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The disconnection between companions and the overall story.


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Also, now that we've mentioned it NWN2 HAS a forced companion - what's-her-face! The farm girl! And I don't recall anyone hating her or hating that you have to take her with you.

 

You obviously weren't reading the NWN forums when the game came out, then -- there were absolute howls of protests about this back in the day.  And this came up during the Kickstarter process, when the developers were at pain to tell everyone there would be no point in the game where a player that wished to play solo would be required to have a companion (for critical path quests only, of course).

 

On the topic of the OP -- my fundamental issue is that I never really connected with any of the problems that the companions needed were trying to resolve, with the partial exception of Grieving Mother (but that character's quest ties more closely with the main quest than do any of the others).  Generally, I felt that the companions had far too few interjections in side quests -- had they spoken up with their feelings on some of the decisions that you can make, it would go a /long/ way towards making them feel "real" to me.

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I think it's kind of interesting that some people are finding the characters to be disconnected from the story. I thought SOME of them were, but Eder, Kana, and Pallegina all seemed pretty well woven into it to me. Durance, as well, though I dumped him because I didn't like his attitude, so I don't know if that was still the case through the end. Some of the others seemed like they had a good enough reason to stick around, like Aloth and Grieving Mother.

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*shrug* it's possible to call anything apophenia. I could just sit here and say, "hey you people are not seeing the patterns that are there". It's an utterly meaningless statement.

 

If I pick one specific point to answer:

 

Eder has a question and gets an answer, even if it is incomplete and not entirely to his liking.  His brother chose god over nation, Eder chose the reverse.

Sagani fully resolves her quest (which doesn't involves questions or answers) and goes home satisfied.

 

You're basically flattening all of the nuance in the delivery and the situation. If you asked Eder whether his problem was 'answered' or whether he was given a full 'closure', his lines throughout his entire quest say the opposite. Eder didn't set out to say, "did my brother fight for X or did he fight for Y?" He wanted to know why, he wanted to know what drove his brother, and so on. Your interpretation is basically like saying "you cheated on me, now I want to know whether you kissed him 3 times or 4 times." 

 

Similarly, you find with Sagani that Persoq was the white deer and so on. But again, focusing on that is completely missing the point. Everything Sagani says from the start shows quite clearly that she begins with unquestioned certainty about this ritual practice / journey and she is looking forward to just finding the guy and getting it done, but as time goes by, she begins to wonder what this journey means at all, what it means to Persoq, what it means to her, what it means to her tribe, and whether finding Persoq will really solve anything or answer anything, and what finding Persoq would be able to give to her at all. We find, from all of her lines at that last encounter, that indeed, finding Persoq could give her no answers on what mattered most. The only answer she did get is the answer that matters the least - that Persoq was a white deer. 

 

Of course, if a reader hypothetically went through those quests and thought, "OK we were trying to find out who Eder's bro fought for and who the hell Persoq was, done and done, their stupid problems are solved", then I'm sure the whole thing will feel rather pointless. I would say that's an extremely impoverished reading that ignores most of the nuance in the writing - and under such an impoverished reading, the only type of plot that would feel satisfactory is a highly melodramatic and explicit "here we are saving the world, here look you see this person die right now, can you save her?" and so on. Sure, everything I said here  is my interpretation, but I found that the themes were weaved quite indirectly and I enjoyed that 'non-epic' approach.

 

Yea -some of the peopel here clearly hate the game and vent about it repeatedly.  It helps to take games on their own terms.  I found the characters to be wonderfully tied into the deeper themes of the story, with interesting meditations on religion and science (through animancy).  Some of these criticisms come across as coming from people with no ability to understand subtlety.  The idea that what you do doesn't matter is hogwash, for instance - you just don't have people bowing and scraping to you as the hero.

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The companions are all extremely important to the story they just aren't all secret cousins of the main antagonists or w/e. Their personal stories relate strongly to the themes and put a face you know to the issues the world is going though.

 

Eder - What's more important, your god or your country? Loyalty, the search for meaning. Storywise he also offers perspective on the Saint's War and Eothas.

Aloth - Are people better off being independent or being guided by authority? Order versus Chaos.  Storywise he's connected to the Leaden Key.

Durance - Are the gods helping us or using us? What does it mean to follow a god? Storywise he's connected to the Saint's War, Godhammer and the plotting of the Gods.

Kana - Is knowledge always worth the price we pay for it? Is pure exploration better than safely guided learning? Storywise he's connected to the Endless Paths. His journey relates thematically to animancy as well.

Sagani - Is tradition inherently meaningful or do we create that meaning ourselves? Storywise she offers perspective on the Cycle and what happens to souls when they pass on.

Hiravias - When we ask questions, will we always be satisfied with the answer presented to us or should we seek it for ourselves? Storywise he's connected to Galawain and Wael and offers perspective on the differences between the gods.

Pallegina - Should we follow authority unquestioningly or should we do what we believe to be right? Storywise she offers perspective on animancy and the other goings on in the Dyrwood's effect on the wider world.

Grieving Mother - Is it ever acceptable to impose your will on others even when you believe it to be right? Is living a beautiful lie better than a horrific truth? Stoywise she's conencted to the Hollowborn and impact it has on people's lives.

