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POE: too dark, too light, or just right?  

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  1. 1. Is the setting for POE too dark (like Game of Thrones), too light (like a Disney movie), or just right?

    • Too dark
      7
    • Too light
      24
    • Just right
      83


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I've considered playing Alpha Protocol, but I don't like stealth games or shooters, so I don't think I would like it very much.  I understand that Obsidian didn't want to depart too far into completely uncharted waters, but, I hope they won't be so timid in the future.  To give an example, ME was a truly original IP.  Whether you like it or not for it's various other features, it did create entirely new races, and entirely new concept for justifying the existence of the protagonist, and lots of new gameplay features and devices.  It was also a huge commercial success.  I just wish that someone else with substantial RPG credibility would do the same. 

 

Right now, there are really only 3 companies that in any way interest me with their games: Bioware, Obsidian, and Hare-Brained Schemes.  Maybe inExile.  Bioware is locked into their franchises now, and while I look forward to the new ME, I am not THAT excited about it.  Hare-Brained hasn't said anything about new Shadowrun games (or, something similar), and so I am left without much to look forward to from them.  So, that leaves Obsidian. Most of my favorite games were either made by Obsidian or by Obsidian employees: F: NV, Kotor 2, NWN 2, BG2, Arcanum.  I've wanted BG3 for about... 15 years.  I've hoped for Kotor 3 for... about 10 years.  I've wished for Arcanum 2.0 about the same amount of time.  Unfortunately, none of those things are going to happen.  And, unfortunately, I don't know if I really want to see another POE, which appears to be their flagship IP now.  I have no problem with the universe, and I don't really care overly about the "gameplay" (in the sense of combat- I'm fine with how it is, even if I don't like it as much as D&D). 

 

The problem I have is singular- the tone.  I just don't wan't another "grimdark" game that takes itself way to seriously.  People love to reference Planescape: Torment or F: NV.  The thing is, both of those games were full of humor.  Additionally, they had some genuinely pleasant or nice characters (both companions and regular NPCs).  So, in my opinion, they really weren't "grimdark".  They had mechanisms to genuinely reward "heroic" or "self-less" gameplay.  They didn't always try to subvert that with cynicism.  Sometimes there were unintended, negative consequences, but that was an outlier, not a rule. 

 

If the next installment of POE isn't so dark and serious, I'll buy it.  But, if the reviewers, or the developers, say, "It's going to be JUST LIKE POE 1, but with improvements to __ (combat, spell-casting, x, y, and z)", I won't.  Those things are all fine to me.  Would I like to see certain changes?  Sure.  But, to me, that isn't the root of it.  I want a good story, enjoyable, interesting companions, and lots of options in my RPG.  The rest isn't that important.  That's why I love Arcanum and Kotor 2- not because of the combat, but for the story and all the role-playing possibilities.  For interesting companions (not so much in Arcanum, even). 

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I believe when the OP talks about the dark setting, he means it as a synonym of... Hopelessness. I see people is kind of confused here, thinking he is referring to violence, but I don't think this is the case nor do I think violence makes any work dark.

 

Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point? :p

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Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point? :p

 

Actually my thoughts went more along the lines of "Eh, you're probably gonna be killed in some contrived manner anyway, whatever."

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Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point? :p

I guess the difference is that ASOIAF feels dark and hopeless at all times, whereas PoE feels hopeless because they are in the middle of a very grave crisis, the kind of which I don't think we've never seen in the real world. Seriously, was there ever a plague which targeted only children while leaving adults alone?

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I guess the difference is that ASOIAF feels dark and hopeless at all times, whereas PoE feels hopeless because they are in the middle of a very grave crisis, the kind of which I don't think we've never seen in the real world. Seriously, was there ever a plague which targeted only children while leaving adults alone?

Well Polio was a huge thing back in the days.

Edited by LordFey
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I believe when the OP talks about the dark setting, he means it as a synonym of... Hopelessness. I see people is kind of confused here, thinking he is referring to violence, but I don't think this is the case nor do I think violence makes any work dark.
 
Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point? :p

 

Yes. It is more this.  Even with the "victory/'restor'" option end game, it still felt pretty hopeless to me.  And, that is just the feeling I got off everything.  The Gilded Vale, Defiance Bay, Twin Elms.  No matter what I did or tried, I just couldn't seem to "fix" anything.  The Gilded Vale remained hopeless.  Defiance Bay

imploded into civil war, even though I did absolutely everything possible to try to restore hope, reduce chaos and conflict, and remove "bad actors".

Whatever the next area was called, it probably descended into further violence, because of the revelations I made.  Twin Elms?  Maybe they got stronger and so decided to attack their now weaker neighbors.  Endgame?  Doesn't really matter, because it just gave me an epilogue, but that wasn't particularly shining either.

 

I'm just tired of "dark and gritty" TV, movies and games.  I don't need something depressing in my free time, which I like to spend, enjoying myself.  It just seems that there are less and less options in those mediums that don't fall into that category.

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Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point? :p

I guess the difference is that ASOIAF feels dark and hopeless at all times, whereas PoE feels hopeless because they are in the middle of a very grave crisis, the kind of which I don't think we've never seen in the real world. Seriously, was there ever a plague which targeted only children while leaving adults alone?

