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Mr. Magniloquent

Irreconcilable Companion Differences

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Umberlin, your points are certainly valid, and I don't want to preclude the possibility of NPCs leaving the party, however I think a lot of this will depend on how the Devs write morality and player (and thus NPC) motivation in the game world. D&D was heavily dependent on morality as a measuring stick for behavior, that will not be the case in PE. Also we have to consider that a lot of how we as 21st century individuals view wrong and right. The game world could have much different takes on these, however the developers will have to sell them in a convincing manner. Also, how the NPCs a personally motivated and how the player can exploit that motivation (or not) should to also be present in dialogue choices within the game.

 

Of course there is always a tipping point within these exchanges, but with so few NPCs available, we need to have clear cues of impending breaks. I think we can all agree that what we don't want (along with the whole working blindly towards a common end) is the NWN2 type of influence mini-game where the PC had to basically agree and/or constantly stroke the various NPC's egos without any option for other approaches.

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I like it in theory...

 

... but it's one of those things where only having eight companions total can kind of god damn suck.

 

There's always the player house with player created characters...

 

Yep, I am going to get a max of three Obsidian-created companions so I am all for this!

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haha I'm sure you had to have been thrilled to see your party breakup when your deep into a dungeon. After the original shock it makes for a good story. I'm all for companions having their own personalities/values and sticking to them.

 

The appreciation for the moment did come a bit later, lol! The astonishment took some time to wear off, not to mention trying to rationalize why I hadn't heeded the warning signs from previous arguments. Even with that brutal introduction to the full scope of BG NPCs, it never softened the wrenching choices in BG 2 where I knew that the party would never be the same again. These moments alone immortalized the series without equal to me.

 

I wasn't aware that there will only be eight official NPCs. This makes fatalistic outcomes more complicated, though I find it still worth the risk. Planescape: Torment still made me choose when I only had seven companions when consulting The Book of Vile Darkness (Ha!) and I managed just fine. Even though P:T NPCs were technically more composed, I still have a more potent memory of BG NPCs because of their fatalistic confrontations that could arise.

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If they viciously hate you or another companion, or what you/another companion is doing goes wholly against their moral compass . . . why would they stay with you? It would be just another shallow husk of what RPGs used to be if they went with the modern Bioware compaions style with this. They're characters. Not hypnotized slaves that do whatever you bid. They should be able to leave if they want. They should be able to die. If they can't leave or die . . . then . . . they're just these static sure things you never have to worry about. They aren't characters, they're drones.

In the interest of Mother****ing Fairness, DAO gave a number of opportunities for companions to leave/fight you and die (sometimes getting inexplicably resurrected in the sequel). DA2 had one character that could leave for very vague and poorly-thought-out reasons half-way through the game, and you could end up fighting and killing a good chunk of your party at the end (though you could also convince them to rejoin you which I didn't because holy **** Fenris you were so god damn annoying this whole game just die already).

 

Now, where this differs from what the OP was talking about is that in DAO and DA2, those companions were reacting entirely to you, not each-other like Harpers vs Zentarim.


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I'd like e.g. two Paladins with different philosophies e.g. pacifist/warmonger who use their abilities markedly differently and who might just up and leave you if they can't respect you. That should both cover the loss of a character class and give some insight into the range of the classes' use as well as allow for dialogue options. You can then find that they are actually father and daughter/the like and while you're trying to hook up with her/him the other actually starts to gain a healthy dislike for you.


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Yeah, I like when these things happen. As with any other form of reactivity.

 

Though, I'm usually disappointed when I find out that this was the only way the story could end. Making it not a consequence of actions, but forced upon by the writer.

 

I don't like fake choices in general though.

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If I have a charismatic character, at least I would like to be able to have my companions be convinced by me. Maybe not on everything, but it should be a two-way street.

This is why I liked the KOTORII alignment shifts you could affect your party with.


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I like the idea when there's a large cast of companions. Then you can replace them. But with only 8? If they come to blows, let it not be to the death. Can't afford the attrition.

 

It's been mentioned, but if you lose too many of the stock companions, just create your own at the adventurer's guild. They won't have the personality of the pre-written companions, but that would be a consequence of making your followers too unhappy. If the companions are all just happy and homogeneous they won't have much personality to begin with.

