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So...the End...a bit anticlimactic, isnt it ?

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I'm pretty sure Thaos was just that far gone. You won't have to go very far to find humans in real history who were willing to commit horrific atrocities in the perpetuation of a lie. When you go that far down the rabbit hole, and pursue something so single-mindedly for at least 2,000 years, your psychology literally does not have any room for doubt, self-reflection, or logical consistency. I'm sure watching/helping his fellow Engwithans commit mass-suicide to create the gods they so desperately wanted really screwed him up psychologically, too.

 

In that regard, Thaos is well-written as a supremely broken man. Very much a "Utopia Justifies The Means" villain.

 

I'm just not sure such antagonists are very nuanced, or worth building a game around, even if well-written.


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The ending was frustrating for two reasons for me.

 

First, the whole Elmtree area lacked quests and depth. The towns did not feel alive and it felt very rushed compared to Defiance bay, which was overall brilliantly designed. The gods quests were just way to convenient to be meaningful. I mean, you are in direct communication with the gods of the world and you just have to go to the next area to complete all of them. I really liked the fact that you spoke to the gods and that you needed to gain their favor but It should had given you several hours of content just to finish one of those quests.

 

Secondly, the Iovara character failed miserably. She comes out of nowhere, you have no connection to here and you have no reason for caring for her or what she says but she gives you the supposed punchline of the whole story. The punchline she gives you is even worse than the fact the she is so suddenly introduced. It is like an atheist telling a christian that god does not exist. Would the christian reply "Oh, really! I have never thought of that. I stop believing right away!!!"? It is not only moronic for her to say that but it is also missing the whole point. She really cheapened the whole ending for me.

 

Defiance Bay has a slew of its own issues though. From the way the Dozens/Knights rivalry is implemented (consider the amount of people that unwittingly end up "supporting" the Dozens and realize it all too late) to the way post-riot city looks like. Twin Elms offered a thorough Glanfathan exposition with its denizens being responsive to almost everything you do (with the exception of Ethik Nol massacre  :facepalm:  ), whereas divine quests offered interesting dilemmas to solve.

 

As for Iovara, she gives the Watcher the story of how these particular eleven gods were manmade, manufactured in a very obvious fashion. Not sure how that is comparable to Christians and atheists. 

 

 

The only memory I have of the Dozens is that they killed people in Ondra's gift, so I didn't really pick up on their involvement in the story. I ended up being on very good terms with the Knights so have will have a look on what the Dozens can offer in my next play through.

 

I didn't see any responsiveness in Twin Elms. I murdered everyone in the hunter's lodge and in Ethik Nol but there were no ramifications of it. 

 

The divine quests were indeed interesting but the fact that their resolution were just in the next area and took 15 minutes each made them less meaningful to me. They could had given these quest more attention and content to make it feel like you are dealing with more powerful entities. I am not really complaining on this, rather I just want to bring up the point. They had a low budget for this game and the things they managed to do with it has impressed me from the start of the game. 

 

The problem of Iovara is the fact that she Says it, which makes it exactly like an atheist telling a christian that god does not exist. it is just her perspective on things. Who is she? Why didn't we meet her much earlier? Why is she appearing now all of a sudden? What does she want? How do we know that she witnessed the creation of the machines? As it is now it is only a second hand opinion she gives which is completely irrelevant for the story. It would be different if she was there when the machines were built and you as a watcher could take a look on her soul and get some idea of what actually happened back then. That would at least give the ending a twist in that it would give you some uncertainty (we don't know how accurate soul reading is apart from the dialogues with Grieving Mother) as to what powers you are dealing with.

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Secondly, the Iovara character failed miserably. She comes out of nowhere, you have no connection to here and you have no reason for caring for her or what she says but she gives you the supposed punchline of the whole story. The punchline she gives you is even worse than the fact the she is so suddenly introduced. It is like an atheist telling a christian that god does not exist. Would the christian reply "Oh, really! I have never thought of that. I stop believing right away!!!"? It is not only moronic for her to say that but it is also missing the whole point. She really cheapened the whole ending for me.

