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If I may summarize: Having 8 companions instead of lets say 12 to 16 will have the following disadvantages:

 

1) It will hurt replayability to a degree (adventure hall is a 50% solution here)

2) It will decrease choice and variety of companions (how much variety is affected is largely in the hands of the devs though and is by nature highly subjective)

3) It will decrease mainstream appeal (where number of companions might be more important than depth of character)

 

It will have the following advantages:

 

1) It will increase appeal for the target audience (on average)

2) It will make the game bigger/more fun for players who only play it once aka make them see more from the game in one playthrough

3) It will arguable make companions more memorable and might increase the "fame" of the game

4) Creating the companions is probably more fun for the devs (minor point, they get paid to do it ;-)

5) It diminishes complexity and bug-density of the game as more companions means more complexity of the dialogues (if Quandor and Splendor is in group Quandor says X else if only Quandor is in group ...). This is also the reason why doubling the companions would diminish dialogues by more than half.

 

Don't count the numbers of advantages and disadvantages, only time and a parallel universe could tell us which way really would have been better. For me personally less but deeper companions is preferable but I also can see the advantages of the other side. I concur with Kjaamor that total number of companions divided by companions in group is the important metric and even that there might be an optimum value for a specific game. But I don't think that a ratio of 2 has any significance.

 

----------------

 

No analogy was used in making this post. No paintings, guaranteed.

Edited by jethro

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Although I could disect and spread that summary, and think some of those descriptions are a little bit loaded (but as I'm far from independent on the matter, that's almost inevitable), I think that's a pretty good summary of events. Point b5 in particular is always worth bearing in mind, though I maintain that BG2 was more than up to the task of handling it.

 

God knows this thread could do with one, after me and Lephys have practically been anti-spamming the last four pages.

 

My only disagreement is that I feel a ratio of companion slots to companions of less than 1:2 is a very bad thing, and the ideal for ensuring depth in a story-based tactical rpg sits between 1:2 and 1:3. More than 1:3 really does hamper depth even in my eyes. To be fair, though, that was Jethro's personal view rather than his summary.

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My only disagreement is that I feel a ratio of companion slots to companions of less than 1:2 is a very bad thing, and the ideal for ensuring depth in a story-based tactical rpg sits between 1:2 and 1:3. More than 1:3 really does hamper depth even in my eyes. To be fair, though, that was Jethro's personal view rather than his summary.

 

I am a bit uncomfortable with the fact that the ratio of companion slots to companions is going to be 5:8.  I like to be able to have two sets of companions I can take along with absolutely no overlap, because to my mind that does help replayability.  However, the thing that's giving me qualms here is not the 8 companions, it's the 6-character party.  I would have much preferred 5 or even 4, including the PC.

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Also to consider.

Adding a companion that has stuff to say and can comment on locations or something, takes an amount of work.

But adding a companion that can also has stuff to say to other companions, depending on location or incident, adds an exponential amount of work.

 

 

Lets say you have a companion A.

She has 100 things to say to you and 10 things to say to companion B. 110 lines total.

Companion B is the same.

 

 

Now you add Companion C,

Not only do you need 100 lines for the player, but also 10 lines to companion A and 10 lines to B.

Not only that either, both companions A and B also need 10 new things to say as well. All are at 120 lines.

 

When you come to 10th companion, adding that one extra guy means 190 lines for her and 90 lines for everybody else.

 

And that's assuming no third character butts in to conversations, because that'd complicate stuff further.

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However, the thing that's giving me qualms here is not the 8 companions, it's the 6-character party.  I would have much preferred 5 or even 4, including the PC.

 

That would have caused such a ****-storm.

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My only disagreement is that I feel a ratio of companion slots to companions of less than 1:2 is a very bad thing, and the ideal for ensuring depth in a story-based tactical rpg sits between 1:2 and 1:3. More than 1:3 really does hamper depth even in my eyes. To be fair, though, that was Jethro's personal view rather than his summary.

 

My wording was probably a bit ambiguous. I didn't say that 1:2 and more is bad or too much or whatever. I just meant that there is nothing special if the ratio is exactly 1:2. It isn't  a threshold of some sort where a new quality of choice is reached. (Well, it is a threshold for replayability if you insist an on all new group with not even a single AH-hero on second playthrough, but I'm not talking about that). But for your problem of not liking some companions the ratio of 1:2 is nothing special.

