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Would you like to see an Double-Arc in Eternity?


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I've noticed that most Western games do single arcs--regardless of the story--whereas Japanese developers seem particularly fond of double-arcs. Basically, the difference is a single-arc is a single narrative thread whose resolution ends the game's story--in Baldur's Gate II, the main arc is to find and defeat Irenicus (for whatever reason) and once you complete the arc, the game is over.

 

But many Japanese games have built up a tendency/reputation/tradition of doing double-arcs. They are particularly prevalent in the Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest game series. Basically, the game will establish its narrative arc... but once you play through that arc and it is resolved, a new, larger narrative arc begins.

 

I realize it's become a bit of a cliche, but I really enjoy double-arcs as they create (and, indeed, are depenedent on) the illusion of an unexpectedly big world and or/story. That is, the player is conditioned to expect games to revolve around single-arcs, so as they play through the game they recognize the narrative arc they're pursuing, and expect the game to end with the resolution of that arc--defeat Irenicus, end the game. Double-arcs invert that, by telling the player, "You thought that was the end of the game? Hell no! Your journey is only just starting!"

 

Some great examples of this are The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, where you begin with the archetypal narrative of exploring the whole world to gather magic stones from each of the different races in order to thwart the plans of the villain. (Which provides an excellent contrast, as Dragon Age: Origins used this same exact narrative arc... and ended the game with its resolution). Once you resolve that arc, however, CONFLICT happens and the stakes rise and a new narrative arc begins--and you realize that even though you had explored the whole world, you'd really only just begun the game.

 

Dragon Quest titles are similarly structures, which revolve around the archetypal narrative arc of "defeating the demon king." Defeating the demon king and resolving that main narrative arc, however, is usually only the first of two or three different narrative arcs, each one building upon the last.

 

....

 

So... have I articulated double-arcs versus single-arcs well enough? What do you think? Would you appreciate a double-arc in Eternity? Or would you prefer a more mystery-oriented narrative arc where the essential conflict and contours of the story are not readily apparent until toward the end? (Planescape Torment is a great example of this, as you spend most of the game not really knowing what the narrative arc was).

 

Personally, I prefer either style... but I've grown to hate explicit single-arc games (like Dragon Age) because all-too often the narratives are too simplistic and too-obvious, and I think that the joy of exploration--of venturing into the UNKNOWN--is something that is vitally important to both the design of the game world AND the construction of the narrative.

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Computer games, especially cRPG's, have the potential to tell stories in completely different ways from linear forms like books or films. I always get excited when a game actually takes advantage of the possibilities of the medium. In my opinion, a traditional single-arc story in a game is a wasted opportunity. I would like to see the story unfold through non-linear discovery; branches where decisions close off entire mini-arcs. Anything but the usual.

 

Also, very good post.

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In Ocarina of Time your goal is "Stop Ganondorf" in both sections, it's only the circumstances for doing so that change. Compare Fallout: New Vegas where your initial goal is "find Benny and get the platinum chip" and later becomes "Win the second battle of hoover dam." Does New Vegas also count as a "double-arc" narrative, or is there some important difference?

 

(I haven't played enough of any Dragon Quest game to compare.)

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I haven't played through NV completely yet, so I can't judge (got halfway through, save broke, never mustered the will to play again). So long as the first thread is resolved (you meet Benny and get the chip, or you see Benny die and the Chip get destroyed, or something like that) it would count as a double-arced narrative.

 

With regard to Ocarina of Time... I chose it because, even though it may not be the best example, it's the best example that the most number of gamers would be aware of. While the two arcs are very similar, everything else is very different--you're in a different setting (future) with a different goal (people instead of objects) with a different tone (post-apocalyptic) with a different protagonist, even (adult Link), and the narrative itself relies on a new set of mechanics (time-travel).

 

EDIT: The Dragon Quest games are similar, I suppose, in that the quest is always "save the world" but how you're saving the world--and from who--and even what world your saving, change in the subsequent arcs.

 

Hm... let me try and think of some more recent examples....