 

I'm surprised people think this, since Iovara is mentioned from relatively early on in the game -- from I think the second or third vision of Thaos, and then basically every time you see him after that. The whole storyline that comes out of the visions of Thaos revolves around the Watcher's betrayal of Iovara. There's definitely a buildup to her and I personally thought it was pretty satisfying to finally meet her in the present rather than as a memory. Maybe I'm in a minority, though.

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I'm pretty sure Thaos was just that far gone. You won't have to go very far to find humans in real history who were willing to commit horrific atrocities in the perpetuation of a lie. When you go that far down the rabbit hole, and pursue something so single-mindedly for at least 2,000 years, your psychology literally does not have any room for doubt, self-reflection, or logical consistency. I'm sure watching/helping his fellow Engwithans commit mass-suicide to create the gods they so desperately wanted really screwed him up psychologically, too.

 

In that regard, Thaos is well-written as a supremely broken man. Very much a "Utopia Justifies The Means" villain.

 

The thing is, he seemed aware of how horrible his actions were, even as he lists them for you. ''For perspective'', says he. He just didn't seem to care. And it was kinda at odds with his stated intention to prevent widespread chaos by hiding the truth about the gods. It's less ''end justifies the means'' and more ''meh, screw you guys, Secret Conspiracytm says you gotta die''. As I see it.

 

I believe he'd have been more believable had he more vehemently defended his atrocities as necessary. Shown the sort of zeal and wilful blindness you expect from a man who is so single-minded as Thaos is. Instead he just seem to not give a **** about whenever people lived or died, but backtracked when it came to his own purpose. I don't know, even accounting for his single-mindedness it's the kind of dissonance I don't really expect in someone who is seemingly as intelligent as him.

 

In the end, I don't feel Thaos lived up to his potential as a villain. There's not many villains in games that convingly pull off the end justifies the means zealotry. Kerghan in Arcanum does, and the Arishok in Dragon Age 2 too.

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I agree. I was very underwhelmed and confused. I was sure there would be some big twist or sudden realization that just made everything fall into place but it never came. It was kind of a mess, to be honest.

 

The final dungeon was not exciting at all. Definitely agree with you there, too. Well, there really weren't any epic dungeons in the entire game, except the one under the stronghold. 

 

Maybe we'll get a more exciting plot and bigger dungeons in the expansion(s). :)

 

 

The game doesn't do epic dungeons well on higher difficulties. You attrition too fast. They'd have to sprinkle in way more resting kits. Or you'd be leaving a dungeon every level or so to grab more kits.

 

One solution right here would be to... well... wherever you use a camping supply could be your own created "checkpoint", and allowing you to return to it (instead of having to leave a dungeon when you run out of supplies). Being limited with 2/2 camping supplies per-dungeon or even per-map.

 

Might be a bit problematic in coding. Project Zomboid (or even Don't Starve) springs to mind, a camping kit which you can pick up and drop as you wish.

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Lamest part about Iovara is that she knows the gods aren't real because she put her ear on the door and listened in on a private conversation.  The writing at that part is so weak, too: 'I put my ear on the stone door, but it was thin stone so I could hear'.  :lol:  C'mon.

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Lamest part about Iovara is that she knows the gods aren't real because she put her ear on the door and listened in on a private conversation.  The writing at that part is so weak, too: 'I put my ear on the stone door, but it was thin stone so I could hear'.  :lol:  C'mon.

 

I think what she actually said was that "the door [presumably wood] was thin, and the room was stone." I.e. there was a very noticeable echo chamber effect in the room, so much so she heard some of what they were saying outside.

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Also consider that Thaos knows that all the people he inflicted suffering upon will simply return to the cycle. And justice will be served once Woedica is back. Utopia is just behind the corner.

