Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I'm a long term infinity-engine / RPG fan (having played and completed all the major PC and XBox RPGs over the last decade or so), so I've been really looking forward to PoE (obviously).  But, I must say, I'm seriously, seriously, seriously disappointed by this game.  From a mechanical perspective, it's a great product (it looks great, works well etc.).  But what on earth is going on with the story?  Where is all the mystery and intrigue that made BG and BG2 such amazing games?  The story presented is quite amazingly one dimensional and has totally failed to capture my interest.

 

Cast your minds back to heady days of 1998.  I remember the opening scene of BG (some unknown character is thrown off a roof) and then my own introduction in Candlekeep and the subsequent unexplained murder of Gorion.  This introduction set the tone for an intriguing mystery that would gradually unfold as I progressed through the story.  My interest in the game was driven by my enthusiasm for discovering the answers to the questions I uncovered as I made my way through the world (by whom and why was Gorion killed? Who were the characters on the roof? What was wrong with the iron?  How was I connected to this? What was Imoen's connection? etc., etc.).  BG was a masterclass in storytelling - and that was why it was so awesome.  My development as a character – and all of the necessary mechanics were more or less incidental to the primary concern – the story.  Other games imitated the mechanics (appearance, rules, etc), but typically failed to recreate the suspense that made BG a great, great game.  PoE has also failed in this fundamental respect.

 

I've played PoE for 1 hour and the following things have happened:

-          I've acquired strange new power

-          The mystery of those powers has been partially solved (I'm a "watcher")

-          I've acquired a stronghold

-          I’ve listened to and read vast reams of rambling explanation and dialogue

-          I’ve completed some random, essentially meaningless, quests

Where is my reason to carry on adventuring?  Where is the looming threat to my character?  Where are the questions that need answers?  There aren’t any.  It’s all so obvious.

 

Seriously, lame stories are a curse on modern RPGs.  Every time I hear about <the dark lord who must be defeated, my special destiny/abilities/powers that need to be fulfilled/used/harnessed, the evil that stalks the land that  must be eradicated> I want to bash my head against a brick wall.  Haven’t your writers read any decent novels?  Every single game that uses this lame formulaic approach to storytelling is the RPG equivalent of a Michael Bay blockbuster – all style and no-substance.  Take Dragon Age as a prime example – dragons don’t make a game good.  Not at all.  Not even a tiny bit.  Get rid of all the dark lords, all the dragons and all the “earth shattering” spell effects and give me a proper mysterious story line.  PoE, why have you made an isometric Dragon Age?

 

And no, “witty” inter-character conversations don’t compensate for a totally disinteresting storyline.

 

Sorry to moan.  I’m holding out hope that things pick up as the game progresses – but I’m doubtful that this will happen.  Interested to hear whether anyone else agrees / disagrees with my complaint.  I wish this was something that developers would focus on / think of as a big deal.

 

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "looming threat" is that the power of the Watcher is intensifying and you might go mad like Maerwald if you let it continue.

So you pursue the person who bestowed the power on you in the first place, whilst learning his motives and noticing the effects of his actions.

I'm surprised you missed that part.

Edited by Theorycrafter
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cast your minds back to the heady days of 1998... When you likely were an impressionable teenager.

 

BG was *not* a masterclass in storytelling. And especially not in *interactive* storytelling (which is what we're dealing with in games).

 

PoE's story is certainly not flawless (I think it could do with it feeling more threatening to the player from the start, it doesn't come across as well as it should) but it's miles better than the BGs.

  • Like 3

Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only an hour?  That's a lot of stuff you've done there in an hour. 

 

I'll admit the start of the game does take a bit to get going - and your motivations early on aren't super clear because you've got these powers now and then you're kinda left to your own devices for a time. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[spoilerS AHEAD !!!!!]

