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Torment: Tides of Numero Uno

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am pretty sure we use "hand holding" different than nonek.  in torment we is frequently finding that we do not know what we is 'posed to do and we gotta interact with objects and beings to figure out stuff.  hand holding, as we understand the term, would have us being directed by characters and in game messages and "signs" that would lead us to the correct resolution.  not gotten much o' that even in the tutorial.

 

am also gonna note that in ps:t, particularly given the melancholy setting, we rare had difficulty getting useful or interesting info from entities and things... would be kinda silly otherwise.  have a curious obelisk outside the mortuary?  well player in a crpg is gonna click on it, no? make particular difficult to get information 'bout curious objects and people would be counter-productive in a crpg.  seems axiomatic to us.

 

*chuckle* 

 

the in-game excuse for why everybody o' interest (most everybody), everywhere were so damn quick to respond to tno is 'cause you had already met folks, perhaps met them dozens o' times.  hell, we even got ghouls and zombies and skeletons to share their feelings with tno? worked for us. 

 

tno were not a Chosen One protagonist, but he were a special snowflake... which actual took some doing given the nature o' sigil and the planes.  

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

ps we has run into an annoying stacking debuff bug.  so it goes.

Edited by Gromnir

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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The annoying handholding and clumsy signposting is beginning to subside as I get further into the game, however characters still seem to have no life other than being stood around waiting to talk to my character at great length, be far too helpful and exposition heavy, and there is very little of the living world that the Nameless One was dropped into and had to acclimatise to. I remember my surprise at the few friendly characters in Torment, such as the Rat Seller, the Dead Nations (who admittedly were made by mr Avellone to reverse the usual trope and be the nicest chaps in the game instead of the typical dread enemy,) Iron Nalls (whose even more friendly when Annah is around) and the fact that they weren't trying to use, insult or make money off of me, and even these could easily be provoked into combat. The common man was far more interested in himself and his own problems, so that even the frightened Hive dwellers would ask for a few coins after you've questioned him, Sagus Cliffs has very little of this, though it is a striking setting.    

 

I've found Matkina, the cold, calculating Jack who was so heavily featured in the initial reveals of the game, and she seems to have a lot of detail and interaction to give. I'm still not sold on Aligern and Calistege being introduced so early in the game, I far preferred Mortes company than the companionship of these two, and I am uncomfortable with being in this small company so quickly. Perhaps its just because they're not as interesting a character as any in Torment, or they just weren't introduced strongly enough?

 

I'm really seeing a vast difference from Torment here, this might be a spiritual successor but it is extremely different, from the boring, generic protagonist of this game to the aesthetic of Sagus Cliffs, they are a large step away from the inspiration. It may be a good game in its own right, but in comparison to Torment i'm finding a host of faults.

 

I believe i've come to a point where I can't proceed further however, as i've not the necessary funds, which makes a nice change in any game.

 

Edit: I'd recommend this more to those who have not played Torment, and the more modern crowd who are used to the handholding and signposting, I think having played the inspiration may be a drawback for me at least.

Edited by Nonek

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 was very glad I could get rid of Aligern and Calistege and the moment the next npc offered to join me I told him NO. Morte was different. He had some humorous sidekick qualities that fit with him bouncing around beside grumpy Nameless One, even though the later only wanted to figure things out.


Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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...

 

there is at least four entities in the mortuary alone that is willing to share info with and help tno... even after you start destroying the local workforce.  and am serious not seeing how ps:t had less handholding and signposting. the thing 'bout the past is that we often remember it different than it actual was.

 

on the other hand, we ain't been over-impressed with the joinable companions thus far.  then again, morte were not initial a favorite joinable for Gromnir. to borrow from a recent poster's complaint, morte were a major source o' handholding and signposting in ps:t, and most o' his humor were o' the lowest common denominator variety.  and why did morte, who were typical advising caution, follow tno into one danger after the next?  'cause tno were a special snowflake. we sorta liked morte.  he were visual unique (a quality chrisA relied 'pon increasingly as years passed) and the voice actor did a fantastic job with his limited opportunities, but our initial appreciation o' morte were kinda ambivalent and limited. sigil were a grim kinda place, and morte offered a bit o' welcome humor.  even so, morte distinctiveness were largely visual, combined with the slapstick humor many folks would inexplicable deride gaider for adding to his companions.  we didn't genuine appreciate morte as a character until late in the game when we reached baator and stood at the pillar o' skulls.  morte, who initial had little to offer as a character, grew and developed into something more than a wisecracking tour guide.  how many hours did that take?