Edited by Diogenes
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I think most people are spreading the meaning of "connected to the main plot" too thin and too wide. Most of your (as in general you) examples are just examples of exposition dumps and world building rather than in any way connected to the main plot. The crux of the problem is that the companions are random people you happen to stumble across your adventures rather than the adventure being something personally meaningful for them. It seems WEIRD that these people would follow you into death the moment you meet them just because... I don't really know, no explanation is given. Yeah, sure you play therapist for a while, but that's stupid.

EDIT: Maybe people are just reading the thread title? I should've worded it differently now that I think about it, but I don't see an edit thread title button. This thread is about the main plot and not the setting.

Edited by Christliar
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As far as Bioware goes: haven't played DA:I at all, and the rest of those games seems to have been covered enough.

 

In the Mass Effect games though, which are my favourite Bioware games, I think they struck a perfect balance in how much impact your companions had on the story. In ME1, they sort of tag along and have similar goals but it feels like everyone including Shepard is growing into their role.Then in ME2, Miranda seems like the link between you and the Illusive Man so she is sorta vital to the story, then you see how Tali and Garrus have developed just as you character have. Wrex and Liara have gone diffferent paths from your ship but have grown perhaps even more and take vital roles within the universe in between ME1/2 or during ME2, and they all have reasonable and different motivations for tagging along. And they are very much a part of the final mission there, the way the final part of ME2 is handles might be my favourite of any game.

 

And then in ME3, they've grown even more, Wrex and Tali are even more vital to their people, Liara wields a significant influence and so does Garrus in his own way. While the ending of that game sucks, at you get a sense that those 4 matter a lot to the plot of ME3, not to mention Legion depending on your choices. While some of your older comps from ME2 walk diffferent paths and still try to make a difference in ME3. Having everyone being super vital to the story and/or ending can make things too much which can be as bad as having no comp feel connected to the main arc. And I still think Bioware struck the perfect balance in ME, especially when you view it as a triology and with the way they all evolved during all the games.

 

That said, for PoE I felt like Durance, Grieving Mother, Eder and Aloth had something at stake with the main story, though for diffferent reasons. They had all been affected directly by the Hollowborn plague, the war with Waidwen or the Leaden Key. (Haven't played Kana enough to know how much LK affected him or Pallegina & Hiravias). So that's half the party members having a reason to see it through to the end the way I saw it in the game. Which feels ok, the could certainly been more involved with the main story, but I think the most major reason for having them tag along was to understand the world and the way it worked, similar to how the companions in ME1 were. In an expansion or PoE2 where players have a deeper understanding for the lore and the world around them, I would probably prefer to have the comps being more invested in the main story as well. 

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I think most people are spreading the meaning of "connected to the main plot" too thin and too wide. Most of your (as in general you) examples are just examples of exposition dumps and world building rather than in any way connected to the main plot. The crux of the problem is that the companions are random people you happen to stumble across your adventures rather than the adventure being something personally meaningful for them. It seems WEIRD that these people would follow you into death the moment you meet them just because... I don't really know, no explanation is given. Yeah, sure you play therapist for a while, but that's stupid.

 

EDIT: Maybe people are just reading the thread title? I should've worded it differently now that I think about it, but I don't see an edit thread title button. This thread is about the main plot and not the setting.

 

Yes, that's exactly my problem.  Many of the companions simply don't have any stake in the Hollowborn epidemic -- at least, they don't express any particular concern with it, and none of them have any stake in the PCs personal problems (such as the fact as his awakening will eventually drive him insane).  All of the companions except Aloth (who has a strong, vested, interest in the Leaden Key) and Grieving Mother (who has a strong, vested interest in stopping the Hollowborn epidemic) fall into this category.

 

Kana's character is such that it makes sense he would be interested, simply for the knowledge to be acquired, so that's a good reason for him to be in the PCs party -- but doesn't tie him to the plot particularly.

Pallegina has an illicit (from the POV of her superiors, who seem to view it as a vendetta) interest in the Leaden Key's operations, so joining the PC might be a valid way for her to pursue this interest.  It is totally bizarre how her superior doesn't (at least try) to assign her to another task after she completes her initial task in Twin Falls, though.

Eder sees the PC as his ticket out of Gilded Vale and has some degree of interest in ending the Hollowborn epidemic (because he is a native of the area impacted).

Sagani has a task that is totally unrelated to the PCs tasks, that doesn't tie in to or related to the PCs tasks, and only joins the PCs party out of desperation (e.g. she can't think of anything else to do, and working with a Watcher might be helpful).  Nether the Leaden Key nor the Hollowborn epidemic are of any interest to her, after all, since she has no plans to settle or remain in the area after her tasks are completed.

Durance appears to join the party as an alternative to suicide (see his epilogue if the PC doesn't help him resolve his issues) -- I suppose that explains why he has no hesitation to risk his life for a cause that he never expresses any interest in.

Hiravias is even worse -- the only reason that he joins the party is because, well, the PC is there.  He doesn't even bring up his personal quest until well after the initial joining dialog (I believe -- someone who has a save in the right area can verify).  He doesn't even have the default motivation for his race in opposing interference with the Eothonian (sp) ruins, because he explicitly disclaims it in a banter when the party enters the ruin near Twin Falls.  I suppose maybe he just enjoys a good fight?

