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[Wisdom]Using this dialogue option is a better choice.


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If you're going to give people "better" dialog options for being smarter/wiser/a better conversationalist, then ALL the dialog options should be improved. So, an idiot might have options like:

 

1. Whut?

2. Dat's wrong.

3. I kill you!

 

while your intelligent character should get something like:

 

1. This analogy makes no sense.

2. But it isn't true that spiders are vampires.

3. I tire of your imbecile prattle.

 

Or your wise character could get something like this:

 

1. Right, I get what you're trying to say, but you're still wrong.

2. So, you think I should base my behavior on bugs?

3. Is this really the time for a debate?

 

While your charismatic character gets dialog more like:

 

1. I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds fascinating!

2. Don't worry, we're not going to turn into spiders.

3. You worry too much, friend. Let's get going!

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If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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I'm for the tags.

They are useful to understand the inflexion. And I also find satisfying to know I'm using a skill I invested points in.

 

What I dislike:

-visible % of success or failure of a [skill].

-[skill] options are always the right choice

 

But I believe Obsidian already confirmed this is not going to happen in PE? Can't remember the source.

Choosing the [skill] option without reading the dialogue or paying attention could lead you to say the wrong thing for that situation or the skill could maybe help deepen the conversation, but not to obtain the information you need.

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Tags are nothing even remotely resembling meta gaming. They only give the necessary non-verbal details. You can say "Hello, how are you?" in a way that will make the person you're talking to want to run away as fast as possible. To say nothing of ambiguous lines which can be interpreted in many ways. Since you cannot reliably guess the intention of your character (or rather the person who was writing the line), the result often comes out as a big surprise.

 

I find this only happens when you have poorly written dialogue with few options. Consider BG2 vs. the ME series. In BG2 you often had a bunch of different ways to say essentially the same thing, whether you wanted to say it in an evil way, a kind way, a crazy way, the point was even when there wasn;t a decision to make, you had clear options that helped develop your character in your head.

 

In Mass Effect, you are facing Wrex and have two options "Stop it!" in blue and "Don't even think about it" in red. Pick blue and Wrex backs down from all your goodness or something. Pick red and you shoot Wrex in the face. When you have bad writing you say different things in the same way. Good writing lets you say the same things in different ways that suit your character and don't totally surprise you.

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Tags are nothing even remotely resembling meta gaming. They only give the necessary non-verbal details. You can say "Hello, how are you?" in a way that will make the person you're talking to want to run away as fast as possible. To say nothing of ambiguous lines which can be interpreted in many ways. Since you cannot reliably guess the intention of your character (or rather the person who was writing the line), the result often comes out as a big surprise.

 

I find this only happens when you have poorly written dialogue with few options. Consider BG2 vs. the ME series. In BG2 you often had a bunch of different ways to say essentially the same thing, whether you wanted to say it in an evil way, a kind way, a crazy way, the point was even when there wasn;t a decision to make, you had clear options that helped develop your character in your head.

 

In Mass Effect, you are facing Wrex and have two options "Stop it!" in blue and "Don't even think about it" in red. Pick blue and Wrex backs down from all your goodness or something. Pick red and you shoot Wrex in the face. When you have bad writing you say different things in the same way. Good writing lets you say the same things in different ways that suit your character and don't totally surprise you.

It's even better when these different way have actual gameplay ramifications, which sadly in BG was in 0-1% of cases.

Say no to popamole!

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^ Sure, but at least you got to say things the way you wanted your character to say them. I think that's immersive. I would say there was a fair amount of responsiveness in the dialogue too, if not always in the gameplay. If you were mean to Imoen, she responded as if you had hurt her feelings. I like that stuff. Again, i repeat my plea to at least have tags be optional, and independent of difficulty level, so I can turn them off on any difficulty.

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If you're going to give people "better" dialog options for being smarter/wiser/a better conversationalist, then ALL the dialog options should be improved. So, an idiot might have options like:

 

1. Whut?

2. Dat's wrong.

3. I kill you!

 

while your intelligent character should get something like:

 

1. This analogy makes no sense.

2. But it isn't true that spiders are vampires.

3. I tire of your imbecile prattle.

 

Or your wise character could get something like this:

 

1. Right, I get what you're trying to say, but you're still wrong.

2. So, you think I should base my behavior on bugs?

3. Is this really the time for a debate?

 

While your charismatic character gets dialog more like:

 

1. I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds fascinating!

2. Don't worry, we're not going to turn into spiders.

3. You worry too much, friend. Let's get going!

Ambitious to do everywhere though. But I think you demonstrate quite clearly how these dialogue options would be distinct enough without a tag.