 

that being said, we do not expect voice talents similar to what we saw in ps:t and so far the torment developers have avoided using visual distinctiveness as a hook for companions--no rainbow bears, no wings, no hagspawn, no animated suits o' armour, floating skulls or burning guys. maybe unity engine limitations is the reason for more mundane appearances?  dunno.  regardless, w/o quality vo and visual hooks, is gonna be harder for the torment writers to make the companions initial interesting.  gotta wait for eventual pillars of skull kinda encounter?  could be awhile.  is predictable companion denouement gonna be too late to make companions compelling?  *shrug*  regardless, so far we ain't been given much reason to wanna develop the companion stories, which is a real shame.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I very much enjoy the "visual hook" of Calistege. I don't enjoy having two npcs right at the start giving me a join me or him ultimatum. It is why I never played Skyrim. I do not want to be forced into choices when I have hardly any info and even less reason to make said choice.

 

I agree on your other points on visual uniqueness. I was worried about Pillars of Eternity that it would go a similar path as Mask of the Betrayer, where every npc had to be so completely unique and I wanted to shout: "What happened to simple human fighters?"

Edited by melkathi

Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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I very much enjoy the "visual hook" of Calistege. I don't enjoy having two npcs right at the start giving me a join me or him ultimatum. It is why I never played Skyrim. I do not want to be forced into choices when I have hardly any info and even less reason to make said choice.

The choice you're forced to make at the beginning of Skyrim doesn't actually lock you into anything whatsoever and has just about not effect on the storyline. Just saying.

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I very much enjoy the "visual hook" of Calistege. I don't enjoy having two npcs right at the start giving me a join me or him ultimatum. It is why I never played Skyrim. I do not want to be forced into choices when I have hardly any info and even less reason to make said choice.

The choice you're forced to make at the beginning of Skyrim doesn't actually lock you into anything whatsoever and has just about not effect on the storyline. Just saying.

 

 

So I am being told :) But it put me off.

It's the little things you know. Little things used to mean so much to Shelly- I used to think they were kind of trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial.


Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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I agree on your other points on visual uniqueness. I was worried about Pillars of Eternity that it would go a similar path as Mask of the Betrayer, where every npc had to be so completely unique and I wanted to shout: "What happened to simple human fighters?"

 

From what the pre-release materiel of the companions, it seems as if Tybir is about the most "normal" companion thus far (apart from having a colourful get-up and being a dead ringer for Lando Calrissian).

 

However, in spite of being pleasantly surprised when meeting Matkina and learning her background, the prize of most straightforward and succinct descriptor goes to her: <<Stealthy Jack who Murders.>>


Quote
"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

Quote
"Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them."

 

-James Fallows

 

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I've decided to put the beta aside until an update comes along or the main release occurs, whichever's first, as the lack of merchant and cipher functionality along with the usual beta teething troubles really isn't flattering for the game at the moment, and is not allowing me to develop a fair analysis. However i'd say that it was a good game on the whole, the blatant handholding and signposting needs to be scaled down to Torment levels, the boring protagonist needs some work, the citizens of Sagus Cliffs need to be far more interested and absorbed in their own lives and the "weirdness" of the setting needs to be demonstrated a bit more subtly.

 

Apart from those complaints i'm satisfied with the game, it just doesn't hold up to Planescape however, at least not so far especially not companion wise, after all who could fail to love Ignus, Annah, Da'akon and Morte from the very beginning?


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 didn't care much for Ignus.

Dak'kon was one of me fave npcs of all times though.


Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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I didn't care much for Ignus.

Dak'kon was one of me fave npcs of all times though.

we also enjoyed dak'kon, and his appearance were most mundane of all the possible ps:t companions. sure, he read a bit too much like a grumpy disciple from kung fu(1972-75), but we found his backstory to be the mostest compelling of all the weird ps:t joinables.  

 

that being said, in spite o' our earlier criticisms, and a few new ones, we is optimistic 'bout torment.  we surely don't want the sign posting and hand holding increased to ps:t levels however.  hell, the second half o' ps:t pretty much had us on rails.  

 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I didn't care much for Ignus.

Dak'kon was one of me fave npcs of all times though.