 

I guess it's a matter of personal taste. I for one, being just as experienced in all the BG1/2 genre, find this game very mysterious. It's a matter of perspective, and the questions you ask yourself regarding the story, the world, and it's characters. Here are just some of the things I find mysterious in the game:

  1. Who the hell was that Waidwen dude ? Was he really Eothas made flesh ? His avatar ?
  2. Who caused the Waidwen's Legacy ? Was it really his death that set this in motion ? Is there any way to remove that curse / disease ?
  3. How was I given the "Watcher" powers ? What happened in near that machine at the tutorial area ? Who is that robed guy ?
  4. What happened in my past life ? Is it connected to my new acquired "Watcher" abilities ?

These are just a few things I constantly ask myself while playing, there are A LOT more questions in my head.

 

I really got immersed in the story. I can't keep myself from playing it further and further, even though I encountered a game-breaking bug that caused me to start over again. I love everything about this game, except a few things in the combat system and bugs obviously.

 

EDIT: Please add [spoilerS] to the topic, it's supposed to be a non-spoiler forum, and it might bum a few people <.<

Edited by Maydawn
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty old fashioned - I can wander around the wilderness fighting monsters and collecting increasingly interesting loot with my interesting rag-tag party of NPCs.

 

That's my motivation squared away, everything else is gravy TBH.

  • Like 2

sonsofgygax.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BG wasn't really that "mysterious", and I guessed most of the plot twists rather easily. Actually at times I found some of the side plots more interesting than the main plot. And there really wasn't much drive to continue adventuring in BG either - "oh no your foster parent that you knew in the game for 5 minutes is dead go meet his weird swinger friends". What if I don't care about Gorion, or his friends, and I wanted to get the **** out of Candlekeep anyway? Then the story becomes about me randomly stumbling onto stuff that has something to do with my not-at-all-hard-to-guess past, even though I don't really care.

 

The fact is that it's extremely hard to do a roleplaying video game plot that keeps every player interested, but doesn't feel forced upon you. For tabletop gaming it's easier, and is one of it's strengths and probably will be for decades to come.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't entirely disagree with you, but if you take a long, hard look at BG1 you'll find that it actually had a fairly mediocre story and the thing that really made it interesting was the companions, the exploration and the optional stuff. BG2 had a much better story, but even it wasn't spectacular by writing standards and the companion interactions were clearly the highlight of the game.

 

This isn't the fault of the game's writers, though. It's actually a natural result of the kind of game they're trying to make. They wanted to make a game that was long, had a lot of optional content, and that gave the player freedom to explore. This runs contrary to what makes a story great in the mystery/literary sense you're talking about - for that, the story has to be extremely parsimonious, which is to say that there's nothing there that doesn't absolutely need to be there, and attempting to draw it out to pack in more "playtime" will necessarily affect the narrative's quality. And additionally you have to experience it in exactly the right way, which results in a more constrained and linear game.

 

I'll highlight with two examples of games that I believe had some of the best stories I've seen in RPGs: Planescape: Torment and Fallout. Both of them, for all the depth they had and choices they offered you, were fairly linear games. In Torment you were basically herded from location to location right till the end, with just a few notable optional areas. In Fallout, you ostensibly had "freedom" in terms of where to go, but not really - if you didn't stick to the main storyline and follow a certain path, you'd just outright lose the game. Notably, they were also fairly short games by RPG standards.

 

Now, if you were to change Torment and Fallout in order to increase game time, to give the player a bunch of extra content and more freedom, the natural consequence of that would be the central storyline losing its sense of urgency (which is what you've experienced in Pillars). This completeley undermines the sense of mystery. The game might repeatedly bash you over the head with "It is vital that you uncover the truth!" but it's meaningless unless it's actually enforced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every time I hear about

IMO, that could describe BG and BG2.  Sarevok and Irenicus both are essentially "the dark lord who must be defeated".  Being a Child of Bhaal is a special destiny (as a potential successor diety) that needs to be fulfilled/rejected.  The whole thing is about the potential evil that could be unleashed by the Children of Bhaal needing to be eradicated (or embraced by the PC).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some people tend to withered away as so is their brain, just like how people from middle ages thought the world was flat, till their death they still think it was flat. Dig your own grave rather cast a sail to a different horizon and try to find a ground where you can dig your own grave. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more I read these nitpicking posts on the forums, the more I realize publishers/consoles aren't the problem anymore.

