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exodiark

How forgiving is your cup of tea? (plot difficulty thread)

  

205 members have voted

  1. 1. Choose a level of plot difficulty:

    • Very Easy. You just can't end the game plot prematurely, like most RPGs nowadays.
    • Easy. The game will tell you if your selected choice will end the plot prematurely.
    • Normal. The game does not tell which choice leads to game over, but does tell you to save in different slot beforehand.
    • Hard. The game gives no warning at all about game over choices, but those choices are still easy to spot if you pay attention to the plot.
    • Very Hard. Like Hard, but the game over choices are much MUCH more harder to spot.
    • Old School. Like Very Hard, but the choice is spread through different chapters. So if you choose a wrong choice in Ch. 2, you will get a game over in Ch. 5
    • Sierra. Like Old School, but the choice is incredibly missable. If you forgot to unlock the dog's pen in Ch.2, the dog won't save you in Chapter 8.


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For JRPG players, Persona 3 and 4 also belongs to "Hard"

 

Although I more or less followed a guide, yeah, spotting the idea something is up, and being given clues but not being told what they are was interesting. You got a completely different ending if you did it wrong.

Although I think that was more 4. 3 was pretty blatant.

Edited by SirthOsiris

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I voted hard but I still think if you get a game over or if you're stuck because of some choices and no way to fix the situation: the game has a serious design flaw.

At most "wrong" choices should have consequences and make things getting very complicated or next to impossible, but still we should have a narrow chance to get back on track.

 

Maybe a game over is a bit too extreme :)

Making the plot much more undesirable and the game much harder is also one way to make the plot more difficult.

 

For example if you forgot to unlock the dog's pen in Chapter 2, you will survive without your dog's help in Ch.8, but you lost your left arm. Hahahaha XD

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For JRPG players, Persona 3 and 4 also belongs to "Hard"

 

Although I more or less followed a guide, yeah, spotting the idea something is up, and being given clues but not being told what they are was interesting. You got a completely different ending if you did it wrong.

Although I think that was more 4. 3 was pretty blatant.

 

P3 caught me off-guard XD

I've been playing FFs for JRPGs, so when I was faced with that game-deciding choice, I said to myself, "Eh, like FF, it's not going to change the plot anyway, and more extra time for the team is always good."

 

Bad Ending D:

 

*facepalm*

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I would like to see real consequences. You should be able to kill important characters however there should be few single points of failure just many things that will limit your ability to succeed or change the difficulty to achieve the end you desire. These choices could also lead down different paths to alternate endings. A combination of these would be good. Some choices lead to alternate endings some make it harder and a handful that will lead to failure or an inability to resolve an end you could just wander the lands and never end just be left to fret over the situation you could not surpass.

Where the action taken results in this it would feel cheap to get an instant message indicating failure however an increasing number of subtle signals that warn the player. Examples –Increasing numbers of dreams of hopelessness , NPCs commenting on world events indicating failure.

There should be varying levels of hints and clues depending on the criticality of the choice,--- items and lore books about plot lines, NPC comments . Some of the clues can be missed other you walk right into. Many should be a long distance from the event not just in the 5min lead to the choice even in different scenes. There should be myths and legends that are not real example Star Trail. Players can spend days looking for something that does not exist, hey it’s a rumour not a fact.

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There should be myths and legends that are not real example Star Trail. Players can spend days looking for something that does not exist, hey it’s a rumour not a fact.

 

Word of the day.

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LoL at the Sierra choice! I guess I would go for something between Hard-V. Hard and old school. But I wouldn't mind if they put in the Sierra one as a joke! I always hated that bethesda is hand holding the players. "Oops you can't kill *important* NPCs", or "Oh you shouldn't do that, now go take that other just as easy route".

 

Well it sucks when you figure out later that you can't complete your mainquest because you raided the whole village earlier on :s Kinda spoils the game... yeah.

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LoL at the Sierra choice! I guess I would go for something between Hard-V. Hard and old school. But I wouldn't mind if they put in the Sierra one as a joke! I always hated that bethesda is hand holding the players. "Oops you can't kill *important* NPCs", or "Oh you shouldn't do that, now go take that other just as easy route".

 

Well it sucks when you figure out later that you can't complete your mainquest because you raided the whole village earlier on :s Kinda spoils the game... yeah.

 

It sucks more when my actions don't have consequences. Same for nuking someone and them being simply sleeping. It's not like the narrative won't give you hints. And Guides will be out there if you can't make it out that much

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This poll makes no sense. There's a difference between the freedom to kill any NPC like in Morrowind and plot difficulty. If you killed someone in Morrowind that was necessary for the main quest, I think a message would come up that said you could no longer complete the main quest. That's not plot difficulty imo. There shouldn't really be any here. Not in the way I think you guys are implying.

 

If you want the game to have a more sophisticated plot/story compared to other RPGs released today, that's fine. But there shouldn't really be any plot difficulty in the way you describe.

Edited by Grimlorn

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I think a game over based on a preceeding choice is not a good design choice.

