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no class based strongholds, I believe, but you can upgrade it with different structures for different benefits.

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Well, since this is the Stronghold thread I might just as well post this here.

 

So, I'm late to the party. Probably too late. But here's my two cents.

 

Okay, I've thought a bit about what kept me unsatisfied/worried about the player stronghold preview and I think I've been able to pin my worries down by now: the preview, well, it's less than stellar on several levels. Yes, I know that's harsh, and it is not meant as an accusation against the people who do the modeling and rendering, and I apologize if I've just insulted them. However, having said that, here's my reasoning for being so critical. The problems are on the conceptual level.

 

Project Eternity and its background try to present a world rooted in what I'd call magical realism (it's fantasy with magic and monsters, but adheres to basic RL logic), a world that's going through a political, economic and technological transition. There's a been a war, there are still tensions, and the placement and design of fortifications and settlements should represent as much. Even if we don't go with the full medieval European design there are a few basic functions any stronghold's placement would come down to, regardless of cultural and/or time period inspiration: border protection, trade route protection, vital landmark protection (river ford, mountain pass, etc.), settlement protection. From this also flows its general design.

 

Example? Crossroads Keep from NWN2. It presides over a crossroads, a junction of trade routes.

 

What it does needs to be represented in the general map layout (what is its basic function?) - is it watching over a river ford, is it controlling a trade route, is it the administrative center over nearby villages, etc. - as well as it needs to show in the keep's own layout (design). What the stronghold has to have is an ingame meta-function that goes beyond player stronghold. It needs a raison d'être, a reason why it's there in the first place!

 

pe-stronghold-2444x1172.jpg

 

What we have here is just an artificial hodgepodge of elements that, by and large, have no right to exist there in the first place. You need to decide what this place's original meta-function was/is and develop it from there on. Because right now it's just a shambles of disparate elements that are placed there because you want them, and not because they make any kind of in-game sense. I know that what we see is a WIP, so my critcism can only be limited and based on the elements we are shown here. And there is one thing that holds true for almost every interpretation of a stronghold: Inside the walls space is a limited commodity.

 

Is it a fortress?

Then where are moat and drawbridge and weapons emplacements? And why does it look more like a theme park? Where are the stables and barracks and forges, and why does everything waste so much space? You do realize how a fortress looks, don't you? It's huge, imposing and uses the terrain to its advantage. This here is a fortress (Krak des Chevaliers):

esfewfrewrfewrf-1024x601.jpg

 

Is it a noble's manor?

Then why is the house we see on the upper right corner so dull and small, and why is the place so heavily fortified? A manor isn't a fortress; it's a place where you live your everyday life in the highest possible amount of comfort.

 

Is it a settlement?

Too few houses spread too far; no obvious craftsmen; no seat of power. Now, settlements don't need to have seats of power, but since it's supposed to be your settlement... Take this here, for example. It's pre-medieval but conveys the idea well enough.

Viking-TrelleborgFortressReconst-U-485-L

Houses are clustered closely together to save space. The larger the space, the more able bodied men are needed to defend it! Limited agriculture is done inside the courtyards of each house cluster. This holds true to an even greater extent for walled medieval/renaissance-era settlement.

 

A castle/noble's keep?

Too much space is wasted, there's no visible center to it all, and it's not fortified enough. Worst of all - and that counts for all iterations aside from the manor house - there's no visible geographic component that suggest why the thing's been placed there in the first place. Take this here, for example. It sits on an elevated rock formation and guards a small river and a trade route below:

burg-eltz-german-castle.jpg

 

 

The thing you have to ask yourselves is "What was this place, and how can it become what we want it to be?" Right now the apparent logic simply seems to be "We want a player stronghold with pre-existing accomodations for different races and classes." What needs to be established, however, is why such a place exists right there in the first place, and why it exists in its current form.

 

So, what does this mean for the general design of the place?

First, lets sum up what we have so far: you have to make up your minds why this place is where it is for what reason BEFORE the player becomes the owner. What was its original function, and does what we have fit that description?

Secondly, how can you achieve what you want without it looking as - sorry guys - ridiculously stupid as the images above?