 

There is nothing intrinsically wrong in having companions that aren't tied into the main plot -- after all, most of the characters in BG1 and BG2 weren't tied in either.  But if they aren't, the burden falls on the developers to either make the characters so interesting that nobody is willing to look too deeply into "Hey, why are they still hanging around?" or ensure that they feel a debt to the PC for assistance (common in BG2 -- most companions would leave if you didn't take care of the personal quests fairly quickly once they came up).  If neither of these conditions are met, then...  Well, you get discussion like this one. :)

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I think most people are spreading the meaning of "connected to the main plot" too thin and too wide. Most of your (as in general you) examples are just examples of exposition dumps and world building rather than in any way connected to the main plot. The crux of the problem is that the companions are random people you happen to stumble across your adventures rather than the adventure being something personally meaningful for them. It seems WEIRD that these people would follow you into death the moment you meet them just because... I don't really know, no explanation is given. Yeah, sure you play therapist for a while, but that's stupid.

 

EDIT: Maybe people are just reading the thread title? I should've worded it differently now that I think about it, but I don't see an edit thread title button. This thread is about the main plot and not the setting.

 

Clearly Mark Twain also didn't understand storytelling.  After all, the Duke and Dauphin run into Huckleberry Finn and Jim, and they have no connection to the main story.  Clearly every single character has to have their motives written in all caps, and anything else is just an "exposition dump."

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snip

The fun part is that your quest isn't about stopping the hollowing, because nobody has any idea how or why it happened so you have literally nothing to go on. It just happens to be connected to Thaos, so the characters who have vague interest in the hollowing wouldn't know that joining the PC would help with that. The only hint we have that this is going to lead in any way to the Hollowing is because the main quest is titled "The Hollowing of the Dyrwood" which is really meta and spoiler-ish and I don't think our companions can read our GUI ;p

 

 

 

I think most people are spreading the meaning of "connected to the main plot" too thin and too wide. Most of your (as in general you) examples are just examples of exposition dumps and world building rather than in any way connected to the main plot. The crux of the problem is that the companions are random people you happen to stumble across your adventures rather than the adventure being something personally meaningful for them. It seems WEIRD that these people would follow you into death the moment you meet them just because... I don't really know, no explanation is given. Yeah, sure you play therapist for a while, but that's stupid.

 

EDIT: Maybe people are just reading the thread title? I should've worded it differently now that I think about it, but I don't see an edit thread title button. This thread is about the main plot and not the setting.

 

Clearly Mark Twain also didn't understand storytelling.  After all, the Duke and Dauphin run into Huckleberry Finn and Jim, and they have no connection to the main story.  Clearly every single character has to have their motives written in all caps, and anything else is just an "exposition dump."

 

The con artists? Whose motivation is to con people? And they see an opportunity with Huck and Jim? I haven't read Huckleberry Finn in probably a decade, so I might be misremembering.

Edited by Christliar
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My take on the companions couple days ago:

 

I didn't like companion interjections being no more than references for the PC character, not effecting the NPCs' reactions/quests at all. Now that I finished my first playthrough I have no desire to get all the companions again cos it won't be a different experience if I take a companion on a quest which I hadn't brought with me in my first playthrough.

 

Was this design choice for freedom in companion selection? If so why Durance and Grieving Mother's quests requires you to travel with them till their quests are finished? Or was it too much additional work to make companions effect the story other than their own quests?

 

Anyway, this really took away from replayability of the game for me.

 

 

 

 

Now I'm reading in this thread that the lack of companion involvement in the main story. Bleh. They are not involved in anything, not even in a side quest other than their personal quests. We should expect more from a party based cRPG, right? But what we got is in the same lines with New Vegas(which was good for mainly single character game).

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I don't really know what you want or what you expected at this point and reading your posts. Forced party composition, unkillable companions and heavily integrated plot characters are all very JRPG traits.

 

The companions in PoE exist to provide more flavor to the world and act as a sounding board to find out the character's stance on the big issues. They don't drive the plot because they can all be replaced by a mercenary or completely ignored.

So you are right, they don't drive the plot that's not really a bad thing. Certain characters can interject at certain junctions in the plot if you've brought them along but it was all designed so the companions would be optional.

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I don't really know what you want or what you expected at this point and reading your posts. Forced party composition, unkillable companions and heavily integrated plot characters are all very JRPG traits.

 

The companions in PoE exist to provide more flavor to the world and act as a sounding board to find out the character's stance on the big issues. They don't drive the plot because they can all be replaced by a mercenary or completely ignored.

So you are right, they don't drive the plot that's not really a bad thing. Certain characters can interject at certain junctions in the plot if you've brought them along but it was all designed so the companions would be optional.

Like I said (for like the 4th time now) all my examples for good companions are from games where you CAN kill or ignore companions entirely. Especially in MotB you can *eat* all your companions and they still are important. In KotOR2 you can play solo, but Kreia still interjects whenever something important happens through telepathy or in cutscenes (the dialogue with Mandalore for example)

 

A counter to my own arguments: Planescape Torment is very well written, but the companions aren't involved in the main quest (with the possible exception being Morte) - that's because there really isn't a main quest to worry about rather than a vague "find out who you are" thing. They are drawn to you, because they see a kindred spirit in their suffering/torment. That works too, but can't be applied to PoE's companions.

