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Low content density vs. greater density of content

Low content density vs. greater density of content  

324 members have voted

  1. 1. Which game had best density of content implemented?

    • I want Baldur's Gate approach, low content in many wilderness areas.
      38
    • Somewhere in the middle, like Josh said in the update.
      220
    • I want Baldur's Gate II approach, rich content areas.
      66


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From the last update:

 

"The original Baldur's Gate had a number of wilderness areas, but low density of content in many of those areas. Baldur's Gate II had much greater content density, but fewer wilderness/pure exploration areas. We'd like to make sure we have pure exploration areas while still maintaining good content density."

 

The reaction to this was that people wanted a more like BG1 ratio of content per number of areas but a poll on this would be more revealing

  • "Like many others have already stated: I am also very fond of the low-density areas of Baldur's Gate 1 (that I've reinstalled a few days ago, by the way ^^): it really gives a feeling of exploration, and I just love these open areas." - Alexandre

  • "Just adding my voice to the mass! Low density of content makes exploration so much more rewarding and adds to a feeling of realism. Baldur's Gate 1 was better in this than 2 imho. Also finding permanent stat boosts in otherwise unremarkable places is awesome!" - Bjorn Van de Sand

  • "Regarding the world structure: please please PLEASE include a decent amount of 'unimportant' wilderness and exploration areas in the game. For me, the journeys between towns, and from towns to dungeons (e.g. Nashkel->Gnoll Stronghold) was always one of the best things about Baldur's Gate 1. It just makes the world so much more real, alive, and immersive." - Cam

  • "I agree with comments about low density content in some of the exploration areas. That's one of the things I hate in Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games. In the wilderness there is something every few steps, bandits, house, giants, travelers, etc. I would like to feel like Hobbits with Aragorn, wandering through uncharted areas, old ruins, forests, meadows, but without meeting an NPC in every five minutes" - Michal

  • "As a few ppl have already stated. I don't mind if there is a LOT of areas with low density of content. Makes the exploration part of the game so much more rewarding" - Fredrik Sivertsson

  • "Low density of content in many of exploration areas in BG was, for me, part of the charm of this game. EP's world doesn't have to be packed with quests and npcs to be fascinating to explore" - Pavel

  • Like 3

  After my realization that White March has the same XP reward problem, I don't even have the drive to launch game anymore because I hated so much reaching Twin Elms with a level cap in vanilla PoE that I don't wish to relive that experience.

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I'd like to see something in the middle - ideally done by adding more "content rich" areas aside from the main "hubs", which are secondary to the core of the game but separated by lower-density exploration areas that each might have 3-5 "encounters" total (like most of the BG1 wilds areas). The post quoted by Cam about the Nashkel -> Gnoll Stronghold puts it ideally I think, that particular set of areas if fleshed out across the entire world in a similar manner would be great. I'd also like to see some more dynamic areas which are not part of the core questline, but are still worth coming back to now and again - unlike the BG1 wilderness areas which were pretty much exploration checkboxes - once finished with an area, there was no reason to not map-travel past them in the future.

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"If we are alone in the universe, it sure seems like an awful waste of space"

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I prefer a good amount of content. The problem with BG1 is that going through the wilderness was about as involving and interesting as grinding. As Raccoon said, it'd be great, if there was a reason to return to locations, rather than making them grindfests.

  • Like 2

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I think it pretty much depens on the actual type of content. If the content turns into a bandit camp on every square inch of the map, I'm not that keen about it, but if the content is richer than that I'm all for it.

 

Too low level of content may also be a bit annoying, like in Arcanume where the world does feel desolate.

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I loved the BG1 Wilderness areas. There could be more stuff added to areas without making them feel too cluttered though.

 

Most of them only had a few quests, some handplaced monsters and a few random encounter areas

 

P:E will be a lot more interactive than the BG games, so they should be able to find plenty more things for people to do without it feel like there's too much going on.

Edited by Sensuki

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I have to go with the crowd on this one. Although I prefer BG1 style density over BG2 style, something closer to the middle is preferable. Maybe a bit slanted toward BG1.