 

Oh I liked all of them, even Vhailor: Da'akon was an interesting puzzle to unlock, and a nice gateway to the Gith situation, though as with many parts of Torment those twin cultures sparked so many more questions, but as i've said before I think that's the hallmark of a good game. Morte's raucous humour was so refreshing in a genre beset by squeeing cutesy stuff, that is tooth rottingly sweet and tries far too hard to be liked. Annah was the quintessential Scot, Ms Easton really knocked it out of the park there, and reinforced the hostile nature of the Hive and gameworld when you first stumbled upon her. Grace so cool and calculated it seemed, a beautiful swan, but her conflicted nature frantically paddling underneath the surface. Nordom, clueless and cute done correctly, somewhat reminded me of Mr Sellers in Being There, an unwitting savant. And the two weapons that the Nameless kept to hand in case he felt the need to use them, Ignus and Vhailor, they were so extreme and actually felt dangerous even though my melee build could end them in a heartbeat. I still wonder at Ignus' origins, one of those great and intriguing unanswered questions.

 

A fantastic cast.

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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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am not a fan o' rules that define a character most through equipment, so that issue felt more like a fatal flaw to us, but am gonna see how such plays out in torment.

This is a particular peeve of mine when it happens in fiction or games.  Most commonly it seems to be a wizard whose power is in their staff or wand, or the loser who gets a magic sword and is suddenly a winner.  It's a huge turn off for me.  Torment seems to have gone the other extreme (at the moment) and made cyphers almost useless, though.

 

FWIW, since you and Nonek seem to be casually firing shots over each other's bows, I feel like the game borders on being too player-centric and player-friendly, and would benefit from being harder on the player in a variety of ways (NPC interaction, quest difficulty, combat, etc.), but I also don't think it's gone over the line (yet, it's only a piece of the final product).  And PST was better at making the player the center of the story while tying everything in without making it obvious.  TToN could use some work to break up the coincidences and at least give the impression of resisting the player.

 

OTOH, I've been pleasantly surprised with the story and setting, and have been sucked into NPC conversations and some of the borderline infodumps.  And there have been a fair number of small surprises, which almost never happens to me with game writing.  PST also had coherent thematic elements, which is rare in games.  I'm not sure where TToN falls yet, but it seems to be above average in that respect.  From what I've seen, TToN will at least be satisfying candy.

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as torment is intended to appeal to the ps:t fans, am not surprised by the comparisons.  unfortunately, as ps:t is an old and well-loved game, it is not remembered for what it actual did well... and what it did poorly is typical forgotten.  for example in the mortuary alone, morte, dhal, ei-vene and deionarra all provide you with help and/or direction.  by the time you leave the mortuary you know about pharod and your many deaths and dozens o' other details.  

 

"And PST was better at making the player the center of the story while tying everything in without making it obvious." 

 

...

 

in ps:t you are playing tno, who is the protagonist o' a crpg.  your face, his face, is on the box.  ps:t, more than any other ie game, were having a story tied to a relative static protagonist, and there were never any doubt that ps:t were his story.  ignore the multitude o' npcs in the game who instant recognize you or the plethora o' necessary coincidences?  stale mary just happening to be able to teach you to speak with dead and willing to give you entrance to silent king throne while you is in dead nations? how many more examples o' coincidence do you wish? and there were nothing subtle 'bout the way tno were made pivotal to ps:t.

 

am not having an issue if folks want less handholding in their crpgs, or wish that the protagonist story be less integral (ala iwd) but to use ps:t as the example o' how such stuff is done different or better is more than a little peculiar.  ps:t is a relative "linear" game that has you following chrisA's tno story from start to finish. regardless o' your intent or desire for ps:t story, you is following in the footsteps o' tno and you is uncovering parts o' his past.  

 

the shortcomings some is seeing in torment likely exist because torment is too close replicating ps:t.  bothered by crpg stories that focus on a highly defined protagonist who is a special snowflake? ignore that ps:t is such a game is inexplicable.

 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I agree with Gromnir that T:ToN is very similar with PS:T, I would say that it quite clear that developers didn't exaggerate when they said that they played PS:T again dozens times to get feel of it.

 

And similarly to PS:T everything revolve around Last Castoff and their decisions. Although you can see some difference come in from theme, as in PS:T people constantly tell how TNO has impacted them in past and face possible need of change of your nature, in T:ToN you are bombarded options how you can impact people's futures and therefore their impact on your legacy. 