Edited by Christliar
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Nobody (certain not I) am arguing that the companions should be required to proceed with the critical path quests, nor are we arguing that they shouldn't be killed.

 

But I am arguing that it would be awfully nice if the companions:
* Talked about their opinions on decisions made by the PC -- for example, which companions are for and against animancy research?  Which companions are for and against aligning with the various factions available to you in Defiance Bay?  Given the choices available, which gods do each companions favor aligning yourself with when the opportunity arises?  Yes, some (but by no means all) of the companions chime in with an opinion /after/ you've made your position clear in the animancy trial at the end of act 2, and all the companions chime in with an opinion as to what you should do with the souls at the very end of the game, but there is an enormous gap here, which is magnified by the fact that the companions are largely silent except about their backstory and their personal quests -- neither of which has anything to do with the quests (side and critical) that the player is dealing with.

* Responded to the PCs disposition (e.g. cruel / kind / deceptive) -- Obsidian did a fairly good job (given the limited resources that they had to work with) with this...  Except when it comes to companions -- none of your companions have responses to your disposition modifiers that I've noticed,  One has to assume that Grieving Mother would respond badly to a PC with a Cruel=3 reputation, but never does.

 

I'm not saying that this is a bad game due to these lacks, but they are pretty clearly lacks -- the game would be better if the things above were included.

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TL;DR

Companions meaningless to to the plot in the game = no contest      ///     Companions not important to the story and theme = have at you

 

Wall of text

The OP is right, as far as the plot is concerned, the companions "don't have any part in it", but so what? That's not to say that they are not important in some other regard. As many have said here, they put a - hopefully memorable if not relatable - face on what it means to live on Eora (=ways for the writers to explore the situations that their premises throw a new light on, otherwise why bother writing at all?); they provide an avenue of exposition that is more palatable to some; as SpitefulOne puts it they "act as a sounding board to find out the character's stance on the big issues"; and they also (perhaps the most important aspect in Obsidian companions) act as dramatisations of the narrative's themes. That may look like some pretty standard fare for cRPGs but it is well executed and the character concepts are varied - except for how you pick companions up, one can argue.

 

I'd even say that the thematic unity of the whole game is impressive. You can easily divide the companions into those that provide exposition primarily on the history of the setting (including cultures, races, nations, etc.) and those that provide exposition primarily on animancy and souls, but deep down (or not so deep for some) they all share the same defining need that only the PC can calm, a need that also drives the PC (... and the player to some extent), a need that the gods were supposed to keep in check. They are looking for something certain beyond a doubt and for the freeing comfort that brings with it. They all want to know and be certain. And they all come to see the PC as the only means to get definite answers. Their quests and the PC's soul's quest are quests for answers and/or questions. Even the pantheon is organized around that idea (and the reason why becomes clear at the end).

 

Let's have a look at Edér. He provides living, breathing exposition on the Saint's War and the following Purges as seen by one Eothasian Dyrwoodan - which is good world-building - but even though his own quest relies on the Watcher's power – which is proper if flimsy motivation for following the Watcher -, the Watcher's quest does not depend on his - which is what Obsidian was originally reproached with here. However, he is thematically resonant on two accounts. First, he is part of a systematic exploration of the base premises of the world - what if souls were real, were reshuffled and ground down in reincarnation cycles, could leave a mark on the world and could be manipulated? If that were the case, wouldn't there be people who would want to get in touch with their beloved departed in some way? Second, his is a quest not for glory, not for riches, not for revenge, but for answers, like yours, and his is a quest that ultimately invites you to question answers and to question questions, like yours. What answer are you looking/waiting for? What question(s) does it answer? Why do you want it? What do you want it for? Would you be looking even if you were not aware of the question? What if you cannot get one? What is an answer? Does it have to account for the letter or the spirit of the question? Does Edér want to know what his brother did, why he did what he did or how to live on and move on? Does he want an answer, meaning, closure, a solution, all of the above in one easy-to-process sentence? And how will he deal with that knowledge or absence thereof? What about your character? What about you? Is the answer good enough or do you need another, more satisfactory one?

 

All of the companions are in a crisis of faith or trust or belief - just as the world itself is adrift. They are looking for guidance and latching onto the PC for it: they're a watcher, they see all of the eternal souls as they are, they'll know! "They are drawn to you", so to speak. You can criticize that aspect of the game and of the companions on many grounds, but you cannot say it is not there, and if you are right in saying that the companions do nothing for the plot, you certainly cannot say they do nothing for the story.

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I think we both can agree that the companions in general aren't very well developed and used. Kind of meaningless to have companions when that is the case since exposition can be delivered by other NPCs that aren't your companions. You can just use the adventurer's hall. It is a waste and I do hope Obsidian would do it better in the sequel and I KNOW they can, because of all their other titles being amazing in this regard.