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In Mass Effect, you are facing Wrex and have two options "Stop it!" in blue and "Don't even think about it" in red. Pick blue and Wrex backs down from all your goodness or something. Pick red and you shoot Wrex in the face. When you have bad writing you say different things in the same way. Good writing lets you say the same things in different ways that suit your character and don't totally surprise you.
No, the Red option will get him to back down peacefully. If you're going to shoot him, the option is in white text on the right and says [shoot him].

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I never had a problem with Shepard being widely off base, mostly because the whole point of the dialogue wheel is that there's little point in reading it: Shepard is nice, normal, or mean depending on your choices.

 

I always had more of a problem where you were given a choice of dialogue options that led to the exact same thing being said the exact same way. Classic illusion of choice; we really should have seen the Mass Effect 3 ending coming.

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In Mass Effect, you are facing Wrex and have two options "Stop it!" in blue and "Don't even think about it" in red. Pick blue and Wrex backs down from all your goodness or something. Pick red and you shoot Wrex in the face. When you have bad writing you say different things in the same way. Good writing lets you say the same things in different ways that suit your character and don't totally surprise you.
No, the Red option will get him to back down peacefully. If you're going to shoot him, the option is in white text on the right and says [shoot him].

 

The most egregious example I can remember in ME2 was playing a straight-laced Paragon Shepard and doing Jack's loyalty mission, and at the end chose the renegade option whose text said something along the lines of "just shoot him so we can get out of here," a rather nonchalant, pragmatic line given the time-bomb subplot of the story; but then Jack makes a 180 and decides she wants to be merciful, so my shining paragon Shepard pulls his gun on Jack, aims squarely at her face, looks her in the eye and demands that she kill the guy or he'll murder her in cold blood. Then it goes into this whole downward spiral of Shepard talking like someone verbally abusing a child to keep them from reporting his pedophilia to the authorities.

 

That is Bioware's dialogue wheel system.

Edited by AGX-17
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How would a player know if they just threatening or really going to carry something out?

Well that's easy. When you get the dialog option "Give me the information I want or I will chop your legs off and beat you to death with them!" you just don't choose it unless you REALLY mean it.

Edited by Karkarov
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Well that's easy. When you get the dialog option "Give me the information I want or I will chop your legs off and beat you to death with them!" you just don't choose it unless you REALLY mean it.

 

That's one way to do it.

 

Or give player "2. (Shout at the guy threatingly): Give me the information I want!" line.

You know, like IN THE BOOKS.

Edited by Shadenuat
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Well that's easy. When you get the dialog option "Give me the information I want or I will chop your legs off and beat you to death with them!" you just don't choose it unless you REALLY mean it.

People are conditioned to react only the "colour coded for your convenience" responses in this cruel reality of our times. Without the tags it's probably a normal response, I mean how could you tell?!

 

 

Or give player "(Shout at the guy threatingly: "...") line.

You know, like IN THE BOOKS.

Redding is teh hard.

Edited by evdk
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Say no to popamole!

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I'm sort of torn on this. I understand that it can be a bit immersion breaking to have the "[...]" cues, but it can be even more immersion breaking to be sitting there, trying to infer the same information by scrutinizing the wording of the writers. First, you have to determine which is for which based on the intentions of the writers, and then you end up using the information in the same way you would if it had been clearly displayed for you, just with a larger margin of error. It's not always simple to understand which option is for intelligence vs. which is for charisma, etc. (sometimes a response can incorporate many of these core character statistics in some way, although the writer intends it to only represent one).

 

I think it can be much less troublesome to just have the cues there but, if it's given to me as an option (which I'm assuming it won't since I'll most likely be playing on expert), then I'll probably end up turning the cues off, simply as an aesthetic choice (and because I don't really mind the aforementioned issues, though others may).

"Forsooth, methinks you are no ordinary talking chicken!"

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Well that's easy. When you get the dialog option "Give me the information I want or I will chop your legs off and beat you to death with them!" you just don't choose it unless you REALLY mean it.

People are conditioned to react only the "colour coded for your convenience" responses in this cruel reality of our times. Without the tags it's probably a normal response, I mean how could you tell?!

 

That's exactly the point. Sometimes there is no way to tell. While color or position-coding provides (ideally) clear indication of the nature and meaning of each response. Of course, PE is different from Alpha Protocol or Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2, but it does not mean that facilitating the role-playing choice in dialogues is a bad thing. Honestly, sometimes there's too much ambiguity in lines, so you can't be sure that one of them is exactly what you want to say. "Is this line ironic? It must be. Oh, the guy got mad and told me that I'm a complete monster. I guess, it was not irony after all..." BG was full of it too, by the way, so you can't blame it on bad titles.