 

It's the players who have regressed, become insatiably pessimistic and pedantic beings.

 

Pillars has nothing different from the flow of BG1, and is frankly better than it. Maybe BG2 can surpass Pillars due to the expansiveness and being a sequel, but that's just about it.

 

Torment only had the advantage of ridiculously original and unique companions, other than that Pillars again takes the cake.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the OP & all I could do was /facepalm.

 

Why keep adventuring? I dunno, dude: you won. Don't bother clearing out the levels below your stronghold, because  you're the WINZORZ. Don't bother going to Defiance Bay & seeing what's going on there. Don't bother with anything else, in fact; just burn the CD & move on with your life, cuz you so totally won the game & know everything about it from your Act 1 accomplishments.

 

Or, perhaps you're just trolling. I say that, because -- quite frankly -- I'm having great difficulty taking the OP seriously.

Haven't you heard?
It's a battle of words!
the poster bearer cried.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funnily enough, many people complained that BG1's story was too superimposed, that you never seemed to do anything involved with you personally or the main plot until the very end, that Sarevok was never around till the end, and so on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just like how people from middle ages thought the world was flat, till their death they still think it was flat.

 

No. No they didn't.

 

That was just made up by this one bigshot historical fiction writer.

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a long term infinity-engine / RPG fan (having played and completed all the major PC and XBox RPGs over the last decade or so), so I've been really looking forward to PoE (obviously).  But, I must say, I'm seriously, seriously, seriously disappointed by this game.  From a mechanical perspective, it's a great product (it looks great, works well etc.).  But what on earth is going on with the story?  Where is all the mystery and intrigue that made BG and BG2 such amazing games?  The story presented is quite amazingly one dimensional and has totally failed to capture my interest.

 

Cast your minds back to heady days of 1998.  I remember the opening scene of BG (some unknown character is thrown off a roof) and then my own introduction in Candlekeep and the subsequent unexplained murder of Gorion.  This introduction set the tone for an intriguing mystery that would gradually unfold as I progressed through the story.  My interest in the game was driven by my enthusiasm for discovering the answers to the questions I uncovered as I made my way through the world (by whom and why was Gorion killed? Who were the characters on the roof? What was wrong with the iron?  How was I connected to this? What was Imoen's connection? etc., etc.).  BG was a masterclass in storytelling - and that was why it was so awesome.  My development as a character – and all of the necessary mechanics were more or less incidental to the primary concern – the story.  Other games imitated the mechanics (appearance, rules, etc), but typically failed to recreate the suspense that made BG a great, great game.  PoE has also failed in this fundamental respect.

 

I've played PoE for 1 hour and the following things have happened:

-          I've acquired strange new power

-          The mystery of those powers has been partially solved (I'm a "watcher")

-          I've acquired a stronghold

-          I’ve listened to and read vast reams of rambling explanation and dialogue

-          I’ve completed some random, essentially meaningless, quests

Where is my reason to carry on adventuring?  Where is the looming threat to my character?  Where are the questions that need answers?  There aren’t any.  It’s all so obvious.

 

Seriously, lame stories are a curse on modern RPGs.  Every time I hear about <the dark lord who must be defeated, my special destiny/abilities/powers that need to be fulfilled/used/harnessed, the evil that stalks the land that  must be eradicated> I want to bash my head against a brick wall.  Haven’t your writers read any decent novels?  Every single game that uses this lame formulaic approach to storytelling is the RPG equivalent of a Michael Bay blockbuster – all style and no-substance.  Take Dragon Age as a prime example – dragons don’t make a game good.  Not at all.  Not even a tiny bit.  Get rid of all the dark lords, all the dragons and all the “earth shattering” spell effects and give me a proper mysterious story line.  PoE, why have you made an isometric Dragon Age?

 

And no, “witty” inter-character conversations don’t compensate for a totally disinteresting storyline.

 

Sorry to moan.  I’m holding out hope that things pick up as the game progresses – but I’m doubtful that this will happen.  Interested to hear whether anyone else agrees / disagrees with my complaint.  I wish this was something that developers would focus on / think of as a big deal.

