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StreetBushido

Go easy on the jargon

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A thought that struck me was that jargon can be seriously overdone. A good example is Skyrim. Having played Morrowind and Oblivion, I recognized the names and phrases spoken by the characters in the intro of Skyrim. A new player, however, would be completely lost. What are the Nine? A Nord? An Imperial? Who is Akatosh? Sure, you can figure some things out from the sound of the word, and just the right amount of jargon (or setting specific words and phrases, if you prefer) adds a touch of mystery. What are the Nine? I don't know, but I look forward to finding out.

 

Thing is, if the game just pours jargon over you, it turns into noise. It's no longer interesting, it's just a bunch of silly made up words. Particularly if it is just made up words. If a group functions like the Spanish Inquisition (or something like that), then it's better to call them The Inquisition, or perhaps The Seekers, or Eyes of the Lord, etc., rather than calling them the Hringzorps of the Ingth Fling'T'Rusks.

 

Obsidian seems to be hard at work making their own world and filling it with rich lore, and that is awesome. However, I do hope that they don't go overboard on the jargon, and in turn make things all silly. Names can be funky and fantastic, sure, but I think it's best to avoid using too many strange new words. Especially if there already are words that sufficiently express what the new one does.

 

Judging from the glimpses of lore that have been made available to us, things seem to be OK. And of course they would be, these guys are industry veterans and experts! However, I got a bit worried when I saw "biamhac" which is some evil, soul eating wind phenomena. I'm sure the name fits the tone of the place wherein it is found, but at the same time, it's another strange thing that the player needs to keep in the back of their minds.

 

"Whatch out for the biamhac!"

"Right... that thing... it's... bad, right?"

 

How about

 

"Watch out for the devil wind/soul render/blightwind!"

"That sounds really bad! I'm outta here!"

 

Sure, this is overreacting a bit. I still think it's a valid thing to keep in mind, though. If Obsidian wants us to engage with their new, wonderful and fantastic world I think they should take it easy on the jargon. They can build it up as the player explores the world, but I think they should avoid front loading the game with it.

 

What are your thoughts on this?


Make sense, not war.

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I disagree, actually. I felt lost at the beginning of Planescape Torment and the early Elder Scrolls games, but eventually I picked everything up. Making sure that they have a comprehensive in-game almanac would go a long way, too - especially one that updates with information as you find out more stuff (like the dossiers in Alpha Protocol).

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I don't think you give new players enough credit. They can figure out the necessary information from contexts. "Ahh, people are using 'the nine' in prayer, they must be gods." Then they can look elsewhere for deeper information, asking priests who the nine are.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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I have to agree with Tale. As an example, I didn't have trouble with Skyrim in that regard and it was the first Elder Scrolls game I played. Besides, if the player pays attention to the in-game events and info as well as checking out the lore and the journal, there should be little cause for confusion.

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I am more bothered by when the jargon is useless or ridiculous.

 

An example of what I do not like is in the X games, they use their own time scale that are essentially seconds, minutes, hours but changed to Stazuras Mizuras and so on. It was utterly pointless and sounds to this day exceptionally goofy. A lot of games try to create their own jargon and it often has that `X effect´ essentially being useless or at worse utterly comical.

 

That is not to say it can not be done well in moderation, I have faith Obsidian will use jargon well and that it makes logical sense.

Edited by Aedelric

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And even so. A lot of people love PST, despite the fact that it has one of the most severe jargons in CRPGs, which very much is embedded in the very core of the game. Skyrim in comparison is almost no jargon at all, what is there very simple and standart language with [racename] [godname] [countryname], and that is not jargon but auxiliary reference information dictionary.

Edited by void_dp

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Make new players think

I don't think you give new players enough credit. They can figure out the necessary information from contexts. "Ahh, people are using 'the nine' in prayer, they must be gods." Then they can look elsewhere for deeper information, asking priests who the nine are.

Yes, don't treat people as if they're stupid ( even if they are).


1.13 killed off Ja2.

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which very much is embedded in the very core of the game.