 

And the most simple and versatile alternative here would be a tower keep sitting on a rock spur above a river ford. You can literally use that for everything. Want a maze? Nearby woods. A place for bards to perform? Your great hall or a tavern at the foot of the hill. You're a mage? Then this is your mage tower. Fighter? Noble. And each of those variants can be mixed, and your stronghold can expand organically to fit them. It also allows for enough accomodation inside to house your companions, and offers enough of a reasonable location to have mini-quests, battles and you doing "administrative" work.

 

This here, for example, would be a decent player stronghold in opinion.

alte_burg-8.jpg

 

Whatever you do, please promise me it'll make more sense than what you have now.

 

Fortification porn of the finest quality, and in general I agree with everything this gentleman states, form should generally follow function. Candlekeep was a quite nice example of this.

Edited by Nonek
  • Like 7

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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I agree with Posbi's post overall, but I'd note that in terms of fortification the design seems to have a nod towards the "unimposing" fortresses of the early 16th century, designed to deal with both gunpowder weapons and more traditional assaults. Ever since I first saw it, I got the impression of an earlier design that had been hastily modified (eg. walls thickend, tops of towers chopped off) to minimize its profile and maximize resistance against cannon fire.

 

Just noting that not all fortresses look like Krak des Chevaliers. Posbi's overall point is still just as valid, however.

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Fort Phorne. It could be a noble family name. :)

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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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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Tim,could I have my own wine cellar and table game room :w00t:  

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Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, She got the Mercedes Benz

She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends

How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.

Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had forgot about the details on the Stronghold and luckily found this update again, I'm so happy this stretch goal was reached! Sounds like so much fun, hopefully the bandits attacking can't take any of my stored items within the stronghold but dosn't sound like they can - just sound like they can affect your wallet, or maybe free prisoners. I picture myself spending way too many hours on just this part of the game. 

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What it does needs to be represented in the general map layout (what is its basic function?) - is it watching over a river ford, is it controlling a trade route, is it the administrative center over nearby villages, etc. - as well as it needs to show in the keep's own layout (design). What the stronghold has to have is an ingame meta-function that goes beyond player stronghold. It needs a raison d'être, a reason why it's there in the first place!

 

 

Thank you for verbalizing what had bothered me at the back of my mind, too, when I saw the design. It felt like something out of a browser game to me but I couldn't tell why. Thanks to you, now I know: because it's just upgradable stuff thrown onto a screen.

 

Also, I've been to Eltz Castle so yay for choosing that as an example ;)

Edited by mudd1
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Interesting and sorry to be a bit of a downer but upon reading, immediately it brought up a couple issues to my mind...

 

1) What if we don't want a stronghold and be a good little lording for some X or Y faction? Seems all these things will be heavily forced upon you rather than being actual decisions the player needs to take. Why not have multiple options with the same general concept: Stronghold to rule the land, Bandit camp to rob the land, Mercenary camp to fight for it. Each offering slightly different options, with some hints of "good, neutral, evil" aspects to them that can be tied to the story and the choices made by the player.

2) The details seem to imply that one can only improve by gaining Prestige and it's implied that Prestige means people "like you and know you better". What if instead you choose Notoriety, does that mean you lose money or something? What are the other options than being a "good" lord?

3) What about Paladin and Priest orders? It seems that they already don't really matter overall despite their background but will Strongholds be structured based on your class, especially if they have specific options such as for Paladins and Clerics or be generic and the same for everyone? I mean, if you're a Bleak Walker Paladin, you'd expect things to be run slightly different than a Shieldbearer Paladin. Likewise, if you're a Priest of Skaen, or even the outlawed religion of Eothas, where does THAT makes sense that you get a Stronghold somehow and be left to rule as you please unless you actually conquer it by force or something.

4) Prisoners, nice. Hopefully a Priest of Skaen will be able to torture them aplenty and do "unspeakable rites", as it's described in the character creation lore for them. Right? :)

5) What if we don't want all those extra companions? Do we HAVE to take them in no matter what?

6) So while exploring in the middle of nowhere, we'll get news about what's happening miles away at our keep somehow? What's the reasoning behind this?

 

So yea, cool concept, but seems very gimmicky, like some kind of pet mini-game or something because: "reasons", rather than something properly designed and interesting to fit in with the entire story of your character.

