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Osvir

Chapter 1: Where do I go?

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The Event happened, you've finished the prologue, you're in an open world.

 

In Baldur's Gate you could go straight to Nashkel, or go to the Friendly Arms Inn (or explore the world as you saw fit). Nashkel and the Friendly Arms would still have been there for you.

 

What if you had a 3rd path you could've taken, which would be "Your" path (the Characters path, the story/main-story) and you can explore Nashkel, help out with the mines, if you wanted to. What if the entire story with Sarevok could've been a side-quest and you, the character, has a bigger purpose than that.

 

Back to the first sentence, how would you want to embrace the world? "Go to point A" or point "B"? Or would this mark the moment where you can go anywhere and integrate with the world? Could you battle the Factions, or join one of them as an infantry man?

 

Kingdom of Amalur felt to me as if it had something like this, but I got confused and lost in all the side-quests so I didn't even know what was the main story anymore.

 

What is important for the story to be consistent and not.. confusing? The same thing happened to me in Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 3. Though in Fallout 3 (when I started to follow the main story) I enjoyed it much much more (never tried that for Fallout: New Vegas). Star Wars The Old Republic as well.

 

When does too many side-quests become too many side-quests? In SWTOR I found it was way too many important NPC's in one location, and finishing one quest for them gave you 3 more, that led to some other place that had 3 more NPC's with 3 more quests each.

 

The Lost Forest of the Side-Quest Tree is a difficult one, and one way to handle it (in my opinion) is to not have too many Quest givers send you off to another City where there is more NPC's waiting for you, but specifically sending you off to the Firewine Bridge, or one sends you off to Shandalar's Ice Island. Some might ask you to go to Beregost and clean out their spider infested home (which leads to more Quests in Beregost, though those quests in Beregost felt like West/North/East/South quests that you led you all directions and you could pick and choose which way you wanted to go, in a good way).

 

Baldur's Gate had a real nice pacing on quests, and I never felt that I was lost from the "cause", what I was doing in the world or what the purpose was. It was always clear to me that Nashkel was the way to go too (and that it would give me more resolution if I did so. The Black Knight was always the clear path and it was known from the very beginning).

 

Unlockable areas are important as well. I get to Chapter 2 and a new area is available (Not perhaps right off the bat on second one of Chapter 2 but one area that I couldn't access before I can now by talking to some weird NPC that has either spawned or didn't tell me before).

 

It is important that the Main Quest isn't sent in the Fog ("What is the purpose??") or into the Forest ("So many trees!!!") but most importantly that it never is Shadowed ("This Main Quest SUCKS! That Side-Quest before felt like the End Times of Chaos and I just owned the **** of that!!!"). There needs to be a clear threat to the Character/Player consistently throughout the game, mysterious to a start and confusing to a start (We are unraveling the plot as we go along after all, I did not realize Koveras was who he was until it was told to me and it gave me an "Oh **** I'm stupid" expression added with a touch of admiration and defeat towards the Developers/DM "Most intelligent ho ho most intelligent" *slow clapping*).

 

I want to believe that one guy is the enemy but really another one is, in Baldur's Gate it was pretty much a given right off the bat who I was facing. What if it had been revealed after I beat Sarevok that someone else was? Oh right, Irenicus. But those are 2 games (put together: 1 big game). I want to be fooled but I also want to see through it, could I ignore the dummy Sarevok and head for Irenicus instantly if I can unravel it on my own on a side-path? Perhaps one of the Companions in my party (depending on who I got) alerts me and tells me "We are being led the wrong way" or something, and I can ignore the Mid-Boss pretending to be Final Boss and head straight for the Purpose (by solving clues and taking a different approach/path) <- This could work well for a Non-Lethal approach, I don't want to fight too much and I want to be more stealthy/scholarly/intelligent.

 

EDIT: Maybe even taking the other path towards the Final Boss makes the Mid-Boss grow and he becomes a different type of threat (Saruman, Silmarion, which I haven't read but I have researched it slightly).

