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Don't make the game too human-centric, town-centric and faction-centric. Keep it balanced.


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I'd like to add that it'd almost be a waste of a new IP with a (presumably) large expanse if the majority of the focus is going to be in only a limited amount of urban environments.

 

I think Infinitron's argument comes down to tone: while it is certainly fun to explore morals, ideologies, factions and societal conflicts, physical exploration is important as well.

 

Exploring the natural world with a party and facing it's challenges, discovering it's secrets and the like provides the player with a tone that lies in contrast of the (usually) heavy tone set in so-called "human centric" and "urban" plotlines. It's almost "refreshing".

 

Having a balance between the two can be important to prevent that heavy tone from choking the player.

 

That's not to say that you can't link exploration and discovery to the overarching narrative, or sideplots. I'd even argue that RPGs ought to do this (a game like New Vegas is a pretty good Obsidian example), but the narrative tone can have somewhat of a stiffling effect on the player if they're not offered some escape from the grim and dark seriousness of overlapping politics, factional infighting and morally charged dilemmas.

 

Well honestly, that may not be what Infinitron feels at all, so I won't presume to speak for him. But that's what I got out of it.

 

Personally, I find enjoyment on any kind of method depending on the execution from game to game. But I certainly wouldn't be opposed to balance in Project Eternity.

Edited by Crusty
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To me, that feels like an arbitrary distinction though. Stories about people, factions, and ideology are very important to roleplaying, and I don't think that the level to which the game's plots and subplots are interrelated affect anything other than narrative coherency.

 

Well, I disagree. The way in which they are interrelated defines what sort of mood and feel the game has, and that's an important thing.

 

At the end of the day, Witcher 2 felt like a Game of Thrones homage while the original had a more unique and eclectic vibe to it.

 

Similarly, Dragon Age 2 felt like a (very poor) attempt at a fantasy version of "The Wire", telling us the story of a city named Kirkwall in the same way that acclaimed series tells a story of Baltimore, while the city of Athkatla was more or less entirely incidental to the plot of Baldur's Gate 2.

 

If you don't see how that difference matters, then I'm not sure what else I can say.

Edited by Infinitron
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Well, I disagree. The way in which they are interrelated defines what sort of mood and feel the game has, and that's an important thing.

 

At the end of the day, Witcher 2 felt like a Game of Thrones homage while the original had a more unique and eclectic vibe to it.

 

Can you elaborate on the that some more? "Vibe" is terribly vague, and again a purely subjective thing. Both Witcher games had very political stories, extensive outdoor adventuring, and included monster hunting and occult-related quests, some of which related to the main plot and some of which did not. Is there anything more substantial you can list as to how one falls within your "oldschool" trend and the other falls within your "newschool" trend?

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No, it's a tonal issue, isn't it? Factional dealings and political manoeuverings, done well, are gripping, but because they're character-driven and based in human needs and wants and motives, they can feel very grounded (which is a good thing, in some cases; you don't want every NPC telling you, 'Adventurer, I'd like you to wipe out the Red Fist gang. For, uhhh, reasons beyond your limited mortal comprehension'. There needs to be some sense of grounding in a familiar medieval-fantasy setting to try and make it feel fully realised and living). Too much focus on it, on the other hand, can push the fantasy-world towards the banal; it's hard to develop a sense of otherworldliness and strange enchanting wonder when you've spent the past six hours negotiating with the two groups that are buying up property around the docks because they want to control the grain trade.

Edited by grotbag
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Can you elaborate on the that some more? "Vibe" is terribly vague, and again a purely subjective thing.

 

You're right, it is. But I think if you ran a survey, most people would subjectively agree with me.

 

Seriously man, if you don't see how TW2 was more political than TW1 then nothing I can say will convince you. I don't see why I should spend my time trying to convince you of it. This is a Project Eternity forum, not a Witcher forum, after all.

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Can you elaborate on the that some more? "Vibe" is terribly vague, and again a purely subjective thing.

 

You're right, it is. But I think if you ran a survey, most people would subjectively agree with me.