 

So if T:ToN feels off compared to PS:T it may be because of difference in the main question, as it set different tone in interactions between main character and NPCs.

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FWIW, since you and Nonek seem to be casually firing shots over each other's bows.

 

 

I hadn't read any of Gromnir's posts (the pretend accent just takes far too long to translate i'm afraid) since, well a few weeks ago or so, I was entirely unaware that the gentleman was addressing me. One of those @ notifications might help, such as are used on other forums.

 

However looking back over the last few posts it is quite amusing isn't it, the chap must have thought I was purposefully ignoring him.

 

Edit: Oh a nice little feature in the beta, you seem to recieve a diferent Mere if you specialise in a different attribute, a battlefield for strength rather than the whale etc.

Edited by Nonek

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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*chuckle*

 

is our habit to at least initial respond to posts rather than people.  some folks take too personal... or so it seems.  (we could link earlier posts in this thread as examples.) nevertheless, if we keep see posts mistaken attribute qualities to a game, we will respond, but only as long as there seems to be a point in doing so.  we honest didn't give a thought to nonek personal over last few pages save for once when perplexed by his seeming misuse o' "hand holding."  we is quite happy to keep impersonal if he wishes to return to such a dynamic.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

ps we would avoid spoilers if at all possible.  is bad form to share specific details 'bout beta.


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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as torment is intended to appeal to the ps:t fans, am not surprised by the comparisons.  unfortunately, as ps:t is an old and well-loved game, it is not remembered for what it actual did well... and what it did poorly is typical forgotten.  for example in the mortuary alone, morte, dhal, ei-vene and deionarra all provide you with help and/or direction.  by the time you leave the mortuary you know about pharod and your many deaths and dozens o' other details.  
 
"And PST was better at making the player the center of the story while tying everything in without making it obvious." 
 
...
 
in ps:t you are playing tno, who is the protagonist o' a crpg.  your face, his face, is on the box.  ps:t, more than any other ie game, were having a story tied to a relative static protagonist, and there were never any doubt that ps:t were his story.  ignore the multitude o' npcs in the game who instant recognize you or the plethora o' necessary coincidences?  stale mary just happening to be able to teach you to speak with dead and willing to give you entrance to silent king throne while you is in dead nations? how many more examples o' coincidence do you wish? and there were nothing subtle 'bout the way tno were made pivotal to ps:t.
 
am not having an issue if folks want less handholding in their crpgs, or wish that the protagonist story be less integral (ala iwd) but to use ps:t as the example o' how such stuff is done different or better is more than a little peculiar.  ps:t is a relative "linear" game that has you following chrisA's tno story from start to finish. regardless o' your intent or desire for ps:t story, you is following in the footsteps o' tno and you is uncovering parts o' his past.  

Let me give an example:

In PST, most of the NPCs have direct links to your past lives.  But you don't realize that until much later in the game.  So even though those characters revolve around you, because you've hugely influenced their pasts, you don't know it, and the revelations as the relations slowly unfold are fairly shocking.

 

Morte is essentially suffering a mix of stockholm syndome and the transference effect.  There's some irony or at least dark humor in this if you're playing a well-intentioned character.  Ignus condition is a direct result of the machinations of your sociopathic forebear.  Etc, etc.

 

So there are a couple of things at work in PST that made it successful (with respect to what I'm talking about).  First is the slow unraveling of the mystery of who you were.  The second is that there are few or no coincidences in the game, and the story and world largely center around you, but you don't know that.  The fact that you have to work to piece it together and that the realization is delayed until late in the game makes the setup compelling rather than repulsive.  You're a special snowflake but you don't fully realize what that means (a frankenstein monster is a lot different than a demigod).  You're a special snowflake but you can get killed by groups of thugs or random passersby, which doesn't really elicit the feeling of repeatedly being patted on the head and told you're a winner.

 

Also, though the game provides helpers early on, they're more integrated/better disguised. And it's possible to experience setbacks and mild frustration, both qualities which appear to be absent in TToN.

 

Anyway, I'm just trying to explain my previous offhand remark, and I don't mean to turn this into a PST discussion.  I feel like TToN currently makes things too easy, and that there should be more resistance to the player achieving their goals.  But my complaint is more about worrying that a potentially great game ends up a merely good one.