 

Bare words don't do much to convey the complete narrative. You either have to be verbose about the conditions like, "He says with a mad grin on his face" or do something else to convey the mood. Otherwise you're making roleplaying Nintendo-hard and making people save/load a lot for the sake of correct RP.

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If they need to include dialogue option tags, it means the people working at Project Eternity aren't good enough at writing. A person can use their own wit to figure out what the different dialogue options mean, if they are well enough written.

 

That is all.

 

(I believe they are good enough, and because of that, there should be no such immersion breaking tags in any dialogue anywhere. Not even as an option)

Edited by mstark
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[Charisma]"Vote Gorth for President!"

 

I'm a bit in two minds about the issue. I don't like the obvious [tag] thing, but finding better solutions to what I would like to accomplish might not be feasible either. I liked that bit of Alpha Protocol where you added the inflection to your dialogue, but you can't really use what works in a quasi action game to an old school type crpg. You could then write up all combinations of dialogue choices, but if I had to chose between 15-20 options for a "Nice weather today, isn't it?" type dialogue it will make PS:T look like stenography by comparison.

 

Maybe if every conversation was considered an "encounter" and every choice had a skill check?

 

Walk up to a peasant and initiate dialoge:

 

"Hello friend, nice weather today?"

 

Since you are not trying to lie or threaten him, it would check your general speech skill and if failed, the peasant would respond with "No it isn't". If you rolled a critical fail behind the scenes, he would also punch you on your nose for suggesting such an outrageous thing.

 

A contrived example and a peasant might not want to punch you if you are 3 meter tall and wearing dragon scale armour and wielding a claymore, but just an example of turning every dialogue and every choice into a skill test. No need for tags then, because you know every choice will be held up against your stat sheet. You are only going to have useful conversations if you can substantiate your POV with either skills or companions that can pitch in for you if they are better at something.

 

Might not be a viable approach and too much work, but a fun thought experiment anyway :)

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“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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If they need to include dialogue option tags, it means the people working at Project Eternity aren't good enough at writing. A person can use their own wit to figure out what the different dialogue options mean, if they are well enough written.

 

That is all.

 

(I believe they are good enough, and because of that, there should be no such immersion breaking tags in any dialogue anywhere. Not even as an option)

Quoted for truth. I don't recall ever feeling like I "said the wrong thing" in any Obsidian game I have played to date (including Alpha Protocol). No reason to believe I will need to start second guessing the dialog in PE.

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But it shouldn't be apparent that these are linked to the attributes or skills. That way, while I may have extra options, I will still roleplay based one which dialogue I feel is best, without meta-game information.

 

Except then you will have no idea whether it is utter stupidity or an extreme insight on the character's part. So they should indicated that some answer is due to high intelligence or wisdom or spot skill or what have you either by markers or by additional narrative in the dialogue box.

 

Same goes for bluff. You can be sincere about your threat to rip off someone's face and eat it for breakfast or you can just say it for scaring them away. PST had lots of dialogue where you could be truthful or lying/bluffing and it seemed very fitting.

 

Eh, no. If you're not intelligent enough to figure it out on your own you shouldn't be playing at all.

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If they need to include dialogue option tags, it means the people working at Project Eternity aren't good enough at writing. A person can use their own wit to figure out what the different dialogue options mean, if they are well enough written.

 

Shouldn't the player decide what the line means? A well written line in a Role-Playing game should be able to be delivered in a number of different ways.

 

(I believe they are good enough, and because of that, there should be no such immersion breaking tags in any dialogue anywhere. Not even as an option)

 

I find it more immersion breaking when the PC does something I don't explicitly consent to.

 

I think that the [x]tags should only appear when the PC is utilizing some sort of skill. That way, if the PC is attempting to [heal], [persuade], [cast burning hands], the player will know that the PC is utilizing one of their skills/spells.

 

I do agree that "ability determined"(by this I mean conversation options that are available by having x amount of a skill or attribute) conversation options don't need to have [x]tags, since the PC isn't attempting to use a skill, but is drawing upon knowledge that they have.

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But it shouldn't be apparent that these are linked to the attributes or skills. That way, while I may have extra options, I will still roleplay based one which dialogue I feel is best, without meta-game information.

 

Except then you will have no idea whether it is utter stupidity or an extreme insight on the character's part. So they should indicated that some answer is due to high intelligence or wisdom or spot skill or what have you either by markers or by additional narrative in the dialogue box.