 

Seriously man, if you don't see how TW2 was more political than TW1 then nothing I can say will convince you. I don't see why I should spend my time trying to convince you of it. This is a Project Eternity forum, not a Witcher forum, after all.

 

You started this thread and brought the Witcher 1 vs. Witcher 2 comparison into it to validate your opinion. Do you object to me continuing the discussion? Were you just looking for an echo chamber? If so that seems a bit juvenile.

 

I've tried to engage with you, and compare and contrast things point by point and identify where the problems and differences lie, if they exist. And you keep falling back to vague, wishy washy "vibes" and whatnot. I certainly don't expect to be able to slay a dragon that lives in your mind, but as a reasonable person surely you can take a moment to consider that your inability to justify your argument might just mean that you are pulling a Don Quixote here.

 

I see no real grounds to argue that the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 are fundamentally different narratives when they include the same sorts of things (that I have listed), nor do I see any reason to believe that there's a recent trend that abandons outdoor adventure and exploration in favour of politics (because the two are not mutually exclusive, and Dragon Age 2 does not count as a trend by itself). It is 100% possible for you to change my mind if you can find more reasonable premises, but if you rely only on vibes and claiming to speak for a silent majority I rather think you are wailing on a windmill.

Edited by Sarog
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Sarog, did Infinitron step on your cat or something? If you somehow oppose the idea of a balanced gameplay to a gameplay fixed on a narrative or urban plot, do better than throwing accusations of how juvenile or not your opponent is.

Edited by Shadenuat
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You started this thread and brought the Witcher 1 vs. Witcher 2 comparison into it to validate your opinion. Do you object to me continuing the discussion? Were you just looking for an echo chamber? If so that seems a bit juvenile.

 

Strawman.

 

I've tried to engage with you, and compare and contrast things point by point and identify where the problems and differences lie, if they exist. And you keep falling back to vague, wishy washy "vibes" and whatnot.

 

Tone, grotbag's post is a decent summary.

 

I certainly don't expect to be able to slay a dragon that lives in your mind, but as a reasonable person surely you can take a moment to consider that your inability to justify your argument might just mean that you are pulling a Don Quixote here.

 

Strawman.

 

I see no real grounds to argue that the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 are fundamentally different narratives when they include the same sorts of things (that I have listed), nor do I see any reason to believe that there's a recent trend that abandons outdoor adventure and exploration in favour of politics (because the two are not mutually exclusive, and Dragon Age 2 does not count as a trend by itself).

 

Perhaps, but this is a subjective opinion likely coloured by your preferences.

 

It is 100% possible for you to change my mind if you can find more reasonable premises, but if you rely only on vibes and claiming to speak for a silent majority I rather think you are wailing on a windmill.

 

Strawman. Again. Do you habitually distort arguments just to beat them down? Or is it something you work hard on?

 

Look, you may not agree with Infinitron's points, or more accurately, with how he articulated them. But by reading the other posts in the thread, it's clear that most people grasp what he is trying to say. You're being extremely disingenuous here, and providing little if nothing useful to the topic at hand.

Edited by Crusty
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I like human-centric plots. I definitely want politics and intrigue, and I have basically no interest in the classic "adventurers exploring long-abandoned crypts seeking fame and profit" story model. That said, I love beautifully-rendered wilderness areas and ruins, so I want there to be reasons to explore those places. I just want exploring those places to be a means to an end with the story, and not the end itself.

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If the setting involves a 'civilized' area, then by definition, there will be cities and villages and so on. That's just how civilization arises.

 

Barring 'barbarians' or people or cultures that actively seek to live in the wilderness, it makes sense to find settlements and villages and cities, at least among the typical human populations. I don't believe that this needs to be changed for the sake of 'balance'.

 

On the other hand, if the area is say, more 'mad max' like, then sure, lets do away with villages and cities and keep those down to a bare minimum.

 

Since I haven't played either Witcher titles, I can't really comment on the specifics, but from what I read, it sounded like you were opposed to having more than a few settlements.