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In 3D first person games like Skyrim or FO:NV exploring is great, hey what's that I see half a mile away, l'll go look.

 

In BG where you see all of 10 meters away, exploration is more akin to doing a colouring book.

Walk over all the black areas and you'll see a pretty picture. Not fun, just tedious zigzagging over the map until all the black is gone.

  • Like 5

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From reactions I've read here, it seems to me that most of you would actually really enjoy something very very close to BG1.

 

With basically one modification: being given reasons to go back to some of these open areas later on; which would be a great improvement indeed ;).

 

 

As for Arcanum, it's way too extreme, there, of course. Plenty of open areas, sure, but there's no point walking from city to city, as it literally takes hours to encounter a single opponent on the way. Using fast travel therefore becomes a must, and then it's exactly as if you had NO open areas to begin with. I would be strongly against something like that too (but I love that game, for the rest).

Edited by the.only.ara54

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I flat out did not enjoy BG (so I better end this post quick before the pitchforks come out), so I prefer to abstract my treks over areas-of-non-interest to the overworld map. If there's a function to arbitrarily stop and any point and see what's there (a big fat nothing, as per Fallout) then fine, but it will be rightly ignored. :p

 

 

Fully explorable wilderness areas have the paradoxical quality of potentially making the gameworld feel *smaller*. Or for realistic scales, feel like painting the Great Wall with an artist's paintbrush (as per the post above).

Edited by Humanoid

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Baldur's Gate 1 density of 'events' for 'square inch' is ok since the maps will be bigger (from what I gather). The result would be that a single map would have more events nonetheless.

 

Yeah that's what I was gathering as well.

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The core design philosophy of exploration in a game is having a reward for exploration. If a player is able to go somewhere, there needs to be something worth your time eg quest, monsters, secret... or it will feel like a waste.

 

The density however is a tricky thing because if there is big density where stuff can be found around every corner it will feel like a small world. If the density is minimal, it will feel like a waste of players time and developers resources spent on beautiful but useless map.

 

The balance must be found

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Only boring people get bored

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I much prefer the whole "running around looking for stuff to do" then the "OMG STOP GIVING ME STUFF TO DO, I JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO TOWN!"

 

I suppose it comes down to how much time/effort they can afford to put in making a large game, larger. Hopefully they can throw in low density content and appease the other crowd with a more intuitive fast travel system? (horse/taxi service between towns).

  • Like 1

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I agree that the feeling of exploration was better in BG1. You just had that feeling of being somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Though a good middleway of areas would be great.

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I've been very pleased to hear Josh's thoughts on this since, as much as I loved BG2, I did prefer the way exploration was handled with Baldur's Gate 1. For me exploration is a big part of RPGs, and you should be allowed to go off on a tangent at times to explore of your own intiative.

 

For me, I'd like the cities and areas like that to be dense with content. Loads of missions both starting and ending in the cities and towns, but also some that send you off into the wilderness.

 

A smaller amount should be found out in the wilderness (such as the Beregost mage/polymorphed chicken quest) because when you're outside the largest part of gameplay should be the encounters you have - whether it's random monster attacks or adventuring parties or panicking when you stumble across a basilisk's statue garden

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I did not like the nearly empty areas of BG1 (Mass Effect 1 had exactly the same problem). They felt like somebody got their hands on a map creation tool and went at it without any regard for what would be filling those maps. Thus, they get awfully monotonous after a while. The middle way is fine, but I would prefer it if it leaned closer to BG2.

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After wandering around forests for the first half-dozen chapters of BG1 I was actually baffled about what to do when I finally reached the city itself. If they do have relatively empty wilderness areas to trek through I hope that the game starts in one of the big cities a la BG2.