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So there are a couple of things at work in PST that made it successful (with respect to what I'm talking about).  First is the slow unraveling of the mystery of who you were.  The second is that there are few or no coincidences in the game, and the story and world largely center around you, but you don't know that.  The fact that you have to work to piece it together and that the realization is delayed until late in the game makes the setup compelling rather than repulsive.  You're a special snowflake but you don't fully realize what that means (a frankenstein monster is a lot different than a demigod).  You're a special snowflake but you can get killed by groups of thugs or random passersby, which doesn't really elicit the feeling of repeatedly being patted on the head and told you're a winner.

 

T:ToN does these same things too. 

 

There is mystery who you are and why you exist and where did you come, how you are related to Changing God or what ever entity's husk people say you are, and what is Sorrow and why it hunts CG and you. There are quite lot of people that say they know the answer but they all give different answer and quite lot of them seem to be more interested on how you can help them or get you go away.

As far as I can tell they follow no coincidences rule in their writing also in T:ToN, also story and wolrd largely center around you (Last Castoff) and you (Last Castoff) don't know it. 

For realization part, there is no such thing in beta, but probably finished game will have such.

Last Castoff is special snowflake but not demigod (or quite poor one as I would argue that TNO is more powerful in his universe than Last Castoff is their).

Last Castoff can be killed by groups of random thugs, ghost, bad drink etc..

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as torment is intended to appeal to the ps:t fans, am not surprised by the comparisons.  unfortunately, as ps:t is an old and well-loved game, it is not remembered for what it actual did well... and what it did poorly is typical forgotten.  for example in the mortuary alone, morte, dhal, ei-vene and deionarra all provide you with help and/or direction.  by the time you leave the mortuary you know about pharod and your many deaths and dozens o' other details.  
 
"And PST was better at making the player the center of the story while tying everything in without making it obvious." 
 
...
 
in ps:t you are playing tno, who is the protagonist o' a crpg.  your face, his face, is on the box.  ps:t, more than any other ie game, were having a story tied to a relative static protagonist, and there were never any doubt that ps:t were his story.  ignore the multitude o' npcs in the game who instant recognize you or the plethora o' necessary coincidences?  stale mary just happening to be able to teach you to speak with dead and willing to give you entrance to silent king throne while you is in dead nations? how many more examples o' coincidence do you wish? and there were nothing subtle 'bout the way tno were made pivotal to ps:t.
 
am not having an issue if folks want less handholding in their crpgs, or wish that the protagonist story be less integral (ala iwd) but to use ps:t as the example o' how such stuff is done different or better is more than a little peculiar.  ps:t is a relative "linear" game that has you following chrisA's tno story from start to finish. regardless o' your intent or desire for ps:t story, you is following in the footsteps o' tno and you is uncovering parts o' his past.  

*snip*

am also not gonna take much further save to note that you are seeming arguing backwards.  you distinguish the ps:t companions by noting that you don't understand their rasion for helpfulness 'til later in game.  am gonna disagree, but even if that were the case, it should make the ps:t handholding even less subtle rather than better.  the torment companions has reasonable and plausible motivations right from the start... which makes more sense.  if handholding and signposting is a crpg sin, then have random folks helping you for no discernable reason is somehow better?  example: the ravel incarnations exist, in large part, to hold your hand.  ei-vene, mebbeth, marta and ravel herself are unapologetic signposting and handholding.  we liked ravel very much, but if there is a complaint to be made about signposting and handholding, her incarnations are a terrible perpetrator o' such flaws.

 

also, while we will not spoil, from our pov, there is as much mystery in torment protagonist and companion motivations as were in ps:t.  again, am very limited as we will not risk spoiling, but am finding difficult to embrace your pov.  the main difference we has seen is that at least initial plausible motivations for joinable companions exist in torment, which were clear lacking in many/most ps:t companions.

 

similarly, distinguish specialness o' snowflake also strike us as peculiar. undead and zombie-like is unappealing, and therefore less offensive to you? that is a question rather than condemnation. am honest trying to figure out the rationale. being an incarnation o' the lord o' murder is a negative, or so we assume, thus we would guess that it don't offend your aesthetic, but we cannot say.  am not sure where revan and commander shepard would rank.  more objective, tno is the most static o' all, so the story is by necessity more his story than any other o' the examples we has given. is a he with very little opportunity for physical customization, and entire game is spent uncovering tno past as well as writing your own (albeit fixed) story. is necessarily static. however, if is only a matter o' grimdark appeal, then we s'pose lord o' murder scion would be most dark while commander shepard would be most appealing?  but again, to distinguish this way is very touchy-feely and subjective and we honest cannot predict how any other game protagonist would be ranked.  

