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Narrative Flexibility in Project Eternity from the Beginning  

81 members have voted

  1. 1. How much control would you like to have over your main character's backstory?

    • I'd like to control my character's past accomplishments and/or level of prestige.
      25
    • I'd like to choose my character's wealth/financial background or starting skill level.
      22
    • I'd like to define my character's personality, habits, and other quirks in advance, in addition to defining these through play (would affect dialog options).
      40
    • I'd like to determine my character's moral alignment, values, and other motivations in advance, as well as defining these through play.
      38
    • I'd like to pick areas of knowledge in which my character has prior learning (could affect dialogue options and certain checks).
      52
    • I'd like to choose my character's religion and/or cultural heritage (could affect dialog options and starting location).
      55
    • I would be happy picking from a few generic archetype-based backstories (ex. orphan or widow) that explain my character's call to heroism.
      30
    • I think this detracts from the strength of the narrative.
      6
    • I am ambivalent/apathetic to this.
      14
  2. 2. Should Project Eternity offer different starting locations?

    • One should be able to start a character in virtually every small village.
      3
    • There should be a series of starting locations, that you can choose from depending on your character's cultural heritage.
      34
    • I'm content with all characters starting from the same place.
      41
    • I think this is a bad idea for some other reason.
      3


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While I'd love to select from a bazillion options, I'd also like there to be two options to choose first.

 

1. Start with default character.

2. Customize character.

 

Where option 1 immediately tosses you into the game with a well balanced fighter.

You're some dude, now face the adventure!

I think NWN2's "Recommended" button is the best solution to this: I was perfectly happy with it from a usability perspective (I just wish it made smarter choices sometimes). Do as much or as little micro-management as you desire! My preference was to carefully micro-manage my PC's build, and let the recommended button take care of the companions at level-up (unless it made a really, really stupid decisions like wasting feats on Weapon Focus and Toughness).

Edited by Micamo

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While I'd love to select from a bazillion options, I'd also like there to be two options to choose first.

 

1. Start with default character.

2. Customize character.

 

Where option 1 immediately tosses you into the game with a well balanced fighter.

You're some dude, now face the adventure!

Haha.

 

"You're out tilling the fields for the season. Suddenly... DRAGONS! Annnd play!"

 

 

Hmmm... I'll remain open-minded toward such "choke points" in Project Eternity, but the understandable notion that all supernatural plot events must irrevocably change the world is just yet another reason why I'm increasingly liking the sound of an RPG sans magic. "But how could a mundane and unexceptional situation possibly be interesting?" Well this isn't a place for me to rant about magic, so I'll leave it at that.

I agree with your sentiments, McManusaur. However, I wouldn't equate a supernatural plot event in P:E being quite significant to the narrative with ALL supernatural plot events always drastically shaping the narrative.

 

It's when the significance of the event relies directly upon its mere supernaturalness that such things are crappy. That's just bad writing.

 

Example: There's fundamentally no difference between a powerful Mage or dragon attacking a city and leveling some buildings, and an army/militant group attacking a city with perfectly realistic explosives/technology and leveling some buildings. The significance of that attack upon a city should (if you're a good writer) come from oodles of other factors (what buildings were taken out, what was going on at the time, who was involved, who KNEW who was involved, who made what decisions whilst fighting them off, or prevented them from destroying further buildings, etc.), not from "OMG CANNONS!" or "MAGEERY!" or "DRAGON-NESS!".

 

In other words, fantasy and non-fantasy are just flavors. Bad writing is bad writing, not because supernaturalness, but because bad writing.

Edited by Lephys
  • Like 3

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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How much control would you like to have over your main character's backstory?

 

It might not be terribly helpful to the poll, but I selected all but the last option. I love character creation and I almost always think the more options the better.

 

The downside of the above, is that it makes it trickier to weave the personal into the narrative (although I appreciate that many people here are seeking the opposite of this anyway). In the past this has been done most succesfully when games have kept restrictions on the history of the player character. Baldur's Gate is a good example of this. KotOR is an EXCELLENT example of this.

 

I wouldn't regard myself as apathetic about this, because I'd be excited about either approach. What I would say, is that if Obsidian haven't already committed to the latter, I'd like to see as many options as possible in the former.

 

Should Project Eternity offer different starting locations?

 

I could rant about DA:O and what went wrong there, but I'll just keep it short for once and say that I don't feel different starting locations are necessary or a particularly useful use of resources.

 

(edited for formatting, which went a bit strange)

Edited by Kjaamor
  • Like 1

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I think giving you too much choice in terms of 'who is your character?' can lead to a helluva lot of problems. I'm sure it has been mentioned, but if you have a thousand different storylines, the way they integrate into the main plot will be cheap - much as I have faith in these guys, they can't write an entirely new game simply because your Halfling Barbarian decided to be born in Bum's End rather than Ear's Hole.

 

At the same time, however, I think a few choices are key. Having a single set place where everyone originates from can stilt the imagination. Take Candlekeep; Candlekeep was a decent example, because you could be a wild child, wandering outside, a fighter, always sparring with the Guards, or any number of things - they gave you a reasonable explanation. However, you couldn't be a wandering old man who just wanted to be left alone, or a pretty young house wife with a bustling family. It set you up in the perfect place to jump into the story with few hindrances, and then gave you options from there.

 

Looking at Chris Avellone's work, I think that'll be the case. You'll have options as to where you're from, what kind of reputation you have, but you'll have been funnelled through a castle or an event that sets you up to become the Hero of Project Eternity. I don't mind that at all, as it gives me a very nice point to jump off from. What I'm worried about is that they make your past essentially written - NWN2, you were Dagen's foster son. Baldur's Gate, you were Orion's Ward. Give me a bit of mystery, or let me choose my own past. Icewind Dale, while light on the integration, gave me plenty of time to just have fun with my backstory. 


""...any man who faces battle without concern, is a moonstruck fool.
To be brave is to go forward anyway, no matter how afeared!
That is why I go forward, with so many other brave men."

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I'm not debating the quality of the implementation. Only stating the literal. "You actually start" in whatever background you chose. And you play from there. It's not "just a cutscene." "It might as well be a big cutscene 'cause it was such an excuse for 'gameplay'" might be accurate, but, again, I'm not even attempting to debate that. So, it's moot.

 

I'm attempting to discuss concrete, objective, tangible design shapes/paths/factors regarding the intro of the game, and how to best incorporate backstory lore and the like.

Well I'd like to add that they functioned as tutorials and gave different perspectives of the DA:O world, and you wouldn't have got the same impact from a cutscene.

 

 

 

 

I could rant about DA:O and what went wrong there, but I'll just keep it short for once and say that I don't feel different starting locations are necessary or a particularly useful use of resources.

 

(edited for formatting, which went a bit strange)

 

I agree that it might have been a waste of resources. In general I find it more desirable for different paths or exclusive content to appear later in the game, as it is rather anti-climatic to have the most exciting content in the beginning of a story. Its leads to a kind of a preprogrammed letdown. However, for whatever faults DA:O had, and that included the origins not being followed up on as well as they could have been, I still enjoyed them. 

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I think giving you too much choice in terms of 'who is your character?' can lead to a helluva lot of problems.

This is quite true.

 

To put it simply, though, even if you can't merely ask "Who was/is your character?," you can still ask "How/why did your character get here?"

 

Maybe he can't get somewhere else, and there are only so many valid reasons for his being in the given situation. That's all we need, though. Scope.

 

There's more than one way to skin a narrative. :)


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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