Jump to content

Josh Sawyer on Quest Staggering and why BG2 might have had it right


Recommended Posts

 

 

replayability (someone tell me how i can spell this freaking word) .

You've got the right spelling - but Oxford dictionary says it's not a word - must be one of those made-up terms that gamers use but the rest of the population don't. (Others use 'replay value' as a phrase).

 

The Oxford dictionary didn't say anything was a word, until some human decided they were words and put them into a dictionary. :)

 

Sure, and words get added all the time - but replayability apparently isn't there yet.

We must lobby for its inclusion! Clearly Suzy Dent and friends are not playing enough games (or not replaying them :p )

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just mean that the purpose of words is communication. The conveyance of an idea. So, if "replayability" achieves this, and people readily understand that idea, then I say it's a real word. The dictionary may record real words, but I don't think it's what makes words real, is all. :)

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

^I see - (my point about it not being in the dictionary was merely to explain why Sir Newbie's spellcheck wasn't recognising the word (I'm guessing) and why he thought it wasn't being spelt correctly when in fact it was).

  • Like 1

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah... BG2 was it's best at Athkatla (always type this wrong). Afterwards, the game was just... not quite that good anymore. If I would replay I probably would strand at the Asylum and not bother continuing since there was so little to do besides the main quest, and in the end, that wasn't very interesting to do (more than once).

Interestingly, BG1 didn't quite have this. They did it more intelligently by placing those questoverload in the endgame, and making Baldur's Gate itself a fine experience and fun to be in, and the game before that was interesting and fun too. And when that was over, so was the game mostly, unlike BG2 where after Athkatla there was still a lot of game to go through, but without interesting side-stuff.

 

In the end though, both where at it's best at the quest-heavy areas. That should tell you something about how many quests, and many side-quests do add to the experience, not distract from it.

  • Like 1

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lephys and Silent Winter I am sorry for my silly question (about the spelling of replayability) but in the same time i'm glad that it didn't take me  more than 20 posts to initiate a debate in this forum (small surely and not very crucial but i take it). I feel i belong to the world of Internet now...

Edited by Sir Newbie
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lephys and Silent Winter I am sorry for my silly question (about the spelling of replayability) but in the same time i'm glad that it didn't take me  more than 20 posts to initiate a debate in this forum (small surely and not very crucial but i take it). I feel i belong to the world of Internet now...

Welcome to the Internet, where 'off-topic' is the topic (or is this a side-quest?)

Edited by Silent Winter
  • Like 1

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing is sure, there are way too many of such "side-quests" on this forum ;)

If one can manage those here, one wouldn't have any issue with them in a RPG surely...

  • Like 2

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it all depends on what the developer expects of their customers' expectations.

 

If you think they expect an interactive movie, you will make something vastly different then when you think they expect a customizable sandbox in which they can experiment.

 

For what I read about the PoE expectations, I don't think replayability is high up on the list, if it's on the list at all.

Edited by SymbolicFrank
Link to post
Share on other sites

^I see - (my point about it not being in the dictionary was merely to explain why Sir Newbie's spellcheck wasn't recognising the word (I'm guessing) and why he thought it wasn't being spelt correctly when in fact it was).

Ohhhhh. Sorry. Yeah, I was just kinda saying that plenty of words that "aren't words" are actually perfectly good words. I probably should've worded that better. Also, though, I missed the part where he was specifically wondering about that being deemed legitimate by his spellchecker. Sorry abootz that. 8\

 

For what I read about the PoE expectations, I don't think replayability is high up on the list, if it's on the list at all.

I beg to differ. The fact that they only allow checks against your PC's stats/skills in dialogues suggests that, at the very least, it's intended for you to have to play through the game as several different characters just to experience all the various dialogue options/quest brances, etc.

Edited by Lephys
  • Like 2

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

^I see - (my point about it not being in the dictionary was merely to explain why Sir Newbie's spellcheck wasn't recognising the word (I'm guessing) and why he thought it wasn't being spelt correctly when in fact it was).