And i think this is the key, so in sum:

NO to stupid no purpose jargon

YES to embedded in story line and game jargon, and no matter its severity

 

And it is Obsidian that totally can do the second case :biggrin:

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I personally don't feel like i'm playing a fantasy game if an hour into the game I understand what people are saying.

  • Like 3

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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I want a lot of of jargon, and I don't mind if I don't get it all in the beginning of the game. To me that's half the fun, starting to understand all the references to factions, gods, places or simply synonyms. It's one of the reasons I enjoyed PS:T so much.

 

Also, although I spent som time years ago playing Morrowind, I didn't remember a thing when I started playing Skyrim. Saw that as a good thing since it was pretty fun to figure out how that universe worked once again. I want new stuff that I haven't seen before, the jargon is a big part of that.

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Playing a game is much like reading a book. You're supposed to learn the jargon, the various meanings and so on, as you play the game.

 

So please, just throw all these themes right over me.


t50aJUd.jpg

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Having it does add some flavor at times, so don't mind "jargon" if it's present. But mostly, unless I have to know it to solve puzzles or something, I ignore it, just like I ignored Klingon in Star Trek.

 

Edit: I do remember that one "tarmoc and something on tennegra" (spelling not correct I'm sure) episode of ST:TNG tho...called..."Darmok?" That was one episode where an alien language/culture was quite interesting to me.

Edited by LadyCrimson

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Jargon may help flesh out the world, but it has to be done correctly. If the PC is supposed to know something, the player has to be introduced to the concept, preferably without breaking the fourth wall.

 

A well written game or book will do this so seamlessly that you at no point have to stop and try to figure out what a word means in order to understand what is being said; a word could be used in such a way that the meaning can be inferred from context, even if it has been explained previously (you can't expect people to remember some random line from a conversation which happened several hours ago).

 

I do agree on some points though. For one, I hate it when characters interject made up words in the middle of a sentence when there's already an English word for it. Makes it sound cheesy and pretentious. If the word describes a concept which doesn't exist in the English language though? That's awesome, and should be encouraged, because that's how languages evolve in the real world... Though it shouldn't be used as an excuse to use the same couple of words all the time.

 

Regarding Skyrim, I don't think it was necessarily a bad thing. Sure, for the first hour or so, it was a bit confusing, but your character was evidently supposed to know most of those words. The key thing with Skyrim though, was that it didn't prevent you from playing the game, or from following along in coversations. Sure, maybe you didn't understand what a "Nord" was, or what they meant with Imperials and Stormcloaks, but it didn't really matter. Context made it clear that it Nords were a group of people, and that Imperials and Stormcloaks were rivaling factions. For the first few hours of the game, the details weren't really important.

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New players don't have to know everything right away, they will learn as they play.

I didn't know a lick of DnD when I first played Baldur's Gate, and discovering what things were or meant over time made the experience that much more satisfying.

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I think jargon is important. Biemhac will be no problem if you encounter the word before the fact, like some nasty tales which might set a good impression and give a more specific feeling rather than a generic functional word.

 

I'm all for the jarg

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A thought that struck me was that jargon can be seriously overdone. A good example is Skyrim. Having played Morrowind and Oblivion, I recognized the names and phrases spoken by the characters in the intro of Skyrim. A new player, however, would be completely lost. What are the Nine? A Nord? An Imperial? Who is Akatosh? Sure, you can figure some things out from the sound of the word, and just the right amount of jargon (or setting specific words and phrases, if you prefer) adds a touch of mystery. What are the Nine? I don't know, but I look forward to finding out.

 

Thing is, if the game just pours jargon over you, it turns into noise. It's no longer interesting, it's just a bunch of silly made up words. Particularly if it is just made up words. If a group functions like the Spanish Inquisition (or something like that), then it's better to call them The Inquisition, or perhaps The Seekers, or Eyes of the Lord, etc., rather than calling them the Hringzorps of the Ingth Fling'T'Rusks.