 

regardless, use ps:t as the example o' how to do such stuff better and different strikes us as a bit curious.  ps:t handholding and special snowflake aspects is very similar to torment.  is to quibble o'er slight differences in shades of gray rather than identifying a complete different color palette.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

ps for sake of full disclosure, we has stated many times that ps:t is our favorite crpg, but that it were a game with many flaws.  all too often we has seen folks attempt to explain ps:t flaws as strengths, which strikes us as unnecessary.  ps:t were a great game, but it did many things poorly... starting with combat, balance, clumsy navel-gazing, etc.

Edited by Gromnir
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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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So there are a couple of things at work in PST that made it successful (with respect to what I'm talking about).  First is the slow unraveling of the mystery of who you were.  The second is that there are few or no coincidences in the game, and the story and world largely center around you, but you don't know that.  The fact that you have to work to piece it together and that the realization is delayed until late in the game makes the setup compelling rather than repulsive.  You're a special snowflake but you don't fully realize what that means (a frankenstein monster is a lot different than a demigod).  You're a special snowflake but you can get killed by groups of thugs or random passersby, which doesn't really elicit the feeling of repeatedly being patted on the head and told you're a winner.

 

T:ToN does these same things too. 

 

There is mystery who you are and why you exist and where did you come, how you are related to Changing God or what ever entity's husk people say you are, and what is Sorrow and why it hunts CG and you. There are quite lot of people that say they know the answer but they all give different answer and quite lot of them seem to be more interested on how you can help them or get you go away.

I'm not complaining about TToN's story, except in a nitpicky way of saying that what I've seen in the beta is good, but not PST good in terms of execution.  I'd say it's surprisingly good, though, and I'm pretty happy with the results so far even though I backed at several times the price of a typical game.  There's a lot to be discovered in the last part of the game, so my opinion could change a lot, too.  But so far I feel like the mystery was done better in PST, and I think TToN frontloaded more information than was necessary, probably to make it easy to digest for casual players.  I think the game would be stronger if I was more confused and uncertain at the beginning.  But I don't think this is big deal or even close to a game breaker.

 

The only reason I chose PST for comparison was because Gromnir was already talking about it.  I mean, obviously there are going to be similarities, but I'm more interested in TToN being a good game on it's own merits than as a strict PST successor.

 

 

 

*snip*

OK, I think there's some miscommunication happening, or we're talking past each other here.

 

The only reason I used PST for comparison was because you were already talking about it.  The only reason I mentioned the special snowflake issue is that you, yes, you Gromnir, talked about that a couple of posts back.  Did you forget that?  It's a odd that you respond like it's some kind of bizarre non-sequitur when you're the one who brought it up.

 

Anyway quick response:  Many people, including myself, dislike the special snowflake status that characters are given in games.  I understand and prefer that there be something interesting about a character, so it could be argued that that's just a different or more subtle variation on the the typical version.  But the common use of special snowflakes in games is to pamper and feed some very fragile egos, and that's the aspect that bothers me.  For example, being the only competent character in the game, and then being continuously rewarded and praised for that is extremely irritating.

 

I don't think either TToN or PST suffer from an overblown version of SS-itus.  My point was that you don't appear very special at the start of PST compared to the rest of the Planescape setting.  You appear to be an immortal franken-zombie.  While being unique, that is nowhere close to being the chosen one or the baddest XX in the world or whatever.  

 

In TToN you're apparently the shell of a demi-god, and one that happens to have greatly shaped the city that you start in.  As a castoff, and only one of many, you're not the biggest deal in the world, but you're still relatively high up the food chain.  But I don't want to go down this rabbit hole because I don't think it's that important.  Neither of the games stoop to ego stroking, so I don't think it's a big deal.

 

My main, and possibly only, issue with TToN right now is that everything just comes too easily.  Combat is easy.  Closing quests is easy.  Getting what you want is easy.  I'm a fan of the games reactivity and failure states (some of which are surprise successes), but I'd like to feel like there was some resistance.  I'd like combat to be harder.  I'd like NPCs to occasionally lie or give misinformation, or just unintentionally give bad information.  I'd like to be misdirected by red herrings or other plot devices.  And I'm not saying that I want this all the time in every situation.  I just want enough of it to feel like the game isn't scattering rose petals down my path.