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Osvir

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for the main story not to get lost it needs to periodically come after you...this happens either through attacks, special encounters or other pressing motivations that must be attended to otherwise "bad shlt" will keep happening.

 

there is no reason to limit side quests so that the main quest doesn't get lost. The writer/designer simply has to provide proper incentive to continue onward through the critical path with a proper application of incentives, be they great rewards or terrible consequences - or both.

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^A sense of urgency right? (In a sense)

 

The Bandits in Baldur's Gate felt unnecessary (and we've been discussing them being too much) but I really think they were necessary for the plot in that sense of "periodically coming after you" (as you put it).

 

I like it, but is there any new way you can do it? How would the plot come after you in an interesting and captivating way, making you want to follow it. Like Josh said in the latest update "Why do I care?".

 

* Bandits are after me in every corner, and they are rather pesky and I would like them to stop doing it. Good reason to go after the Bandit Camp and make them stop.

* A God or a Minion appearing in periodic points of the Chapters/Story that is just annoying in an overwhelming way, in both personality and power. Perhaps even could appear if you deviate from the path for too long "Oh our little Hero has lost his way... want to try it again?" which leads to a fight you know you can't win unless you actually pursue the clues this God is throwing at you.

* Zombies/The Undead are slowly taking over the world, and you have no idea who is doing it, and it gets annoying when your Quest giver turned into a zombie and you won't get the reward. So you kind of need to figure it out.

* 2 Factions are at War, Big City 1 versus Big City 2, you keep on encountering battlefields where a battle is going on, you get thrown into the cross-fire too often and you think it's irritating, and start to dig into to "Why" there is a war.

* The Gods and the World are at War with each other, and it isn't safe to go anywhere unless you start to take matters into your own hand.

* The Gods are at War with each other and they are destroying stuff in the game that ruins my own progression. I just bought a business for X amount of money and I'm real glad about it, I return to Town and the Business is gone, obliterated, turned to dust. I'd be mighty pissed.

 

* I think actually having features that are annoying in the game might benefit the Story and our own engagement into the game. We need something from the World that does us wrong so that we can stomp our Boot into the face of the "Enemy". I should also be able to turn my cheek, spiritually and take the Karmatic outlook. I rebuild my Store and pay more X money into it, ignoring the Gods call for Conflict. When they destroy it a second time, though, then I might be a little more pushed over the edge to actually end one of the Conflicts.

 

* Should there be more than 1 Conflict? The Character has a Conflict, but what about the World, are there several larger, major Conflicts in the World that are arcs of quests themselves? Could I end the War between the Two Factions but my own Conflict is still unresolved? Could I end the Conflict between the Gods and rise up to Godhood but my own Conflict is still unresolved? Multiple-Endings? Ending the War = 1 Ending, Ending the Gods = 1 Ending, Pursuing Character Plot = 1 Ending.

 

I recall Planescape: Torment having a premature Ending where you become the Skeleton King or something. It is interesting, and in my opinion fun, it makes the World more alive if there isn't just "1" Ending.

 

Again like Josh said in the update "Why do I care?", there needs to be a research phase, where research the "Why? What? How?" in-game and then decide if I care or not. It needs to be enough research so that I as a Player can decide if I want to take an Evil approach or a Good approach.

Edited by Osvir

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wow...you haven't finished BG2?... My jaw is unable to close right now. I'd understand if you said you hadn't played a more obscure title like Divine Divinity...but BG2? C'mon man, you better get on that asap.

 

and backtrack? unless you are in Suldanesselar there is no need for backtracking, you will eventually return to Amn and all the quests from chapter 2-3 will still be there just with higher level monsters.

 

 

also, do yourself a favor and go to Gibberlings3 and Spellhold studios and download a few of their mods to polish out the rough edges of the game.

 

 

edit: No seriously what are you even doing here? The BG series as a whole, especially BG2, has so much re-playability in it that it can ride you almost straight through to 2014.

