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Josh Sawyer on dealing with grognards


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Grognards is an actual word. It literally means Old School.

You learn something new every day. :)

 

Wow, someone's a little upset that the devs think differently than they do.

Yup. Here we go. TechnicalityFest, 2K14.

 

I'm just gonna get him some Olympic judges' signs, so whenever people say anything, he can just hold 5 of them up in succession:

 

"Four-point-three... four-point-five... four-point-one... two-point-nine..."

 

It'll be a lot faster than saying "I get what you meant, but I'm still just going to focus on how much below 100% efficiency your example was." 8)

Edited by Lephys

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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...

Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.

“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) youhave to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

Sawyer laughs as he explains that even the most hardcore grognards will be the first to acknowledge that some of the things they’re asking for are just completely unacceptable.

“I don’t even think those memories (they have) are necessarily rose-tinted,” he says. “They’ll straight up admit that they like stuff that’s really grognard-ey, and they don’t care. That’s fair enough.”

...

Sawyer explains that the one thing he thinks modern games have done well is to “make their RPG system rulesets clear and consistent”. “The old D&D systems were not very consistent,” he says. “They were full of trap builds and ‘gotcha’ moments and stuff like that. I don’t think that’s good, I think it restricts player enjoyment a lot, for not a lot of gain.”

“Maybe the grognards like it, but for everyone else it’s kind of frustrating and so we try to get away from that as much as possible.”

“There are people that’ll say to me ‘oh man, it’s fun to do that’, but no. No, it’s not.”
 

 


 

Wow, deriding your most hardcore fans and going full mainstream I see.

Well, I had high hopes for this game but it seems this might be worse than "Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel"!

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Has Sawyer considered that he, in a funny sort of way, is one of the Neu Grognards?

 

What's a Neu Grognard?

 

The Young Guard? The Old Guard, of course, were Les Grognards. :)

 

 

Ah, wow, learn something new everyday. The Grumblers. I thought grognard was another weird English combo like Middlesex or Bunbury. Had no idea, shamefully, they were French rapierists.

 

Edit: oh, woops, the punlord beat me to the daily learning idiom thing. No problem, I accept your apology.  ;)

 

er, that's not an idiom. I am an idiot, however. 

Edited by ManifestedISO

All Stop. On Screen.

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...

 

Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.

 

“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) youhave to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

 

Sawyer laughs as he explains that even the most hardcore grognards will be the first to acknowledge that some of the things they’re asking for are just completely unacceptable.

 

“I don’t even think those memories (they have) are necessarily rose-tinted,” he says. “They’ll straight up admit that they like stuff that’s really grognard-ey, and they don’t care. That’s fair enough.”

 

...

 

Sawyer explains that the one thing he thinks modern games have done well is to “make their RPG system rulesets clear and consistent”. “The old D&D systems were not very consistent,” he says. “They were full of trap builds and ‘gotcha’ moments and stuff like that. I don’t think that’s good, I think it restricts player enjoyment a lot, for not a lot of gain.”

 

“Maybe the grognards like it, but for everyone else it’s kind of frustrating and so we try to get away from that as much as possible.”

 

“There are people that’ll say to me ‘oh man, it’s fun to do that’, but no. No, it’s not.”

 

 

 

Wow, deriding your most hardcore fans and going full mainstream I see.

Well, I had high hopes for this game but it seems this might be worse than "Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel"!

 

Yeah, I can make things sound bad too with a lack of context.

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Edit: oh, woops, the punlord beat me to the daily learning idiom thing. No problem, I accept your apology.  ;)

Phew... it was already in the mail and everything!

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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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Wow, deriding your most hardcore fans and going full mainstream I see.

Well, I had high hopes for this game but it seems this might be worse than "Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel"!

Yeah, I can make things sound bad too with a lack of context.

