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RPGCodex's first review discussion (part 2)

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I really wonder if Obsidian is aware of what has been going on?

 

None of the developers have uttered a peep since all this began

They can't really post here and agree with people who don't like the game. Also they can't really post here and argue with their customer.

 

I mean they can but it wouldn't be wise. Best for them to take notes and improve the next title or deliver a better experience with the DLC.

Also, they read these boards not during work, but during their free time. And, they have already had a hard time digesting all the vitriol on these forums for the past two years, coming here and reading not only harsh, but also unwarranted, personal and hateful criticism. I am sure visiting the general topics board is not number one on their list of hobbies.

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I really wonder if Obsidian is aware of what has been going on?

 

None of the developers have uttered a peep since all this began

They can't really post here and agree with people who don't like the game. Also they can't really post here and argue with their customer.

 

I mean they can but it wouldn't be wise. Best for them to take notes and improve the next title or deliver a better experience with the DLC.

 

Also, they read these boards not during work, but during their free time. And, they have already had a hard time digesting all the vitriol on these forums for the past two years, coming here and reading not only harsh, but also unwarranted, personal and hateful criticism. I am sure visiting the general topics board is not number one on their list of hobbies.

 

They should get used to it by now, the beta boards were more negative than these ones.
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I don't find these boards particularly harsh.  People here, for the most part, are pretty polite with the criticisms.  I have noticed some strangely defensive people who seem to get offended if you don't think this game is perfect. Maybe you're assuming the devs feel the same way? It's certainly possible.

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I don't find these boards particularly harsh. People here, for the most part, are pretty polite with the criticisms. I have noticed some strangely defensive people who seem to get offended if you don't think this game is perfect. Maybe you're assuming the devs feel the same way? It's certainly possible.

Good question actually. In my experience, criticism on the game during the beta backer fase has often been harsh, blunt and sometimes personally offensive. During that fase, a minority posted polite and constructive criticism. The combination led to a mixed bag where vitriol still carried overtones. In response, the devs made it explicit that they found it hard to visit the forums in their free time and be confronted with such a large amount of negativity and spite.

 

That said, I agree with you in so far as that criticism post release has been vastly improved and has become more constructive, with the exception of the 'RPGcodex first review discussion (part 1)' ;).

 

If I would make any assumption at the moment, I would hazard a a guess that the devs are taking care in not becoming too involved with any potential negativity on the forums, but rather look at them with a sideway glance and look for possible points of improvement and continue working on making the game better. Or they're just enjoying some leisure time of course.

Edited by gogocactus

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I bet the code-team is still working on patches. Those darn bugs don't fix themselves! The art team... maybe working on the expansion?  (props to them btw, very pretty game)

 

I missed most of that thread but read the one on RPGcodex site itself... oooh boy, that is NOT a constructive thread.  Compared to that cesspit we seem like greek philosphers ;)

 

And while the tone of that review was overly harsh, I don't think the individual criticisms were off-target tbh. 

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I really wonder if Obsidian is aware of what has been going on?

 

None of the developers have uttered a peep since all this began

 

They can't really post here and agree with people who don't like the game. Also they can't really post here and argue with their customer.

 

I mean they can but it wouldn't be wise. Best for them to take notes and improve the next title or deliver a better experience with the DLC.

 

 

"Thank you for buying our game and expressing your opinion...but you're wrong in every way. In fact just unplug your PC right now since you obviously so bad at games you probably should work on your other life skills before you move on to complicated things like tactics and comprehensible thoughts." - I kinda wish I could see this happen just one time from an Obsidian dev. On the other hand I'm glad that they don't post on the boards :)

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I don't find these boards particularly harsh. People here, for the most part, are pretty polite with the criticisms. I have noticed some strangely defensive people who seem to get offended if you don't think this game is perfect. Maybe you're assuming the devs feel the same way? It's certainly possible.