Edited by NerdBoner
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If there's one thing I don't want to see, it's the main antagonist coming after you from the start, because we all know that will result in lvl 1 bounty hunters getting slaughtered by us in the droves. BG was pretty horrible in that regard. Seriously, are villains on such a tight budget nowadays they can only hire complete bums, and never more than two at a time, to finish their potentially greatest nemesis?

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I enjoyed the non-urgent way morrowind went about introducing you to the world. You got told "There's this guy here, he'll help you out and set you on your way" but you could just ignore him if you wanted to, and find your own way through the game.

 

I don't actually want the sense of urgency. I want to explore my story as much as I want to explore the game's story. There are different ways to motivate a player to move on, but standing behind a player and poking him with a stick saying "you really got to get a move on" isn't going to earn my love.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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also, do yourself a favor and go to Gibberlings3 and Spellhold studios and download a few of their mods to polish out the rough edges of the game.

 

My Baldur's Gate folder is around 20 GB filled with mods. Just recently finished Baldur's Gate. Had to backtrack because I had prepared the wrong spells at a location and the enemies I was facing turned my Main Character to stone, go figure :p

 

What I am doing here? Innovation, I thrive in innovation. Been trying to finish Baldur's Gate for a long time, but forced myself to never play Baldur's Gate 2 until I finished the first one. This took quite a while (age, experience, patience, life, time, real life travels around the world etc. etc). I talked about this the first few days I was here in the forums: Me & friend were playing Baldur's Gate, discussing ideas how to do it better, more fun, more effective, we were very into it and had a roleplaying session about it. We take a break, I google around a little bit looking and researching into old-school games BAM I hit P:E when my mind is as freshest and most eagerly in want of a new take on the IE-games and I have a ton of ideas for the genre to make it better and feel better. Coincidence? Yes, and I chose to follow it.

 

I have played my share of older cRPG's (note: Played, not finished all of them). I haven't finished Planescape: Torment either. Gameplay Mechanics versus Story is two different things, in Baldur's Gate you've experienced most of the gameplay mechanics in the first area (Candlekeep). If you've played one of the IE games you've played all of them, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Note: Story & Gameplay, two different things.

 

But yeah I'm on it, playing Baldur's Gate II again after your comment and I've made some progress. It's just daunting because I am doing it as a study, checking every freaking corner, nick and cranny, doing all quests, checking out all areas pfft. I've done Waukeen's Promenade, The Slums and now I'm exploring the Graveyard, yeah, I haven't gotten far enough, but far enough to understand the Mechanics (well, seeing as I have finished Baldur's Gate 1 already that's kind of a given).

 

But if I want to understand the Story of the game, then yes, then I have to play the entire game. The story made these games. I am here to discuss mechanics, not the story, that's Obsidians job. I wouldn't mind putting out some Fan Fiction for them every now and then again to help with some material (Unless they already have a source where they get their material from).

 

EDIT: About Chapter 1, funnily as I am in Akhathla (or whatevs I don't know how to spell it), I feel that after Irenicus dungeon you start in a Big City and to me it was quite a lot of "Woah...". A little bit too much at once. The confusion of "Which way do I go?", I am starting to dig myself into the game past that first barrier of "!?!?" and I am beginning to enjoy it much more, but that start right after Irenicus dungeon is a tad bit overwhelming in my opinion. Baldur's Gate 1 had Candlekeep and then the World, but you had a sense of a direction on where to go.

 

Though, then again, Ath~ is a great starting location because you really are "Where the f- am I?" for Player and Character alike.

 

I guess there could or should be "Wtf?" in the beginning but grow on you as you explore the world (<- Talking about P:E) each step in the world is a research of the world.

Edited by Osvir
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for the main story not to get lost it needs to periodically come after you...this happens either through attacks, special encounters or other pressing motivations that must be attended to otherwise "bad shlt" will keep happening.

 

there is no reason to limit side quests so that the main quest doesn't get lost. The writer/designer simply has to provide proper incentive to continue onward through the critical path with a proper application of incentives, be they great rewards or terrible consequences - or both.

 

This is my opinion. I could have put it more eloquently myself :)

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also, do yourself a favor and go to Gibberlings3 and Spellhold studios and download a few of their mods to polish out the rough edges of the game.