Ohhhhh. Sorry. Yeah, I was just kinda saying that plenty of words that "aren't words" are actually perfectly good words. I probably should've worded that better. Also, though, I missed the part where he was specifically wondering about that being deemed legitimate by his spellchecker. Sorry abootz that.

No need for an apology - we're both just explaining where we're coming from :)

(and he wasn't 'specifically' asking about his spellcheck, so you didn't miss anything ;) - that was just my assumption (reading between the lines))

I use plenty of non-words myself (and I teach the language :lol: )

  • Like 1

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah... BG2 was it's best at Athkatla (always type this wrong). Afterwards, the game was just... not quite that good anymore.

To me the Underdark part was more memorable than Athkatla. The latter I remember mostly as an overcrowded quest hub. I mean I loved Athkatla too because I loved everything about BG and BG2. But I can see Josh's point - there is a limit to how many quests you can squeeze into a relatively small zone without losing focus.

Edited by prodigydancer
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

For what I read about the PoE expectations, I don't think replayability is high up on the list, if it's on the list at all.

I beg to differ. The fact that they only allow checks against your PC's stats/skills in dialogues suggests that, at the very least, it's intended for you to have to play through the game as several different characters just to experience all the various dialogue options/quest brances, etc.

 

^this

I think a lot of players are expecting to replay the game - as well as what Lephys said, there are multiple classes to try out and multiple factions to 'side with' (not sure how many but the reputation thing is related to that).

The games they're trying to be like (IE games) are very replayable and I'd be surprised if the devs aren't taking that into account when designing the game (not saying we'll get a dozen unique storylines, just that it'll be fun to replay with different characters and different quest resolutions).

  • Like 1

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

Link to post
Share on other sites

For what I read about the PoE expectations, I don't think replayability is high up on the list, if it's on the list at all.

I beg to differ. The fact that they only allow checks against your PC's stats/skills in dialogues suggests that, at the very least, it's intended for you to have to play through the game as several different characters just to experience all the various dialogue options/quest brances, etc.

 

I agree with SymbolicFrank on this point. It's a distinction where you can define the "Golden Age" RPGs of the mid-late 1990s from their successors in the 2000s. A game responding realistically to choice through in game ramifications is different than explicitly deciding on whether an NPC companion lives or dies by how well you have befriended them. Designing "replayability" is very different from designing a game world which reacts in a rational manner to player actions. I don't believe PoE has the intention of inventing false/arbitrary choices for the player to rehash the game with.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with SymbolicFrank on this point. It's a distinction where you can define the "Golden Age" RPGs of the mid-late 1990s from their successors in the 2000s. A game responding realistically to choice through in game ramifications is different than explicitly deciding on whether an NPC companion lives or dies by how well you have befriended them. Designing "replayability" is very different from designing a game world which reacts in a rational manner to player actions. I don't believe PoE has the intention of inventing false/arbitrary choices for the player to rehash the game with.

I think you misunderstand me. If you have 6 people, each with one stat maxed, you still only get to stat-check your main character, for the purposes of dialogue options, etc. So, imagine, for example, that there are 10 different opportunities for a max score in each stat, throughout the game. That's 60 total. And, no matter what, you only get to do 10. That leaves you 50 other chances that you can't take without replaying the game.

 

This was a voluntary decision. If they weren't worried about replayability, why would they specifically design the game such that you can't simply use all 6 party members to check for dialogue options and the like?

 

Now, maybe replayability's not the top priority on their list, but I don't think that precludes its significance as far as the design's concerned.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I always preferred BG to BG II specifically for this reason. It`s not so much because it staggered the quests to have BG be so open, although it did, but the sense of being allowed to explore for yourself. There`s obviously a balance which needs to be struck between linear and non-linear, but most games are far too linear for my taste. And sadly this included BG II, although it`s better in that respect than IW and IW II were. I just think that particularly in RPG games it makes a lot of sense for things to be at least somewhat non-linear and to reward exploration a bit. The longer I can delay going on the Jon Irenicus bus the better.

