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atmosphere- why it matters (and no, this is not about global warming)


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So, I was recently thinking about this, and it is probably much too late for them to change anything significant in terms of the story and written dialogue, but, I am really hoping that this isn't going to be a "gloomy", super "gritty" game.  I know that is all the rage now, because of stinking RR Martin, but I enjoy my fantasy books and games to not make me happy that I live in this world, not theirs.  Give me some Jordan or Sanderson, please.  Both could write some fantasy settings full of conflict, yet still make characters that are interesting, and put moments of light-heartedness and goodness into their works.  I sincerely doubt that RR Martin even laughs, in real life- the only thing I recalled from his books was dark humor, which is only partially funny (because it is messed up).

 

I don't mind some warfare, threat of great evil, and stuff like that, but I don't want to play some sort of dystopian fantasy, where everyone is miserable and fearing for their lives, and there is nowhere you can go in the world that is untouched by "evil" or strife.  I really like it when there are a variety of environments/areas where I can go, which have different ambiances.  Like, certain areas are rife with warfare and or corruption, and the general feel of those areas is less positive, or downright negative, in comparison to other areas.  But, I also like to be able to go to places where, by and large, everyone is happy, and prosperous, and has an entirely different attitude.  I really hope that PoE has a broad spectrum of environments and locations, so it doesn't feel oppressive and smothering. 

 

To make some examples, it is a big part of the reason I can't replay ME, Torment, Kotor 2, the Fallouts, The Witcher, IWD, Skyrim nearly as much as I can Morrowind, BG 1 & 2, and Arcanum.  In those games, I just don't really want to be there a whole lot.  In the BG games, there was a huge variety of environs and types of locations- I loved some of the stupid banter between the party members.  I still remember someone stealing someone's special pet, and the very ridiculous accusations and threats made against that person.  I remember the jokes made about someone else's absolute cold-heartedness, that made me think, "Yes, that actually makes me enjoy having this __ in my party, because I get to hear someone say things which make it entertaining, and are even moderately psychologically deep."  Same in Arcanum.  Morrowind had an immensely different variety of settings, all with their own unique "feels"I know that they have said they want a more nuanced universe for PoE, but, I really hope it isn't going to be one of those games I play once, twice, maybe three times and then call it quits because I just don't want to experience it anymore.  I don't necessarily have to be the "chosen one", and recognized savior of the land, but, I really don't want to say at the end of it, "Hmm, did lots of stuff.  It was challenging.  But, it wasn't pleasant."

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Mass Effect is the odd one out there, surely? There are certainly plenty of dark things that happen in those games, but the world itself was hardly grimdark in atmosphere. I would think Mass Effect's world would be one of the better RPG settings to live in - hyperspace travel, new worlds full of boundless possibility, racism and sexism pretty well conquered, great health care, a more permissive attitude toward sexuality, Elcor Shakespeare... I mean, yeah, the Reapers are a thing, but they don't show up till the third game. If you were to live in the world of the first two games, though, you'd have a pretty sweet deal.

 

Am I missing something?

 

EDIT: Oh, and I should point out that if you're looking for a more lighthearted cRPG, Divinity: Original Sin fits the bill. It's the kind of game in which you can wear a bucket as a helmet and talk to a shell who wants to be thrown pack into the sea called Ishmashell.

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