 

My Baldur's Gate folder is around 20 GB filled with mods. Just recently finished Baldur's Gate. Had to backtrack because I had prepared the wrong spells at a location and the enemies I was facing turned my Main Character to stone, go figure :p

 

What I am doing here? Innovation, I thrive in innovation. Been trying to finish Baldur's Gate for a long time, but forced myself to never play Baldur's Gate 2 until I finished the first one. This took quite a while (age, experience, patience, life, time, real life travels around the world etc. etc). I talked about this the first few days I was here in the forums: Me & friend were playing Baldur's Gate, discussing ideas how to do it better, more fun, more effective, we were very into it and had a roleplaying session about it. We take a break, I google around a little bit looking and researching into old-school games BAM I hit P:E when my mind is as freshest and most eagerly in want of a new take on the IE-games and I have a ton of ideas for the genre to make it better and feel better. Coincidence? Yes, and I chose to follow it.

 

I have played my share of older cRPG's (note: Played, not finished all of them). I haven't finished Planescape: Torment either. Gameplay Mechanics versus Story is two different things, in Baldur's Gate you've experienced most of the gameplay mechanics in the first area (Candlekeep). If you've played one of the IE games you've played all of them, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Note: Story & Gameplay, two different things.

 

But yeah I'm on it, playing Baldur's Gate II again after your comment and I've made some progress. It's just daunting because I am doing it as a study, checking every freaking corner, nick and cranny, doing all quests, checking out all areas pfft. I've done Waukeen's Promenade, The Slums and now I'm exploring the Graveyard, yeah, I haven't gotten far enough, but far enough to understand the Mechanics (well, seeing as I have finished Baldur's Gate 1 already that's kind of a given).

 

But if I want to understand the Story of the game, then yes, then I have to play the entire game. The story made these games. I am here to discuss mechanics, not the story, that's Obsidians job. I wouldn't mind putting out some Fan Fiction for them every now and then again to help with some material (Unless they already have a source where they get their material from).

 

EDIT: About Chapter 1, funnily as I am in Akhathla (or whatevs I don't know how to spell it), I feel that after Irenicus dungeon you start in a Big City and to me it was quite a lot of "Woah...". A little bit too much at once. The confusion of "Which way do I go?", I am starting to dig myself into the game past that first barrier of "!?!?" and I am beginning to enjoy it much more, but that start right after Irenicus dungeon is a tad bit overwhelming in my opinion. Baldur's Gate 1 had Candlekeep and then the World, but you had a sense of a direction on where to go.

 

Though, then again, Ath~ is a great starting location because you really are "Where the f- am I?" for Player and Character alike.

 

I guess there could or should be "Wtf?" in the beginning but grow on you as you explore the world (<- Talking about P:E) each step in the world is a research of the world.

hehe this brings back memories...I remember picking up BG2 back when it first came out (before playing BG1) and the moment I hit the promenade and saw Irenicus kill over a half dozen mages with ease i said "nope. Not ready for this ****!"

 

I took back the game (partly because i didn't understand the DnD mechanics and was completely lost on what was going on not having played BG1) and didn't try it again until i had done the first game and its expansion. After that I fell in lve with the IE games and just about any other DnD crpg...hell i spent much of Bush's first term messing around with modded BG2 in some form or another.

 

 

also, protip: It may not seem like it at first, but a rogue spec'd out and used correctly is bar none the deadliest class in the game...anything that is an instant mage killer in BG2 will give you a clear advantage.

 

1. find those boots of speed asap

2. dual wield and horde invisibility potions

3. work in a few fighter levels if you can, not necessary but advantageous (say dual class your BG1 fighter)

4. and backstab away!

Not even final battle Irenicus can stand up to well placed rogue traps...ahh memories. Now i'm feeling all nostalgic.

 

also, play evil!

 

the combination of Korgan (best fighter), Viconia (best cleric), Edwin (best mage) and you (best Assassin) is the best rounded team you can get in BG2 and at higher levels are unstoppable. Not to mention the addition of a surprise returning badass in Throne of Bhaal!