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no, it weren't actual Gromnir that brought up the qualities you mention.  others did... though am not seeing significance o' who were first regardless. we observed that finding torment on the short end o' such comparisons were a mistake.  you disagreed.  and off we we went.

 

it seems you do wanna talk 'bout ps:t after all. whenever somebody says they don't wanna talk...

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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The Last Castoff actually finds that being a Castoff is a relatively mundane thing,

 

 

One of your potential companions (and probably the strongest one thus far, in my opinion) is a fellow Castoff, for one thing

,

 

you find one unceremoniously killed in a building collapse as a result of freak circumstance (without anyone batting an eye on top of that), and you learn that though there are probably a few hundred in the Ninth World, given that it's established that it's possible to cross over parallel realities, traverse interstellar distances fairly trivially, and even  travel to different dimensions they might number in the millions. I think that serves as a driving force for the Last Castoff to make his or her legacy and answer the question of "What does one life matter?"

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"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

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"Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them."

 

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The Last Castoff actually finds that being a Castoff is a relatively mundane thing,

 

 

One of your potential companions (and probably the strongest one thus far, in my opinion) is a fellow Castoff, for one thing

,

 

you find one unceremoniously killed in a building collapse as a result of freak circumstance (without anyone batting an eye on top of that), and you learn that though there are probably a few hundred in the Ninth World, given that it's established that it's possible to cross over parallel realities, traverse interstellar distances fairly trivially, and even  travel to different dimensions they might number in the millions. I think that serves as a driving force for the Last Castoff to make his or her legacy and answer the question of "What does one life matter?"

 

Now personally I didn't se this really reinforced in the beta due to all of the handholding, signposting and the fact that almost everyone treated you as special and opened up automatically, without wanting something in return or having a motivation. Now compare this to Torment where everyone was either treating you differently because of personal reasons or because it was in tehir interest to do so, and if not just ignoring or asking you to go away. This helped reinforce that though Nameless is only special because this is a personal story, and because of all the weirdness of the planes, not many are interested or impressed by this. In fact they are usually just wary, sensing doom and larger forces at play like Annah.

 

A good example would be the opening area, this sets the tone and theme for the game that the world doesn't really care about you as an individual: Most of the Dustmen see you as simply an abberation to be burnt to ashes, according to their beliefs, the two who do not have very good reasons: Soego is preoccupied by personal matters and performing his functions as the chief meeter and greeter of the faction stronghold, he is there to be somewhat welcoming and informative, as much as any Dustman can be, and yet still can turn on you quickly if you act out of line as well as provide information on an enemy who he despises for two conflcting reasons. Dhall believes in personal liberty, and thus is a reluctant ally of Nameless, but then again he cannot do otherwise as he is a Githzerai to whom chains are anathema, and the extent of his help is basic information that will not harm the Dustmen and urges you to stop, shed your passions, lie down and die the true death. Neither are helping you for anything but personal reasons, or investing themselves in your cause.

 

Of the other NPCs in the Mortuary even Morte, who seems helpful enough, is not really. He has no choice, the guilt and Torment he endures drives him to aid you, as you discover later. The Anarchist who you probably will not find if doing a lawful runthrough, until later when you have Speak with Bones or Xachariah's information, does not help you without threats, tricks or favours, he is entirely self interested as he should be. Deionarra, now one could say she helps you selflessly but is she really helping you, or the Practical incarnation and her obsessive love for him which she still longs to continue, even after death and doom has trapped her? I think that she is self interested here, she has not learned the lesson of Dead Money, that letting go though the hardest thing is sometimes what one needs to do.

 

This is how you design to reinforce to reinforce an atmosphere and a theme of the setting being an uncaring place in my opinion, Nameless may be special to himself but so is everybody else, and though unusual he is not that unusual in a place where anything is possible. If I were the Numenera chaps i'd redesign their starting areas to shed the handholding, sugnposting and make the NPCs far more self interested, close mouthed and thematically relevant. After all thematic reinforcement is the stand out strength of Torment, the game really stood out for this reason, though it perhaps went a little too far in terms of foreshadowing, but then again that is not uncommon in tragedies, from Romeo and Juliet to the Ancient Greek classics.


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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