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even if there are 108 companions in the game, in the end you will choose those who work best with your main, and often they are always the same


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 can't agree there. Reactive NPC's take time and ressources to do well. With a party of 6, if you wanted to offer the same possibilities for party building without user created characters, you're looking at 60 characters; and that's without taking races into account. Considering the alternative, giving the player the option to create own characters doesn't seem inelegant.

 

That providing reactive npcs takes time and resources is readily apparent, and I agree with that in my post. My general theme is not that such a thing is easy or that those extra resources should be plucked out of nowhere, but rather that I feel party npcs deserve a greater slice of resource pie than they are perhaps getting.

 

Your 60 character point is all very straw man, however, and is not only not my suggestion or request but is rather in opposition to both my suggestion of 12+ characters and my fondness for having to balance my party on personality and functionality.

 

Not from the beginning though, as you'll start with one character and gradually recruit more. Also P:E won't be a herp-a-derp DnD "take one of every class" game. You can make a party with 6 paladins and roll with it.

 

There may have been some confusion on my part regarding the 'adventurers' hall' setup, and where that is implemented. My understanding from this thread was that extra party members could be created at character creation.

 

Also, while I'm hopeful that P:E will be more creative in its class system than simply 1x Fighter, 1 x Rogue, 1 x Cleric, 1 x Mage or everything fails, that is not to say that party balance won't be important. I appreciate that the six Paladin party is an exaggeration for effect, but the reality remains that, as any rpg worth its salt, P:E will make certain party builds more functional than others.

 

Personally, I find it pretty horrible if these two things are mixed up; for example, having to sweet talk a character because he's the most effective fighter is p. awful, both roleplaying-wise and as an exercise in self-restraint for the player. Not being able to recruit the most effective mage in the game because your reputation is too good is also pretty bad because it limits your party building options even more, but at least that doesn't require you to do anything.

 

To each their own on that one. Both camps have a fair few people in. I could suggest that if you insist on sweet talking a fighter because of his effectiveness despite your character's dislike of him, then (unless you're being very creative) the roleplaying ship has somewhat set sail without you. :p

 

 

12+ companions is unrealistic. If you have so many companion they will just arcanum level companions. They won't react to any quest or dialouge options. For this type of companion is the adventure hall.

I don't like it if some companions are well developed and others are not. I think It's wasted time and money to make this companions.

 

 

As has already been mentioned in this thread, BGII had 16 characters, and BG had 25. All of the BGII characters had their own quests and reactivity, and BG's still managed a fair amount of reaction. 12+ is far from unrealistic.

 

As for the variation in character development, I agree that it shouldn't necessarily feel like that is the case, but it's easier to do than might be immediately apparent when you consider a) When you meet them in the game; b) Are there any extended story arcs; c) Simply, how much does this character say? I would argue that Mazzie does not seem in any way underdeveloped in BGII, but in terms of actual coding I would guess took half the time that Aerie did.

Edited by Kjaamor

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That providing reactive npcs takes time and resources is readily apparent, and I agree with that in my post. My general theme is not that such a thing is easy or that those extra resources should be plucked out of nowhere, but rather that I feel party npcs deserve a greater slice of resource pie than they are perhaps getting.

 

Your 60 character point is all very straw man, however, and is not only not my suggestion or request but is rather in opposition to both my suggestion of 12+ characters and my fondness for having to balance my party on personality and functionality.

Different priorities for different people I guess, but there are so many components of an RPG that take time to do well that I can think of, and think that spending that time on hordes of party members isn't advisable.

 

My point is that if you want to give the player the same amount of party building options w/o the Adventurer's Hall, you need to make 60+ NPC's. How exactly is this a strawman? (btw 12+ falls within 60 so I don't see the contradiction)

 

 

 

Also, while I'm hopeful that P:E will be more creative in its class system than simply 1x Fighter, 1 x Rogue, 1 x Cleric, 1 x Mage or everything fails, that is not to say that party balance won't be important.

