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Expectations about how The White March fits in with the game and general thoughts.


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When I completed the main story I had hoped to continue the adventures with that character from that point in the expansion. To my knowledge this is how rpg expansions usually work and the official information I had read about The White March did nothing to dispel that expectation.

While I'm not sure how convincingly the DLC will fit in with the main story as a basic principle such an expansion is fine. I would have appreciated to have been better informed before buying it as I started an Iron Man game and so have no save from which I could immediately enjoy the expansion. Also I usually don't replay roleplaying games, even the ones I really enjoyed, because I most of all value experiencing the story with a certain character.

Generally, I really enjoyed the game. I thought the story was very well written and (most of) the characters memorable. I had to warm to the idea of 'animancy' but the story and the characters did help to make it convincing. Elements of the background I find very original and well thought out. (the political situation of all the states and for example the way race equality is promoted in Aedyr with the special marriages)

The things I didn't enjoy were first of all the way backer content was integrated into the game. I honestly can't think of a more immersion breaking way and that concerns both the characters (the names!) and the memorial messages.
Secondly, while the reason I play RPG's is not primarily because of the battles and the tactical elements, I think the system in PoE needs a little work because it seems to strongly favour the more powerful combattant. This becomes more obvious towards the endgame where most of the battles become quite trivial, except for the three obvious ones.
I dislike having to repeatedly reload a game (and since I started an iron man game I resorted to cheating ;) ) and hope for a better outcome. I appreciate the fact that the system PoE uses is not as developed as say D&D, but at the moment the tactical options and AI behaviour don't make tough fights (where reloading is to be expected) as fun as it could be in for example Baldur's Gate.
While I prefer a Planescape: Torment approach to eliminate the need to reload altogether in these kinds of RPG's (because I play for the story) I realise opinions will be divided on the issue, but if there must be these kinds of fights at least make them a tactically stretching experience. ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

It may have been a better idea to wait a few more months before starting a game then. :shrugz:

 

I started my first game of PoE as soon as it had been released. Made me one of those running into game-breaking bugs early and several times ... with the necessity to restart from the beginning as the only way to fix it. No serious problem for me as I honestly wanted to give a try a few classes anyway. Eventually, I completed the main game with 1.0.6 something ... during a period when the developers were very busy working on 2.0.x and ... I guess ... the White March. In that playthrough, I've discovered enough options to give a try in another game. I could have used a save game before Burial Isle pit, but ... creating a completely different party is much more interesting.

 

The White March background music in Stalwart and Russetwood makes buying the extension worthwhile already. :bow: :bow: :bow:

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When I completed the main story I had hoped to continue the adventures with that character from that point in the expansion. To my knowledge this is how rpg expansions usually work and the official information I had read about The White March did nothing to dispel that expectation.

 

A lot of them work that way, but it's not really a standard.  For example none of the New Vegas add-ons worked like that.  In the lead up to the release, they called it Tales of the Sword Coast style expansion and while that did offer post game play, for the part the content in that was more meant to be played before the end game.

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I'm the complete opposite.  I not only love to replay games like this (I'm STILL replaying Oblivion and Skyrim for cats'sakes!), I love to tweak and re-tweak party structure and such.  I'm always RPing a story in my head (practically NEVER the one that "comes with the game"), and each bunch of girls is different like that too.

 

I got into this late enough to know that WM was coming so I'm just not completing the first part of the game until WM part 2 lands.  I'm lucky - those of you who don't have a save even, well, I do feel sorry for you for sure!

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I really like the core of the expansions (the story and new area as well as lore and the depth of conversations and such)

However I dislike how they put it in the middle of the game.

 

One of the things that really bothers me about the game which sadly throws a shadow on top of the absolutely awesome story lore and character interactions is the amount of effort and time I have to put into plotting a course through the game.  I spent so much time researching when to start WM and I have to use an exp nerf to limit my experience.  But I used to much of a nerf and now I have to add experience to get to the cap by end game.  Plotting enchantments ahead of time because we can not overwrite them has rendered that system utterly useless to me.  When I finally figured out the course through WM which ended up being to go there around 6 or 7 and do some stuff then go back to main quest than back to WM.