 

Same goes for bluff. You can be sincere about your threat to rip off someone's face and eat it for breakfast or you can just say it for scaring them away. PST had lots of dialogue where you could be truthful or lying/bluffing and it seemed very fitting.

 

Eh, no. If you're not intelligent enough to figure it out on your own you shouldn't be playing at all.

 

If you're not intelligent enough to figure out if the devs have scripted some of the responses to key to and use skills you may or may not have in abundance? How do you do that with no tags when not every line is going to be keyed to a skill and there may be enitre conversations that never use them at all?

 

Read tea leaves? Look for the clue in the line by taking out every fourth letter and transposing it using page 47 of the manual read backwards in a full moon? Keep a soul eating seer in your closet? WTF?

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Not all those that wander are lost...

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But it shouldn't be apparent that these are linked to the attributes or skills. That way, while I may have extra options, I will still roleplay based one which dialogue I feel is best, without meta-game information.

 

Except then you will have no idea whether it is utter stupidity or an extreme insight on the character's part. So they should indicated that some answer is due to high intelligence or wisdom or spot skill or what have you either by markers or by additional narrative in the dialogue box.

 

Same goes for bluff. You can be sincere about your threat to rip off someone's face and eat it for breakfast or you can just say it for scaring them away. PST had lots of dialogue where you could be truthful or lying/bluffing and it seemed very fitting.

 

Eh, no. If you're not intelligent enough to figure it out on your own you shouldn't be playing at all.

Can't say if trolling...

 

 

And yet games before this one mysteriously managed this feat.

Have you performed a statistical analysis, which shows that games, which did not employ tags or some sort of coding, consistently managed to do it for all players? If not, then it's merely your opinion, which does even not contradict mine. Every game I played from Fallout and BG to NWN and Dragon Age had plenty of situations where my expectations of the effect of numerous lines of dialogue were pretty far from the actual result. And that was nothing, but frustrating and annoying.

 

In fact, the only game I remember where such an issue was non-existent is PlaneScape Torment. And it did employ tags and textual descriptions in good measure.

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If they need to include dialogue option tags, it means the people working at Project Eternity aren't good enough at writing. A person can use their own wit to figure out what the different dialogue options mean, if they are well enough written.

Shouldn't the player decide what the line means? A well written line in a Role-Playing game should be able to be delivered in a number of different ways.

Trying to be as ambiguous as possible when writing dialogues has very bland results and that is not something I would like to see in this game.

 

Anyway, I'd much rather see a wholly different approach to conversational skill checks all together than what's offered in the infinity engine games. One that would have mechanical transparency and made the player think about his decisions at the same. I'm not quite sure how this could be accomplished while keeping the costs down and the writing to Obsidian's usual standards though.

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I pretty much agree with Gorth- I don't like tags on principle but I'm not sure there's a better option. You need to effectively communicate to the player what their character 'knows' via their skills and that is not just a matter of writing stuff clearly, it is also a matter of player vs designer intentions, making sure that the character's skills are primary rather than the player's ability to discern what a designer intends. I may not know what a Blood Eagle is, but if I'm playing 'Ivar the Boneless' he certainly knows and knows that it would be an effective threat; similarly Maurice de Talleyrand would be more effective at deciding on a decent diplomatic option than I would be. Tags do so effectively and show it in a way that everybody understands implicitly. Else you can end up with something equally as obvious and facile as having the tags in the first place- "do it or I'll be mildly unpleasant to you!!!" vs "Would you like your lungs to remain inside your ribcage, hmm?".

 

The trouble is that without all the cues people normally have when communicating- facial, audio etc- it is very easy to misunderstand what is meant even if you are both intelligent and have good intentions. Thus the very common misunderstandings on forums with respect to intent.

 

Some of the concerns can be alleviated a bit. For bluff vs real threat you could have a single response treated as an 'intimidation', with the option to choose which was meant coming in a subsequent conversation node- after all, a good bluff or threat should by definition be delivered identically to a genuine intent. The drawback is that that may get tiresome if needed too often. You could also replace 'poor' persuade options with 'better' or 'optimal' ones seamlessly, though that is heading a bit down the railroad route.

 

I'd say that most of the drawbacks of tags in terms of metagaming could be solved by having proper consequences for failing dialogue checks. Try a [wisdom] option against someone wiser than you and you may well convince them you're actually more stupid than if you pick a standard option, for example. That approach retains the strengths of a tag system but means that tag chasing is not an automatic choice.

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