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An Honest but Harsh Review on the Setting

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#21
Amentep

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It probably is fair to point out that Ghoul is taken from ghūl the original arabic word for the creature.  It isn't that much of a stretch to see the "h" dropped to follow the naming conventions of the world.
 
It also should be pointed out that place names often carry over use from other languages.  The Chatahoochee River comes from the Muskogee name cato-hocce hvcc not from English and if you drive in Wales the sign on the road for the town ahead could say Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch not "Parish Church of St. Mary in the Hollow of the White Hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the parish church of St. Tysilio with a red cave".  So calling place names by the Glanfathan names would be very likely, I'd think.


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#22
kingthrall

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Honestly I am confused as to the extreme low score you have given over a few simple language issues instead of aspects like core gameplay, graphics and lore. You rank it 3, which means your accounting over half your score over the labeling of titles/people/places ect. You claim to say the stronghold was dull but I mean seriously you are for one thing an intruder so people are not going to be very talkitive and secondly there is about 4 or 5 different ways to finish that quest.

 

I have been tempted to write my own review in due course but its doubtful that anyone would actually read it with interest when I see stupid posts like this filling up the spoiler section. I am sorry but there is no other way I can describe your post but... stupid.


Edited by kingthrall, 29 April 2015 - 06:10 AM.

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#23
Nonek

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Or you could just use every languages influence to name a simple place such as Torpenhow Hill, which translated means Hill, Hill, Hill, Hill. Or Cartagena, meaning New Carthage, while Carthage translated as New City, so we have New New City, it makes me wonder of there's a New Cartagena anywhere? I like the oddities of language.


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#24
guguma

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Dyrwood is based on the USA. The USA has ridiculous names like "Delaware," "Massachusetts," and "Mississippi." Such silliness! Who would come up with silly names like that?! Why didn't they just call it "Pilgrim Land," or "River Land?"
 
I do not want a linguistics lesson just by looking at a map! 3/10!
 
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

 
Those names have historic roots, based on history, The History, that actually happened, sadly most are named after massacred and extinct Native Americans, not only states but many cities and counties too. I just looked at what Mississippi meant and, surprise, it means "The Father of Waters"
 
We know Massachusetts, Paris, Berlin, Cairo, Copenhagen, because we live on earth. When someone tells you they live in Copenhagen, you understand perfectly well what they mean.
 
I do not intend to read the "Collected Volumes on the History of Dyrwood" or keep a "Concise Engwithian Dictionary" with me while I am trying to enjoy a story.

 

So, you basically blame the developers for your own laziness and inability to immerse yourself in a story? Somehow, it's their fault for being too thorough in developing a setting? That's....not a very sensible attitude to have? 
 
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

 

 
I am saying the exact opposite, being thorough in developing a setting does not necessitate silly language games, the energy and resources used for this nonsense could have been spent in better quest lines and adventures, which surprisingly enhances immersion. I should design an RPG for you that teaches you Pseudo-Russian I am sure you will like it much better than PoE. You can immerse yourself in delightful linguistic gibberish.
 
I find the Deity Quests Immersive, the sudden purple soul visions immersive, Durance and Grieving Mother's secrecy immersive, The question of "What the Dunryd Row is about?" immersive, What has occurred under Caed Nua (The Watcher's Stronghold) immersive, the sudden riot in animancy hearings immersive. But Lle a Rhemen ? I do not find this immersive. If that is your definition of immersive, well it is your definition of immersive...
 

I like the crazy names. One thing I dislike about traditional settings is "Common" (i.e. English) as a universal language. Yes, it makes it convenient, but it also makes it less immersive and makes the world feel smaller. I mean seriously, would the Engwithans be so mysterious and foreign if they were called "Glowing Stone People" and built "Glowing Stone Temples" or whatever?

As for stuff like Fampyr and Gul, it conveys a similarity without necessarily committing it to being identical to the D&D monster. It grated a little when I first encountered them but I've gotten used to them now.


I agree, please, I am talking about excessive use here. A race called Engwithan's is perfectly fine, or "Adra". Think of it this way if Forgotten Realms elves referred to everyone in their own language then wouldn't it devalue the word "Irenicus"?
 

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail that Mr Sawyer invested into making use of "Celtic" and Old English/Norse names and places, with the divide between the two and the various other languages seeping into the Dyrwood. Usually in games one sees a few popular words of Gaelic or Old Norse, but no coherent explanation or reasoning for their inclusion other than flavour, take the recent Kingdoms of Amalur game as a prime example. As a student of history at one time this serves to frustrate me to no end, I enjoyed twisting my tongue around the Glanfathan place names as I do their real counterparts, and recognising the Old English that I came across.