 

 

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We already talked about this and came to the conclusion (or maybe I just did) that even if that was true it doesn't go anywhere and it isn't supported by anything within the game. There is no "pattern of unanswered questions" and the game doesn't really bring up any kind of meaningful questions. It even gives answers to questions that weren't even asked and/or were made up in the last half of act 3. ;p

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Yes, that's reasonable - the game clearly has the hooks to go deeper, and I'd view not doing so as a function of budget.  I'd like that as well - maybe even have some members unwilling to continue with some choices.

 

Actually, there is exactly one example of this in the game as it stands today -- Grieving Mother leaves permanently if you choose to sacrifice the child in the Twin Falls quest.

 

Just making sure the game gets credit where credit is due. :)

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I don't really know what you want or what you expected at this point and reading your posts. Forced party composition, unkillable companions and heavily integrated plot characters are all very JRPG traits.

 

The companions in PoE exist to provide more flavor to the world and act as a sounding board to find out the character's stance on the big issues. They don't drive the plot because they can all be replaced by a mercenary or completely ignored.

So you are right, they don't drive the plot that's not really a bad thing. Certain characters can interject at certain junctions in the plot if you've brought them along but it was all designed so the companions would be optional.

Like I said (for like the 4th time now) all my examples for good companions are from games where you CAN kill or ignore companions entirely. Especially in MotB you can *eat* all your companions and they still are important. In KotOR2 you can play solo, but Kreia still interjects whenever something important happens through telepathy or in cutscenes (the dialogue with Mandalore for example)

 

A counter to my own arguments: Planescape Torment is very well written, but the companions aren't involved in the main quest (with the possible exception being Morte) - that's because there really isn't a main quest to worry about rather than a vague "find out who you are" thing. They are drawn to you, because they see a kindred spirit in their suffering/torment. That works too, but can't be applied to PoE's companions.

 

 

I think you might be wrong about Planescape - I'm pretty sure the main characters had quite a bit to do with the main plot, IIRC.

 

Some spoilers, as I will be explaining the plots & character important to Planescape Torment, Knights of the Old Republic 2, and Baldur's Gate 2:

 

 

 

 

Lots to do with main plot: (exploring past lives, learning about yourself, etc)

Morte - related to past life (you "saved" him)

Ignus - related to past life (he was your pupil)

Dakkon - related to past life (you're his savior)

Vhailor - related to past life (you imprisoned him/he hunts you)

 

Less about the main plot, but help to advance it at times: (help to learn about your current self, and past self at times)

Annah - Has some ties to the current TNO, especially with her father, Pharod, and once he dies, she's got nothing. (Plus theres the Bronze Sphere, which she wants to find out about and ties to the main story)

Grace - Seeks knowledge and experiences outside her brothel. She's reluctant to leave however, but TNO's journey is interesting and she desires more knowledge about the world. (While not exactly relevant to main plot, she does help you explore the current TNO's identity, and lets you pry into others' past, especially Morte's) 

 

Completely optional and contributes almost noting to the main plot:

Nordom - confused about his individuality, views TNO as his "superior" as he is used to being part of the hive mind and needs commands.

 

Almost all the characters have to do with exploring yourself and your past lives and learning more about who you are. Which is pretty much the main plot.

 

And if you want to start comparing to KotoR2 (which I love BTW):

 

Kreia: Argueably the most important character (possibly moreso than the Jedi Knight) 

 

Atton: Rogueish character - no real tie to you, he was tied to Revan though. Can become one of the Lost Jedi (a little important story-wise, maybe more importance for early game & developing yourself?)  (important fo Peragus Station)

Bao-Dur: Engineer Soldier - tied to you from the war, important to war-related info + final planet (more important story-wise, especially end game plot + Malachor V) Can become one of the Lost Jedi (Important to Malachor V and Telos)

 

Brianna/Handmaiden - Important ties with Atris, espceially mid to end -game (after the Betrayal). Can become one of the Lost Jedi (Important to Telos - Late Game)

Mical/Disciple - Tied to the Republic & reports on you. Actually ties to you as he admired you and wanted to be your Jedi apprentice before the war. Can become one of the Lost Jedi (Useful for history + past with main character - does not advance main plot anywhere, except maybe Dantooine.)

 

Mira - You saved her, but no real ties to you. Mandalorian family + ties to the war. Can become one of the Lost Jedi (Important to Nar Shadaa)

Hanharr - Bound by lifedebt to Kreia (or you?). Has some importance on Malachor V, but not really plot related (other than showing Kreia as a manipulator + foreshadowing) (Important to Nar Shadaa)

 

Visas - You save her from Darth Nihilus, she has some foreshadowing and insight for Katarr. Can become one of the Lost Jedi. (Important to Nihilus story line)

 

T3M4 - Useful plot device to tie in with Revan. Joins you to get you to help Revan (not really explored). (Important to Peragus)

Mandalore - Useful plot device to tie in the Mandalores and Revan. (Manipulated by Kreia and important to Dxun + Onderon)

HK-47 - Useful plot device to tie in with Revan. Joins you because you fix him. (Important to Assassin Droids, supposedly the Droid Factory as well, which was never implemented).