 

The problem of Iovara is the fact that she Says it, which makes it exactly like an atheist telling a christian that god does not exist. it is just her perspective on things. Who is she? Why didn't we meet her much earlier? Why is she appearing now all of a sudden? What does she want? How do we know that she witnessed the creation of the machines? As it is now it is only a second hand opinion she gives which is completely irrelevant for the story. It would be different if she was there when the machines were built and you as a watcher could take a look on her soul and get some idea of what actually happened back then. That would at least give the ending a twist in that it would give you some uncertainty (we don't know how accurate soul reading is apart from the dialogues with Grieving Mother) as to what powers you are dealing with.

 

And again, she doesn't say gods do not exist. She says these 11 are fake, manmade. The difference is that these gods are patently real with a number of divine attributes, capable and willing to manifest themselves among mortals. Hence the room for doubt - so what are you to do about it under the circumstances.

 

A proper analogy with a Christian god would've been something like: "Hey, your God is actually a mind-controlling spirit residing in a cave somewhere under Sinai. Being a first-hand witness and a victim of the barbarous ancient Mediterranean society he decided enough was enough and brainwashed a number of people to deliver his message of a new gentler deity, and tricked a bunch of villagers into seeing miracles where there were none. You can actually go, see and even vanquish this spirit for yourself - just wear Magneto's helmet."

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As for Iovara, she gives the Watcher the story of how these particular eleven gods were manmade, manufactured in a very obvious fashion. Not sure how that is comparable to Christians and atheists. 

 

 

Atheists generally believe that all religions are man-made and manufactured in a very obvious fashion. The allegory here is not subtle. The religious establishment that Thaos represents is 1) a system of lies created for the purpose of control and domination, 2) relies on the premise that people are too weak-minded to bear the truth, 3) obscurantist to the extreme and hostile to "science", 4) entirely willing to commit atrocities in order to preserve the status quo, and 5) not only unnessecary for the world's peace and prosperity, but an active impediment thereto. These are the same arguments and criticisms pitted against real world religion by atheist polemists. Add the fact that Thaos' organisation has many similarities to the Spanish Inquisition, and that Thaos himself is the ultimate religious boogeyman, and the ending feels like a preachy progressive morality play wherein an atheist protagonist is beating the stuffing out of a strawman that wears a papal mitre.

 

It is within Obsidian's creative freedom to make whatever points it wants, but personally I found the ending's heavy-handed allegory to be a swing and a miss. Despite the early association of Thaos with Woedica, it wasn't clear throughout most of the game that the narrative was building to a smash-the-church climax. Iovara is too under-defined and introduced too late in the narrative for me to care about her person or her valiant undying stand against the establishment, and it doesn't help that much of her dialogue feels like it jumped straight out of an argumentative youtube comment (the "my reality is true whether you believe it or not" or somesuch line caused an involuntary eye-roll).

 

The big revelation was a surprising twist, sure, in that I certainly didn't predict it, but it wasn't an effective one. The motivation behind the engwithan manufacture of their counterfeit gods falls flat for me; a civilization that was (with the exception of its skill at animancy) less advanced than modern Eoran civilization proved the nonexistance of god(s) with such certainty that it altered the course of their civilization and the world... so we're dealing with a civilization that learned how to prove a negative (a logical impossibility) before it mastered metallargy, or chemistry, or invented the printing press. Not particularly convincing. But, okay, I can put up with dodgy logic. The larger issue for me here is that this twist about the truth of this setting was delivered in the very same game that first introduced us to it. I've only just started learning about these gods, I'm not yet remotely invested in them, and therefore I'm not emotionally affected when they are discredited by a sudden revelation that comes with all the theatrical power of sitting on a half-inflated whoopie-cushion. If Obsidian had made Baldur's Gate 3 and written an ending which revelaed Ao the Overfather as some super computer responsible for generating the multiverse, or as the eventual apotheosis of a time-travelling Tiax or something, I might have been impacted. As it is, exposing these gods as fake really meant nothing to me in the context of the narrative. It only becomes meaningful if I consider that Obsidian is not just imparting information about the gods of their new setting, but rather is making a statement about religion in general. Which again is their point to make if they want. I just find it dissapointing to get to the end of the road and find nothing waiting for me but one-sided allegory.