 

Tom

 

"Why is Waidwen's Legacy happening?" Is what kept me playing. The looming threats to my character came after that...that and why I'm out of the sudden a Watcher.

 

If you really need all the story exposed within the first hour of the game to keep you interested, I'm afraid Mr Avellone's style ain't gonna suit you...he has a tendency to give you small questions and once you keep answering them you get new ones until everything is revealed by the last arc.

 

May I suggest Call of Duty? It seems to be more in line with your tastes in storytelling.

 

 

Funnily enough, many people complained that BG1's story was too superimposed, that you never seemed to do anything involved with you personally or the main plot until the very end, that Sarevok was never around till the end, and so on. 

 

 

Let me guess...people who played 1 hour of the game.

Edited by Bayzent
Link to comment
Share on other sites

*possible spoilers below*

 

Maybe I am over-romanticising BG1/2.  I still consider that the fundemental issues/objectives of the game have been released too quickly, to the point that it feels like there is basically no mystery/surprise left in this game.  The issue of 'what will happen now that I am a watcher' really isn't really a strong central story as far as I'm concerned.  It feels simultaneously inconsequential and unchallenging.  At least with BG1 you had to work through a couple of chapters to even determine that you were something special - and to even understand what the game was about.  Whilst I concede that the ultimate outcome of BG1 involved a dark lord/chosen one scenario, this was played out gradually - and you were led to believe that you were dealing with some kind of simple criminal conspiracy for large parts of game.

 

In PoE your special place is the universe is announced from the off and, for me, now it's just a matter of blasting through the main quest to "discover" how being a watcher will play out.  I appreciate that no-one seems to agree with me on this.  But there is definitely a complete sprectrum of predictability and overall quality when it comes to story construction in RPGs - and I personally feel that PoE is sitting on the lower end of this scale.  I agree with one of the commenters above, that a lot of the value of this game seems to be in interacting with all the various different inhabitants of the world and hearing their stories.  I guess I just particularly enjoy the 'story' aspects of RPGs - and care slightly less about the miscellaneous quests that one encounters along the way.  For instance, I think that having a stronghold is just a gimmicky distraction.  If I was truly "role-playing" this game, (1) I'd find that developement totally implausible and (2) from a character perspective, it would really undermine my interest in exploring the world and solving quests for people.

 

I don't think that 'open world' style games are incompatible with having a good story.  A couple of the Elder Scrolls titles did a reasonable job at this.  Also, several non-fantasy titles maintain a really decent story whilst allowing free-roaming (Far Cry, etc).

 

NB: To the person who suggests that I'm a troll.  Having a contrary opinion doesn't make someone a troll.  My post was reasonably written, wasn't agressive or rude, etc.  Being personal in response is just silly.

 

Also, apologies for the potential spoilers in my initial post.

Edited by tominwood
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't it be really easy to guess that you are a Watcher, though, once you find you can read souls and you learn a bit more about the lore? 

 

it would have been interesting to have only tiny glimpses of such soulreading until Act 2, and instead have the Act 1 plot be more about chasing some more mundane objective - e.g. trying to track down possible solutions to the hollowborn problem, being hired by an animancer, believing Thaos to be a rogue animancer and chasing him, etc. It would have required wholesale rewriting of the plot, of course. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I don't think that 'open world' style games are incompatible with having a good story.  A couple of the Elder Scrolls titles did a reasonable job at this.  Also, several non-fantasy titles maintain a really decent story whilst allowing free-roaming (Far Cry, etc).

 

I didn't mean to imply that the open-world style is incompatible with good stories, but rather that it makes it harder to imbue the "main" quest with any real sense of urgency. Especially if you combine it with a desire to make the game long, and to encourage the player to explore optional content without fear of penalty. This as opposed to treating such sidetracking as a potentially fatal distraction that they pursued at their own peril as in Fallout, which would be more thematically consistent with what the game's telling you. Even in the Elder Scrolls games, the first thing I'd do in Oblivion and Morrowind was completely forget about the "main" quest and go off on a complete tangent (I think Daggerfall might have had some scripted time limits etc., but it's been a while and I can't remember for sure).

