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One of my pet hates in all the IE games was the need for you/main character to be at the front if you wanted to do the talking.

 

I remember trying to create a mage with a charismatic personality intending to lead, I had npc followers but being a mage meant I was safer not in the front ranks. However whenever I shifted my mage to the middle or back of the group formation, one of my follower companions who was closer to the npc would initiate dialogue, which totally wasted all the effort I put into making my main character charismatic.

 

I could have manually switched between group and character to initiate every conversation but then I still had to deal with "auto conversations" which would initiate when one of my party went near to the npc and again, this was usually not my mage.

 

So instead I would lead with my mage, of course this also meant I often ended up "tanking" since many conversations could end in a fight and whoever I was talking to would pick on whoever was nearest. Since buffing was an ugly mess of casting 10+ buffs just before every conversation, to give my mage a chance of surviving in the tanking aspect, it became very much a "game" within a game, Which was pure frustration since my mage often ended up not needing all those buffs or getting gibbed anyway.

 

I know this game will have formations, all I ask is that there is an option to choose a spokesperson for the group, who defaults to all conversations with outsiders, regardless of who initiates them. This would allow my chosen speaker to take advantage of their communication or personality while maintaining the groups strategic formation. I would assume my party members at the front would step in front of me as soon as it appeared combat was due to take place and take up the formation I have chosen, thus maintaining the formation value.

 

I'm not advocating a lack spontaneous dialogue here, if the story calls for a specific follower to do the talking that's fine, I just don't want "nearest well armored dumbo" to be my parties orator when the charming handsome dude at the back is just trying to keep formation.

Edited by FrostPaw
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I quite liked the storms of zehir approach in NWN2 wherein each character could participate in dialog if you wanted them to, even if they didn't initiate dialog. I really liked that each characters individual skills/feats/classes could bring up different dialog options.

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I agree completely with the OP, this was a pet peeve of mine in the IE games. I think the suggestion from brtl33 is spot on, make it as it was in SoZ where you can choose who engages in a conversation/event. You could still have a "spoke person/leader" who is the default target for initiating dialogue with the party by NPCs or events, but then additionally this spoke person also can choose who can engage in the conversation/event (depending on specific skill sets or attributes). When running with companions, it would make for some interesting game play if the designated spoke person of a group is not the player character and can lend itself to exploring companion personalities/histories even more deeply (for example given a position of power/leader a companion might change his personality over time and perhaps even refuse to step down as party leader if the player tries to remove him and perhaps even turn on the party). A very important point Frostpaw made here and also a good contribution by brtl33. Take note Obsidian.

 

- pl1982

Edited by pl1982
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The only advantage to this was it felt like less of a disadvantage to create a fighter since you had someone able to tank in the front.

I'd much rather have balanced classes formations that allow you to put your character where you want to (perhaps the ability to create your own formations?) though.

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I approve of this. I like having individual party members being able to innate dialogue as it gives companions more uses beyond combat. However if who does the talking is simply chosen by whomever reaches the NPC first I can see it leading to annoyance of have to single select your party spokesman constantly and sending them off to talk to each NPC before selecting the whole party to move out again. It's not a game breaker but it seems easy enough to design around as you've suggested by being able to set a primary representative for the party so I see no reason to not include it.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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I skipped storm of zehir so sorry If I'm just repeating whats already been done but I don't see why you shouldn't be able to just use all of your party members conversational skills in dialogues, because it's not like your fighter who has the intimidate skill can't just barge in and intimidate the guy who your diplomatic mage is trying to coerce through other means. I think that's what should be done in PE

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Isn't 1990 anymore, don't know of a single game made in years that actually uses "who is closest" or "who is party lead" to determine who does the talking. I fully expect every conversation in the game (however it is initiated) to be lead primarily by the main character with some jumping in of party members when appropriate or requested.

 

Also I am finding it funny how people consider fighters to be second class citizens or something. Just because they use a two handed sword doesn't mean they have to be idiots or incapable of using eloquent speech.

Edited by Karkarov
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Also I am finding it funny how people consider fighters to be second class citizens or something. Just because they use a two handed sword doesn't mean they have to be idiots or incapable of using eloquent speech.

nope, but the dents in the helmets may have something to do with it haha

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I loved that your companions had a say in PS:T. Like when Dak'kon ran into another of his people and they got into a fight, or when Fall from Grace argued with a shopkeeper.

 

Your party should definitely be able to get you favors / better dialogue options, but should also be able to alienate some people. I realize that this is a bit off topic, but I generally agree with your assessment and wanted to add to it.

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I loved that your companions had a say in PS:T. Like when Dak'kon ran into another of his people and they got into a fight, or when Fall from Grace argued with a shopkeeper.

 

Your party should definitely be able to get you favors / better dialogue options, but should also be able to alienate some people. I realize that this is a bit off topic, but I generally agree with your assessment and wanted to add to it.

 

Speaking of P:T, I wanted to mention the time when a party member was actually translating for you and if you understood, you could call him on his deceptive translation. It really made it feel like there was another person there and not just clone of your character. Allowing companions to act without the player's control can be frustrating, but if done right, make the characters come to life.