 
I do not know if what you are telling here is based on fact, but I would not be surprised if this is Mr. Sawyer's touch of brilliance. I do not remember any use of these pseudo-languages in Durance or Grieving Mother dialogues. Maybe we would not be so wrong about the (Poe - Expansion) and (NWN2 - MotB) comparison, if the expansion is lead by Avellone instead.


Edited by guguma, 29 April 2015 - 06:43 AM.

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#25
b0rsuk

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national_language.jpg

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etymology_man.png


Edited by b0rsuk, 29 April 2015 - 06:58 AM.

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#26
Wulfram

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Fampyr is stupid.

 

I don't have a problem with the place names, though.


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#27
fgalkin

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Dyrwood is based on the USA. The USA has ridiculous names like "Delaware," "Massachusetts," and "Mississippi." Such silliness! Who would come up with silly names like that?! Why didn't they just call it "Pilgrim Land," or "River Land?"
 
I do not want a linguistics lesson just by looking at a map! 3/10!
 
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

 
Those names have historic roots, based on history, The History, that actually happened, sadly most are named after massacred and extinct Native Americans, not only states but many cities and counties too. I just looked at what Mississippi meant and, surprise, it means "The Father of Waters"
 
We know Massachusetts, Paris, Berlin, Cairo, Copenhagen, because we live on earth. When someone tells you they live in Copenhagen, you understand perfectly well what they mean.
 
I do not intend to read the "Collected Volumes on the History of Dyrwood" or keep a "Concise Engwithian Dictionary" with me while I am trying to enjoy a story.

 

So, you basically blame the developers for your own laziness and inability to immerse yourself in a story? Somehow, it's their fault for being too thorough in developing a setting? That's....not a very sensible attitude to have? 
 
Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

 

 
I am saying the exact opposite, being thorough in developing a setting does not necessitate silly language games, the energy and resources used for this nonsense could have been spent in better quest lines and adventures, which surprisingly enhances immersion. I should design an RPG for you that teaches you Pseudo-Russian I am sure you will like it much better than PoE. You can immerse yourself in delightful linguistic gibberish.
 
I find the Deity Quests Immersive, the sudden purple soul visions immersive, Durance and Grieving Mother's secrecy immersive, The question of "What the Dunryd Row is about?" immersive, What has occurred under Caed Nua (The Watcher's Stronghold) immersive, the sudden riot in animancy hearings immersive. But Lle a Rhemen ? I do not find this immersive. If that is your definition of immersive, well it is your definition of immersive...
 

I like the crazy names. One thing I dislike about traditional settings is "Common" (i.e. English) as a universal language. Yes, it makes it convenient, but it also makes it less immersive and makes the world feel smaller. I mean seriously, would the Engwithans be so mysterious and foreign if they were called "Glowing Stone People" and built "Glowing Stone Temples" or whatever?

As for stuff like Fampyr and Gul, it conveys a similarity without necessarily committing it to being identical to the D&D monster. It grated a little when I first encountered them but I've gotten used to them now.

I agree, please, I am talking about excessive use here. A race called Engwithan's is perfectly fine, or "Adra". Think of it this way if Forgotten Realms elves referred to everyone in their own language then wouldn't it devalue the word "Irenicus"?
 

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail that Mr Sawyer invested into making use of "Celtic" and Old English/Norse names and places, with the divide between the two and the various other languages seeping into the Dyrwood. Usually in games one sees a few popular words of Gaelic or Old Norse, but no coherent explanation or reasoning for their inclusion other than flavour, take the recent Kingdoms of Amalur game as a prime example. As a student of history at one time this serves to frustrate me to no end, I enjoyed twisting my tongue around the Glanfathan place names as I do their real counterparts, and recognising the Old English that I came across.

 
I do not know if what you are telling here is based on fact, but I would not be surprised if this is Mr. Sawyer's touch of brilliance. I do not remember any use of these pseudo-languages in Durance or Grieving Mother dialogues. Maybe we would not be so wrong about the (Poe - Expansion) and (NWN2 - MotB) comparison, if the expansion is lead by Avellone instead.

 

Thing is, the addition of the foreign words is neither random nor arbitrary. Languages are tied to culture, which are tied to the way these cultures perceive the world. I generally agree that adding languages is not a substitute for good worldbuilding. However, in PoE, I find that it actually complements the worldbuilding. You can, for example, easily see the extent of Dyrwoodan penetration of Glanfath by looking at the placenames, just like you can see where Valian colonization ended and Aedyran colonization began just by seeing where Romance-inspired placenames give way to English ones. This is done not only to differentiate the cultures, but because PoE societies are inspired by real world ones, so their languages would need to use words that do not exist anyway. Rather than making up whole languages, they coopted the sounds of real world ones. I don't see this as a problem.

