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Character Custom History/Biography

wasteland 2 character generator creation biography history chargen

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#1
Osvir

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Hi!

So I got Wasteland 2 from Steam and absolutely loving it. It feels slick! Regardless, that's not what I wanted to talk about.

Character creation.

Some backstory to the idea:
Wasteland 2 has a very nice chargen, there's lots of pieces you can put together to create the character. I do have one issue with Wasteland 2's character creation, and that's the biography/history section where you can write your characters history yourself. Wasteland 2 has a very open ended beginning so your character can truly be anyone... but who is anyone in the Wasteland 2 world?

When did the fallout begin? What are the factions? What are their roles? What's the timeline? I had no clue at first (I have now both looked it up and got some ideas from some replies on the same issue on the WL2 forum). Regardless, these are important things for the Player to be able to insert their character into the world authentically.

The idea for Pillars of Eternity & Wasteland 2:
Make it a bit easier, accessible, for the Player to write their backstory. Give some pointers or hints about the world in some descriptive tooltip-box of some kind during Character Creation. Hover over a "?" (Questionmark) and some text pops up. Maybe have a bullet-point list of some important things~ I don't want to write "My character is an X coming from Y" and then when I play the game/progression I don't want to encounter something pointing out my own created loopholes or flaws in the story saying "There hasn't been anyone coming from Y being an X" if you catch my drift.

In my opinion and experience, I find it way more fun to play as a character that makes some sort of "sense" that they are in the world. I get more invested and immersed writing a backstory.

The thing is, I don't think the majority of gamers will alt+tab out of the game and research the story/lore to be able to write a "proper" character or even write anything at all. I have created many characters in Wasteland 2, but only written what I think is a proper story for 1 character.

I know Pillars of Eternity will have some sort of banter early-game that creates your characters backstory so maybe this idea isn't entirely actual for Eternity, but I wanted to throw the ball here as well as I think it's a valuable addition... just in case it works.

It's an "Easily Implementable Idea" as well.

I think it is something to consider... what do you think?


Edited by Osvir, 28 June 2014 - 01:50 PM.

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#2
Sarex

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I have never seen the point of custom background story. If it doesn't impact the story or character interactions, then what is the point of it?


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#3
UrbicaMortis

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In one of the previews, they mention that an npc asks you questions about your past and your answers go into your biography page. Of course, you can tell him to mind his own business. I don't know if that leaves your bio empty though.


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#4
Vaeliorin

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To me, the proper way to handle this is to give us access (either in the manual, or through the PoE website) to a fairly extensive setting document (basically like a campaign setting book for a PnP game.)  The way it's normally done with new IPs, my first character tends to be a retread of a character I've been playing forever, in order to get a better idea of the world so that I can make future characters better integrated into the setting.



#5
Osvir

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I have never seen the point of custom background story. If it doesn't impact the story or character interactions, then what is the point of it?

 

I guess it is a couple of things:
1) LARPing: You like to roleplay? You like to immerse yourself? Then a character biography is a great tool and help to achieve this.
2) It's fun to write your own character, or use a character you've played with in another game and then insert them into this new world.
3) Gives a sense of purpose to the character. Why is this specific character in this world and who is he/she?
4) It gives the Player "control" over their own character (most modern games use "vanity" as a way to give the player control over their characters. Appearance, name, clothes etc.)
 

In one of the previews, they mention that an npc asks you questions about your past and your answers go into your biography page. Of course, you can tell him to mind his own business. I don't know if that leaves your bio empty though.

Yes, I remember this too. The question is... is it something that will be refered to later or is it just for flavor? Having the option to write your own custom backstory is something good I believe.

@Thread:
Additional idea that popped up~
- Apart from having a descriptive box during character creation giving the player a very brief idea of the world they are going into, it would be cool to have a minimized world map that you can enlarge/minimize to also get your bearing of the world. For instance, you read the descriptive box and read about the lands to the east, then you can parallely look up the world map (close at hand) to also get an idea where your character comes from.