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This discussion is kind of going on in three threads in three different subforums at once. D:

 

 

Ahem. Anyway, a compromise I could take is that the so-called 'wilderness' areas would not be, strictly speaking, untamed wilderness. Sparse areas are perfectly reasonable, but there ought to be a reason why that area is broadly of interest in the first place. At the simplest level, it would be simple proximity to a major area of interest. Perhaps it's an area that for a non-obvious reason, the local nobility has a curiously disproportionate interest in hunting in. Or perhaps the opposite, what would appear to be prime grazing land, yet no farmer has made any attempt to claim it. Somewhere where relatively mundane old archaeological knick-knacks have been occasionally dug up by locals. A UFO sighting in the area.

 

I suppose I would describe it as starting from the BG2 design rather than BG1, but then expanding on it. The abandoned temple where the black dragon is for example, has a largeish outdoor area. Keep the darkest, "obvious quest area" on that map, as a separate wilderness area adjacent you can have a number of options for creating a fairly sparse map with some related, even if only tangentially, points of interest. Remains of an old dwelling where some of the servants may have lived. Auxilliary worship sites. A place where looters may have withdrawn to some time ago.

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The core design philosophy of exploration in a game is having a reward for exploration. If a player is able to go somewhere, there needs to be something worth your time eg quest, monsters, secret... or it will feel like a waste.

 

The density however is a tricky thing because if there is big density where stuff can be found around every corner it will feel like a small world. If the density is minimal, it will feel like a waste of players time and developers resources spent on beautiful but useless map.

 

The balance must be found

 

I agree with this I remember in BG2 one of the forest areas you unlock in chapter 6 had nothing in it. Which was a waste of time for all concerned. I'd like something to be there whether its quest hooks, a scripted encounter (ie the BG1 Thayain wizards out in the middle of no where.) I just want to do something not just look at pretty landscape. I think Skyrim did have a good balance of explorations getting to finding and having things to do.

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Cities on the other hand can be cluttered like Athkatla if they like

 

It would be good to get a contrast between the feel of both cities, one more like Athkatla, one more like BG ?

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Most of the areas should have objectives/quest/choices hidded in them, because that way there is more to find in next play through. Baldur's Gate's biggest problem in my mind is that there was so much areas that didn't offer anything new on following playthroughs.

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Exploration - definitely middle ground, although I wold not mind some low density places.

Cities - Athkatla 2.0 and subterranean Athkatla 2.0 (if there is a subterranean world)

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One thing I dont want it to be too cluttered. When I first played Baldurs Gate I explored every area before the City and eventually got to the city and saw how big it was and got fed up.

 

Things can be too big and overwhelming. Tons of quest givers asking you to do this that and the other all over the place, thats not fun.

 

It would be interesting to have a more focused game. Like for instance you can have only five quests at a time(seeing as thats roughly as much we can remember). Only once you've done one does a new one become potentially available. It would make managing large areas more manageable. Because in some games you want to explore a new area, but every few meters you end up dumped with a new quest, and so end up with about fifty quests.

 

Or maybe just get rid of the whole quest npc's dotted about all over the place? You need money so have to go to certain persons to get jobs similar to the Witcher. You wouldnt really wander around aimlessly, just hoping to stumble upon someone that wants you to do something.

 

It appears this game is going to have some purpose, your character is after something arent they? They wouldnt be too distracted from that, going off in the middle of their quest to find the grail to do a million random strangers a million random favours(there would at least have to be good reasons).

 

I think JRPGs do this well. They know that a big journey has to feel like a long journey. They love to have lots of little filler areas which seem to serve no purpose. Like stairs that seem to go on forever with nothing in them but it adds to the flavour. They can be large but they are still focused, the side quests flow into or slightly off of the main story.

Edited by calabi
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Quoting myself from the Update post (because I'm that lazy at 830am):

I remember when I went from BG1 to BG2, how I felt some of the exploration feeling had been lost. But it's also true that BG1 had maps that felt very "low density." Something inbetween (or whatever) would be great, and I'm glad to know y'all are trying to think up ways to address it.

....eg, I love exploration, but there is such a thing as too much pointless, empty, "exploration potential." And on the other side, there's also such a thing as too much focus on density. I don't want to encounter stuff every 20 feet. When I want that, I'll play an action-rpg. imo.


“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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