 

 

There has been quite lot of diseases that target only/mostly children (mainly because people that live to adulthood had immunity by nature or by surviving the disease). But there has been times in our history when infant death percent has been near 50% if not bit over and only under 30% of people actually ever saw adulthood. So hollowborn epidemic is actually more horrible for modern people than what it probably would had been to people that actually lived in our history's darkest times.

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Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point?  :p

 

 

Like how every victory that she has leads to another catastrophe and how regardless of what she does everything seems to keep to be miserable only thing that changes is who are the abusers and the killers. And how she constantly grows thicker skin that allows her to do more drastic measures. 

 

PoE isn't as dark and cynical as you are actually able to make people start to tolerate and live peacefully together.

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There has been quite lot of diseases that target only/mostly children (mainly because people that live to adulthood had immunity by nature or by surviving the disease). But there has been times in our history when infant death percent has been near 50% if not bit over and only under 30% of people actually ever saw adulthood. So hollowborn epidemic is actually more horrible for modern people than what it probably would had been to people that actually lived in our history's darkest times.

 

 

Totally agree, our pleasant and easy lives are very far removed from just a half century or so past, as a middle aged gentleman I can still remember child mortality being far more prevalant in my youth. Among the lower classes of the industrial cities and peasants of earlier ages one suspects that the higher mortality rate was a simple matter of acceptance, and a reason for large families.

 

Set this grim statistic in a harsher period of history such as the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, or the Black Death of the 14th and one has a thoroughly unpleasant period to endure as an ordinary (or even extraordinary) individual. Interesting times.

 

Edit: Set this against the power plays and quite barbaric internal politics of this period and really I think that Poe is quite light and breezy in comparison. What the Plantagenets and Normans did to their enemies, as good Christian men and women, was rather inventive and thorough for even an Inquisitor. Then again the darker the period, the lighter the small victories.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Do you guys know when you see GoT and see Khaleesi doing some cool thing with the dragons, and you are watching the chapter thinking "Hell yes! Do it girl!!!". Well, that never happens in PoE. Get the point?  :p

 

 

Like how every victory that she has leads to another catastrophe and how regardless of what she does everything seems to keep to be miserable only thing that changes is who are the abusers and the killers. And how she constantly grows thicker skin that allows her to do more drastic measures. 

 

PoE isn't as dark and cynical as you are actually able to make people start to tolerate and live peacefully together.

 

 

Oh but the hope is always behind, isn't it? You still think she's going to make a difference in the end, the same as brandon, tyrion, and other good characters, etc. That's what it means not being hopeless. You don't expect an epic fantasy to grow more hopeless and miserable chapter after chapter, and still be miserable at the end giving the feeling that you achieved practicaly nothing regarding "making the world a better world". That would be ok for a drama, a tragedy... But imho it doesn't really fit very well in fantasy, no matter how dark.

Edited by otokage
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Oh but the hope is always behind, isn't it? You still think she's going to make a difference in the end, the same as brandon, tyrion, and other good characters, etc. That's what it means not being hopeless. You don't expect an epic fantasy to grow more hopeless and miserable chapter after chapter, and still be miserable at the end giving the feeling that you achieved practicaly nothing regarding "making the world a better world". That would be ok for a drama, a tragedy... But imho it doesn't really fit very well in fantasy, no matter how dark.

So in Game of Thrones there is hope in spite of everything getting progressively worse and there being pretty much no tangible evidence of anything getting better any time soon (well such evidence is occasionally provided, just to be shattered into bits some time later).

 

In Pillars of Eternity there's no hope in spite of your character actually achieving more and more victories and progressively better understanding what exactly is it that's causing all that's wrong with the world. The game actually has an ending. Which can be very good depending on what you do. The outro sequences show you that you have achieved quite a lot.

Edited by Fenixp
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There has been quite lot of diseases that target only/mostly children (mainly because people that live to adulthood had immunity by nature or by surviving the disease). But there has been times in our history when infant death percent has been near 50% if not bit over and only under 30% of people actually ever saw adulthood. So hollowborn epidemic is actually more horrible for modern people than what it probably would had been to people that actually lived in our history's darkest times.

 

Yeah, people often wheel out the whole "medieval peasants usually died before they were 30", but the reality was medieval peasants were very likely to die before the age of 5, but if they survived past this they were actually fairly likely to live to see 60.
 
I think what makes the hollowborn epidemic shocking, even for people used to high rates of infant mortality, is it's recent nature and it's perceived relation to the death of St. Waidwen. New afflictions are scary because they're not wholly understood, and the fact that this affliction might be divine in nature is likely to stoke the fires of fear.
 

Edit: Set this against the power plays and quite barbaric internal politics of this period and really I think that Poe is quite light and breezy in comparison. What the Plantagenets and Normans did to their enemies, as good Christian men and women, was rather inventive and thorough for even an Inquisitor. Then again the darker the period, the lighter the small victories.

 

Yeah, PoE occurs during a period that is, I think, analogous to renaissance in Europe. Gunpowder weapons are really starting to become widespread, but plate armour is still widely used. Europe at this time was... not pleasant. If you're not familiar with the Thirty Years' War then you should read up on it. In terms of relative death rate it was truly devastating, with some estimates saying that the population in the Holy Roman Empire (sort of Germany) was cut by a full third, and certainly some areas were hit worse than that.

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