :thumbsup:

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I pre-ordered TW2 on GOG. I own it, and The Witcher, but I've not even finished the first game yet. It's been awhile since I tried. I plan on getting through both, however, and am looking forward to TW2.

 

Since I've played TW2 I consider it the 2nd best RPG (after PS:T) ever released. The choices there really matter. It's a true "role playing". But the first Witcher is a really bad game. The plot is average, the combat is boring and the quest are of "bring ten X and five Y" kind. I recommend playing it after TW2 to get the background. Playing it before may only ruin your experience with the series.

Edited by buggeer

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I pre-ordered TW2 on GOG. I own it, and The Witcher, but I've not even finished the first game yet. It's been awhile since I tried. I plan on getting through both, however, and am looking forward to TW2.

 

Since I've played TW2 I consider it the 2nd best RPG (after PS:T) ever released. The choices there really matter. It's a true "role playing". But the first Witcher is a really bad game. The plot is average, the combat is boring and the quest are of "bring ten X and five Y" kind. I recommend playing it after TW2 to get the background. Playing it before may only ruin your experience with the series.

 

The first Witcher was above average game IMO. Not all quests were like bring this many corpses of that monster and that many of another...

 

There was also quite nice main plot and some of the choices from the first, reveal also consequences in the second game.

 

The combat and potion system between the two is different though... If you will get used to a fighting system in one of them, then the second will require a new learning path.

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Just don't make it open world... open world games really bore me :(

 

I can't stand open world games... for me they are dull... prime examples of that are Elder Scrolls... I just can;t finish any of the game, even though I've tried Morrowind and Oblivion... I did not even buy Skyrim, having bad experiences with the two earlier ones...

 

The world should be explorable, but the amount of open world and depth that had the best mix, was for me in the original BG... Still I prefer the vastly greater map, with many unique places to discover with high enough exploration skills, plus well made large hubs and quest areas

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Just don't make it open world... open world games really bore me :(

 

I can't stand open world games... for me they are dull... prime examples of that are Elder Scrolls... I just can;t finish any of the game, even though I've tried Morrowind and Oblivion... I did not even buy Skyrim, having bad experiences with the two earlier ones...

 

The world should be explorable, but the amount of open world and depth that had the best mix, was for me in the original BG... Still I prefer the vastly greater map, with many unique places to discover with high enough exploration skills, plus well made large hubs and quest areas

 

:facepalm: I won't even try explaining the reason why I disagree with the previous post and the first part of this post... :geek:

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I think both New Vegas and Dragon Age: Origins are good examples of games where choices you make can result in meaningful consequences that can change depending on your choices.

 

That is one of the best parts of role playing, seeing how the actions of your character affect the world around him.

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If this poll were posted in the TES forums the results would be the opposite. :p Too many people there think RPG means wandering around aimlessly and being able to do everything in one walkthrough.


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