 

Okay, in Nier (PS3), the first arc is about trying to take care of/cure your sick daughter, and make a living--the second arc is about finding/saving your daughter.

 

(It's worth pointing out that many games with dual-arcs use a time-skip to separate the two).

 

In Final Fantasy X, the first arc is about going on a pilgrimage to Zanarkand; the second arc is about subverting that pilgrimage, or finding a way to AVOID resolving the initial narrative.

 

Starcraft is a single narrative about defeating a Zerg invasion, right? But that narrative is broken into three distinct arcs--each one is fully resolved before the next one starts. First, there's the Terran Civil War, which begins and ends in the game; then there's the Zerg invasion of the sector, then there's the Protoss arc dealing with the Dark Templar and Tassadar's sacrifice and so on.

 

----

 

It's worth pointing out that different narrative arcs are not necessarily different narratives. In many cases, they're extensions of the original narrative--evolutions--shifts in the direction of a story that occur as conflicts are resolved.

 

----

 

Basically, a single narrative arc is something you can summarize with a single sentence. "Game X is about Y." Wherease a double-arc narrative requires a second statement. "Game A is about B and C."

 

For example, "Starcraft is about the Zerg Invasion" is not an accurate description of the narrative. More accurate would be, "Starcraft is about the Zerg Invasion, the Terran Civil War, and the Protoss reconciling two wildly differenty societies for their mutual survival."

 

The plots of the narrative arcs are not divorced from one another, but the arcs themselves are complete. (A narrative arc consists, basically, of beginning, rising action, climax, and resolution).

Edited by Arsene Lupin
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In that case, why do you say Dragon Age is a single-arc narrative? There are at least 4 self-contained arcs in the main quest alone (5 if you count the Ashes as separate from the retaking of Redcliffe) that are all a part of the overarching connection of "Kill the Archdemon and end the Blight."

 

Bah, I'm getting into a debate over definitions. The real question I think you're trying to ask here is "Should Eternity have a big twist/reveal in the middle that completely changes the direction of the plot?"

 

And as to that question, I don't know. Having a big reveal in your story for the sake of having a big reveal in your story is often a mistake: See any M. Night Shyamalan film: It has to be woven carefully into the other events of the narrative in order to work. Furthermore, I'm not even sure if the question is a right one: It frames the discussion as if we were talking about a novel, or a movie. Game narratives are qualitatively different, and deserve to be treated as such.

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IMO DA counts as single-arc because the main objective is clear from the get-go. We know we have to kill the archdemon and stop the blight pretty much from the get-go. That objective never changes, and all the sub-plots serve that goal or are diversions from it.

 

Also IMO Fallout – the original – is a near-perfect illustration of how it should be done. The entire story unfolds by discovery: there's nothing but the structure of the world itself pushing you into any particular direction. You start out knowing nothing about the outside world, with a simple but urgent objective. You pursue that objective by exploring the world and discovering things about it. And once you achieve it – where a game would normally end – spit gets real. There's a minimum number of choke points, a world that feels like it's just there and you're interacting with it, yet there is real narrative structure there as well.

 

Also as an aside, IMO Fallout 3 completely failed to grasp how this thing works. That world felt just like a big, big mess of quests and puzzles set up exclusively for your benefit. I didn't even bother finishing it, and perhaps sadly I never got around to NV because it turned me off to the whole thing. Perhaps I'll pick that up one of these days as it appears it's much better.

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@PrimeJunta: I couldn't have said it better myself. Partly because pain pills make me unnecessarily verbose (seriously, check out the posts I've made today: I write waaaay too much and say waaay too little).

 

I view the different "arcs" for each race in DAO as sub-narratives... they're not really part of the main narrative arc (which I found embarassingly simple). I guess, my impetus for posing this question is chiefly my disappointment in DAO's narrative. It, too, was billed as a successor to the legacy of the Infinity Engine classics--and to me, it failed miserably. I want to see more care placed into the construction of the narrative, and in my experience, there are two basic constructions that work best: the double, or rather, multiple-arc narrative (come to think of it, Tales Of games are famous for these, too) and "mystery" narratives.