 

G0-T0 - Plot device for Nar Shadaa + Republic vs Sith + consequences to the Galaxy. (Important for Nar Shadaa, MAYBE Malachor V)

 

While I liked most of the characters and think KotoR2 was great, to say that they are all important to the main plot (Kreia's story) isnt quite true. They each are important to the section of the main plot they are recruited at, and usually help to advance the plot in some aspect on their respective planets (or others, sometimes). However, the main plot is argueably all about Kreia, and she is practically the most important character period. Everyone else can argueably be used as a plot device to advance each of the planets individually/offer lore and background to the game. Also, something important to note - a lot of these characters are mandatory. (You might be able to kill them off individually, not sure, but I dont think so. I think they insist upon joining you/Kreia won't let you kill them. I cant recall) 

 

How is this any different from PoE's characters? Sure, they might be plot devices for lore and to advance the issues of the world, but KotoR did the same thing. KotoR could tie everyone together though because all characters had to be recruited and had to join your cause. PoE doesn't get that option because you can only have 5 companions with you and making any of them mandatory would ruin it.

 

Now I'll compare BG2:

 

Imoen - Plot device. Sister Bhaalspawn who's captured by Irenicus. (kinda Mandatory for plot = giant loophole. IIRC was intended to die) Still Optional.

Jaheira - Wants revenge for Khalid. Optional.

Minsc - Wants revenge for Dynaheir. Optional.

Yoshimo - Working for Irenicus. Optional (not actually important to main plot, really).

Aerie - Circus girl who wants to see the world. Optional.

Nalia - Noble girl who wants help to save her keep. Optional.

Anomen - Knight who wants to prove himself by fighting evil. Optional

Korgan - Mercenary who needs to be hired. Optional

Edwin - Wizard who is manipulating Shadow Thieves and wants help. Optional.

Viconia - Drow who needs your help or will literally die. Has nowhere else to go + you saved her. Optional.

Jan - Weird gnome who likes adventure. Optional.

Keldorn - Paladin who wants to destroy the Unseeing Eye cult for his church. Optional.

Haer'Dalis - Needs to be freed by you. Decides to stay because of adventure. Optional.

Valygar - Hunted by Cowled Wizards. Wants help to enter family Sphere. Optional.

Mazzy - Adventurer who's friends were killed by Shadow Lord. Needs help to get revenge + defeat him.

Cernd - Druid sent to investigate the corrupted Grove. Needs help. Optional.

Sarevok - ex-Bhaalspawn Brother who forces you to resurrect him. Wants to join you. Optional (but more mandatory IMO than others)

 

See where I am going? Every single NPC is 100% optional. In KotoR2, that cannot be. Because of this, you can't make ANY character have the importance that Kreia has in KotoR2. To do so would make that character mandatory for the main plot and would make it so the player could not bring them. As it is, they practically force Imoen upon you, and I think a lot of players really resent that (I know I did.) Sure its great for my good playthrough - and my evil playthrough can just say that he wants to hunt down Irenicus for revenge or whatever, but what if I dont want to take along Imoen after I save her? Am I going to just leave her at Spellhold? I SHOULDN'T...but I did often enough just because I didn't want her in my party. (Not because I hate her or anything, just didn't want to take her every single playthrough - although she's still not great IMO.....)

 

Its not really fair to compare PoE to KotoR. They are just set up so differently when it comes to companions. BG is a better comparison for PoE because NPCs are optional. Dragon Age would perhaps be a better comparison for KotoR, as the main companions are forced upon you (sure most of the others are optional, but they don't really have too much to do with the main plot of taking out the Archedemon, unlike Allistar + Morrigan.) Maybe Mass Effect would be as well, as the characters are kinda forced upon you (IIRC, honestly didn't play a lot of ME).

 

I mean, sure I'd love to see some more companion reactivity and stuff, but this is the first game in (hopefully) the series, so the companions are probably going to heavily reinforce the new lore of this completely new world. And I think that's fine, as they seem interesting and (mostly) usefuI, so I'm good, personally. I dont know, I think I am just fine with how the companions turned out, and I just hope they add more and make even better ones in the sequel/expansions.

 

(For the record - I loved all of the above-mentioned games, and KotoR2 is easily one of my favorites. - Rant Start - Man was I p***ed when they made The Old Republic and made THAT the third game in the series. I was so f**king disappointed by that. Absolutely terrible decision. If you want to make a Starwars MMO, it'd be great. To make that the series conclusion - f**king terrible. So angry. - Rant End -)

 

 

 

 

TL:DR - KotoR2 and PoE are different types of games and have different styles. That's why they have different NPCs. Both are awesome games, but they are different. So.. sorry if you would've prefered a KotoR successor - this wasn't it. :no:

Edited by Hellraiser789
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I think we both can agree that the companions in general aren't very well developed and used. Kind of meaningless to have companions when that is the case since exposition can be delivered by other NPCs that aren't your companions. You can just use the adventurer's hall. It is a waste and I do hope Obsidian would do it better in the sequel and I KNOW they can, because of all their other titles being amazing in this regard.

 

 

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We already talked about this and came to the conclusion (or maybe I just did) that even if that was true it doesn't go anywhere and it isn't supported by anything within the game. There is no "pattern of unanswered questions" and the game doesn't really bring up any kind of meaningful questions. It even gives answers to questions that weren't even asked and/or were made up in the last half of act 3. ;p

 

 

 

This is exactly where we're disagreeing. We are all telling you that the companions are well developed and used to tell the story of the watcher. They're just not integral to moving along the plot.