Good question actually. In my experience, criticism on the game during the beta backer fase has often been harsh, blunt and sometimes personally offensive. During that fase, a minority posted polite and constructive criticism. The combination led to a mixed bag where vitriol still carried overtones. In response, the devs made it explicit that they found it hard to visit the forums in their free time and be confronted with such a large amount of negativity and spite.
A strange assumption. If I was a developer and was running a BACKER beta, yet the forums were filled with harsh criticism, I wouldn't assume it's because Kickstarter backers are a tough crowd. I'd assume it was because the game had huge, systemic problems which were disappointing even the most loyal of playerbases.

 

I mean, it takes balls for a dev to say "it's not us, it's you."

Edited by scrotiemcb
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I don't find these boards particularly harsh. People here, for the most part, are pretty polite with the criticisms. I have noticed some strangely defensive people who seem to get offended if you don't think this game is perfect. Maybe you're assuming the devs feel the same way? It's certainly possible.

Good question actually. In my experience, criticism on the game during the beta backer fase has often been harsh, blunt and sometimes personally offensive. During that fase, a minority posted polite and constructive criticism. The combination led to a mixed bag where vitriol still carried overtones. In response, the devs made it explicit that they found it hard to visit the forums in their free time and be confronted with such a large amount of negativity and spite.
A strange assumption. If I was a developer and was running a BACKER beta, yet the forums were filled with harsh criticism, I wouldn't assume it's because Kickstarter backers are a tough crowd. I'd assume it was because the game had huge, systemic problems which were disappointing even the most loyal of playerbases.

 

I mean, it takes balls for a dev to say "it's not us, it's you."

I think you are mistaken in calling my remarks an assumption. You can only say that if you haven't actually followed the backer beta forums in the past two years. The backer beta offered the backers the chance to offer a large variety of opinions on what to 'improve' (change) in the game. Criticism was rarely offered in a neutral, constructive tone. Even if it was, in order to get through it the devs had to wade through ceaseless ungrounded and / or personal hostility and remarks on how the game was going to be awful.

 

Either how, my words don't do the negativity on the forums during those days justice.

Edited by gogocactus

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Constructive criticism is overrated.

 

I do not say this as an opinion. It is scientific fact. Here's a YouTube video explaining it:

Kind of long but worth it.

 

The conclusion is this: if you ask a bunch of non-experts to provide solutions for problems as part of their feedback, not only will they give you poor solutions (they're not game designers), the thought process behind trying to find solutions will actually corrupt their feedback.

 

If you were or are expecting the community to deliver ready-made solutions to Obsidian to fix their game, you are greatly exaggerating our role in the process. The forums should be seen as a strawpoll, not an open-mic night for game designers. Its primary function during a beta should be terse posts saying when something is good or when something is bad.

 

Sounds to me like the backer beta people may have been a tad rude, but otherwise doing what they were supposed to: saying things sucked.

 

The gameplay right now is boring copypasta encounter design. Dump attributes are totally a thing. PotD uses bruteforce stat pump rather than AI refinement as a difficulty increase, and the AI is burn dumb and predictable. I haven't finished the game because I can read the story on the Internet without actually having to play the game.

 

I offer no solutions whatsoever.

 

(By the way, sometimes I actually do post solutions. I am trying to hone my design skills. I have a sense of humor about it, and I would hope a professional would have more sense than to ever trust me or any other forumer at solution-crafting.)

Edited by scrotiemcb

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Scrotiemcb, I wasn't so much talking about the community offering solutions or not as I was talking about their attitude, tone of voice, choice of wording etc. That said, I added your video to my 'watch later' list on youtube and... will watch it later. It seems very interesting, thanks for sharing. 

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You might also be interested in Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce, which explains why one shouldn't try to incorporate every data point of feedback into a single product in an effort to please everyone. Not quite the same topic as "what feedback is valid." For example, the first video relates to why luzarius' posts on sexuality are probably valid feedback despite their rudeness; the second, why Obsidian probably should let some other developer make "big breast supermodel" cRPGs. ;)

Edited by scrotiemcb
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If I worked at Obsidian, here's why I probably wouldn't be engaging with the community at this stage:

 

(I do not work at Obsidian and these are, at best, educated guesses based on my own experience in the software industry)

 

1) I am now working on other projects during work hours, and my work time no longer includes community interaction (unlike Beta, where forum interaction was factored into the work week). I can only browse these forums in my free time*. I do not owe the customers my free time - I would prefer to spend it on interacting with my family, learning new skills, reading books, playing some PnP RPGs, etc.