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Secondly, the Iovara character failed miserably. She comes out of nowhere, you have no connection to here and you have no reason for caring for her or what she says but she gives you the supposed punchline of the whole story. The punchline she gives you is even worse than the fact the she is so suddenly introduced. It is like an atheist telling a christian that god does not exist. Would the christian reply "Oh, really! I have never thought of that. I stop believing right away!!!"? It is not only moronic for her to say that but it is also missing the whole point. She really cheapened the whole ending for me.

 

I'm surprised people think this, since Iovara is mentioned from relatively early on in the game -- from I think the second or third vision of Thaos, and then basically every time you see him after that. The whole storyline that comes out of the visions of Thaos revolves around the Watcher's betrayal of Iovara. There's definitely a buildup to her and I personally thought it was pretty satisfying to finally meet her in the present rather than as a memory. Maybe I'm in a minority, though.

 

 

 

The thing is though that you never have her name for the longest time. Maybe I missed it, but yeah. You know who else is mysterious? Lady Webb. As such, I expected those scenes to be referring to Lady Webb. Instead it's just some new character out of left field.


"The Courier was the worst of all of them. The worst by far. When he died the first time, he must have met the devil, and then killed him."

 

 

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As for Iovara, she gives the Watcher the story of how these particular eleven gods were manmade, manufactured in a very obvious fashion. Not sure how that is comparable to Christians and atheists. 

 

 

Atheists generally believe that all religions are man-made and manufactured in a very obvious fashion. The allegory here is not subtle. The religious establishment that Thaos represents is 1) a system of lies created for the purpose of control and domination, 2) relies on the premise that people are too weak-minded to bear the truth, 3) obscurantist to the extreme and hostile to "science", 4) entirely willing to commit atrocities in order to preserve the status quo, and 5) not only unnessecary for the world's peace and prosperity, but an active impediment thereto. These are the same arguments and criticisms pitted against real world religion by atheist polemists. Add the fact that Thaos' organisation has many similarities to the Spanish Inquisition, and that Thaos himself is the ultimate religious boogeyman, and the ending feels like a preachy progressive morality play wherein an atheist protagonist is beating the stuffing out of a strawman that wears a papal mitre.

 

It is within Obsidian's creative freedom to make whatever points it wants, but personally I found the ending's heavy-handed allegory to be a swing and a miss. Despite the early association of Thaos with Woedica, it wasn't clear throughout most of the game that the narrative was building to a smash-the-church climax. Iovara is too under-defined and introduced too late in the narrative for me to care about her person or her valiant undying stand against the establishment, and it doesn't help that much of her dialogue feels like it jumped straight out of an argumentative youtube comment (the "my reality is true whether you believe it or not" or somesuch line caused an involuntary eye-roll).

 

The big revelation was a surprising twist, sure, in that I certainly didn't predict it, but it wasn't an effective one. The motivation behind the engwithan manufacture of their counterfeit gods falls flat for me; a civilization that was (with the exception of its skill at animancy) less advanced than modern Eoran civilization proved the nonexistance of god(s) with such certainty that it altered the course of their civilization and the world... so we're dealing with a civilization that learned how to prove a negative (a logical impossibility) before it mastered metallargy, or chemistry, or invented the printing press. Not particularly convincing. But, okay, I can put up with dodgy logic. The larger issue for me here is that this twist about the truth of this setting was delivered in the very same game that first introduced us to it. I've only just started learning about these gods, I'm not yet remotely invested in them, and therefore I'm not emotionally affected when they are discredited by a sudden revelation that comes with all the theatrical power of sitting on a half-inflated whoopie-cushion. If Obsidian had made Baldur's Gate 3 and written an ending which revelaed Ao the Overfather as some super computer responsible for generating the multiverse, or as the eventual apotheosis of a time-travelling Tiax or something, I might have been impacted. As it is, exposing these gods as fake really meant nothing to me in the context of the narrative. It only becomes meaningful if I consider that Obsidian is not just imparting information about the gods of their new setting, but rather is making a statement about religion in general. Which again is their point to make if they want. I just find it dissapointing to get to the end of the road and find nothing waiting for me but one-sided allegory.