 

Yup. Call of Duty. "Don't like shooting stuff? Don't play this game." Mean, or just truthful? :)

 

I don't think Josh is really mean about any of this. He's not calling grognards idiots. He's just saying that ensuring that a bunch of hardcore worst-case-scenario stuff is in place, for nostalgia's sake, isn't really in line with the goal of the game's design, overall. Basically, it's statistically fun for too few people, and having it not-in-the-game isn't really making a game that's the complete opposite of what grognards will actually enjoy, anyway.

 

Personally, I like that he just speaks his mind casually about stuff, instead of taking extreme efforts to make sure he phrases everything in such a way that it's most definitely sugar-coated for everyone. Being blunt about it like this is much better than stepping around it with "Well, unfortunately, that's really not in line with our design goals." That leaves a lot more worry to the imagination than "here's specifically what I think of stuff like that, and I'm just not going out of my way to support very specific situations that most of the player base isn't going to enjoy."

 

He's not talking about all players in the world. He's talking about people who like to play RPGs.

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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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I don't think he was unimpressed, or even "not very impressed." He just said that, for him, it wasn't as immediately impressive as Wasteland 2, and that the combat he was shown looked basic. That's not "unimpressed," that's "I was impressed, but I have some reservations." Which is fair enough.

I agree. If it's the RPS article I *think* we're talking about, his only real complaint (aside from the stuff you mentioned) was that the quests that he got to see were "standard fare". He cited a nobleman at a bar who was looking for his daughter, and a cemetery that had a ghoul like creature who was lamenting about its plight and asking for help.I'm not sure what he was expecting. He was given a pre-alpha demo of the first couple of hours of the game. Did he expect to be instantly tossed into an earth-shaking, super dynamic, faction-changing, branching quest line that early on? The *good* games don't do that. They ease you in gradually. As it stands, that entire article did nothing but make me more excited about the game!

Well, that's the problem with previewing any game. You can either take the devs' promises at face value and report on them, in which case you'll be accused of shilling, or you can report on what you actually saw, in which case you'll be accused of being overly critical. You can't win.

 

An RPG of this nature poses special problems. Show someone the first thirty minutes of Baldur's Gate, and they'll come away thinking it's about a kid who grows up in a library and talks to dudes in green robes. Show 'em the first thirty minutes of BG2, and they'll think it's about escaping some weird dude's dungeon. First thirty minutes of Divine Divinity makes you think "Diablo clone," or, if you're generous, "weirdly ambitious Diablo clone."

 

Games like PoE are straight-up bad at conveying the totality of their scope in half an hour. And that's exactly what we love about them, which makes it infinitely more problematic. Publishers want games journalists to be psyched after thirty minutes, so they water down RPGs until they're things which can be comprehended in thirty minutes. It's a diseased system.

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Grognards is an actual word. It literally means Old School.

 

 

 

 

Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.

 

“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

K, is this supposed to be representative of what "grognards" want? Aside from the fact that I can only think of 1 (one) such encounter in ALL of IE games (Kangaxxx), I have yet to meet a grognard who's ever said: "hey I want more encounters that force me to use at least 1 rogue and 2 clerics." or "I hate modern games because they don't require you to have a Fighter!" lol

 

Although this comment from Josh does seem a bit odd considering that he's decided to give MMO like combat role definitions to the classes. From the above, I'm assuming I can have a well rounded party without a "mob ruler" or a "heavy hitter"? Gee I sure hope so. I'd hate to be GM-sucker punched because I decided to roll up an all mage party due to my love for mages.

 

Wow, someone's a little upset that the devs think differently than they do.

 

Huh?

 

Think differently about what?

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Yeah, I can make things sound bad too with a lack of context.

Enough already, Bryy. In one post you remind us all that sometimes people have differing opinions, and then, in your next post you use silly sarcasm to deride someone for.... having a different opinion. Why don't you practice what you preach?