 

Obsidian seems to be hard at work making their own world and filling it with rich lore, and that is awesome. However, I do hope that they don't go overboard on the jargon, and in turn make things all silly. Names can be funky and fantastic, sure, but I think it's best to avoid using too many strange new words. Especially if there already are words that sufficiently express what the new one does.

 

Judging from the glimpses of lore that have been made available to us, things seem to be OK. And of course they would be, these guys are industry veterans and experts! However, I got a bit worried when I saw "biamhac" which is some evil, soul eating wind phenomena. I'm sure the name fits the tone of the place wherein it is found, but at the same time, it's another strange thing that the player needs to keep in the back of their minds.

 

"Whatch out for the biamhac!"

"Right... that thing... it's... bad, right?"

 

How about

 

"Watch out for the devil wind/soul render/blightwind!"

"That sounds really bad! I'm outta here!"

 

Sure, this is overreacting a bit. I still think it's a valid thing to keep in mind, though. If Obsidian wants us to engage with their new, wonderful and fantastic world I think they should take it easy on the jargon. They can build it up as the player explores the world, but I think they should avoid front loading the game with it.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Speaking as a new comer to the TES I was not lost playing Skyrim, I gladly dove into the story not knowing any of the background and was not lost. Please don't speak for those you don't know about, I had no trouble figuring out what everything was.

 

I feel that PE is made for those that love Lore and "jargon".

Edited by AlphaShard

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I think this game should use made-up words as frequently as A Clockwork Orange.

 

I didn't find the Elder Scroll's terms that hard to figure out. I started the series at Oblivion, but I don't think entering at Skyrim would be that much different. I mean, the Nine (Divines) are prayed to, so they must be gods. The Daedra are basically demons, and so on.

Edited by HeedlessHorseman

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The cant in PS:T made the game feel that much more immersive. If P:E handles language the same way then I have no problem with it.

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I agree with most of you on this. Good jargon that fits the setting and the situation is nice. Strange and "unecessary jargon" is not.

The jargon in PST really worked, but then the whole world there was very alien and it was expected that things would be a bit different linguistically as well as in other ways. And in a way, it made a certain amount of sense, even the jargon that wasn't just old slang, but actually made up for the Planescape setting. Once you knew what a plane was, it was obvious what a planewalker was.

 

And I strongly agree with the statement that new jargon should not replace existing words that sufficiently describe the thing in question. Don't call old people "the oldlings", just go with "elders" or whatever. I'm probably making too big a thing of this and it's obvious from the replies that the people here have the right idea!

 

Oh, and a bit of a pet peeve is made up curses. Sometimes they really do work, other times it's painfully obvious that it's just a rewrite of the good old f-bomb. Maybe it's due the voice acting, or maybe it's due to the writing, but quite often it comes out without sounding very believable. In a stressed situation when somebody explodes in anger or fear or something else that elicits a curse, it quickly becomes a bit silly when somebody goes "By the seventh seal of the Maker!" or something similar. Maybe it's a question of syllables.

 

And in closing I would like to clarify that I in no way wanted to imply that people new to a certain genre of games would be less able to absorb jargon. My main issue was really just that the more exotic jargon in the game is perhaps best presented evenly, rather than in a few big cunks. The idea of a Dragon Age-style Codex allowing you to look things up whenever you want is really good.

 

EDIT: Oh dear. After having read some posts that dropped in as I was writing this post I feel that should add another clarification and perhaps an apology.

 

To clarify: I made some generalisations that, in hindsight, seem to have been incorrect and more accurately been a reflection of my own experiences and thoughts. I in now way wanted to insult or in any way imply an insult to any person or group of people. If I did bring offence due to the statement of my opinions, and (potentially half-baked) musings, I do greatly and sincerely apologize. I did not come to this forum to cause unrest and be a nuisance. Once again, I am sorry if my original post came across as agressive, hostile or insulting. I guess things can go awry when speaking from the heart about things related to our passions.

Edited by StreetBushido

Make sense, not war.

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Ya I kinda completely disagree with the OP. Jargon makes even something mundane much more interesting.

 

Moar jargon!

Edited by NoxNoctum

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