 

Have a very nice day.

-fgalkin


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#28
Tigranes

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"Talking to a French(Elf) person in English(Common), and they say "I am "aller au cinema", which means I am going to the movies, then I will eat "creme glacee", which means I will eat some ice cream. Seriously who talks like that?"
 
That's actually exactly what we do, you just don't notice it. We talk about siestas, we talk about c'est la vie, we say hasta la vista, baby. You just don't notice it because it's so ordinary. Which is exactly how ordinary it would be in the game setting.


One can revert to their native language when they lack the word they need to express themselves, but would it mean anything?

English is a foreign language to me, if I lacked the words in English to explain something here on this forum and reverted to my native language you would not understand anything and would ask me what I meant, and I would go find a way to express it in the English language.

 

It would be interesting to add a companion who insisted using words from their native language, and would not know the translation to common. It makes no sense for them to utter words in their native language and right afterwards give us a common translation.

 

But I totally agree with PoE being a NWN2 to an upcoming MoTB

 

 

I gave you examples where native English speakers regularly and frequently make use of transparently non-English names and phrases in their daily lives, and indeed, that is a big part of how they understand each other. I don't see how your response addresses that.

 

If there were French people in the game they would never say "So, Watcher, when you aller down to the beach I would like you to pick up a creme glacee but il n'y a pas any drinks." No, they would say "Magnifique! Now go to the Trois Hommes Restaurant and grab me some creme brulee." 

 

The threshold is whether POE is so saturated with in-setting words that you have no idea what is going on or you need to look up dictionaries. This is not the case. There is a small set of names you do need to know, like Engwithan, Glanthan, Adra and the placenames. That is the same in any fantasy CRPG. Brynnlaw? Illithium? Sahuagin? Waukeen's Promenade? Ust'Natha? Suldanessellar? And then there are a lot of flavour names, like Pwgra for the monsters, or the various vaguely Italian phrases that Vailians like Pellagina like to utter. Nobody needs to know what those actually mean - it's the same when you speak to many non-native English speakers who pepper their English with native phrases. Hell, let's take super common and well known examples - not everyone necessarily knows what sacre bleu is, but if you talk to a French person in English and he says that in the middle, you don't need to know what it means, you already know how it fits into what he's saying.

 

Another threshold is whether the words are used in a consistent manner. The ideal should be that if you don't care, you can just ignore most made up names and still do fine, and if you do care, you start to connect the dots in many interesting ways. As fgalkin points out, the latter is very well done; you can detect Vailians or Vailian influence by language alone. The former, as I have argued, is also the case.

 

It appears that the fake names offends your sensibilities, which is fair enough, but I haven't seen substantial claims that it is far worse than other games or that it is unjustified or that it stops people from understanding.



#29
Amentep

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Fampyr is stupid.

 

I don't have a problem with the place names, though.

 

I think Vampire in Welsh is Fampir.  No V sound in the celtic based languages and the "y" is probably used in the same way that vampyr is sometimes used to express the specific "i" sound.

 

All this discussion reminds me a bit about complaints about Planescape's slang.  To which I can only say: "PoE ain't so dark a cutter can't tumble to the cant.  No need to go foaming."


Edited by Amentep, 29 April 2015 - 09:32 AM.

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#30
Dadalama

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Well Fampyr is more like a lich in this game anyways. So I think the point is moot.



#31
Amentep

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Well folkloric vampires were often depicted as bloated corpses, essentially a form of revenant; usually an evil person bound to their corpse by their evil deeds and spirit.



#32
fgalkin

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Fampyr is stupid.

 

I don't have a problem with the place names, though.

You don't need to make up new words to create stupid names. Exhibit A:

800px-PillarsofEternityBestiaryDiseasePu

 

Have a very nice day.

-fgalkin


Edited by fgalkin, 29 April 2015 - 02:57 PM.


#33
Awathorn

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Yeah, the language is silly. Is just seems like random th-w-z-y-ll everywhere. Or "Defiance Bay", "Gileded Vale" stuff. On the whole, the setting is quite unattractive to me. Kind of knew that would happen ever since Josh first said "glanfathan" and "biawac". 

 

Guess many (or most) people like it.

 

IMO, weird names, real history ripoffs and a few historical events doesn't sound that good. Pretty much - amateur trying to write his first fantasy novel. 

 

Also, "nation" thing is not well explained. 

 

Stuff about the gods is cool. 