 

 

I appreciate that the six Paladin party is an exaggeration for effect, but the reality remains that, as any rpg worth its salt, P:E will make certain party builds more functional than others.

 

No, it's neither an exaggeration nor a strawman... though using the universally loathed paladin may have given that impression. Might I suggest 6 rangers instead? AFAWK this could be very possible in P:E. Personally I've even asked if most class abilities will stack, because I fully intend to test a good many parties on different playthroughs.

 

 

To each their own on that one. Both camps have a fair few people in. I could suggest that if you insist on sweet talking a fighter because of his effectiveness despite your character's dislike of him, then (unless you're being very creative) the roleplaying ship has somewhat set sail without you. :p

 

Eh, giving the player the option to have an effective party or otherwise shoot himself in the foot has nothing to do with good roleplaying IMO. This has to do with the limitations of CRPGs more than anything.

Edited by Sacred_Path

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Eight extras for a party of six looks to be fairly stingy.

Even if that were true, PE is far from bring the worst offender : PS:T had seven companions for five slots and the worst offender, MotB, had four companions (actually five, but two are mutually exclusive) for three slots.

 

The more I think about it, if the npc pool is so small, then use of player-created npcs becomes almost inevitable

I do not see that at all. We know that four of the companions cover the basics, so functionality isn't a problem no matter the character the player chooses.

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Different priorities for different people I guess, but there are so many components of an RPG that take time to do well that I can think of, and think that spending that time on hordes of party members isn't advisable.

 

My point is that if you want to give the player the same amount of party building options w/o the Adventurer's Hall, you need to make 60+ NPC's. How exactly is this a strawman? (btw 12+ falls within 60 so I don't see the contradiction)

 

Again, I am not advocating "hordes" of party members, unless you consider the average numbers of party members provided by the IE games constitutes that.

 

On the second part of your point, I reiterate that I am not suggesting that recruitable party members should in any way represent the exact number of options provided by the character creation system of, say, IWD. It is a straw man, because you are arguing against a point that I am not, and have never been, making.

 

60 does indeed fall within the bracket of 12+. In the context of the discussion, however, that is fitting it rather broadly, especially next to my two points of reference (BG & BGII) of 25 and 16. I may have asked people to read slightly between the lines there. For the avoidance of doubt my figure of 12+ referred to reaching 12 mark with around 25-33% more dependent upon need and design, and not the 500% increase you may have understood.

 

 

No, it's neither an exaggeration nor a strawman... though using the universally loathed paladin may have given that impression. Might I suggest 6 rangers instead? AFAWK this could be very possible in P:E. Personally I've even asked if most class abilities will stack, because I fully intend to test a good many parties on different playthroughs.

 

Ah, my bad. Well, in that case I would only suggest that if all party builds are equally viable then party building becomes an ultimately cosmetic choice rather than a tactical decision. To my mind, this reduces challenge-based gameplay and is a bad thing. To what extent this will be in P:E is, of course, unclear, since at present we're dealing with broad statements by the developers that do not provide anything like a solid display of the end product in this regard.

 

 

Even if that were true, PE is far from bring the worst offender : PS:T had seven companions for five slots and the worst offender, MotB, had four companions (actually five, but two are mutually exclusive) for three slots.

 

PS:T was rather different from the other IE games in this regard, to be fair, because it did not place anywhere near as much importance upon tactical combat as the rest, and was subsequently less dependent upon party members and the class system (which it practically eschewed from on the PC anyway). This isn't a bad thing, as PS:T had very different merits. Now comes the long debated variable expectation of P:E thing, but personally I see P:E's role as more being to carry the BG torch than the PS:T one. I do believe there is another kickstarter project rather more suited to modelling itself after PS:T. ;)

 

As for MotB, there is little I can say given that I haven't played it, and my armloads of criticisms with the Vanilla game may well not apply.

 

 

 

I do not see that at all. We know that four of the companions cover the basics, so functionality isn't a problem no matter the character the player chooses.

 

Time will tell, but even if you don't think people will do this on the first playthrough, it certainly limits the replayability on the second or third.