I'd better see some endings that are allowed only if the correct choices are made. Not 'better' endings, different endings. There is no reason to have an objective classification of how great the endings are.

 

An ending is kind of like a game over so what's the difference?

 

Honestly, though, who cares if the Infinity Engine game did or did not have this? It would add another interesting element to the game. I'd imagine most of the plot points would be fairly easy, but there would be other parts that would be harder so if you didn't read or pay attention enough or read some of the in game books you might fail and get a different ending.

Edited by Metabot

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I chose normal but I'm leaning towards hard. Sometimes I find it annoying when my PC (or NPCs) go "We really, really, REALLY should save the game now, like, REALLY!" or the PC goes "I have a very, very, VERY bad feeling about this!" and then I roll my eyes and save, prep my gear, etc. I'm one of those people that likes to read through everything, so I'm confident in my ability to keep up with the game. I've played through all the games the OP mentions, and I honestly didn't think any of them were particularly hard unless you really weren't paying attention, although, I didn't go around killing random NPCs in Morrowind, so that helped.


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Awesome - the graph of the votes is a bell-curve!

 

Indeed, whenever one deals with large numbers it will be safe to assume a Gaussian distribution. The trick is to find where the mean and standard deviation lie (in our case, at Hard and 1 spot away, respectively). I voted for Hard, because it is a natural compromise.

 

Most people do not want to be led by the hand, nor will they be hard-core enough as to take into account all the possible ramifications of every little action (these grow exponentially!). Ultimately, things such as these break immersion from the game experience, since plot difficulty is generated via NPC interactions and/or performing actions in the game environment which activate certain triggers. It is the motivation behind these that ultimately makes or breaks the "realism" of a fantasy experience.

 

Should you be required to be careful when dealing with entities malevolent towards you? Yes. Should you constantly be on your guard? No.

Should you have some insight into the ultimate consequences of your actions? Yes. Should you have information that allows for a trivial approach (i.e. information you are not supposed to have)? No.

Should you be required to do something complex to live a life (even an adventurer's one)? No. Should you be required to do that for additional perks, for something "extraordinary"? Yes.

This is by simple analogy with the so-called "everyday realism".

 

Having said that, saving often (and without overwriting) is a common standard among RPG players and while it assuages many of the problems with the difficulty of the plot, it also breaks immersion easily. The trick is ultimately to have people return to previous saves more often in order to explore possible plot options, than in order to bypass dead ends. (Which might require an improved save management system - more plot-centric, maybe as if reading a choose-your-own-story book, but perhaps search & sort are equally needed). Then again, if the dead-ends are FUN (as some of them were in old-school RPGs) then people might explore those as well.

 

Needless to say that, ultimately, the game is a program and its execution flow complexity increases with the number of things it does. This leads to the paradoxical conclusion that the main story should be simple so its flow can be easily monitored/prepared for beforehand, while the optional things may be more complex as they are not required by definition. One would expect that the main story would be more complex, while the side-quests/activities to be an afterthought.

 

And here is were good storytelling is required. How do you present something that is conceptually simple and provide for embellishments that are not necessary, that do not affect this simple flow, yet somehow feel as an organic continuation such that the whole will always be more than the sum of its parts?

Finally, it is all about immersion. The player should feel that he is not simply playing another game, but something special. In reality, a game will always be a game (i.e. an activity with some rules performed for entertainment purposes), but it is the presentation, the "how" and the "why", the link that it forms with its players that allows it to transcend its condition and become something more...

 

 

I have all the confidence in the collective at Obsidian Entertainment that they are capable of such a game. Not least of all because of the previous experience, but also because Project Eternity aims from the start to recapture this feeling of something special from a tried & tested category of such games: the isometric, party-based RPGs.

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I reject the notion that there is one specific way to "beat" a roleplaying game. I deny that roleplaying games have winning conditions at all.

 

As such, I voted old-school. I like consequences, and I like consequences to flow credibly from my character's actions, but I don't like hand-holding. If I make a choice in chapter 2 that makes some aspect of chapter 5 exceedingly likely to kill me, then in chapter 5 my character will die. His story is complete, and I can start another.

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God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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I rather they focus on choices empowering the player to successfully side with different factions and have a wide varaiety of favorable endings based on player choices like in Alpha Protocol and New Vegas rather than focusing on screwing with the player with bad ends and dead ends and gotcha moments. I wouldn't mind something like Normal or Hard even as described in the poll as long as it doesn't come at the expense of freedom to branch the main plot in whichever way we want....again, like in Alpha Protocol and New Vegas.


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I believe you are talking about something like this? http://tvtropes.org/...innableByDesign

 

Usually ideas like that exists only in adventure games since in an RPG there are so many mechanics involved. IE: a battle that was made unwinnable because of earlier plot choices might appear to the player to be a difficulty spike or a need for better equipment.