 

 

aww f*ck, i think i'm going to go have to play this crap again soon :banghead:

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for the main story not to get lost it needs to periodically come after you...this happens either through attacks, special encounters or other pressing motivations that must be attended to otherwise "bad shlt" will keep happening.

 

This is sometimes referred-to as "bang-driven" storytelling, in which the game or the GM hits you with periodic events ("bangs") that are largely independent of where you choose to go or what you choose to do. On the one hand, it allows the players enormous latitude regarding side activities. On the other hand, it completely removes ANY latitude regarding the development of the main plot. What happens if you get bored with side quests but the next bang isn't set to go off for another 3 weeks? Do you hang around an inn hitting the rest button over and over? This really only works well with a human GM who has the judgment to discern when players are getting bored or restless or distracted and need a kick in the pants.

 

Of course, the method adopted by Oblivion, Skyrim, and Fallout 3 isn't great, either. They give you explicit instructions on where to go for the next "main quest" step. Unfortunately, if you follow them, you wind up missing out on 99% of the game. Either that, or you complete your nominal "motivation" very early on so now you're just . . . randomly running around. Until you get bored. The story is completely disintegrated from the game. This was particularly bad in Fallout 3 because if you stuck with the main plot the game actually ENDED when you completed it. Boo.

 

It was handled MUCH better in Morrowind because the "what to do next" stuff was integrated with the TYPE of game Morrowind was. Instead of sending you off to complete singular dungeons or objectives, the meta-plot gave you meta-objectives like "join a guild" or "get the great houses to nominate you". They were objectives that by their nature contained and steered you toward myriad sub-objectives, which themselves would open up sub-objectives, and encourage/develop the main focus of the game, which was running around and exploring stuff.

 

Baldur's Gate wasn't too bad in this respect--if you followed the main course of direction, you would skip exploring a lot of what the game had to offer. But the bandit camps were sufficiently difficult for a low-level party to tackle that you'd likely wind up exploring just to level up a bit more. That, and the areas you visited by following the direction contained many optional objectives that would drive you into the corners of the game. So it wasn't terrible, either. It was more subtle.

 

So, what's the conclusion? The degree and method of direction should reflect the nature of the game. If it's a very linear game, step-by-step, clear directives are fine. If it's more open, you need more meta-objectives that cause you to at least walk past a lot of other game content. This is particularly great if the optional content is designed in such a way that it at least attempts to suck you in as you walk past it.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

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

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wow...you haven't finished BG2?... My jaw is unable to close right now. I'd understand if you said you hadn't played a more obscure title like Divine Divinity...but BG2? C'mon man, you better get on that asap.

 

and backtrack? unless you are in Suldanesselar there is no need for backtracking, you will eventually return to Amn and all the quests from chapter 2-3 will still be there just with higher level monsters.

 

 

also, do yourself a favor and go to Gibberlings3 and Spellhold studios and download a few of their mods to polish out the rough edges of the game.

 

 

edit: No seriously what are you even doing here? The BG series as a whole, especially BG2, has so much re-playability in it that it can ride you almost straight through to 2014.

 

I honestly haven't completed either of the Baldur's Gate games. I got to the final dungeon in the first game and just couldn't be bothered to finish it. In BG2 I lost interest when I got to the Underdark. In other words, once exploring is no longer an option and the rest of the game is more or less a completely linear slog, I tend to lose interest. In some games that final part can be interesting as well, perhaps if there are options, if the story is interesting, or the like, but not in the BG's.

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@Osvir,

I'd recommend that you take a less systematic approach to BG2 the first time you play it, let the story grab you, follow the paths you feel like you should follow because of your own morals and preferences! Don't explore and dessicate the game just for the sake of understanding what was great about it -- I have a feeling it might not work, and may disconnect you from what made the game so great.

 

Let it sweep you away, finish it, and if you loved it, you will go back to do all the exploration with a lot more purpose the second time around :).

 

But that's just my opinion!


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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