 

I have to agree here.  The ending made me sit back and stare at the screen thinking "What the hell did I just play?".   I had been enjoying the game up until the end...now, I find I have little interest in replaying it.  Incidentally, releasing a message like that just before Easter probably made the impact a bit worse.

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As for Iovara, she gives the Watcher the story of how these particular eleven gods were manmade, manufactured in a very obvious fashion. Not sure how that is comparable to Christians and atheists. 

 

 

Atheists generally believe that all religions are man-made and manufactured in a very obvious fashion. The allegory here is not subtle. The religious establishment that Thaos represents is 1) a system of lies created for the purpose of control and domination, 2) relies on the premise that people are too weak-minded to bear the truth, 3) obscurantist to the extreme and hostile to "science", 4) entirely willing to commit atrocities in order to preserve the status quo, and 5) not only unnessecary for the world's peace and prosperity, but an active impediment thereto. These are the same arguments and criticisms pitted against real world religion by atheist polemists. Add the fact that Thaos' organisation has many similarities to the Spanish Inquisition, and that Thaos himself is the ultimate religious boogeyman, and the ending feels like a preachy progressive morality play wherein an atheist protagonist is beating the stuffing out of a strawman that wears a papal mitre.

 

The big revelation was a surprising twist, sure, in that I certainly didn't predict it, but it wasn't an effective one. The motivation behind the engwithan manufacture of their counterfeit gods falls flat for me; a civilization that was (with the exception of its skill at animancy) less advanced than modern Eoran civilization proved the nonexistance of god(s) with such certainty that it altered the course of their civilization and the world... so we're dealing with a civilization that learned how to prove a negative (a logical impossibility) 

 

Sure the arguments are similar. I've heard my fair share of Hitch debates. For one, you're dealing with a zealous fanatic who goes against the flow of the tide (if we consider Woedica's dethronement canon). The other deities are not obscurantist, their world doesn't invite universal empires of control and domination, their impact on peace and prosperity isn't clear. Thaos wants to achieve the 5 points, not the deities Engwithians created (aligned with human traits they suddenly brought the initial system into balance).

 

Furthermore, these gods are already here, and whether fake or not they actually answer prayers, grant favors to their followers, hunt down those who abuse the rules, and are quite capable of inflicting large scale plagues (as shown in consequences of breaking promises). So the revelation of their nature isn't something that immediately makes them obscure and obsolete. For these reasons alone they won't lose following and won't become pointless to the setting. Nevermind the fact that a semisane Watcher probably won't be the most convincing preacher capable of immediately convincing everyone that what he heard somewhere at the bottom of the endless pit makes sense.

 

And I imagine it was much easier for Engwithians to put aside "benevolent god(s) who cares and watches over you, can't disprove it" arguments because they had no impenetrable divine revelations, prophets and miracles, adopted by a major share of the population and entrenched in form of an organized church and generations of traditions, to contend with. Their prayers weren't ever answered, they made a reasonable conclusion and chose to ascend to godhood themselves.

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The allegory and contemporary ideas go beyond just religion.  There are some rather obvious dialogues regarding persecution of lifestyles that read like any sophomore's blog.

 

Get the socio-political commentary out of future games, please.  If you want to learn how to do allegory in a fantasy setting, read Spenser.  Right now it's more Ayn Rand.

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The allegory and contemporary ideas go beyond just religion.  There are some rather obvious dialogues regarding persecution of lifestyles that read like any sophomore's blog.