Edited by Kilroy_Was_Here

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This poll makes no sense. There's a difference between the freedom to kill any NPC like in Morrowind and plot difficulty. If you killed someone in Morrowind that was necessary for the main quest, I think a message would come up that said you could no longer complete the main quest. That's not plot difficulty imo. There shouldn't really be any here. Not in the way I think you guys are implying.

 

If you want the game to have a more sophisticated plot/story compared to other RPGs released today, that's fine. But there shouldn't really be any plot difficulty in the way you describe.

 

By "plot difficulty" I mean how easy it is to end the game's plot prematurely. The easier it is, the higher the difficulty. Your killing an NPC in Morrowind ends its plot prematurely. Since it is quite easy, obvious, and the game does not give any warnings before it, Morrowind falls into "hard" difficulty.

 

If you don't like game over choices, change "game over" from the poll to bad ending/less endings available/less desirable plot/handicap for protagonist/etc.

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I believe you are talking about something like this? http://tvtropes.org/...innableByDesign

 

Usually ideas like that exists only in adventure games since in an RPG there are so many mechanics involved. IE: a battle that was made unwinnable because of earlier plot choices might appear to the player to be a difficulty spike or a need for better equipment.

 

Yes :)

But making something unwinnable is not unheard of in RPG world. And it's possible too.

Several RPGs like Shadow Hearts, Chrono Trigger, FO1, FO2, FO New Vegas, Persona, and even Planescape Torment, which PE is based of, have several game over subplots.

Edited by exodiark

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I believe you are talking about something like this? http://tvtropes.org/...innableByDesign

 

Usually ideas like that exists only in adventure games since in an RPG there are so many mechanics involved. IE: a battle that was made unwinnable because of earlier plot choices might appear to the player to be a difficulty spike or a need for better equipment.

 

Yes :)

But making something unwinnable is not unheard of in RPG world. And it's possible too.

Several RPGs like Shadow Hearts, FO1, FO2, FO New Vegas, Persona, and even Planescape Torment, which PE is based of, have several game over subplots.

 

Oh, so you mean this? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NonstandardGameOver

 

I thought the Persona 3 one was great because the two ending paths are almost identical to the game characters, only we the players know.

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This poll makes no sense. There's a difference between the freedom to kill any NPC like in Morrowind and plot difficulty. If you killed someone in Morrowind that was necessary for the main quest, I think a message would come up that said you could no longer complete the main quest. That's not plot difficulty imo. There shouldn't really be any here. Not in the way I think you guys are implying.

 

If you want the game to have a more sophisticated plot/story compared to other RPGs released today, that's fine. But there shouldn't really be any plot difficulty in the way you describe.

 

By "plot difficulty" I mean how easy it is to end the game's plot prematurely. The easier it is, the higher the difficulty. Your killing an NPC in Morrowind ends its plot prematurely. Since it is quite easy, obvious, and the game does not give any warnings before it, Morrowind falls into "hard" difficulty.

 

If you don't like game over choices, change "game over" from the poll to bad ending/less endings available/less desirable plot/handicap for protagonist/etc.

I don't really mind the freedom Morrowind had. I just don't think you should be able to make a decision at the beginning of the game that makes it so you can't complete the game and you play through 20-30 hours more to find out.

 

I'm definitely for choices and consequences though that you can make at the beginning of the game that affect the middle or end of game. Just I'd prefer the player to be notified if they killed a plot important NPC and can't beat the game now.

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I believe you are talking about something like this? http://tvtropes.org/...innableByDesign

 

Usually ideas like that exists only in adventure games since in an RPG there are so many mechanics involved. IE: a battle that was made unwinnable because of earlier plot choices might appear to the player to be a difficulty spike or a need for better equipment.

 

Yes :)

But making something unwinnable is not unheard of in RPG world. And it's possible too.

Several RPGs like Shadow Hearts, FO1, FO2, FO New Vegas, Persona, and even Planescape Torment, which PE is based of, have several game over subplots.

 

Oh, so you mean this? http://tvtropes.org/...tandardGameOver

 

I thought the Persona 3 one was great because the two ending paths are almost identical to the game characters, only we the players know.

 

Yes, but by theory, delayed non-standard game overs could lead to a game unwinnable by design.

For example, if you pick Old School or Sierra, the game can be unwinnable if you save after choosing the wrong choices.

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The difference is that in 'non standard game over' scenarios you can't continue past that point (and typically aren't allowed to save anymore) but in 'unwinnable by design' you go on often never knowing what went wrong.

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The difference is that in 'non standard game over' scenarios you can't continue past that point (and typically aren't allowed to save anymore) but in 'unwinnable by design' you go on often never knowing what went wrong.

 

I see, I got them mixed up :D

Thanks for the correction :)

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I think people want the choices in games (especially RPGs) to be be like life. Sometimes difficult, sometimes obscure, and always uncertain.

 

Should I take this job? Date this person? Go to this school?

 

We never really know the consequences of our choices until after we make them. So don't spoil us! Make us choose with incomplete information. Make the game like life... except that we can always try again!

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