 

* Except for team members whose job involves informing the community, providing tech support and/or triaging issues, which is why they're the only ones actively posting.

 

2) All design decisions that could have been made, have already been made. The budget for post-release support is very limited, so even if I agree that we've done something wrong, we probably don't have the resources to fix it post-release - or the resources would be better spent working on our next project. For example, I could discuss our attribute system and agree that we could have done some things better, but even subtle tweaks to the existing system could cost us hundreds of man-hours.

 

3) I have already spend thousands of hours working on this game over the past few years, poring over every detail and design decision. I am either already burned out, or close to being so. I really just want to think and talk about something else.

 

4) By posting from an Obsidian-flaired account, I indirectly represent my company. I could potentially harm our image or sales by makign promises I can't keep, revealing something I should not have, or saying something that may cause an outrage. If I really wanted to participate in discussions, I'd use alt accounts.

 

5) Customers see only a part of the picture, and may offer ill-informed solutions to things that are not objectively problems. They don't know how we've arrived at and why we've chosen to make the decisions we've made, and their vision does not necessarily match ours. The customer is not always right, but telling him he's wrong makes you look bad - see 4)

 

6) People reluctantly compliment the things they like, but vocally complain about the things they do not. I would find it depressing to slog through so much negative feedback from a few dozen people,  much of it harshly worded and unconstructive, even though these people have sunk 50+ hours into the game and tens/hundreds of thousands enjoy our game as it is.

 

Edit: All things considered, I think 1.05 patchnotes are solid proof that Obsidian does, in fact, carefully read these forums.

Edited by Concordance
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@Concordance: Nice post. This isn't beta, so even if the community delivers good feedback (on what I consider to be a multitude of gameplay problems), it could possibly be too late.

 

However, there is one thing which I still want to have added to the game: better modding support. Give players the capability to correct gameplay problems on their own time. After all, if we didn't want mods we'd be on consoles.

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Mods for a story based single player rpg is a bit of an odd thing in my opinion, the option is nice but i personally never really find a use for them in any of the games i play. As i understand it, there really isn't much Obsidian can do without spendig a lot of money, and i would rather they spend that money on the game.

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I mean a good start would be using unencrypted data files, that can't be very expensive.

Game files dont seem to be encrypted, you mean the unity format?

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Since the subject is being discussed...

 

Is there some technical reason they couldn't have used simple, easy-to-edit XML files for many resources?

 

Example: Items could be created via XML files describing stats and abilties and pointing to existing model, texture, and icon resources or to custom resources placed in a "Resource" folder. Each vendor in the game could have an empty folder named "Store_VendorName" inside the "Resource" folder. Placing a custom item file in a vendor folder would add it to that vendor's inventory.

 

Placing an edited version of an existing item in the "Resources" folder would override that item.

Edited by ddillon
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There is no real reason, while Im no game developer (but a developer) I dont have much clue about the unity toolset.

However as far as I got it, the reasources are .NET assemblies encapsulated in some unity resource format (guess they also can hold other data...).

Sure .NET assemblies are great, provide reflection and can be loaded at runtime - however indeed for game settings and various script they

could have used an resource loader which may either load XML (or maybe for games JSON would be better?).

 

Then people could very easily tinker with options, test new values etc - would have be a lot better,

maybe one of the development team can provide us with an insight why this wasnt done (at all?).

Edited by mega-T

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There is no real reason, while Im no game developer (but a developer) I dont have much clue about the unity toolset.

However as far as I got it, the reasources are .NET assemblies encapsulated in some unity resource format (guess they also can hold other data...).

Sure .NET assemblies are great, provide reflection and can be loaded at runtime - however indeed for game settings and various script they

could have used an resource loader which may either load XML (or maybe for games JSON would be better?).

 

Then people could very easily tinker with options, test new values etc - would have be a lot better,

maybe one of the development team can provide us with an insight why this wasnt done (at all?).

 

And if that's answered, I'd also like to know why all the .cs-files aren't externalized so they can be edited individually and just dumped into an override folder of some sort.