 

 

Let me tell you what I *think* is happening here. Josh is a blunt guy. God love him. The world needs more people like him. However, he tends to lace his bluntness with sweeping generalizations. And that's what causes the dissent that you seem to be crusading against, here. Again, I've never met a Grognard who loved rigid encounters that only had one solution to them, or that could only be beaten with a specific party makeup. Ever. I have met Grognards who don't mind such encounters (I'm one of them). And others who flat out dislike them. So I don't know how or why he gets off tossing such labels at us. It comes across as caustic. And there's no need for it anyway. he could just as effectively answer questions and promote his game by just telling us what's in and what's not, without giving us elaborate "whys" and "why nots" specifically designed to piss off whole segments of the fan base.

Edited by Stun
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I like that they aren't pussyfooting around and pretending the game is something it isn't to get the maximum number of buyers.

 

"Don't like reading anything longer than a twitter post? Then go buy another game." 

 

I support this message. 

 

EDIT: Not important, but I always thought Grognard was very specifically a term used to describe old school wargamers. Never heard it used to describe old school RPGers.

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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Wasn't Grognard that silly Gnome Bard in Neverwinter Nights 2?

 

Think that was Grobnar.

 

I associate the term 'Grognard' with the kind of wargamer who prefers computer games that look like this:

 

rgwss1.jpg

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Enough already, Bryy. In one post you remind us all that sometimes people have differing opinions, and then, in your next post you use silly sarcasm to deride someone for.... having a different opinion. Why don't you practice what you preach?

I was commenting on how they were taking that comment at face value instead of thinking about it?

 

To be clear, I was not saying anything about his opinion. I was saying he should think about the context of what is being said before he comments on it. Two entirely different things.

 

Calm down, dude. 

Edited by Bryy
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To the surprise of nobody who's ever read one of my posts anywhere on the entire internet, I agree completely.

 

Also, as someone who reads/listens to as much of the dialogue in a game as possible, no matter how stupid, I greatly appreciate Josh's stance on that issue. Writing dialogue for people who hate dialogue leads to bad dialogue, period, end of story. It's like making all movies for the guy who won't sit still unless EXPLOSIONS SHOUTING EXPLOSIONS AMERICA is happening constantly. And that's how we get Michael Bay movies.

I concur but in all fairness you also have to consider another reason I think we see a lot less dialogue in games lately.  Well 2 reasons.

 

1: Why write an explanation of what that Altar looks like when in most modern graphically detailed games the player can simply look at it and get that info themselves?  "Descriptive writing" just isn't necessary in most modern games due to modern graphical fidelity.

 

2: People love voice acting.  It is pretty cheap to write 3-4 paragraphs of dialog for a character.  Heck it isn't really that terrible to have a central character splurge out 100+ pages of dialog over the course of a game.  Paying a voice actor to read it all.... not quite so cheap anymore.  When dialog costs so much more than it used to sometimes you gotta save money somewhere and be a little less verbose.

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“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

 

There are people who like(d) this? I consider myself closer to a traditionalist in nature, but when has this ever been a "feature" anyone enjoyed?

 

*Edited for grammar/spelling corrections.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent
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“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

 

There are people who like this? I consider myself a traditionalist closer to a traditionalist in nature, but when has this ever been a think anyone enjoyed?

 

Careful. I pointed this out a page ago and was immediately accosted by someone here who felt the need to remind me that devs have different opinions than us, or something.

 

But seriously, that comment is nonsense. Most "traditionalists" or "Grognards" I've seen want the OPPOSITE. We are the ones who look at games like WoW and Dragon Age 2 and scoff at the cookie-cutter template parties those games require for success. Ie... Gotta have a Tank, Gotta have a DPS character, and gotta have a Crowd Controller, or else GTFO.

Edited by Stun
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But seriously, that comment is nonsense. Most "traditionalists" or "Grognards" I've seen want the OPPOSITE. We are the ones who look at games like WoW and Dragon Age 2 and scoff at the cookie-cutter template parties those games require for success. Ie... Gotta have a Tank, Gotta have a DPS character, and gotta have a Crowd Controller, or else GTFO.