 

.

 

As clarification of my wider point, I think the party recruitment was handled pretty much spot on in BGII, and to aim short of that is something I find disappointing.

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Again, I am not advocating "hordes" of party members, unless you consider the average numbers of party members provided by the IE games constitutes that.

 

On the second part of your point, I reiterate that I am not suggesting that recruitable party members should in any way represent the exact number of options provided by the character creation system of, say, IWD. It is a straw man, because you are arguing against a point that I am not, and have never been, making.

You say that providing the player the means to generate his own characters is "inelegant". I say that this isn't true, if there's no alternative ways of giving you the same amount of options. Of course I suggest here, and I think you'll have to agree, that giving the player more options is inherently better.

 

 

Ah, my bad. Well, in that case I would only suggest that if all party builds are equally viable then party building becomes an ultimately cosmetic choice rather than a tactical decision.

That seems more like a gripe you have with the game at large... I think the die has been cast in this matter, and it seems it goes in favor of a variety of party builds, so it's useless to grieve about it now. Personally I love the flexibility that we're promised, and of course, no one says that the 6 ranger party will be exactly as powerful as a more diverse one. We'll see about that.

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I think 8-9 is a good number. I didn't mind the "low" number of companions in Planescape: Torment.

Maybe have an extra companion or two that functions the same way ED-E and Rex did in Fallout: New Vegas. That wouldn't require as much extra work. Then they could add new characters for the expansion.

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My (only!) concern with such a small number of characters is related to replayability.  One of the things I liked best about BG2 was starting over with a new PC and figuring out which NPCs I would have to take to properly balance the party.  Having a large pool to draw from made those decisions interesting and engaging.  If there are only 8 or 9 NPCs to choose from with a party of six, I feel like I will run out of companions pretty quickly.

 

Maybe I'm overstating it, though.

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You say that providing the player the means to generate his own characters is "inelegant". I say that this isn't true, if there's no alternative ways of giving you the same amount of options. Of course I suggest here, and I think you'll have to agree, that giving the player more options is inherently better.

 

The inelegance stems from the fact that the player is given the option to create extra party members up to a full party if necessary. Since, in all the IE (and related) games I can think of, recruitable npcs are never min-max munchkins, if P:E follows this trend then it will be more powerful to create a whole party than to recruit. While this is not in and of itself a problem (IWD & IWD2), by providing a superior option to recruitables it makes said recruitables less desirable. If recruitables become used less, then the time and resources used to emphasise 'quality' is rather wasted. Hence the system is inelegant, certainly in comparison to the BG II model.

 

On options as a whole, there was a thread somewhere where this was discussed and it wasn't felt to be quite as simple as 'more is better'. That's not to say I disagree with it as a guiding sentiment, merely that it can, at times, be counter-productive.

 

To throw out a very unrefined alternate idea to tackle the situation, I could suggest that the player starts with a party of two of three, consisting of the PC and one/two 'recruitables'. At character creation, the player rolls classes for the recruitables, but they possess their own personality, reactions, quests and story as any other recruitable. Think about being able to make Imoen a Cleric from the start of BG (although any characters handled in this way would need to have personalities that could straddle a number of classes).

 

I suggest that such a system would be more elegant than what appears to be offered at present, but is still less elegant than the simple system used by the Baldur's Gate games.

 

That seems more like a gripe you have with the game at large... I think the die has been cast in this matter, and it seems it goes in favor of a variety of party builds, so it's useless to grieve about it now. Personally I love the flexibility that we're promised, and of course, no one says that the 6 ranger party will be exactly as powerful as a more diverse one. We'll see about that.

 

The die has been cast in such a way as to rule out the 1x fighter, 1x Cleric, 1x Rogue and 1x Mage or die system, but really no further. All the IE games offered a variety of party builds to succeed with, but the fact of the matter remains that 95% of playthroughs will demand party members who can, to some degree, receive damage and others with some means of restoring health. If a ranger can successfully tank to the extent of a fighter, and heal to the extent of a cleric, what point is there then in fighters, clerics or classes at all? Flexibility becomes something of an opposite end of the spectrum to diversity, and I think this would be a bad thing in P:E.