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I think that Obsidian should try to support modding for their games.  Modding gave the IE games long legs, keeping their fanbase alive - one that adopted New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity.  As a company that tries to be profitable, Obsidian should try to expand and maintain the fanbase whenever practical.

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Modding gave the IE games long legs, keeping their fanbase alive - one that adopted New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity. As a company that tries to be profitable, Obsidian should try to expand and maintain the fanbase whenever practical.

As far as I know, Infinity engine did literally nothing to support modding. Like, at all. It took dedicated fans and people among the devs of an engine willing to answer questions when asked to create modding scene there.

 

I agree that times have changed and explicit mod support is a feature that supposed to go without saying... in AAA projects, which PoE isn't. Externalizing data should be enough. Unforunately, Obsidian didn't do that, or at least not so much.

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As far as I know, Infinity engine did literally nothing to support modding. Like, at all. It took dedicated fans and people among the devs of an engine willing to answer questions when asked to create modding scene there.

The IE games have override folders that enabled modding once the file formats were understood. But yeah, modding was greatly facilitated by awesome cats in the fan community creating programs like WeiDU, NearInfinity, etc and (iirc) by developers willing to help modders understand the inner workings of the games.

 

I agree that times have changed and explicit mod support is a feature that supposed to go without saying... in AAA projects, which PoE isn't. Externalizing data should be enough. Unforunately, Obsidian didn't do that, or at least not so much.

We need known file formats and scripting language, an override/resources folder for loading custom files, and entry points for custom content in the game itself.

 

See my example above for supporting custom items.

 

Example for custom characters: Characters could be created via XML files describing race, stats, class, abilties, color selection, etc and pointing to existing portraits, voice sets, and equipment or to custom portraits, voice sets, and equipment placed in a "Resource" folder. Characters would default to a generic dialogue, but appropriately named (e.g. CharName.dlg) custom dialogue files could be placed inside the "Resource" folder. Each inn in the game could have an empty folder named "Adventurers_InnName" inside the "Resource" folder. Placing a custom character file in an inn folder would add the character to that inn's list of adventurers for hire (or perhaps spawn them in a designated area inside the inn).

 

New quests would be more complicated but probably doable if each area had a "Scripts_AreaName" folder in the "Resources" folder: Characters, creatures, etc could be spawned on the fly at specified coordinates by a script as the player enters an area.

 

New areas might be problematic given the nature of the backgrounds, but new areas are difficult to create in the IE games, too, and those games still have a vibrant modding scene.

Edited by ddillon

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Modding gave the IE games long legs, keeping their fanbase alive - one that adopted New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity. As a company that tries to be profitable, Obsidian should try to expand and maintain the fanbase whenever practical.

As far as I know, Infinity engine did literally nothing to support modding. Like, at all. It took dedicated fans and people among the devs of an engine willing to answer questions when asked to create modding scene there.

 

I agree that times have changed and explicit mod support is a feature that supposed to go without saying... in AAA projects, which PoE isn't. Externalizing data should be enough. Unforunately, Obsidian didn't do that, or at least not so much.

 

 

Endless Space is a Unity Engine game that supported modding.  Considering that POE also uses Unity, Obsidian should be able to pull it off.  Whether or Obsidian believes in the value of modding...well, that remains to be seen.

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If I worked at Obsidian, here's why I probably wouldn't be engaging with the community at this stage:

 

(I do not work at Obsidian and these are, at best, educated guesses based on my own experience in the software industry)

 

.

.

.

 

6) People reluctantly compliment the things they like, but vocally complain about the things they do not. I would find it depressing to slog through so much negative feedback from a few dozen people, much of it harshly worded and unconstructive, even though these people have sunk 50+ hours into the game and tens/hundreds of thousands enjoy our game as it is.

 

Edit: All things considered, I think 1.05 patchnotes are solid proof that Obsidian does, in fact, carefully read these forums.

Great post, well said.

 

Seems they *do* read the forums.

 

On a more important note, it sucks we be 'represented' by a dozen loud dudes who spend their days trolling in these here forums.

 

Bravo to anyone who stands up to them.


Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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