 

I would argue that PST is a better example of mystery narrative, as Fallout fits more as mystery/double-arc style narrative, since the first arc involves obtaining the water chip, and the second arc is about the FEV.

 

----

 

You know, I said that multi-arcs were common in Japanese games, but almost universally absent, in Western games, but that's not entirely true if we consider expansions. Expansion packs often continue the narrative of the original game, yet introduce new, subsequent narrative arcs, transforming single-arc narratives into multi-arc narratives. Case in point: Throne of Bhaal, Brood War, and... actually, those are the only two "really awesome" expansions I can think of off the top of my head right now.

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Yeah, PS:T is the quintessential mystery narrative. Structurally it's no great shakes IMO, and falls flat towards the end IMO. It wants to be a double-arc, but the second arc – post-Sigil – isn't anywhere near as good as the first one. There are good ideas there, but it's sorely lacking in depth and the kind of loving detail Sigil is so filled with, and the sub-stories in it are fairly predictable, linear, 1-2-3 affairs. Frankly it smells like "we ran out of time and money" to me. (Cf. Malachor V.)

 

(Speaking as a rabid PS:T fan here – despite its failings, it is my favorite computer game of all time, by a long way.)

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The way I see it whether a story is good or not is independent of how many arcs it has. If the story calls for multiple arcs then do that, but if it only calls for one then that's cool too.

 

What I don't want to see are narrative elements shoehorned into the plot simply because they are considered "good writing."

Edited by Dream
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I can see where you're coming from, Dream, but I don't think the number of arcs are wholly independent from the quality of the narrative. Simple narrative structure can have a huge impact on a story.

 

"The" example of this is Rashomon--a very simple, not-terribly-interesting story, that becomes insteresting chiefly through the structure of the narrative (how the reader/viewer--it was a short story, first--learns about the events of the narrative) and its presentation. A well-crafted narrative structure can elevate a story, whereas a poorly crafted narrative structure (see: Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect 3, Final Fantasy XIII, etc.) can be a huge detriment to the overall narrative structure.

....

 

Think of it this way. One of the biggest elements of gaming is "exploration." Bethesda's Pete Hine's describes it as the feeling of looking out at the world, seeing a mountain, and wondering, "I wonder what's on the other side?" -- And then finding out. There's an inherent joy in exploration--in striving and seeking and finding. There is a thrill to discovery. We can all agree on this, correct?

 

But exploration and discovery do not just apply to the geography of a game. When you play a game, you are not simply exploring a world, you are also exploring a story. If the narrative structure is simple, that means there's less to discover--it's like journeying through a flat plain. You can see the vast terrain of the story laid out before you, and though you cannot see the smaller details in the distance, you're still able to easily grasp the greater whole. More complex narrative structures serve as forests and mountains and trees: the narrative is winding and obscured. As you proceed through it, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of where it will lead, far in the distance--and sometimes the narrative takes an abrupt turn, and you find you're heading in a brand new direction.

 

Well-crafted multi-arc narratives do not necessitate deeper, more elaborate and enthralling and interesting narrative experiences... but they do encourage them. 

 

It's not really about a story "calling" for multiple arcs... for texturing... but more about that more complex narrative structures arise naturally out of dynamic stories and settings.

 

....

 

Or, we can consider narratives spatially. Imagine each arc as an aspect of the overall story. Each additional arc adds a new dimension. First, you have a line. Then a shape. Then an object. Each arc allows you a different angle from which to view the world and the characters than inhabit it. I would argue that multi-arc narratives are inherently superior to single-arc narratives, in that they provide more potential for narrative depth. Starcraft is perhaps the best example of this, as each arc in the original game did a great deal to define and then re-define the characters and setting. And then the expansion introduces two new story arcs that go so very much further with the characters and setting and story.

 

....