 

Get the socio-political commentary out of future games, please.  If you want to learn how to do allegory in a fantasy setting, read Spenser.  Right now it's more Ayn Rand.

 

Watch out guys, we got a philosophy major in this bitch.  He gonna learn everyone how they 'posed to be thinkin'.

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My understanding was that the ancients didn't prove the impossible to prove "there are no gods in the universe, period" statement, but a weaker one: "we've investigated all divine claims we could find, and found no hard evidence to support any of them," or "there don't seem to be any gods currently active in our world." At this point it didn't really matter to them if they were right - they'd convinced themselves that if the world had some undeniably true gods, it'd unite the nations and such. Perhaps it was even a double ploy: if there were some hidden real gods, they'd step out, reveal themselves, and take out the impostors. I agree that it could have been delivered in a more subtle way, but the bluntness is somewhat softened by the bit about simply thinking about it, asking your own questions, and doing your own investigation.

 

Also, regarding the above, what if Wael is a true god who infiltrated the synthetic ones? He seems to be different from the others, and his "mysteries for everyone!" gig would explain why they couldn't prove his existence - he made sure to hide himself well. I think it'd be an interesting twist-within-a-twist if it turned out that one of the fake gods wasn't a fake after all.

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Given that you need to ask for a god's blessing to proceed in the game, I think the atheist Ayn Rand comparisons are a bit reductive, to say the least.

 

The gods exist, that's proven fact in the setting. They are beings of immense power, knowledge and influence far surpassing any mortal, as befit gods in a fantasy setting. Does the information that they were created rather than popped into existence at some indeterminate time by some indeterminate reason make them any less gods? I think not. The game answers the question of how the gods were created, so it certainly removes some of the mystery surrounding them, but it doesn't strip them of their power, indeed one of your options is to make one god surpass all the others and become supreme. All your ending choices are basically dictated by the gods, too. And betraying god(s) that you pledged yourself to ends up biting the Dyrwood in the ass hard in the epilogue.

 

Of course, within the setting this information would have a tremendous effect (ableit probably not the apocalyptic chaos Thaos foresees) but to say that it makes the game an atheist power fantasy just because of that is stretching it. A lot.

 

I mean, cripes, D&D allows powerful enough characters to punch gods in the face. Next to that, PoE is downright reverent towards its deities.

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I would agree that Iovara was pretty weak and was introduced too late for me to care much about her. The student/mentor relationship with her never mattered to me since she was shown so late in the game but truth is that Iovara herself basically seem to admit that she was not the one that's important to the player. The one that matters is Thaos and some of the gods were nice enough that my character stuck with them rather then converting to a let's all be atheist mindset!

The companions I had to the last fight also stuck with the teachings on their god despite the fact that they heard they were lies. At this point even if the gods were at some point created it doesn't mean they are not gods. At one point before the world was made aware of their existence it might been possible to have the world following Iovara's example but at this point in time I doubt the majority of the characters in the game would care about her vision for how the world should be.

I think Iovara might been a bit heavy handed but personally I think game left itself enough room to go in any direction from here, the ending certainly didn't hint at some massive rebellion to bring down the gods and I trust Obsidian didn't build up this setting just to instantly destroy it the way Dragon age did with it's templar vs mage war.

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Twin Elms was a boring place inhabited by boring "barbarian" stereotypes.

 

I think my main problem with the Gods was that most of them felt like they'd had little real presence in the game beforehand.  I mean, Eothas and Magran were a fairly big deal, but otherwise?  Maybe I should read more of the Codex, but it was like "who the hell are Hylea and Rymgand?"  And yeah, the god's quests were kind of short.

The very final part was OK.  It did feel rather like atheist propaganda with the saintly Iovara contrasting with moustache twirling Thaos.  But that wasn't too much of a problem for me - after all I am an atheist and I generally prefer the villain to turn out to be a villain.  The big revelation didn't feel very big since I didn't really care much about these gods, but it was fine.  And I liked the way my previous choices shaped the dialogue with Iovara.