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I like the idea when there's a large cast of companions. Then you can replace them. But with only 8? If they come to blows, let it not be to the death. Can't afford the attrition.

 

It's been mentioned, but if you lose too many of the stock companions, just create your own at the adventurer's guild. They won't have the personality of the pre-written companions, but that would be a consequence of making your followers too unhappy. If the companions are all just happy and homogeneous they won't have much personality to begin with.

There's a wide gulf between "just don't have them kill each other" and "happy and homogeneous."

 

The consequence of followers being unhappy is that they should act differently from happy followers. Otherwise it turns into the sociopathic trying to please everyone playstyle that ends up dominating these games. Players spend more time trying to make everyone like them than actually characterizing themselves. The content can still react without being penalizing.

 

Alpha Protocol did this well.


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

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It's funny, because on the one hand, being this peaceable, live and let live sort, I'm horrified and really don't like it when my party members do things like that ... the lack of control issue aspect ... but on the other hand, I respect/admire it that the game/story is making me decide between different character aims/stances. It definitely makes the characters feel a bit more like people rather than just pixels I move around by clicking my mouse.

 

...that said, most of the time I'd still reload so at least they wouldn't kill each other, because I'm a weenie. :*

I like it in theory...

 

... but it's one of those things where only having eight companions total can kind of god damn suck.

 

What I would like to see is the PC being more involved on multiple levels precisely because there are so few companions compared to BG and we expect them to be quite deep. While there may very well be absolute breaking points, it would make sense that the PC could have a closer relationship to one than the other, or has a strong enough relationship to both that there's a 3-way conversation, or having the ability to arbitrate a deal of some kind (hey, that could open a quest or something), etc.

 

And even if there are absolute breaking points, they need not come to blows--one companion may very well just leave, but in the "I'm going home!" method instead of forever, so you could go back to convince them to rejoin if you get rid of the other companion.

 

I think interparty tension is realistic and necessary when they all come from different backgrounds with different personalities, but there are more nuanced ways of doing it....


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I would welcome companions that are not... compatible with each other, maybe it even coming to a fight if things are taken far enough.

 

But...

A) have them choose their moments. Please no retarded in-fighting if you're in the middle of dangerous territory, at least not between companions that have more than half a brain.

 

B) make the player have some influence over it all. If he is skilled enough in CHR or persusaion or whatever, have that come into play.

 

To be honest, I'm more interested in the interactions with the player character overall. I loved in Torment that both Ignus and Vhailor were rather... dangerous in the sense that you couldn't just say anything to them.


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Thought to mention, I'm just replaying BG2 after a long while and I don't think I had the same companions before.

 

 

 

Trying with a smaller party and had a pretty sweet thing going with Keldorn and Viconia.

They argued a bit now and then, but I didn't expect serious problems, with me bedding the other

and the other stopping every 15 minutes to proclaim how excellently everything is going.

 

Had just driven off Bodhi for the first time, ready to go to spellhold after Imoen and Irenicus....

And doesn't the damn Paladin decide this is as far as this company goes and they both draw arms!

Caught me totally by surprise!

 

He's face down in the Bodhis crypt now and I'm continuing with Viconia.

 

 

 

Thought about adding Minsc or Anomen as replacements, but decided against. Just the two of us...

 

 

---

But I really think I should have been able to resolve the matter peacefully, especially considering how they both

were very happy with how things were going, just unhappy about each others company.

Edited by Jarmo

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I'm very much in favor of things like this. I suspect there won't be quite as many incompatible companions given the small overall number of them, but I think a handful of quarreling pairs would add both realism and a more spontaneous feel to the game. I do agree that the player character should be able to smooth over conflicts...as long as it's not done by including some kind of Easy Mode persuade option like in Mass Effect 2. If there's going to be smoothing over, I think it should be done by the player character choosing dialogue options and having to figure out the best way to handle the situation given the personalities involved.

 

As for having unpleasant arguments happen in dungeons, I don't think that's likely to happen. Even with the BG games, there were mods to change the triggers on certain dialogues so that they didn't happen in ridiculous places. I'm sure that regardless of the dialogue system, it will be designed to avoid these sorts of problems.