 

EDIT: And as for this idea that certain narrative elements would be shoehorned into the story... again, I think that's a misunderstanding of the cause-and-effect at play here. If you have good writing, it will naturally form a more complex narrative structure. That's just something that happens. As I've been saying, there are two different ways this narrative can form--as a multi-arc narrative, where different or semi-related stories play off one another, or mysteries, where the complexities of the narrative are hidden, and not fully evident until the end (if done right).

 

Mystery storytelling can often be used to mask poor writing, but generally speaking, a well-crafted narrative structure is a consequence of skilled writing, not a causal factor.

Edited by Arsene Lupin
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It's funny how things link up. Going off on a tangent, but I hope you'll forgive me – this isn't a hugely busy thread so I'll take the risk.

 

I'm currently reading a book called This Is Your Brain on Music. It's about the neuropsychology of sound and music. One of the claims the author makes is that music is a game of expectations. We absorb the conventions of our musical culture already when we're very small, and when we get into different kinds of music, we set up schemas for them. Then, when we listen to a piece of music, we anticipate what's going happen next – the next note or chord, the next phrase, the next movement, and so on.

 

However, a piece of music that conforms perfectly to the schema is boring. A skilled composer will toy with our expectations, build them up, then surprise us; make things that almost but not quite conform to the schema and leave us in tension, which s/he may or may not eventually resolve.

 

This, erm, struck a chord. I just listened to a Leonard Cohen record which has a song on it, called Nightingale. The lyrics are heartbreakingly sad:

 

I built my house beside the wood
So I could hear you singing
And it was sweet and it was good
And love was all beginning
Fare thee well my nightingale
'Twas long ago I found you
Now all your songs of beauty fail
The forest closes 'round you
The sun goes down behind a veil
'Tis now that you would call me
So rest in peace my nightingale
Beneath your branch of holly
Fare thee well my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Tho' you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you

 

...but the melody is a light, happy, major-key tune that hops, skips, and dances, instrumented with bright sounds and a quick tempo. This creates a tension that makes me tear up, every time.

 

(Which, incidentally, is the same thing that happens at the conclusion of Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs – Walhalla has been burned down, the gods have fallen, Siegfried and Brünnhilde are dead; it's as dark an ending as you could possibly imagine... but the music swells, glorious, golden, uplifting, full of joy and hope. Again, whoa, dude. I almost tear up just thinking of it.)

 

I think this principle applies just as well to narrative. We have a certain schema in mind for, say, an Infinity Engine style fantasy role-playing game. I'm pretty sure that most of us would find a game that conformed exactly to that schema pretty dull. (DA:O did, just about, and I found it terribly dull; I didn't even have the strength to finish it as a matter of fact.) A really great game is something that takes that schema, applies it enough to, as it were, let us get our bearings, and then subverts and defeats those expectations; surprises us. There can be no delight without surprise, and I find a game that never delights me a complete waste of time.

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To be honest I wouldn't want simplified narratives and linear arcs, i'd rather have a web of allegiances, consequences, potential allies and enemies whom create fluid situations I am both the victim of, and can if clever manipulate to my advantage. As in New Vegas rather than linear arcs and preset narratives, more reactive and dynamic plot points, that twist and change as I interact with them, even sometimes unknowingly. As for surprise twists mid game, I don't really mind so long as they're well written, internally consistent and not illogical. Something that seems a given with Obsidian.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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To be honest I wouldn't want simplified narratives and linear arcs, i'd rather have a web of allegiances, consequences, potential allies and enemies whom create fluid situations I am both the victim of, and can if clever manipulate to my advantage. As in New Vegas rather than linear arcs and preset narratives, more reactive and dynamic plot points, that twist and change as I interact with them, even sometimes unknowingly. As for surprise twists mid game, I don't really mind so long as they're well written, internally consistent and not illogical. Something that seems a given with Obsidian.

inb4thissurprisetwistisunfairbecauseIwascleveranditdidn'tletmepreventithappening!

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Well, the original Baldur's Gate could be considered to have three story arcs, and Arcanum could claim to have at least two. In any case, I believe that it is more important to concieve a story on its own merits. Dicussing how a story can be improved by the numbers of arcs, is like discussing what utensil to use for your meal before you even decide what to eat.