 

Agreed. One area which I would really like to see change revert to the "old school", would be smaller scale Gold Box scenarios. I'm so tired of LoTR derivatives where ONLY YOU--THE CHOSEN ONE, can save ALL OF EXISTENCE from the HORDE OF BAD GUYS.

 

*Sigh*

 

What happened to haunted keeps and swamps? When the scope is too large, both the stories and the characters get lost--player controlled or otherwise. Just take things down a notch and focus on the quest your on. Make each quest have character and meaning rather than being a speed-bump to aggrandizing your messiah complex.

 

I would have been much happier with the NWN official Campaign if they had just focused all of their energy and equivalent resources into Chapter 1 and the city itself. There was so much room for intrigue and drama, but it just got lost in the yawn-worthy epic scope they pushed. I believe it to be the main reason why the expansions were so much better than the original OC. I feel this can be said just about every c"RPG" ever made since.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent
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I concur but in all fairness you also have to consider another reason I think we see a lot less dialogue in games lately.  Well 2 reasons.

 

1: Why write an explanation of what that Altar looks like when in most modern graphically detailed games the player can simply look at it and get that info themselves?  "Descriptive writing" just isn't necessary in most modern games due to modern graphical fidelity.

 

2: People love voice acting.  It is pretty cheap to write 3-4 paragraphs of dialog for a character.  Heck it isn't really that terrible to have a central character splurge out 100+ pages of dialog over the course of a game.  Paying a voice actor to read it all.... not quite so cheap anymore.  When dialog costs so much more than it used to sometimes you gotta save money somewhere and be a little less verbose.

1 is true enough, but doesn't really have anything to do with actual dialogue. I mean, I realize that "dialogue" is the place where we usually see the descriptive text, even if it's not claiming to be part of an actual conversation, but, what I mean is, the lack of descriptive text has nothing to do with how the dialogue text that is there is written.

 

2 is fine, but, again, doesn't really change the fact that something's either crappily written or it isn't. I get the whole cost thing, but that's simply a factor to consider when choosing between VO or none. It's kinda like the super-early 3D games. Devs had to choose "Hmm... do we stick with a 2D engine and make something that looks pretty nice, or does 3D support out game so well that it's actually fine by us if each object model in the world is made of 3 colored polygons?"

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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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VO can really set the scene and set the game on fire. It's VO Mismanagement that has been hurting games recently. I'm looking forward to seeing how DA3 handles it.

 

In my mind BG1 is the perfect example of how voice acting can enhance a game. Lots of really colourful voice acting there. I wonder who they hired to do it? Reasonably they must have been in contact with some organization, I don't really see how you can recruit such a diverse cast on an individual basis. Local theatre actors must be the ideal candidates to contact for VO in a game.

 

VO only became in indicator of **** when people decided they needed "celebrities" to do it, and that all dialogue should be voice acted. Meanwhile I'm sure excellent semi-famous voice actors such as David Warner (Irenicus in BG2) and Stephen Russell (Garrett in Thief) could still make excellent contributions to games with a budget slightly above PE.

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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VO only became in indicator of **** when people decided they needed "celebrities" to do it, and that all dialogue should be voice acted. Meanwhile I'm sure excellent semi-famous voice actors such as David Warner (Irenicus in BG2) and Stephen Russell (Garrett in Thief) could still make excellent contributions to games with a budget slightly above PE.

 

In addition, VO instantly crosses the line from 'good' to 'bad' when it starts to limit other content. If you have the option to make lots of interesting quests with an abundance of unique ways to solve them, and instead cut a bunch of those quests and give only one or two solutions to the ones that remain so you can afford VO for every piece of dialogue, your priorities suck.

 

But yeah, BG2 without David Warner's voicing Irenicus would have been a much weaker game. Strategic use of VO can improve a game tremendously. 

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