 

In other words, with a group of 5 companions, the step from 9 to 10 is nearly the same as the step from 8 to 9 and the step from 10 to 11 companions, there is no peak there. Because a) there is no exact companion to party slot assignement, you might have exactly one tank or you might have a paladin and barbarian combination, or the palading fills the healer slot, at least partly... And b) because if you dislike both fighters it also doesn't matter that you have exactly two companions for each "slot".

Edited by jethro

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However, the thing that's giving me qualms here is not the 8 companions, it's the 6-character party.  I would have much preferred 5 or even 4, including the PC.

 

That would have caused such a ****-storm.

 

 

Yeah, I know.  I have reined in my disappointment.

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First paragraph: Because someone might not share the writer's humour and not want to have any 'funny' characters. Also, the two traits to be congruous to each other so that immersion in the character is not broken. Finally, because if all the characters you make are archetype hybrids who are congruous then the liklihood of them being similar increases even with reduced numbers.

I didn't say anything to the contrary. This factor and the one I pointed out are not mutually exclusive.

 

The rest truly is us going around in circles. I reiterate that the figure that matters is not the number of companions, but the number of companions divided by the number of companion slots.

I'm saddened to say that "us going around in circles" means "my repeating myself while you blatantly ignore the things I've brought to light as though they have no effect on what you've already said, so you'll just stick to it." What's worse, though, is that you're not even really even ackowledging my points in a "here's why they're wrong" method. You're just brushing them aside. So, I mean, to each his own, I suppose. I had hoped you might understand my reasoning for pointing out the factors I did, and factor that into your own conclusion on the matter. But, that's ultimately your decision, I suppose, and it's not the end of the world. It doesn't make you unintelligent or anything. Just frustrating from my perspective, :) 

 

You can say that they bore less depth than they could've should such design exist in a vacuum. It doesn't, so does the point have any worth? I would argue that it does have limited worth, but it is the same limited worth of point that past experiences of the genre have told us when there are less than 2 companions per slot those companions end up being incredibly stylistically similar.

See, it's things like this that boggle me. What is gained by pretending my point was somehow subjective? If you have 5 gallons of lemonade, and 20 containers, and you want to put as much lemonade in every single container as possible, then it's impossible to not put less lemonade in each of the 20 containers than you could put in each of only 8 containers. That is an absolute fact. That's just reality. That isnot my opinion.

 

I was only pointing out that I got the feeling from most people's posts, here, that they are merely referring to that very truth when they compare the 20-or-so BGII characters and their level of depth (lemonade) to the 7 PS:T characters and THEIR level of depth (lemonade). If PS:T had had 20 characters, they would have definitely had less depth, individually, and if BGII had had only 8 characters, they would've had greater individual depth. It's not about whether or not either of the game's characters could've had the Eexact same amount of depth, as the two projects obviously had different budgets and completely different sets of factor values to deal with. It's simply about evaluating, as best we can, the effects of the level of individual depth a character has in a given CRPG project.

 

You may not feel the need to come to the conclusion, having nothing invested and having the fortune to have never experienced a similar game spoiled by the companions. I do, and Obsidian should do.

... What the carp does that even mean? I don't have anything invested? And the fortune to have never experienced a similar game spoiled by the companions? I could make the exact inverse to your story of experience, and say "BGII had too many characters, and not enough depth for each one, and they were so lacking it spoiled my game." And yet, on the other hand, I've had bad experiences at restaurants before, and I don't go deciding that people who prepare me food are all bad. I have no reason to think that, if I actually pay attention to reason, and the fact that the factors that existed in my bad experiences have no reason to exist in a completely separate experience at a completely different restaurant, just because they happen to serve a similar style of food.

 

And it's not that I don't feel the need to come to theconclusion. I recognize the reasonable fact that coming to a conclusion with our insufficient information is utterly pointless. It's a guess, disguised as a conclusion. Who am I to tell you you CAN'T do it? I would never do that. You can do as you please, and it's not going to hurt anyone. I simply thought I'd point out there's no real reason for any conclusion at all, at this point, much less one that causes you concern over the project.

 

Again, you lay the blame on the consumers here, but miss the point. If it fails, it will hurt Obsidian. It doesn't matter about whether they should have made a pencil, whether people want fire without burns (incidentally, worse analogy of the thread so far ;) ), and, crucially, it doesn't matter whether we as backers should've demanded more data before pledging. Yes it hurts the backers, but it will hurt Obsidian more in the future.