 

Now, this isn't to say that there's no urgency whatsoever; I actually feel plenty of urgency when I think about the NPC companions, or even when I think about random civilians that might be affected by my actions, since they don't have the same "plot armour" that I do. I kind of wish it didn't have to be that way, but if the game was actually ballsy enough to punish the player for not taking the main quest seriously (like Fallout did in a dramatic and unforgiving way) there'd be no end to the whining.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might actually not happen but story-wise it's pretty obviously established that you're supposed to be worried about it. Even your companions comment on you looking haggard and not getting any sleep.

Unfortunately, its very much 'tell not show,' and nowhere does it actually matter.   It seemed like it was going to matter (seeing things in the immediate aftermath), but that just...stops, and instead it turns into a useful ability to talk to dead people that makes you the ultimate murder-mystery solver.  

 

 

Personally, this game reminds me a lot of BG1 & 2... in a bad way.  The fun and interesting parts of the games are the side quests and exploration, and the main plot is heavy handed grimdark for the sake of being grimdark, without being particularly evocative or interesting. 

Are the hollowborn the result of blowing up a god?  Transparently not. 

Is animancy evil?  The rest of the world seems to lack these problems. And other than Aedyr, no one even cares.

Is America Dyrwood wonderful?  No, its full of inbred, stupid, murderous religious fanatics who probably deserve their pathetic fates. I've met no one in this country who I find the least bit sympathetic.

Was I not supposed to make that parallel?  It seems pretty obvious, former colony of England, though the language/culture is more Anglo-Saxon early/middle English than late renaissance England.

 

Is this evil cult interesting? No, actually, its fairly absurd, with a gigantic, self sacrificing membership that is far too huge to actually be a secret cult.  And their 'secret' meeting are guarded by dozens of mercenaries with no reason not to talk about the 'secret cult.'  Meanwhile the big bad gets special immunity to walk through cutscenes to demonstrate his plot armor/out of game mechanics and complete domination of the railroad plot.

 

The tipping point for me is the animancy hearing.  Jump through hoops to 'choose a faction' (which turns out not to even be an effort).  You can go through and completely fail to convince anyone, be moderately successfully or be fairly persuasive and... it doesn't matter.  The railroad plot just wanders in and decrees your choices as unimportant and irrelevant...as if this were a Bioware game.

 

 

But yeah.  Side adventures and exploration are pretty good.  The main plot just has to be suffered to unlock the good stuff.

Edited by Voss
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd concede that the whole "you should be worried for your fate" thing was too underplayed and I never felt any urgency because of it. Was dreaming of pillars during rests supposed to be disturbing? It's not. I actually quite enjoyed those visuals and ambience.

 

However, the setting and the rest of the plot kept me moving forward, I found the intrigue gripping till the very end. "Ridiculous" as the cult might be, their goal remains a mystery for a long time. It is mid-Act 3 where you might think "okay, the big bad [plot] is revealed" and still there's a nice twist waiting. Not to mention all the other mysteries already listed in the thread, including the grand adventure to meet the Master Below, and most of companion quests.

 

As far as the writing goes, personally I thoroughly enjoyed the vagueness of consequences of your actions and words. I've been touting for Shadowrun Dragonfall as a great experience lately, yet PoE surpassed it making me seriously dwell on decisions and even dialogue choices time and time again. I'm pretty sure that the ending slides depicting the world we created would surprise anyone a few times. I also enjoyed the absence of feel-good resolution options every so often. (E.g. The first companion quests I completed felt fairly depressing.) And the ending itself has no clearcut "these are the good ones" options. It was adult, immersive, inviting to ruminate. Overall an excellent setting for role-playing characters.

 

 

 

Edit: Oh, as far as special powers are concerned, at least it is quickly established that you aren't a "chosen one"-tier being as Watchers and soul awakenings are relatively common, not some mythical creatures or events heralded by falling stars or whatnot. So there's that, my "here we go again" frustration was quickly brushed away by these considerations.

Edited by Primislas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...