Edited by SKull
Link to post
Share on other sites

Really quite the opposite... I know "open world" and "full exploration" and "massive worlds" are all the rage this day and age, but can't help but notice it watters down storylines extensively.

Especially the Arkham series (Asylum vs. City) has shown me just how badly going open world can be for a controlled stotyline... or how it adds far more annoyances and stupid stuff than it ever adds.

 

Now of course games like The Elder Scrolls never had to work with their stories (and they were horrible to boot) but I rather not want that from Obsidian. Can definitely say I prefer the "linear" games far more than New Vegas.

  • Like 2

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Now of course games like The Elder Scrolls never had to work with their stories (and they were horrible to boot) but I rather not want that from Obsidian. Can definitely say I prefer the "linear" games far more than New Vegas.

I thought Morrowind had a good story. A terrible main questline, but a good story.

  • Like 1

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Throwing in my humble opinion, ’cause I’ve not seen a lot of people agreeing with it…

 

There is an awful lot of quests in chapter II, too much for my taste. Maybe not really too much, but quest-giving is poorly handled.

I played BG2 right after completing BG1 + TotSC, and seeing every NPC jump on me to force-feed me their quests after dozen of hours spent on a much slower paced game just turned me back. I actually stopped playing and spent a couple days without touching BG2 before coming back to it. I really needed to let some time go between BG1 and BG2 before fully enjoying the second…

 

It is not really the number of the quests that disturbed me, but the way NPC go spontaneously toward you to give you their quests. « No Nalia I can’t help you to save your castle now, like I already said you the last twenty times I entered the Copper Coronet I’m busy dealing with some shady cult under the Temple District! »

It gives me the impression the city would crumble to ruins if I wasn’t there…

 

I prefer the way BG1 handled the quest giving in the city of Baldur’s Gate: it’s up to you to look for quests, finding the right NPCs, and they won’t chase you when you’re already busy with some other quest.

I truly hope that PoE will handle the quest-giving in a non-intrusive way, like BG1 did. This way there can be an awful lot of them, without diverting the player from his current involvements.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sure you do not misremember Baldur's Gate 1? There are plenty of quests flagpoled to you like that... most prominently the one where you get poisoned, and DIE if you ignore it. If that's not intrusive I don't know what is...

(I don't have issues with it btw, but it's not exactly "quests you look up yourself")

Edited by Hassat Hunter

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sure you do not misremember Baldur's Gate 1? There are plenty of quests flagpoled to you like that... most prominently the one where you get poisoned, and DIE if you ignore it. If that's not intrusive I don't know what is...

(I don't have issues with it btw, but it's not exactly "quests you look up yourself")

I liked this quest, as it introduced a bit of urgency. 

Something that the bg series needed more of. 

  • Like 1

"The harder the world, the fiercer the honour."

Weapon master,- Flail of the dead horse +5.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

Josh was asked about his comments on BG2 a few weeks ago and what in particular he didn't like about Baldur Gate 2's implementation of quests and he responded,

 

 

* Being flooded with quests in Athkatla - To be honest, I don't think is a controversial opinion! I've seen many other players say the same thing. BG2 has a crazy amount of quests, which is great, but the density in Athkatla was a little too crazy. I think those quests should have been spread out or staggered in some other way. PE is going to have more of an exploration focus than BG2 (though not as much as BG), so I believe that will help spread the content out more.

 

I have been thinking about this for the past several days and while I can understand the reasoning behind what Josh said, I think that I may partially disagree with him in terms of whether it was a bad thing or not.

 

Firstly, I would have to agree with the sentiment that compared to Chapter 2, the rest of the game felt fairly linear and less complex and that this detracted from the game. The following chapters were less fun than being able to mess around in Athkatla. However, at the same time, this doesn't detract from the fact that the multitude of quests in Chapter 2 was sort of fun and kept the player engaged and in fact may show that Chapter 2 was probably doing something right and the rest of the game was unfairly juxtaposed to a well-developed chapter.