I'm guessing this is just a concept that's beyond you at this point.

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Yeah, I mentioned vaguely that KotOR2 is Kreia's story somewhere in this thread. You are right about KotOR's characters, although the plot wouldn't happen without Bao-Dur since only he had the codes needed to operate the device on Malachor, but otherwise yes. Most of them still have some ties to the narrative though. I think if Obsidian were given more time with KotOR 2 they would've been developed even more, the restoration mod by itself gives a lot of insight about what could've been.

 

I never mentioned that every single companion had to be important or involved in the main plot, but they at least have to have a reason to come with you. BG 1 and 2 really aren't bastions of writing and I haven't mentioned them anywhere. I agree about them though.

 

I don't want a KotOR sequel, I just want coherent companions ;p

 

 

 

This is exactly where we're disagreeing. We are all telling you that the companions are well developed and used to tell the story of the watcher. They're just not integral to moving along the plot.

I'm guessing this is just a concept that's beyond you at this point.

 

The companions being well developed is not true. They have so little screen time and that screen time is used to give exposition and play therapist. And they are "used to tell the story of the watcher"? What does that mean? What "story" would that even be? Thaos and co.? The companions have *nothing* to do with *anything* related to the PC or the main plot, so I don't know what you mean.

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Yeah, I mentioned vaguely that KotOR2 is Kreia's story somewhere in this thread. You are right about KotOR's characters, although the plot wouldn't happen without Bao-Dur since only he had the codes needed to operate the device on Malachor, but otherwise yes. Most of them still have some ties to the narrative though. I think if Obsidian were given more time with KotOR 2 they would've been developed even more, the restoration mod by itself gives a lot of insight about what could've been.

 

I never mentioned that every single companion had to be important or involved in the main plot, but they at least have to have a reason to come with you. BG 1 and 2 really aren't bastions of writing and I haven't mentioned them anywhere. I agree about them though.

 

I don't want a KotOR sequel, I just want coherent companions ;p

 

 

 

This is exactly where we're disagreeing. We are all telling you that the companions are well developed and used to tell the story of the watcher. They're just not integral to moving along the plot.

I'm guessing this is just a concept that's beyond you at this point.

 

The companions being well developed is not true. They have so little screen time and that screen time is used to give exposition and play therapist. And they are "used to tell the story of the watcher"? What does that mean? What "story" would that even be? Thaos and co.? The companions have *nothing* to do with *anything* related to the PC or the main plot, so I don't know what you mean.

 

 

See, you're not capable of getting it. How the main character interacts with the companions and responds to their struggles defines the main character, Its not about the result but the process which can be said for most of the game and how many people are complaining about how their choices don't matter.

 

It all depends on if you think the ends justify the means or vice versa. If you're all about the end result then you will not like this game since it is mostly about how you interact with the game. It's a major theme in this game.

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See, you're not capable of getting it. How the main character interacts with the companions and responds to their struggles defines the main character, Its not about the result but the process which can be said for most of the game and how many people are complaining about how their choices don't matter.

 

It all depends on if you think the ends justify the means or vice versa. If you're all about the end result then you will not like this game since it is mostly about how you interact with the game. It's a major theme in this game.

 

Soooo basically role-playing? In a role-playing game? The PC doesn't really have a character, because it's a blank slate. It's whatever you want it to be which kinda renders it impossible to be anything. It means that the plot cannot revolve around it unless they pigeon hole us in a certain way. Maybe you are right that the intentions for the companions are to define the PC, but the PC is just not very interesting. It is predictable, because it's you; there is no other way to put it. The companions can be amazing tools to define the vaguely defined entity that is the PC, that is true. Example: Revan. Revan wasn't interesting in KotOR 1, not even close. It was Kreia who made her/him interesting by giving him coherent motivations and a strong character. Kreia also gave the Exile coherent motivations and a backstory. You can not give a blank slate character motivations that matter to the plot - that is, at least at the moment, impossible to code and write about. The companions have to act as a crutch for the PC, but also stand on their own. (That is deliciously philosophical btw ;p) They kinda do nothing in PoE. They don't even react to your (except GM with the kid) "personality" (not that you have one).

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I did not read every post, there is my 2 cents:

  • All characters in PoE have own quest.
  • Your quest is an important like the others (are you saving the world? no, you just try to get an answer from a rude man :)

That's why all characters are disconnected. Everybody has a problem and trying to resolve it on their own. The only one character (which I like much than others) is Durance. He is only person who dislikes that you trying to resolve his problem. If your compainions will try to resolve your problem I am sure this will be quite annoying.