And if Obsidian sacrifices their own creative prowess just to make sure the game "succeeds", that doesn't hurt anyone I suppose.

 

Also, not an analogy, ;). It was simply an example pointing out that nothing prevents people from being irrational. Under what circumstances do you not decide that people's desires are the most important thing? Or, as in the case of the example, if they want two things that conflict, then which do you choose? Do you prevent them from hugging fire so they can be burn-free, or do you let them hug fire and fail to keep them burn-free? You act as though making sure people are pleased is a simple affair.

 

The adventurers hall does not combat the problem, it removes the situation - a large chunk of gameplay. As I have said before, myself and the majority of players would be extremely irritated if we were forced towards the adventurer's hall. Especially since the games that inspired P:E (that weren't IWD) had great companions and P:E promised to emulate that.

If you're "forced" to the adventurer's hall by the simple fact that there's not a race/class/build companion combination in existence that you are satisfied with, then that's irrational. Even if they put enough "real" companions in for you to be happy, unless they literally put every possible companion combination into the game, SOMEone isn't going to be happy with it, and is going to be "forced" to use the Adventurer's Hall to get what they want. And if they DO put in every single combination, the characters will be essentially the same thing as Adventurer's Hall characters, with minimal depth, and will upset plenty of other people. By your reasoning, if you and/or a subset of the backers feel that they aren't accommodated, something is wrong.

 

So, having a smaller number of in-depth companions for those who who are accommodated by such, and the Adventurer's Hall to cover all the combos that aren't covered by the "real" companions apparently isn't acceptable, and yet diluting the "real" companions down to 20 or 30 is not only going to fail to accommodate everyone, but is going to simply trade the contentment of one group for the contentment of another.

 

So, unless you're saying "obviously the happiness of me and my like-minded people is more important than both the happiness of the opposing groups of thinkers AND Obsidian's own contentment with their very own creative vision," I really don't detect a valid point in all of this, beyond just a juggling of subjective perspectives.

 

That being the case, while I've enjoyed this lovely little back-and-forth (I really have, and you've provided a lot of elaboration on opposing perspectives that were of value to my own evaluation), you're not really providing any overall, coherent line of reasoning here to combat my own, leaving me with only two options: Continue repeating myself, or call it a day.

 

And so, I believe I've said all I know to say on the matter, between you and me.


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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Some more talking at cross purposes to what Kjaamor said, failing to register Kjaamor's point as much as Kjaamor fails to register mine. Also,
 
That being the case, while I've enjoyed this lovely little back-and-forth (I really have, and you've provided a lot of elaboration on opposing perspectives that were of value to my own evaluation), you're not really providing any overall, coherent line of reasoning here to combat my own, leaving me with only two options: Continue repeating myself, or call it a day.

 

And so, I believe I've said all I know to say on the matter, between you and me.

 
Here we can agree, and I think know exactly where the other is coming from. Truthfully, it's been great at times in this discussion, but over the last three or four interchanges I've felt the fun drop out of it, and it seemed, even without your last post, that the same was true for you.
 
I find myself equally frustrated with your manner of approach, feeling that you're only prepared to deal with (often irrelevant) logical abstractions to the point of being obtuse regarding the realities of development.
 
I've enjoyed your posts here, enjoyed your posts elsewhere, and will doubtless enjoy your future posts. I don't think we're going to come to a shared conclusion any time soon, I agree that further repetition from either side would be unwelcome, and I too, respectfully draw a line under this.
 
Pro-trolls will quote either of us and disagree at this point.
Edited by Kjaamor
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@Kjaamor:

 

Heh, well, I was bored. Is it any shock I wrote a boring post? :)

 

For the record, I don't necessarily disagree with any of your arguments, though I do obviously disagree about PST (and Icewind Dale, actually). You do have valid points, and you've argued them well. I just think your fears will be unfounded.

 

I think what it comes down to is what works for each game and each player. PST is not the game for you, clearly, and that's fine. But I would argue that the way that game did things worked very well for that game, and that it worked very well for those who were willing to accept its idiosyncrasies (both deliberate and accidental).

 

Question, BTW: did you like KOTOR 2? I ask because that was another distinctive Chris Avellone piece. If you didn't care for that game either, I would suggest that you probably just don't care for Avellone's work in general. You seem to be more of a David Gaider fan - you even liked DA: O's companions despite not liking the game!