 

One of the things that I think was good about the implementation of Chapter 2 has to do with the multiple paths a player can take during their gameplay and the ability to work on several aspects of the story at the same time. If a player would start to tire of a certain setting during the game, he or she could quickly change his attention over to another quest and work on that for a bit. This is ultimately the benefit of the multitudes of quests offered early in the game. It's like designing a non-linear dungeon that has multiple entrances. If the player starts to get frustrated with one certain quest, s/he can work on something else at the same time and come back to the previous quest later. Thus, it keeps the player engaged and rarely feel like he is stuck in a rut or that s/he has to "grind" his way through a certain aspect of the game to get to his reward.

 

I think this is important in a good RPG and it would behoove the devs of PE to think about this aspect of Athkatla's design. Allow the game at any time to have several opportunities for players to "work" on a multiple quests simulatenously. This limits the feeling of linearity that can come in games. If you do want to limit the content density to "spread the content" evenly through the game, make sure to give players opportunities to work on several different aspects at one time and allow them the option ot choosing which one to tackle at any time. This will limit player fatigue and keep the player engaged with the game longer. If possible, keep as many different quests/opportunities/actions to take available for the player, so that they can make the decision in what to do next. This allows the player to feel that he or she is in a sand-box type game even though it may not necessarily fit that description.

 

Anecdotally, I've realized that certain games are fairly linear in their content design, and that these games allow me to play the game only in one certain order. Thus, if I get myself in a rut or can't defeat a particular challenge, I end up quitting the game for several days and getting back to it only when I have the energy to try again. The game starts to feel like a chore, and I rarely get back to playing it. However, I've realized that games like Baldur's Gate 2 and other games that give me the opportunity to choose from several different actions at any point, allow me to change my focus and tackle another challenge. This "refreshes" my interest and I keep playing the game. And then I remember these games more favorably!

 

What do the rest of you guys think?

 

I agree... i remember running around that city trying to find and complete various quests, kinda going along at my own pace.  then suddenly i realized a quest to save a party member from death was about to run out.  i scrambled to find to find the enemies i needed to find, i looked everywhere.  the party member died just before i found the enemies hideout and i was pissed.  i wrecked those guys.  no mercy.

 

good stuff.  i think in a city environment it makes sense to have a flood of quests.  to the extent of it being a little chaotic for the player makes sense.  you've been running around the countryside and small towns focused on one or a few things at a time.  when you get to a giant city with so many things to take care of, it just makes it feel more like a living breathing city.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the problem in BG2 was not that there were too many quests in chapter 2 but that there was (comparatively) too little to do in chapters 5 and 6. Thinking about it, there was that huge variety of things to do in the beginning, most of it optional, a pretty good middle with still lots of optional stuff (Sahuagin city and the three possibilities to finish the Ust Natha questline) and a very linear end. I loved the game so much that I would have liked the end to have the same content density as in the beginning or even more, as long as the quality stayed the same. But thinking about it rationally, it already was a huge game. How much content can you expect? There are limits to what can reasonably be done in such a game.

 

So, going from the premise that BG2 was already pretty much at the limit in that respect and seeing that there really was a huge inbalance in terms of content in the different stages of the game, I have to agree with Josh here. The game wouldn't have suffered if there were maybe 2 or 3 fewer huge quests in the beginning and 2 or 3 more in the end. It might even have been better as it'd not been so lopsided.

 

But that's reason speaking. What I'd really want would be a game of the consistent quality of BG2 that's just as absurdly bloated at the beginning as at the end.

 

f*** I just noticed how old and how long this thread already is. Don't mind me, I had a bit too much to drink...

Edited by Hugo Rune
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The balance in little vs lots of open quests. Following them. For me to really get the story, I do better with fewer active quests. But I get the stuck part, go try something else, level up etc for a while and comeback. This is where it is all about design.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...