 

Either way, I don't think Obsidian should be bending their story/setting in search of 'balance'. I think they should just work on writing a good story and setting instead, as they envision it. (Which, I trust they will do)

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Since I haven't played either Witcher titles, I can't really comment on the specifics, but from what I read, it sounded like you were opposed to having more than a few settlements.

 

No, not necessarily.

 

In fact, the first Witcher game had a city much larger than anything in the sequel, and you spent a lot of time there. But it was balanced with other elements, both in terms of locations and in terms of plot and theme.

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Well, to be clear, I don't think anyone is advocating for Project Eternity to be some equivalent of wandering huge walled cities even 50% of the time -- I certainly am not.

 

All the same, I don't agree with a call to 'balance in all things'. It may be nice to see some aspects of a variety of things in Project Eternity, but I don't think it's a requirement, and I wouldn't call for arbitrary balance of city and wasteland, or similar.

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Yes and no. I did like BG1's larger amount of wilderness exploration, but at the same time, I don't think BG2 was the same kind of faction-centric, dialogue-centric game as some of today's RPGs.

 

Yes, you spent a large percentage of the game in Athkatla, but the city was more like a huge collection of sidequests stuffed together than a coherent setting with well-defined politics and personalities.

That is a fascinating observation. I like it. And I might like to take it further than you.

 

I think this kind of intersects with the "personal story" idea that people talk about. Planescape, Baldur's Gate, and Mask of the Betrayer all have this "something bad is threatening me, I need to deal with it" scenario. But all three Mass Effects, both Dragon Ages, and at least the original campaigns of both Neverwinter Nights, have this "something bad is threatening the city/galaxy, with the mandate given to me by the leaders (or by overthrowing the leaders if they will not help me), I will deal with it." The Bhaalspawn deals with Sarevok because Sarevok killed Gorion and threatens him. He deals with Irenicus because Irenicus kidnapped Imoen and threatens him. Nameless One seeks to discover himself and find out what is threatening him. The Knight Captain is cursed and must deal with that. There's no council, no king, no organization that you must answer to.

 

I'm not trying to derail this into personal/saving the world. But I think I'm seeing a connection. The factions come about because, perhaps, the writers see a need for a greater presence and support for a greater threat. A personal threat does not need the backing of king or country.

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Sarog, did Infinitron step on your cat or something? If you somehow oppose the idea of a balanced gameplay to a gameplay fixed on a narrative or urban plot, do better than throwing accusations of how juvenile or not your opponent is.

 

If I'm your idea of an aggressive debater than I envy your sheltered experience with the internet. I think I've been very reasonable in asking for clarifications rather just barking opinions. The general idea of "balance" is fine and dandy, but I don't see the harm in asking someone to explain himself more specifically.

 

You started this thread and brought the Witcher 1 vs. Witcher 2 comparison into it to validate your opinion. Do you object to me continuing the discussion? Were you just looking for an echo chamber? If so that seems a bit juvenile.

 

Strawman.

 

/groan. Asking someone to clarify things is not a strawman. Please don't contribute to the devaluation of fallacies by naming them recklessly.

 

He did bring the TW1 v TW2 comparison onto the table, and it is an open forum. I'll play quote tennis with you for now, but let's keep it moderate?

 

 

Tone, grotbag's post is a decent summary.

 

I understand what tone is. If you or the OP can use that to extrapolate how TW1 and TW2 are substantively different from each other, or provide an example of this sort of tone being a trend that overshadows the other elements of the game other than the TW series or DA2, I'm all ears.

 

 

Perhaps, but this is a subjective opinion likely coloured by your preferences.

 

Sorry, but a list of how the titles took the same approach to their narrative and their quest content, and the subsequent conclusion that they are not fundamentally dissimilar, is not subjective. Agree or disagree but I'm not arguing from preference.

 

Strawman. Again. Do you habitually distort arguments just to beat them down? Or is it something you work hard on?

 

Nice ironic sentence there.

 

If it helps, I'm not trying to distort his argument. I literally don't perceive any premises to his argument other than those that are based on subjectivity, vibes and feelings and whatnot. And I don't think that saying "most people would agree with me" is an excusable thing to say unless you have legitimately representative polls to back yourself up. If there's something more substantial here that I've missed, give me the benefit of the doubt that I didn't notice it rather than accusing me of blatant distortion.