 

(Full disclosure: I'm a fan of both.)

 

If that is indeed the case, then I would suggest you probably will not care for the Avellone-written companions in PE, of which there will be (I believe) two. Seeing as how you won't have to take either of them, I think you'll be okay. :)

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Question, BTW: did you like KOTOR 2? I ask because that was another distinctive Chris Avellone piece. If you didn't care for that game either, I would suggest that you probably just don't care for Avellone's work in general. You seem to be more of a David Gaider fan - you even liked DA: O's companions despite not liking the game!

 

In terms of Avellone,

 

Loved Fallout 2

Didn't really like Planescape Torment

Hated the writing in both IWDs

Didn't really like Lionheart

Hated all of CoN (but the gameplay broke me first)

Thought KotOR 2 was okay for an unfinished product, but (crucially) didn't enjoy it as much as its predecessor

Hated the writing in NWN2

Didn't play MotB

Loved (in the sense that I was disturbed by) the writing in Fallout: New Vegas

 

General consensus would be that Chris works for me in the Fallout/Wasteland universe, but not so much in fantasy fare.

 

Well, that's depressing.

 

Edit: For the avoidance of doubt, the above opinions refer to games as a whole, and when specified as 'writing' it refers to all writing with the games, not just companions.

Edited by Kjaamor

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I must say man, you are very abrasive.

 

Only according to people who can't handle being talked to like they are an adult.

 

I read the thread, I just thought you had some kind of actual point or something I was missing.  There are already plenty of characters being developed for the game with actual back stories and personalities.  In fact if you count the characters from the baldur's gate games.... then toss out the ones that were one dimensional cliches...  I would expect to come up with around 8 or so characters tops.  I am sure there is at least one person in the hand made NPC's you will be able to tolerate.

Edited by Karkarov

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Only according to people who can't handle being talked to like they are an adult.

 

I read the thread, I just thought you had some kind of actual point or something I was missing.  There are already plenty of characters being developed for the game with actual back stories and personalities.  In fact if you count the characters from the baldur's gate games.... then toss out the ones that were one dimensional cliches...  I would expect to come up with around 8 or so characters tops.  I am sure there is at least one person in the hand made NPC's you will be able to tolerate.

 

Not going to even comment on that first statement.

 

You are a funny guy. So we should take your taste as the base line, then toss out the characters from BG according to it, and then we get 8 characters? Well then, why stop at BG, we could have done that for every game ever created then. Hand made characters?!? O_o As opposed to characters from others games that where done over seas in China. Must be why there where so much more in other games (cheap labor).

 

As you know this game has 5 slots for companions, and it would be nice if everyone could fill them with characters they like.

Edited by Sarex

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i don't get this bickering at all, sure there are only going to be 8 non adventurer's hall characters to join your party, but my last update in this thread referenced the update that talked about 16 characters being written with banters and such, 8 of which have their own 'companion' quest.

 

@ kjaamor if you have never heard of someone not liking bg's characters then you haven't read my posts, or the many critics that have since talked about how companions have come a long way since the whole baldur's gate series stuff.  for its time it had great companions, but has since been overshadowed by pretty much every rpg with companions, mainly due to the fact that most companions were just token characters.  nordom is a failing character in most faqs about PS:T, and the armour guy is often cited as coming into the game too late to really be considered a full fledged companion.

 

considering that adventurer's hall is going to have at least bg2 level characters, complete with banters, that pretty means that the key difference from the bg series of companions and the adventurer's hall companions is that you won't have one trying to get you to ditch one of the companions that you have played half the game with in favor of a complete stranger.

 

maybe i am wrong and there's an issue with adventurer's hall characters that i haven't heard about.

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Summary of this thread so far:

 

You can't please everyone, but let's try and figure out how to please everyone anyway. :)

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However, I think you underestimate how beloved Torment's companions are. Even leaving my personal feelings aside, I really do believe that while many would say BG2 is, on balance, the better game of the two, if you asked the backers of PE which game had the better companions, the winner by a wide margin would be PST.

 

 

Well I doubted this, but turns out the best companions poll supports the claim.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/64210-which-games-have-the-best-companions-what-makes-them-good/

 

It's not quite "loved to death by 90%", rather more to the tune of "liked by 75%".