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Others have already said it but I'll chime in to add my support for the, "Let's not do this when there are only going to be 8 companions" people.

 

This type of thing with so few companions would take away from the game more than it would add by forcing you to use very specific party layouts (thus limiting replayability) or using generic companions. If you need the narrative to force down the throat of the party members unhappy with one another that there is something so big going on that slitting each others throat has to wait until the adventure is over, fine, if you want there to be arguments, perhaps ones where the player even has to give one side a bit more incentive (within reason), fine. But slitting of each others throats, no.

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I wouldn't mind one pair of irreconcilable companions. Two pairs out of eight people might be pushing it into tricky party management though.

 

Also what about the opposite as well, an inseparable pair, can't take one without the other?

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If they had more npc,s sure. Also, as much as it makes sense for them to fight....if they're trapped in a dungeon barely surviving and they know they have a tough road ahead, it doesn't make sense for them to just hack each other to pieces at that time. Big difference between an event such as a party member slaughtering an innoncent family infront of everyone and the 2 just disliking each other and fighting while they're already in a dangerous situation.

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With only a few NPCs, I rather they not do this. This was fine in many old games because they gave you a load of companions to choose from. I rather the NPC temporarily leaves the party or will simply refuse to join the party while the NPC they hate is in your party (kind of like Raven in Arcanum, who will refuse to join while Z'an Al'urin is in the party).

 

However, if they do decide that NPCs can come to blows, you should have be able to persuade them to stop depending on your charisma score. Also, the game should remember that the NPC killed the other NPC member in your party. Do you inform the NPC party member that you'll kill them in revenge (this could happen anytime later in the game I guess), or perhaps you can keep reminding the NPC how much of douchbag they are for killing a former friend of yours? In real life, people don't simply forget who killed whom.

Edited by Bill Gates' Son

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I'd rather have NPCs who flat out refuse to work alongside each other than experience the silliness from the NWN2 OC again.

 

For the record, that game forced a Paladin NPC into your party at one point (even if your protagonist was clearly evil) and an evil NPC at another (even if your protagonist was a 'holier than thoy' Paladin). For Project Eternity, I'd be perfectly ok with it if a NPC said somethign along the lines of: "If you want me to join up, get rid of that guy first".

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* sigh *

 

Something else that will be modded out for ease-of-use. I will get bags of holding and stackable items within a week of release too, don't know why devs don't just put them in as options to begin with.


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For once I would like to not be the leader of the party, the mediator of everyone's problems, the shoulder that everyone cries upon.

There must be better ways of exposition to show a character's views than "You like doing XYZ I like doing UVW, let's not get along".


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. ;)

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It was part of the fun in Jagged Alliance 2. Companions that couldn't stand each other, but sometimes would have around if you had a third party in your team they liked more than they hated the other one etc. Of course, with two score companions with personalities, you could always find a replacement.


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Thought about adding Minsc or Anomen as replacements, but decided against. Just the two of us...

 

Forgot to mention it was still an awesome twist, despite totally ruining all my plans for a succesful group.

I had also used Anomen quite a lot and a bit of Minsc and Jaheira, but I did really focus on grabbing all the possible XP just for the three of us.

One down really makes things painful, that's one million XP I'm not getting back and could have really been of use..

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As many have mentionned before, while the idea is rather appealing, the fact that there are only 8 companions makes it rather tricky to implement.

 

If it were implemented, I think that there should ne be 'irreconciliable' differences: the PC should be able to intervene when companions squabble, and, based on his ability to cool off things, and, possibly, previous choices he made in the game, the situation may be defused.

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I had fallen Anomen clash with Keldron in some dungeon. Anomen used his sword-barrier, which accidentally hacked Aerie to little pieces, prompting Minsk to go into battle rage and join in a fight. Anyway, in a few moments I was left standing there with Jaheira and cooled-down Minsk, looking at three corpses, which I had no ability to resurrect, since Anomen and Keldron left the party when they started fighting and I didn't have the Wish to resurrect those tiny bits Aerie was reduced to. All the while I knew there was a crapload of beholders to go through with only three party members left.

 

That felt... awesome.

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