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The inelegance stems from the fact that the player is given the option to create extra party members up to a full party if necessary. Since, in all the IE (and related) games I can think of, recruitable npcs are never min-max munchkins, if P:E follows this trend then it will be more powerful to create a whole party than to recruit. While this is not in and of itself a problem (IWD & IWD2), by providing a superior option to recruitables it makes said recruitables less desirable. If recruitables become used less, then the time and resources used to emphasise 'quality' is rather wasted. Hence the system is inelegant, certainly in comparison to the BG II model.

I'm on the other end of the spectrum, I fear taking companions could be overpowered because they come with personal quests or items. But I can see where you're coming from. FWIW, Sawyer has said that there will be no dump stats, so creating an INT 3, STR 20 fighter either won't be possible or it won't be inherently better than other fighter builds.

 

 

 

The die has been cast in such a way as to rule out the 1x fighter, 1x Cleric, 1x Rogue and 1x Mage or die system, but really no further. All the IE games offered a variety of party builds to succeed with, but the fact of the matter remains that 95% of playthroughs will demand party members who can, to some degree, receive damage and others with some means of restoring health. If a ranger can successfully tank to the extent of a fighter, and heal to the extent of a cleric, what point is there then in fighters, clerics or classes at all? Flexibility becomes something of an opposite end of the spectrum to diversity, and I think this would be a bad thing in P:E.

The example is somewhat flawed, because no individual ranger needs to tank as well as a fighter (since they all can take some damage) and none needs to heal as well as a priest (since you have stamina replenishing abilities on all characters, and you have no squishies like mages). The point of diversity is employing different strategies, i.e. with 6 rangers I can imagine both ranged attacks and stealthy movement would be more frequent than with other parties. Also, within the party, you might still want to customize them to some extent, i.e. two of them are stronger melee fighters than the rest and one could be a superior scout. So, this "one sided" party is probably better used by experienced players who have an idea of how they'll build them stat and skill wise, while the classic F/T/C/M party is easier to round out just by pumping each individual's core stats.

Edited by Sacred_Path

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Hold on, wait a minute.  Forton isn't a monk?  Have I had this misinterpretted the entire time?  I coulda sworn he was a monk.

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Baldur Gate had 15 companions, and I hardly think that it compared much time needs a good Chrakter like Jan to create in Baldur Gate, plus a good story to quest and it's done!

It's dead boring to define their own characters, and it destroys the whole atmosphere of the game. I want to end finish new characters.
It's great when a magician who is very strong but has a nasty default setting appears. So I have to think about whether I prefer my combat this evil act and force the group strength or whether I'm true to my ideals but without the mage stay.

Exactly such decisions make the game exciting and yet not stupid cobble together from NPCs without soul.

And it should remain self-built with 8 characters, I will not buy the game because it simply is not comparable with the old games.

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you say that the charakters in BG 2 had a low quality? Im not sure if we played the same game ;)

 

The Characters in BG 2 were great, jan,Minks, the girl who lost her wings, because she lived in a cage, that story was so sad, it would break my hard to send her home ....

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An interesting middle option would be short-term NPCs - party members who stay with the party for their personal quest only and then leave.  

 

This option is useful because it allows for an NPC to be somewhat fleshed out within their own plotline, but you really don't need to develop huge interactivity with the "regular" NPCs who are permanent party members.  

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As much as i love BG2 and its huge cast of character (who were all interesting IMO), it was actually one of the things Josh Sawyer hated about the game.

 

http://www.formspring.me/JESawyer/q/449392305086952316

 

 

* CNPCs - Many of their introductions didn't sit well with me and I felt that there were too many who didn't have an equal amount of development given to them. While it was great that so many of them had a ton of quest content, I would have preferred a smaller list of companions with more attention to each one. This is what we said we were going to do at the start of the Kickstarter and it's what we're still planning to do.