 

Look, you may not agree with Infinitron's points, or more accurately, with how he articulated them. But by reading the other posts in the thread, it's clear that most people grasp what he is trying to say. You're being extremely disingenuous here, and providing little if nothing useful to the topic at hand.

 

I think he's talking about trends that don't exist, and justifying them with perceptions that aren't based on anything substantial, yes. Considering that I've been asking questions, trying to see if there's more to subject that I'm missing, and not just putting my opinion on a soapbox, I get the feeling that we have very different ideas of what constitutes "useful" discussion.

Edited by Sarog
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That is a fascinating observation. I like it. And I might like to take it further than you.

 

I think this kind of intersects with the "personal story" idea that people talk about. Planescape, Baldur's Gate, and Mask of the Betrayer all have this "something bad is threatening me, I need to deal with it" scenario. But all three Mass Effects, both Dragon Ages, and at least the original campaigns of both Neverwinter Nights, have this "something bad is threatening the city/galaxy, with the mandate given to me by the leaders (or by overthrowing the leaders if they will not help me), I will deal with it." The Bhaalspawn deals with Sarevok because Sarevok killed Gorion and threatens him. He deals with Irenicus because Irenicus kidnapped Imoen and threatens him. Nameless One seeks to discover himself and find out what is threatening him. The Knight Captain is cursed and must deal with that. There's no council, no king, no organization that you must answer to.

 

I'm not trying to derail this into personal/saving the world. But I think I'm seeing a connection. The factions come about because, perhaps, the writers see a need for a greater presence and support for a greater threat. A personal threat does not need the backing of king or country.

 

Oh, absolutely.

 

I also think there's an influence here from contemporary cinema - in particular, the Nolan Batman films - which seems to be trending towards making more realistic (and therefore more "gritty") fictional universes.

Edited by Infinitron
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I also think there's an influence here from contemporary cinema - in particular, the Nolan Batman films - which seems to be trending towards making more realistic (and therefore more "gritty") fictional universes.

 

Is this trend towards realism or "grittyness" related to your idea of stories being overly focused on political/factional narratives, do would you say that is something that is also reflected in other narratives as well?

Edited by Sarog
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Is this trend towards realism or "grittyness" related to your idea of stories being overly focused on political/factional narratives, do would you say that is something that is also reflected in other narratives as well?

 

Yes, and probably yes.

 

Am I correct then that you view this unfavorably? It has been my experience that people generally praise movies/games that go for this sort of gritty, realistic approach. I can't say I've often seen Nolan's Batman or Game of Thrones used as negative comparisons before, so I'm curious as to your perspective.

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Is this trend towards realism or "grittyness" related to your idea of stories being overly focused on political/factional narratives, do would you say that is something that is also reflected in other narratives as well?

 

Yes, and probably yes.

 

Am I correct then that you view this unfavorably? It has been my experience that people generally praise movies/games that go for this sort of gritty, realistic approach. I can't say I've often seen Nolan's Batman or Game of Thrones used as negative comparisons before, so I'm curious as to your perspective.

 

Actually, not at all! I think that approach is pretty cool, even if overused these days.

 

I just want this game to be authentic to the IE classics which were not that way, that's all.

Edited by Infinitron
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I don't think you need to worry, it seems like exploration is one of their design focuses, hell this is right from the Game Details section of the Kickstarter "Project Eternity will take... the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate". Along with Josh Sawyer as one of the lead designer's, I imagine we'll be getting a fully realized and explorable world from Obsidian. We can also look at Sawyer's last game, New Vegas, which was absolutely rich with detail if you looked for it while still maintaining an interesting fractional storyline that was very non-linear. The only thing I think New Vegas could have used besides more legion quests is more dungeons, which ALSO seems to be a design focus for Obsidian, considering again the Game Details ("dungeon diving of Icewind Dale") and the addition of a mega dungeon as a backer stretch goal.

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