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but also realize that alot ALOT of older jrpgs were double arched because the boss woukd have several forms.

Either ur after a person gobe amok but after defeating said charecter, comes to find out he was merely pocessed/influenced by the main boss. Were really it was a double arched, u just found out that there was someone of same faction just higher in the totem pole for a good bit of them as well.

But there are also many that u defeated said boss only that their was a different one that in no way was related at all to said boss u just defeated.

But most of them was just that u defeated said boss only to find out that the organization u was fighting had someone even higher up than u realized. Same organization but different npc.

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double arc in the sense of going for one guy, only to find that he is just a nobody compared to the real enemy you need to face is fine (something like trying to destroy shinra inc in ff7, only to find that they were nothing compared to the power of Sephiroth).

but double arc in the sense that you play the game to the end, then, when you start it again you get a different story that starts at where the first story ends then no (in a jgame that i cant remember the title right now, you had to play the first part 2 times, get 2 specific endings and by getting a specific 3rd ending, the 3rd time you played through it, you would unlock the second part of the story that was big 3 times the first part... that you had to play 3 times for no apparent reason)... i think its a forced replayability mechanic that adds nothing and only results in a waste of the player's time

if you want replayability, it should be done with branching story that opens and closes doors as you make decisions, WITHOUT the "we forgive you please join us" at the end by your enemies (yes im talking about new vegas) that makes all choices almost meaningless. 

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

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

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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I haven't played Fallout: New Vegas but the game sounds like the main story will have some tie-in to the use of factions throughout the game. It seems that you will be venturing into various Ruins of Eir Glanfath in order to discover the true nature of a particular supernatural phenomenon that you experience at the start of the game. It has been stated throughout the various lore updates that there are several factions that want to explore/plunder the ruins to further their knowledge of souls and various other things, while the native Glanfathans want to protect them.

 

The storyline has gone through various revisions since it was originally pitched, but I would assume the premise remains the same. I don't think the factional alliances will be forced like they are in F:NV but it probably gives you a few options in how you go about your business in the ruins.

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in new vegas you could help or fight each faction at every step of the way, resulting in favorable or hostile reactions by the members of that faction. i for once helped the NCR and killed the legion members on sight. and after killing more legion soldiers than the entire ncr army ever did, when i reached a point of the game where the path for the ending was to be decided, a legion guy comes to me and says "Caesar forgives you for everything, join us and help us win the war". just a frase, that opened up all the doors i had closed with my choices during the 50+ hours i was playing. it really killed the mood

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

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

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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...a legion guy comes to me and says "Caesar forgives you for everything, join us and help us win the war". just a phrase, that opened up all the doors i had closed with my choices during the 50+ hours i was playing. it really killed the mood.

 

Much like Loghain from Dragon Age. For a roleplaying Paladin who served the Maker, I really appreciated sparing his life, for I was nothing more than a mere servant, not a justicer. This clearly increased the roleplaying experience in every single aspect for me. And just to make things better, he offers his services in return for redemption!! What a friggin awesome game!  I gotta say, If you really want to roleplay as a Paladin, head for Dragon Age, you'll be completely amazed with the possible choices they give you for our favourite and lovable class.

 

Or Perhaps Throne of Bhaal, offering you an alliance with your murderous brother Sarevok. Who would have thought, eh?

 

So no, I don't agree with you. In recent history, Kings have been brought to the doors of madness by demons who agitated their terrestrial passions. Some perished, others didn't. An Angel might appear at the final moment to destroy the vile creatures who haunt your soul.

 

Before becoming a Saint, Paul persecuted every single Christian. Who would have thought that a "jewish" roman citizen would become the miserable trash that he was as a Saint.

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Well, the original Baldur's Gate could be considered to have three story arcs, and Arcanum could claim to have at least two. In any case, I believe that it is more important to concieve a story on its own merits. Dicussing how a story can be improved by the numbers of arcs, is like discussing what utensil to use for your meal before you even decide what to eat.