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Note: Thanks for reading my other post Christliar! (and anyone else who did!) I know it was pretty long, and I wasn't necessarily saying you meant to imply any of that. I was just using examples from other RPGs I've played and meant to say it sounds like PoE companions are pretty much on par (or similar to) other RPGs I've played. (that's been my interpretation, at least.) Of course, I will agree that I think you make some good points, and I hope the devs use them to help make companions even better for future games. yes.gif (Side note - do you like JRPGs? Some characters in those games can be really developed over time because JRPGs tend to have lots of party members who are consistently rotated in and out of your party. Some good ones I liked were Lost Odyssey, Last Story, and Enchanted Arms, but I'm getting off topic  :no: )

 

Yeah, I mean I kind of get what you mean. Haven't really gotten to see too much of the companions yet (real world won't let me put any time into the game lol) but from what I've read (on both sides) it seems like the companions could use a bit more reactivity and some more importance overall. I mean, they don't have to be like Kreia exactly - itd just be nice if each character brought a bit more to the table. I will admit, as much as I loved the BG2 characters, they could've been fleshed out more. Valygar, for instance, could've been so much better if the writers had developed his personality some more. 

 

Plus, as great as I felt the companions were, they didnt always have the clearest reason to join - sure they might want help with a quest or two, but as someone mentioned before (idk if it was this thread though) everyone got the standard "hey i hope you know I am going to be hunting a powerful mage" or "hey I need help looking for my sister...". And literally every single NPC was OK with that... I dont know. I would like to see them have some more impact than just soundboards to develop the Player's personality. I know someone said they like things left as open as possible so they can invent stories for themselves, but I dont really like doing that. I like when the characters have personalities of their own and can make choices for themselves (and the developers create them that way - I'm not creative enough for that :yes: ). Thats one of the reasons I like when companions disagree with you and can choose to leave or fight you. Adds more depth. And depth is always good. A general trend I've been seeing in games lately is that the PC can do no wrong - NPCs will stick with you, no matter how poorly you treat them. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Your choices should have meaning, and it should affect your relationships with other people, ESPECIALLY your companions, who spend so much time traveling with you.

 

I dont know, I guess I can see both sides to this argument. I mean, not every single companion needs to advance the main quest, but it wouldnt hurt if they added a bit to it. I mean, that would add quite a bit to replay-ability, wouldnt it? If I missed out on potential dialogue options/quest solutions because I didnt have a particular character, wouldnt I want to make sure I had them next time? I think that would add quite a bit to the overall game, instead of just having them react to their personal quests and throw out a couple one-liners every so often. If every companion did this (at least to some extent) there would be no need to choose one specific companions to drag around all the time - you could choose from a number of them and still get more out of each companion.

 

Basically I can agree that more companions and dialogue and companion depth wouldnt hurt. I'd love to see companions in future games be fleshed out to new levels that blow other RPGs away, personally....that'd be pretty sweet.

 

Also, giving companions a better reason for sticking with you would be nice too. Some NPCs from BG made some sense (Viconia had nowhere else to turn, Valgar wanted to explore the world to get a better understanding of magic + himself, Sarevok had nothing else and wanted to see how you used your Bhaalspawn powers, Minsc and Jaheira wanted revenge, Yoshimo and Imoen because of Irenicus,etc). Others, however did not (Mazzy, Cernd, Keldorn, and Jan all had family to get back to, and really shouldnt be wandering after their respective quests were finished..., Anomen had proved himself and shouldve been serving with his order, Nalia shouldve been managing her keep and kingdom, etc). Others were just kinda neutral, (like Edwin who wanted a strong "minion" to follow his orders, Korgan who just wanted money, and Haer'Dalis who just interested in the Bhaalspawn, Aerie who wanted to explore the world (but shouldve gone back to the circus upon finding out how dangerous a Bhaalspawn's life could be...,etc).

 

At some point though, I would think some of these people wouldve been like - hey Im out, this is too much for me. I mean, I can understand Jaheira and Minsc (who had seemingly traveled with you throughout BG1) because they've known you for a long time, but a lot of the others join up temporarily for a quest and end up staying throughout. If you actually develop a close friendship, that's one thing, but its kind of just assumed that they'll stick with you till the end.

 

As much as I didn't personally like the DA method of measuring "friendship" with companions (ugh, gifts, seriously?), something should make them willing to help you and develop your friendship over time. In BG, it was usually just them chatting, which is fine, but something a little bit deeper would be nice too. I mean, sure, you saved Mazzy's life and avenged her friends, but does she owe you a life of debt because of it? Is Anomen's or Keldorn's duty to their order done after they complete their one assignment, freeing them to wander the world with you? Is Jan going to abandon his family in order to entertain you on your journey? At least in KotoR, the companions are mostly solo wanderers and loners with no real home themselves, and your ship and crew kind of become home for each of them (not necessarily with each other, sadly, but at least with the Main Character...). Not that companions shouldn't have their own backgrounds and stuff, but they really should build and develop the relationship with the main character more so that its clear that they actually have a reason to be with you as you fight countless horrors including (but not limited to) dragons, liches, drow, vampires, demons, and tons of other monsters from nightmares...(you even go to h*ll !!!).

 

So yeah, not to dis the companions or anything - they seem great. I just think future RPGs (that want to be leaders in this genre) should really try to develop the companions more and capitalize on this area of party-based RPGs...(I'm fine with PoE, but it WAS a kickstarter, and should be considered a throwback to old games, hopefully sparking an CRPG revolution, but isnt going to necessarily introduce anything revolutionary itself...)

 

Anyway, long post, again, but just my 2 cents....

 

PS: Thanks to anyone who actually reads my posts - I tend to have a lot to say when it comes to companions  :yes:

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