 

I didn't really like the final fight.  I died a few times and then eventually realised I needed to spam reflex targeting spells on Thaos

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I was also unimpressed by the Glanfathan. They never seem to evolve beyond the ''forest-dwelling savages who kill people trespassing on their lands'' sterotypes. There are a few nicer ones, but then it's counterbalanced by the **** who wants to kidnap and sacrifice a child, the lying and/or supremely arrogant hunters and cultural posturing across the board that makes the Na'Vi from Avatar envious. Hiravias seemed to be the only one who didn't have his head completely up his own ass.

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The allegory and contemporary ideas go beyond just religion.  There are some rather obvious dialogues regarding persecution of lifestyles that read like any sophomore's blog.

 

Get the socio-political commentary out of future games, please.  If you want to learn how to do allegory in a fantasy setting, read Spenser.  Right now it's more Ayn Rand.

 

Watch out guys, we got a philosophy major in this bitch.  He gonna learn everyone how they 'posed to be thinkin'.

 

Engineering and neither of those are philosophers.

 

 

Given that you need to ask for a god's blessing to proceed in the game, I think the atheist Ayn Rand comparisons are a bit reductive, to say the least.

 

I was speaking about the way it's done rather than what it is.

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The allegory and contemporary ideas go beyond just religion.  There are some rather obvious dialogues regarding persecution of lifestyles that read like any sophomore's blog.

 

Get the socio-political commentary out of future games, please.  If you want to learn how to do allegory in a fantasy setting, read Spenser.  Right now it's more Ayn Rand.

 

Watch out guys, we got a philosophy major in this bitch.  He gonna learn everyone how they 'posed to be thinkin'.

 

Engineering and neither of those are philosophers.

 

 

Given that you need to ask for a god's blessing to proceed in the game, I think the atheist Ayn Rand comparisons are a bit reductive, to say the least.

 

I was speaking about the way it's done rather than what it is.

 

 

Yes, but the fact remains that your character needs the blessing of a god to beat his foe, which also has the blessing of a god. If this really was some sort of heavy-handed allegory ala Ayn Rand or C.S. Lewis, the PC would have punched Thaos in the face without the use of any gods while proclaiming how HE's free to forge his own destiny or somesuch. Instead, the gods are central to solving the final conflict, and whatever you do with the souls advances the cause of one or several god(s), which is not really portrayed as a bad thing unless you support Woedica, and even that ending isn't the end of the world either.

 

I agree that the game does have themes that tie into disbelief and atheism, and Iovara is too much of a saint to be a great character, but that's a far cry from being as anvilicious as some here are portraying it, I think. 

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As for Iovara, she gives the Watcher the story of how these particular eleven gods were manmade, manufactured in a very obvious fashion. Not sure how that is comparable to Christians and atheists. 

 

The big revelation was a surprising twist, sure, in that I certainly didn't predict it, but it wasn't an effective one. The motivation behind the engwithan manufacture of their counterfeit gods falls flat for me; a civilization that was (with the exception of its skill at animancy) less advanced than modern Eoran civilization proved the nonexistance of god(s) with such certainty that it altered the course of their civilization and the world... so we're dealing with a civilization that learned how to prove a negative (a logical impossibility) before it mastered metallargy, or chemistry, or invented the printing press. Not particularly convincing.

 

Greeks were pretty much there - you don't need sophisticated technology to challenge rather simplistic concepts like "gods live on that mountain over there and are pretty much humans with superpowers" after all. Funny enough, with their philosophy being several levels above their religious reflection, hellenic culture significantly influenced early Christianity, so you can say that, in some sense, it was some Engwithan-ish twist.