Edited by Awathorn, 29 April 2015 - 03:09 PM.


#34
fgalkin

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Yeah, the language is silly. Is just seems like random th-w-z-y-ll everywhere. Or "Defiance Bay", "Gileded Vale" stuff. On the whole, the setting is quite unattractive to me. Kind of knew that would happen ever since Josh first said "glanfathan" and "biawac". 

 

Guess many (or most) people like it.

 

IMO, weird names, real history ripoffs and a few historical events doesn't sound that good. Pretty much - amateur trying to write his first fantasy novel. 

 

Also, "nation" thing is not well explained. 

 

Stuff about the gods is cool. 

Fantasy novels based on real history is a bad thing? I'm sure George RR Martin will be surprised to hear that....

 

Have a very nice day.

-fgalkin


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#35
Dignity

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The Exceptionally Dull Stronghold,

 

I agree with quite a lot of what you said, OP, but this (aside from the bugs) is what really, really disappointed me with the game. Their twist on naming and language I can take or leave, typically I read what they use, either sigh, roll my eyes or shake my head a little but move on. I can see why some people can enjoy it, it was one of my critiques with Witcher 2 as well but overall it didn't really bother me too much in the end.

 

The Stronghold though, holy crap what a complete letdown. 0 sense of ownership (aside from having to spend your coppers or whatever weird term they used for gold in this game) 0 personality, and honestly almost no real sense on how the thing runs. I mean does your chair telepathically send out work orders to the nearby labor union? How does the southern wall even get fixed in the first place? For a game that likes to babble on and on explaining even the slightest of minutae in its storytelling seemingly just for the sake of being wordy (just get to the freaking point Durance, monologues don't have to all be dissertation length rambings) the way the Stronghold storytelling was handled is incredibly jarring.

 

And I mean can your stronghold come accross as more bland. "Renegade Wizard," "Merchant," "Groundskeeper guy" you can't even have a conversation with people you recruit (except for maybe 1 exception). None of the visitors amount to anything (I forgot my green clothes!). And the stronghold "invasions" are even more lifeless (and pointless) than the "you have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself!" encounters between Amn maps in BG2. I could go on (dungeon and prisoners) but it just gets me depressed thinking about such a missed opportunity.

 

Aside from the Endless Paths, it's gotten to a point where I actively avoid heading back to the stronghold just to save on dealing with that many more loading screens. At least the bounties are somewhat interesting I guess, though feel quite disjointed from the rest of the game.

 

Overall I still think it's a solid game, but some parts are definitely a total letdown (bugs, pathing, stronghold, bland companions being the biggest offenders). What I will say though is I totally dig the game engine they've made for POE and just feel that they can totally build on it and come up with some truly amazing stuff using it.

 

I look at it kinda like how NWN vanilla was full of promise but was ultimately just somewhere between "solid" and 'pretty good" but Hordes of the Underdark really took it to the next level (same deal with NWN2 and Mask of the Betrayer). I'm hoping for more of the same with POE.


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#36
Tanred

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Talking to a French(Elf) person in English(Common), and they say "I am "aller au cinema", which means I am going to the movies, then I will eat "creme glacee", which means I will eat some ice cream. Seriously who talks like that?

Funny, the French I've met do exactly that ;)


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#37
Amentep

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Yeah, the language is silly. Is just seems like random th-w-z-y-ll everywhere. Or "Defiance Bay", "Gileded Vale" stuff. On the whole, the setting is quite unattractive to me. Kind of knew that would happen ever since Josh first said "glanfathan" and "biawac". 

 

Guess many (or most) people like it.

 

IMO, weird names, real history ripoffs and a few historical events doesn't sound that good. Pretty much - amateur trying to write his first fantasy novel. 

 

Also, "nation" thing is not well explained. 

 

Stuff about the gods is cool. 

 

Gilded Vale makes sense to me.  Gilded means "covered in a thin layer of gold; wealthy or privledged".  Vale is another term for valley, so its very close to saying "Golden Valley". Sounds like the kinda name you'd give a place if you were trying to attract wealthy settlers.

 

That said, every time I see "Bîaŵac" I read it as "bivouac"...


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#38
Ineth

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Or "Defiance Bay", "Gileded Vale" stuff.

 

What's wrong with those?



#39
Amentep

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You mean other than the natural question "Who or what was the bay defying?" :p



#40
fgalkin

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You mean other than the natural question "Who or what was the bay defying?" :p

Didn't they break the levees to drown the Aedyrans during the war of independence, or something? It's why Ondra's Gift is half-flooded? 

 

Have a very nice day.

-fgalkin


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