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Your dialogue options should reflect the input from everyone in the party who has something to offer. All on one screen, without having to click through all your companions. Maybe there could be some sort of range calculation, so companions all the way across the map aren't included. The main conversation options should always be from the point of veiw of the PC. This would let you roleplay a dumb character who doesn't allow party input. You'd still see the party input options but wouldn't select them. If your PC is unavailable or too far away it should be from the perspective of the party member that initiated the conversation - Having conversation proximity would allow you to roleplay a companion knowingly approach an NPC behind your PCs back. (Which might make a dumb character playthough more fun)

 

Like this:

  • Conversation Option 1
  • Conversation Option 2
  • [Companion Name] Char specific conversation option
  • [Companion Name 2] Char specific class action

 

This way you'd be able to reliably see what value a smart but less combat savvy party member was bringing to the group. Think anlong the lines of a talky bard with low strength. It'd give a natural flow to the conversations too by having companions apparently join the converation as they saw fit without you clicking around to see what options people had. If any conversation options were really actions (like intimidate or lie) that were valid for multiple party members then they would each be listed by character so any racial or stat bonuses could be accounted for that action.

 

This would also accomodate companions butting in by themselves.

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Here's the only concern I have with having all your companions chip in for all conversations. You can have a companion that is persuasive, intimidating, diplomatic, seductive etc. The fact you have 6 party members means you could probably have one of every conversation option be it stat or skill related.

 

When you can have all the conversation or skill options, isn't that a little too easy? I mean you now have so many ways to make a conversation work in your favor that you may never be at a disadvantage by lacking diplomacy or charisma or whatever....you'll always be able to do everything providing you choose your party members to compliment each other.

 

I'm not sure that's a positive thing.

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Yeah that's a fair point. I wouldn't suggest having every character chip in to every conversation. I'd just suggest having them chip in where they've something unique to add to a situation.

 

In a situation where there ends up being lots of options, well that's ok imho. It's a benefit of a diverse party. If you're a party leader you're going to know what your team can do. In the middle of a conversation your mage might lean in and whisper a suggestion in your ear or you may turn to your fighters and say 'go beat it out of this guy'. Maybe a neat modification could be if there were multiple folks in your party with similar skills maybe instead of listing them all next to each character you could have them act together for a little boost to your roll. Like an intimidate act with three fighters in your part would be more effective than one.

 

Ultimately I would like to see what options are available to me without doing something 'gamey' like clicking all my characters or restarting conversations with different folks. If there are lots of options so be it, you can still only select one.

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Also I am finding it funny how people consider fighters to be second class citizens or something. Just because they use a two handed sword doesn't mean they have to be idiots or incapable of using eloquent speech.

 

The stereotype of the fighter is someone who puts most of their attribute points into strength, dexterity and constitution while using intelligence and/or charisma as a dump stat.

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Ugh... mage players are the worst. "Let me lead the party, but don't make me tank to do so. After all, practical considerations shouldn't dictate party formations. Oh, but do let me be a viable tank if I want to be, with magical armor and weapons. Oh, and let there be utility mages too that can compete with rogues. And of course we still want our unrivaled AoE abilities."

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Ugh... mage players are the worst. "Let me lead the party, but don't make me tank to do so. After all, practical considerations shouldn't dictate party formations. Oh, but do let me be a viable tank if I want to be, with magical armor and weapons. Oh, and let there be utility mages too that can compete with rogues. And of course we still want our unrivaled AoE abilities."

 

I think you misunderstood what I was saying completely, the issue was I had to lead from the front, not that I wanted to.

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Storms of Zehir had a nice system, but I think that one is more appropriate to "adventure" type settings where you have multiple user created characters. For narrative driven games (They did say that companions will be the fleshed out kind, right?) I am expecting more of an interjection type banter from party members, with their personality (and skills related to it?) driving it.

 

However if that is the case I would urge the developers to find a good balance between the amount and extensiveness of the interjections. Having every companion say a one-liner comment at the end of a conversation can quickly start feeling artificial, especially with multiple playthroughs. On the same note a lack of input can make them feel removed from the game.

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I quite liked the storms of zehir approach in NWN2 wherein each character could participate in dialog if you wanted them to, even if they didn't initiate dialog. I really liked that each characters individual skills/feats/classes could bring up different dialog options.

 

I concur, I liked that system as well.

Edited by Umberlin

"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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One of my pet hates in all the IE games was the need for you/main character to be at the front if you wanted to do the talking.

 

I remember trying to create a mage with a charismatic personality intending to lead, I had npc followers but being a mage meant I was safer not in the front ranks. However whenever I shifted my mage to the middle or back of the group formation, one of my follower companions who was closer to the npc would initiate dialogue, which totally wasted all the effort I put into making my main character charismatic.

 

I could have manually switched between group and character to initiate every conversation but then I still had to deal with "auto conversations" which would initiate when one of my party went near to the npc and again, this was usually not my mage.

 

So instead I would lead with my mage, of course this also meant I often ended up "tanking" since many conversations could end in a fight and whoever I was talking to would pick on whoever was nearest. Since buffing was an ugly mess of casting 10+ buffs just before every conversation, to give my mage a chance of surviving in the tanking aspect, it became very much a "game" within a game, Which was pure frustration since my mage often ended up not needing all those buffs or getting gibbed anyway.

 

I know this game will have formations, all I ask is that there is an option to choose a spokesperson for the group, who defaults to all conversations with outsiders, regardless of who initiates them. This would allow my chosen speaker to take advantage of their communication or personality while maintaining the groups strategic formation. I would assume my party members at the front would step in front of me as soon as it appeared combat was due to take place and take up the formation I have chosen, thus maintaining the formation value.

 

I'm not advocating a lack spontaneous dialogue here, if the story calls for a specific follower to do the talking that's fine, I just don't want "nearest well armored dumbo" to be my parties orator when the charming handsome dude at the back is just trying to keep formation.

actualy there were formations where the leader was in the back of the group. i used it with my archer. had a tank in front, 2 semi tanks behind him and me and the mages were in the last row

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What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

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