1) Descriptive text of the world = Aid to understand the world so you can place your character in there
2) World Map = Aid to understand where your character comes from

Of course, at the same time this is nothing that would need to be implemented whatsoever because any player can just alt+tab out of the game or research the plot before playing the game. It's just not as accessible nor very incentive... Obsidian could, of course, maybe do something even simpler and give the Player an incentive to research the world, maybe by referring to a Manual Page in the Character Creation or something.


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#6
Death Machine Miyagi

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I have never seen the point of custom background story. If it doesn't impact the story or character interactions, then what is the point of it?

 

It might impact how you play the character and how you respond to events if you know your character's background, personality and beliefs. Mostly for the ultra RP centered folks.

 

Normally I don't bother, but there was a brief time where I played the BG trilogy mod, which allows you to edit your journal, and not only wrote a long custom background but also kept my own journal notes about events in my character's 'voice'. It was fun for a little while, but I couldn't keep it up. Too much work for too little payoff. Its much more fun in pen and paper games, where you have a DM/GM who can actually make stories around that background and your character's personality.


Edited by Death Machine Miyagi, 28 June 2014 - 09:20 PM.

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#7
ashtonw

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How about a pre-written biography full of blanks, like madlibs. "My name is blank and I am a member of the blank race. My profession is blank and my hobbies include blanking and blanking. My favorite snack is blank." No?


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#8
Hiro Protagonist II

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LARPing: You like to roleplay? You like to immerse yourself? Then a character biography is a great tool and help to achieve this.

 

I like to immerse myself in video games but LARPing while playing video games may be going a little too far for me.


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#9
BruceVC

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LARPing: You like to roleplay? You like to immerse yourself? Then a character biography is a great tool and help to achieve this.

 

LARPing while playing video games may be going a little too far for me.

 

 

I don't think that's true about you Hiro :ermm:

 

Look how supportive you are when it comes to Romance in RPG and that involves RP within the game as the relationship is a virtual one?


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#10
Hiro Protagonist II

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Trolling about Romance again Bruce. Time to bail from this thread. -_-


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#11
BruceVC

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I have never seen the point of custom background story. If it doesn't impact the story or character interactions, then what is the point of it?

 

It might impact how you play the character and how you respond to events if you know your character's background, personality and beliefs. Mostly for the ultra RP centered folks.

 

 

 

 

I have never seen the point of custom background story. If it doesn't impact the story or character interactions, then what is the point of it?

 

I guess it is a couple of things:
1) LARPing: You like to roleplay? You like to immerse yourself? Then a character biography is a great tool and help to achieve this.
2) It's fun to write your own character, or use a character you've played with in another game and then insert them into this new world.
3) Gives a sense of purpose to the character. Why is this specific character in this world and who is he/she?
4) It gives the Player "control" over their own character (most modern games use "vanity" as a way to give the player control over their characters. Appearance, name, clothes etc.)
 

 

Good ideas Osvir :thumbsup:

 

I like the concept of creating a realistic background based on actual lore and historical context within the framework of the game. So during character creation, as you mentioned, you would need some pointers as this is a new IP and we don't know enough about the game world to necessarily make the right decisions about where we are from and what this means

 

Also as Death Machine mentioned this will help shape certain decisions if you adhere to a RP principle but I don't think this would only apply to hardcore RP. For example I don't consider myself a hardcore RP but I  always make decisions in a RPG based on the ethos of my character. For example I generally play a Chaotic Good type personality who believes in doing the right thing but also considers the financial benefit to quests and decisions



#12
BruceVC

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Trolling about Romance again Bruce. Time to bail from this thread. -_-

 

I'm sorry, please don't go :blush:

 

And I'm not trolling, I'm having some fun at your expense. There is a difference, the former is malicious and the latter is not :)


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#13
Hiro Protagonist II

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I'm sorry, please don't go :blush:

 

And I'm not trolling, I'm having some fun at your expense. There is a difference, the former is malicious and the latter is not  :)

 

 

You agreed trolling is not always malicious in the trolling tread in WoT. So please don't make stuff up. However, your intent was to have fun at my expense by bringing in a contentious topic that has no relevance to this thread. Yes, you're trolling and it's not appreciated by myself and by a lot of people on this board.