 

As much as it disappoints me a wee little bit, this is what they are doing.  I don't really mind in the end.

Edited by Bill Gates' Son

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An interesting middle option would be short-term NPCs - party members who stay with the party for their personal quest only and then leave.  

 

This option is useful because it allows for an NPC to be somewhat fleshed out within their own plotline, but you really don't need to develop huge interactivity with the "regular" NPCs who are permanent party members.  

 

Perhaps even an NPC who will show up on more than one occasion and continue into the sequel? There's bound to be one or two NPCs whom the players dislike the most, so a potential future replacement character or two may be useful.

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I am always dissapointed in games where I can only bring along a small portion of potential party members (i am looking at you Mass Effect and Dragon Age). So having a smaller number high quality NPCs sounds fantastic to me.

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I am always dissapointed in games where I can only bring along a small portion of potential party members (i am looking at you Mass Effect and Dragon Age). So having a smaller number high quality NPCs sounds fantastic to me.

this!

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Why only 9? Why not 8? Why not 6? Why not 4?

 

My guess is 9 is right for this particular game. It's probably how much they have budgetted in terms of writing, development, and resources. It's probably the best balance at this time between sheer numbers of companions and development of said companions.

 

Don't forget the companions are all purely optional, meaning the staff probably can't pour too many resources into characters that many or most players won't even see; but they also need to give them personality, depth, relevance to the plot (without being required for said plot), etc. Sure, older games let you have 16 companions or so, but I think the story and writing standards are just higher today, and story and writing is a large part of this game anyway.

 

If 9 is the amount that is right for this game, then why knock it? Quality > quantity.


"Not I, though. Not I," said the hanging dwarf.

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Yeah I call bull**** on that whole quality>quantity thing. It simply doesn't hold water. It's in the numbers, the more characters you have, the bigger the chance that the player is going to find the one he loves to play with. Those 9 characters can be so in depth that you could write a book about them, if the player doesn't like them all that work is for nothing, on the other hand if you have 15-20 characters the chances of the player finding characters he loves increase dramatically.

 

All that said I don't mind there being 9 characters, because I very rarely pick my characters for their personality.

Edited by Sarex
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I'm curious ... when people say "characters that they love," do they mean more the actual personality/story of a potential party-member, or their combat abilities/stats in relation to how useful/complimentary they are to one's own character.

 

For myself, typically it's the former. I'll drag party members along an entire game, even if they're largely useless in combat, simply because I like having them around. Course, if no chr. appeals to me in that manner, then I'll just go by combat considerations alone and for that they may as well have zero personality.

 

My experience has so far been that games that try to have too many characters end up with 2-3 deep chrs. and a whole lot of shallow chrs (eg, that turn into nothing but combat-consideration fodder). I'd rather have 5-9 chrs. with a good chance of having 1 or 2 that I really like, then having to find/check out/try 20+ chrs. only to discover I don't really care about any of them.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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My experience has so far been that games that try to have too many characters end up with 2-3 deep chrs. and a whole lot of shallow chrs (eg, that turn into nothing but combat-consideration fodder). I'd rather have 5-9 chrs. with a good chance of having 1 or 2 that I really like, then having to find/check out/try 20+ chrs. only to discover I don't really care about any of them.

 

I think this usually happens regardless of the number of characters.  Some characters end up being more important than others, even in a small group.  Look at PST for example: Dak'kon and Morte seemed to have more connection to the Nameless One and the story than the other 6 party members.

Edited by Bill Gates' Son
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I think this usually happens regardless of the number of characters.  Some characters end up being more important than others, even in a small group.  Look at PST for example: Dak'kon and Morte seemed to have more connection to the Nameless One and the story than the other 6 party members.

Yeah, thinking about it further, I'd probably agree. Both for story importance reasons and for the personal preference reasons. By the latter, I mean whatever our own idiosyncrasies are regarding what type of personality/archetypes etc. we tend to gravitate to almost every time.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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