Still by far the most loved by the forum dwellers. Which is a surprise enough.

I'd have expected a more even split by Torment and BG2.

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Well I doubted this, but turns out the best companions poll supports the claim.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/64210-which-games-have-the-best-companions-what-makes-them-good/

 

It's not quite "loved to death by 90%", rather more to the tune of "liked by 75%".

Still by far the most loved by the forum dwellers. Which is a surprise enough.

I'd have expected a more even split by Torment and BG2.

 

Mass Effect and Dragon Age blow both of them out off the water character wise.

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Well I doubted this, but turns out the best companions poll supports the claim.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/64210-which-games-have-the-best-companions-what-makes-them-good/

 

It's not quite "loved to death by 90%", rather more to the tune of "liked by 75%".

Still by far the most loved by the forum dwellers. Which is a surprise enough.

I'd have expected a more even split by Torment and BG2.

 

Mass Effect and Dragon Age blow both of them out off the water character wise.

 

do the same poll on any other forum and the outcome will be *slightly* different ;)

not to say torment doesn't have some of the best characters, because it does

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Well I doubted this, but turns out the best companions poll supports the claim.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/64210-which-games-have-the-best-companions-what-makes-them-good/

 

It's not quite "loved to death by 90%", rather more to the tune of "liked by 75%".

Still by far the most loved by the forum dwellers. Which is a surprise enough.

I'd have expected a more even split by Torment and BG2.

 

Mass Effect and Dragon Age blow both of them out off the water character wise.

 

do the same poll on any other forum and the outcome will be *slightly* different ;)

not to say torment doesn't have some of the best characters, because it does

 

 

There is really no comparing the games, torment may have the better story/plot, but character wise DA and Me win hands down.

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Yea, I'd take ME or DA companions over IE era companions any time.

But in this forum, arguably amongst PE backers in general, that's a minority opinion. 

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Yea, I'd take ME or DA companions over IE era companions any time.

But in this forum, arguably amongst PE backers in general, that's a minority opinion. 

 

I know, so I don't take it to heart too much. Even taking personal taste aside, ME and DA characters where really well done (even the abomination that was DA2 had great characters).

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It is difficult to say which game has best companions.

 

I liked companions in BG and BG2, but those games had some what poor companion interaction method (timed conversations) which caused you to miss sometimes that interaction with you companions. 

 

PS:T had much better interaction method and even better interaction with the companions and in my opinion they where also much more intresting characters.

 

MEs had very nice companion they in that sense that I liked to interact with them but in most cases that was more because of acting and animation than quality of writing, which was also at least decend if not good, but it in my opinion BGs and PS:T had better writing for companions, but that is probably because they didn't need to be cinematic in the interaction sequence.

 

DA:O has good writing and acting for the companions, which is why it is bummer that I found them to be mostly unintresting character for my taste, otherwise I would probably say that it has best companions.

 

Jade Empire has good and bad character with deced acting, but it falls short in every segment when you comparare it to other games.

 

DA2 has more intresting character and even better acting than DA:O, but their writing especially in interactions with main character is some what flawed which is reason why I would drop it behind DA:O and MEs.

 

Neverwinter Nights has very generic feel in it's companion charactes, but it's expansion packs has very intresting and well writen characters and same goes for Neverwinter Nights 2, but campaings where they are in are also shorter than in other games which make them harder to compare, but companions in Mask of the Betrayer and Hordes of the Underdark are very good.  

 

Kotor has good many good companions but it also has some most annoying companions that I needed to suffer through the game, which is why I would rank them high, but not in the top or near the top.

 

Kotor II has also very well writen and acted companions, but it too has some companions that I didn't like so much. And its character interaction falls some what in parts in the end game.

 

Fallout 1 and 2 both have funny companions that I really enjoyed, but they aren't mostly very deep characters, which works fine in those games, but still don't make them best made companions :).

 

Fallout New Vegas has nice companions but because of nature of the game they don't feel that important than what companions in other games feel.

 

I liked companions in The Dark Eye: Drakensang too, but they overall I don't like them as much as I like companions in other games. River of Time has little better character but I still like companions in other games better.

 

So there is several RPGs which I think have good companions and if need to choose which I really like most, I would choose PS:T because I like their philosophical writing and how they make me to think more than companions in other games and how they make fun of the typical rpg clichés.

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