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What about Paladin and Priest orders? It seems that they already don't really matter overall despite their background

This is relatively off-topic in regard to the Stronghold, but I need to make it clear that this is wrong. The Backer Beta has made it clear that a Priest's chosen deity, and your class choice in general, will be recognised and it will have an affect on your interactions with people throughout the game.

 

Considering how keen Obsidian are on allowing Players the freedom to play as they wish, the Stronghold itself will probably not take into account your chosen class. But there are likely a number of ways to build and manage your Stronghold, allowing you to prioritise what you want and when you want it.

 

Meaning, if you think your Bleak Walker would build up the fortress defenses before fortifying any trade routes or setting up shops, that will likely be your decision to make.

Edited by Sylvanpyxie
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Meaning, if you think your Bleak Walker would build up the fortress defenses before fortifying any trade routes or setting up shops, that will likely be your decision to make.

 

Err, that's not a choice I really care about. That's like a choice between wielding a mace or a hammer.

 

And yes, I saw a Priest of Skaen video with the Skaen quest line, that's pretty cool but also the very foundation of what you'd expect in such a game right?

 

My point was, in a story-line, how the hell do you rationalize situations where a "Bleak Walker human Aristocrat Paladin" (considered as crazy hard liners nobody even wants to talk to), "a Priest of Skaen godlike slave" (regarded with fear and disgust and who considers torture a good pass time), "a Barbarian Orlan drifter" (not even considered civilized, doubly because of Orlan race) and a "dissident elf chanter" (known for their isolationist nature) automatically, by the end of the 1st act, gain access to the exact same stronghold, all with shared mechanics, basing the strength of such mechanic (hence success) on a Prestige system (ignoring apparently Notoriety completely).

 

I know they're supposed to be good with stories but wow, just wow, that one must be hard to pull off for any good writer.Even BG2 didn't try THAT one and had different strongholds IF you wanted one and you were, by then, already quite powerful and renowned and it involved pretty specific side quests.

That's all I'm saying. Maybe they can pull it off, who knows! But from what I'm reading, it's forced, single minded, gimmicky and ignores your character concept completely.

 

Hopefully I'm 100% wrong :)

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  • 2 months later...

I hope that the stronghold will be constantly added with  new content. New quests / events / builds would be a great way to spend time away from the main story. So much room for growth being in charge if a Stronghold. I even imagine venturing out into the wild, clearing it of creatures to set up steadings / mills / outposts .  An Underground fissure or sinkhole  opening from the caslte basement, perhaps when renovating. Would provide a perfect underground quest line. The endless possibilities.

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Build a man a fire, and he will be warm for a day...

Set a man on fire and he will be warm the rest of his life...

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^ I do hope that it's only optional in the sense that you either decide to manage it or don't. I hate when something's SO optional that it doesn't matter at all what you do with it. "I'm going to manage the stronghold, but then I'm not going to take care of it or fend off attacks at all, yet NO CONSEQUENCES OCCUR! 8D!"

 

I don't see the point in the "Do it" option if it doesn't affect anything. Now, the "just don't even choose to own/manage it" option might not really affect much (other than that you simply miss out on the things you could've done), but, once you've chosen to interact with it, it should matter.

 

Also, BLnoT, your signature is splendid! ^_^

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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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^Check out the wiki page for known info and pictures:

http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Stronghold

 

Edit: also a 'before/after' pic reposted in this post:

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/64350-update-63-stronghold/?p=1400651

Edited by Silent Winter

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

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  • 3 months later...

Seeing the last stream, the stronghold environment (main keep, manor, outside houses, etc) looks awesome and i really, really love it.

 

I'm just worried about a thing:

 

Will the scenario get populated a bit with game progression?  'Cause all that big space and stuff feel empty.

 

Would be nice to see people patrolling and populating the environment as the game goes on 

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  • 2 months later...

I  like the stronghold but i find it can be really better...... For first look that is ok but i would like a little bit more....Maybe  change the 8 mercenaries for trainer of troops, officer, sergent, recruiter,  farmer, doctor, black Smith ...  Organise patrol in the land and on the road, help village for win bonus prestige/security.

 

For resume: Be more implicated in my land and with my milician or army each time i go to my stronghold. No need to do mission myself, just give order and receive result by my administrator.

 

Maybe the situation can evolve in each expansion of the game...

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