 

Imagine Romans had some wild Germania v.2 in place of Middle-East and Persian neighbours with their bubbling cauldron of religions - what happens when diminishing traditional cults can be supplanted only with all-too-familiar barbarian pantheons? Either Jove gets a reformation, Rome gets some home-made prophets of New God(s) or... you actually see ruling class in the same spot Engwithians landed. Both cases suggest that if there's certain technological level required, it has more to do with offering people a measure of safety and comfort plus spare time outside of work, which in turn results in intellectual advancement - Rome had both, but its ailing religion happened to find a substitution at the right moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The allegory and contemporary ideas go beyond just religion.  There are some rather obvious dialogues regarding persecution of lifestyles that read like any sophomore's blog.

 

Get the socio-political commentary out of future games, please.  If you want to learn how to do allegory in a fantasy setting, read Spenser.  Right now it's more Ayn Rand.

 

Watch out guys, we got a philosophy major in this bitch.  He gonna learn everyone how they 'posed to be thinkin'.

 

Engineering and neither of those are philosophers.

 

 

Given that you need to ask for a god's blessing to proceed in the game, I think the atheist Ayn Rand comparisons are a bit reductive, to say the least.

 

I was speaking about the way it's done rather than what it is.

 

I agree that the game does have themes that tie into disbelief and atheism, and Iovara is too much of a saint to be a great character, but that's a far cry from being as anvilicious as some here are portraying it, I think. 

 

 

That one is salvageable though. I didn't get any hints that her rebellion/heresy survived too long (mostly revolved around one city or city-state?), which means she didn't get to rule or even make difficult decisions. In a way it does make "saint" believable - it all depens whether they are killed before power corrupts them or, less dramatically, disillusionment and apathy sets in after too many choices with no positive outcome (see: Thaos?). History usually tends to favor heroes/martyrs/conquerors who die young, preferably before they screw something up or, even worse, show some human weakness.

Edited by frobisher

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Yes, but the fact remains that your character needs the blessing of a god to beat his foe, which also has the blessing of a god. If this really was some sort of heavy-handed allegory ala Ayn Rand or C.S. Lewis, the PC would have punched Thaos in the face without the use of any gods while proclaiming how HE's free to forge his own destiny or somesuch. Instead, the gods are central to solving the final conflict, and whatever you do with the souls advances the cause of one or several god(s), which is not really portrayed as a bad thing unless you support Woedica, and even that ending isn't the end of the world either.

 

I agree that the game does have themes that tie into disbelief and atheism, and Iovara is too much of a saint to be a great character, but that's a far cry from being as anvilicious as some here are portraying it, I think. 

 

No, you don't need the blessing of a god anyway, but that's beside the point.  The forays into contemporary, earth-realm ideas about religion and social issues are obstructive and out of place in the setting.

Edited by durbal

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I just finished the game. The only thing I came away from the ending was "God is dead and/or God is a lie".

 

It didn't feel like a narrative telling with a different lore setting. It felt like an agenda. Iorvara felt like a medium for preaching an agenda to the player and not as part of a plot device for the player to have something in opposition to Thaos.

 

I read the dialogue options for talking with Thaos before the fight begins; I did not see a single option that allowed for me to argue for the existence of the Gods and them being real yet still be in opposition to Thaos and what He was doing.

 

The words and actions of the companions essentially confirmed this as well both in that conversation and the epilogue scenes.

 

By not allowing the player the ability to argue in such a manner only shows that the writers/devs or whatever only wanted the game to steer in one direction; The Gods are a lie/dead.

 

They have the right to write the story in the way they choose, but it came off as their own version of arguing against the existence of God. That is just the bottom line.

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Can I just check on something?  Whilst people are making a big deal about the gods not being "real", one thing think that should be made clear is if Thaos was trying to make the pantheon much more monotheistic with a strong focus on Woedica like how the cult of Sol Invictus came to dominate the Roman Empire.  IIRC the other gods show their blessing by allow the souls of their followers trapped in Burial Isle/Sun In Shadow to slow the decent of the Watcher when they fall into the pit, so does this mean that Thaos was purging the faithful of other gods to make sure the one he was backing remained dominate? 

 

If this was clear I think it would make his motive a bit more clear...

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