Edited by Hiro Protagonist II, 28 June 2014 - 11:19 PM.

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#14
BruceVC

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I'm sorry, please don't go :blush:

 

And I'm not trolling, I'm having some fun at your expense. There is a difference, the former is malicious and the latter is not  :)

 

 

You agreed trolling is not always malicious in the trolling tread in WoT. So please don't make stuff up. However, your intent was to have fun at my expense by bringing in a contentious topic that has no relevance to this thread. Yes, you're trolling and it's not appreciated by myself and by a lot of people on this board.

 

 

Ah but you are misunderstanding something, my intention with my post was just to make you laugh. True trolling is where you just want to upset someone. That's not what I am doing :)


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#15
Hiro Protagonist II

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 Ah but you are misunderstanding something, my intention with my post was just to make you laugh. True trolling is where you just want to upset someone. That's not what I am doing :)

 

Nice trolling Bruce. What is 'true' trolling? You agreed trolling can be both good or bad. Stop lying. Now you're a troll and a liar? tsk tsk. And your intent was to bring in a controversial topic by having fun at my expense. You even admitted that was your intent. Not for me to have a laugh. Your intention was for you to have fun at my expense.


Edited by Hiro Protagonist II, 28 June 2014 - 11:42 PM.


#16
Bryy

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In one of the previews, they mention that an npc asks you questions about your past and your answers go into your biography page. Of course, you can tell him to mind his own business. I don't know if that leaves your bio empty though.

Yeah, this seems like an interesting way to make it "matter".



#17
Osvir

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Hiro & Bruce: There's a private message section where you two love birds can engage more intimately with one another. Or with me if you feel this post of mine offensive :)
 

 

 

LARPing: You like to roleplay? You like to immerse yourself? Then a character biography is a great tool and help to achieve this.

 

I like to immerse myself in video games but LARPing while playing video games may be going a little too far for me.

 

I put on my robe and wizard hat.... jokes aside, "LARPing" is a bit of a stretch, a poor choice of words I suppose. What I meant was not "act your character out" live in reality whilst playing the game (that would be silly and possibly entertaining to watch... maybe...) what I meant was more like "act your character in your mind", virtually~ I guess.



#18
Karkarov

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Hmmm Osvir.... LARPing is probably not the word you were looking for there.

 

Eternity is already doing it the right way.  The intro sequence where you are asked all the questions and they fill out your bio based on answers.  Many reviewers stated they were told your answers would come up again and could have an effect on your story.  Writing custom bios and all is great, but the game cant read my custom bio and it will never have any bearing in my game except in my head.  Also many times the game will place you in a situation with no choices your "idealized" character would actually make.  For a single player RPG it is better off just to let the game handle origin and hope it lets you weigh in a bit then roll with the punches while keeping a basic idea of how you want to behave/view the world.


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#19
Hiro Protagonist II

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I put on my robe and wizard hat.... jokes aside, "LARPing" is a bit of a stretch, a poor choice of words I suppose. What I meant was not "act your character out" live in reality whilst playing the game (that would be silly and possibly entertaining to watch... maybe...) what I meant was more like "act your character in your mind", virtually~ I guess.

 

ah okay. I did like the subtle differences in BG1 with the different classes. They were all basically the same which might come across as a little boring but did have a subtle difference depending on your class or multi-class. BG1 probably isn't a good example as you're raised in Candlekeep all your life.

 

But Karkarov is right. It seems your bio is prepared for you at the start and can have an effect during the game which is pretty cool. I guess you'll also want to add to your Bio? Maybe an attachment would be good where the game isn't affected by it? It looks like anything in your Bio proper affects the game.



#20
Kjaamor

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Use a piece of paper, write your custom backstory on that, and stick it on the wall by your monitor. Alternatively, use notepad and alt-tab to it.

 

I mean, obviously I have nothing against a customisable backstory, but if you're talking about something that exclusively occurs in your head, does it really need a text file in the game?


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