This. Also NWN has several arches. It's not Japanese thing really. Infact it's really common in western RPGs too. It's pretty natural for story to be arched if it's long enough. It provides pace and keeps things interesting. Long non-arched story can end up very boring.

 

Infact it's rarer to see any modern or even semi-modern story driven western RPG with non-arched story. Even Fallout 1&2 both had arching stories despite the freedom they offer.

 

Even hybrids like Deus Ex and System Shock 2 have arching story. Also New Vegas is actually pretty pure dual arched story. First you just hunt Benny for revenge and then after big revelation you take over Mojave or help someone else to do it. It's just filled with insane amounts of side quests that actually rivals Arcanum.

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I'd like to see character development, and as far as I am concerned, every questline could be a narrative arc.

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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Much like Loghain from Dragon Age. For a roleplaying Paladin who served the Maker, I really appreciated sparing his life, for I was nothing more than a mere servant, not a justicer. This clearly increased the roleplaying experience in every single aspect for me. And just to make things better, he offers his services in return for redemption!! What a friggin awesome game!  I gotta say, If you really want to roleplay as a Paladin, head for Dragon Age, you'll be completely amazed with the possible choices they give you for our favourite and lovable class.

 

Or Perhaps Throne of Bhaal, offering you an alliance with your murderous brother Sarevok. Who would have thought, eh?

 

So no, I don't agree with you. In recent history, Kings have been brought to the doors of madness by demons who agitated their terrestrial passions. Some perished, others didn't. An Angel might appear at the final moment to destroy the vile creatures who haunt your soul.

 

Before becoming a Saint, Paul persecuted every single Christian. Who would have thought that a "jewish" roman citizen would become the miserable trash that he was as a Saint.

 

it's one thing to fight against someone, win and spare his life in exchange for his service, a different thing to fight someone, ruin his entire army and plans, and then have the option to go become his servant like nothing ever happened just so can see that ending without having to replay the game

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

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

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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I think a very useful lesson to be taken from this thread so far is one regarding story development, regardless of how many full arcs are gone through.

 

It seems a lot better to sort of figure things out from your characters' limited perspectives than it does to have "Stop Evil Lord Blargle from summoning the Evil God" from the get-go. Maybe you don't even figure out he's trying to do that until 80% through the game. In fact, the first time you meet Evil Lord Blargle, you probably don't even know he's evil. Maybe he's not even quite himself yet (like a Batman villain who hasn't yet been "created.") Maybe the true villain is born from the story development, itself.

 

Anywho, the fact that so much can be done, even with only one technical story arc, leads me to believe that the development/structure of the story (as presented to the player) is most important.

 

For what it's worth, though, I do enjoy the multiple-arc stories, 8P

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I'm really fond of the double-arc stories, and it's one of the reasons why my favourite game lists feature so many jRPGs.

 

That said, however, I'm really not too bothered whether P:E is single or double-arc.

 

When the double-arc is used well (and not all of your examples, most notably OoT, are true double-arcs), it is used in situations where you have extensive character narratives. The story arcs through the exploration and evolution of the characters. To do this well, you need to have strong, three-dimensional characters around whom the story is based. This is, at least when they are successful, the jRPG way. Really, as a genre they are far closer to interactive novels than to role-playing games in the western sense. Which is fine.

 

Western RPGs, however, generally sit with an explorable world and two (or even one) dimensional characters in terms of the story. Sure, Minsc had a bit of a backhistory, but the tale isn't told through his perspective in the same way of, for example, Rikku in FFX. So really, the games default as something much closer to a dungeon crawl, and don't need the second-arc to fulfill their purpose. There are some exceptions to this, and I would give KotOR and DA:O some credit there, but unless you're going to be very involved with your characters and take role-playing opportunities from the player, it doesn't have as much to gain as an interactive novel would. Given P:E's heritage, it looks fair to say it would be rather unneccessary, ineffective, and likely a false double-arc.

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