 

This kind of back and forth is a non linear approach yet the game is very linear in its design.  Its open that you can go to where you wish to go but certain areas become utterly trivial if you do not follow a very specific course.  Of course if you are into it for the story elements only then I suppose being overpowered does not matter and the game as it stands works fantastically well.  I myself cant see myself replaying this more than one more time after my second playthrough and I think that will be some months after Wm2 so the bugs are not there.  But then again I will be doing plenty of research on what is the best course to take for that logical progression feeling.

 

Although I like the concept of adding content midway through a game in theory it is a challenge to have it tethered together properly for it to feel like I am forced to go back and start a new game.  In this case I liked starting a new game. However now that I have experienced the content a second time through with many of the dialog options revealed and all of the core content and sub content completed I am going to be agitated with WM2 since it will likely require me to start anew to get the best experience out of it.

 

The biggest thing I wish they would do is take this game off the damn rails.  Or if they are going to keep it on such restrictive rails then go full out on rails design.  Wherein there is no rng and items are placed specifically for a certain path of progression.  I would say even the characters should be auto join for certain intervals and then they leave.  I get frustrated trying to get as much banter from them all so I know them well as well as completing their content and at the same time having an optimal team to do the combat elements.  And now with WM1 they add Soulbounds which if I want to fully experience those weapons I have to have a certain party composition.  Unfortunately on PoTD that party comp is not the most beneficial for my survival in the tough battles.

 

Overall I spend too much time calculating gear and party composition and plotting courses through the game in general.  And I am someone who generally likes being OCD in this regard.  It has detracted from the amazingly well designed characters story and lore for me in PoE though.

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The things I didn't enjoy were first of all the way backer content was integrated into the game. I honestly can't think of a more immersion breaking way and that concerns both the characters (the names!) and the memorial messages.

Secondly, while the reason I play RPG's is not primarily because of the battles and the tactical elements, I think the system in PoE needs a little work because it seems to strongly favour the more powerful combattant. This becomes more obvious towards the endgame where most of the battles become quite trivial, except for the three obvious ones.

I dislike having to repeatedly reload a game (and since I started an iron man game I resorted to cheating ;) ) and hope for a better outcome. I appreciate the fact that the system PoE uses is not as developed as say D&D, but at the moment the tactical options and AI behaviour don't make tough fights (where reloading is to be expected) as fun as it could be in for example Baldur's Gate.

While I prefer a Planescape: Torment approach to eliminate the need to reload altogether in these kinds of RPG's (because I play for the story) I realise opinions will be divided on the issue, but if there must be these kinds of fights at least make them a tactically stretching experience. ;)

 

 

First off WHY would you choose to play Iron Man and then cheat and save scum anyway???????? What is the point???

 

If you are going to reload if something bad happens don't play Iron Man.

 

The Backers paid for the game, without them there would not be a PoE. That said I wish most had not all chosen to be Godlikes, having every other person glowing blue or being on fire sorts of ruins the setting.

 

The big dragon fights can all be avoided and can all be solved with non violent dialogue which still gets you loot. I'd say that the Devs did a good job of making it possible to overcome the biggest fights without needing to fight.

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The things I didn't enjoy were first of all the way backer content was integrated into the game. I honestly can't think of a more immersion breaking way and that concerns both the characters (the names!) and the memorial messages.

Secondly, while the reason I play RPG's is not primarily because of the battles and the tactical elements, I think the system in PoE needs a little work because it seems to strongly favour the more powerful combattant. This becomes more obvious towards the endgame where most of the battles become quite trivial, except for the three obvious ones.

I dislike having to repeatedly reload a game (and since I started an iron man game I resorted to cheating ;) ) and hope for a better outcome. I appreciate the fact that the system PoE uses is not as developed as say D&D, but at the moment the tactical options and AI behaviour don't make tough fights (where reloading is to be expected) as fun as it could be in for example Baldur's Gate.

While I prefer a Planescape: Torment approach to eliminate the need to reload altogether in these kinds of RPG's (because I play for the story) I realise opinions will be divided on the issue, but if there must be these kinds of fights at least make them a tactically stretching experience. ;)

 

 

First off WHY would you choose to play Iron Man and then cheat and save scum anyway???????? What is the point???

 

If you are going to reload if something bad happens don't play Iron Man.

 

The Backers paid for the game, without them there would not be a PoE. That said I wish most had not all chosen to be Godlikes, having every other person glowing blue or being on fire sorts of ruins the setting.

 

The big dragon fights can all be avoided and can all be solved with non violent dialogue which still gets you loot. I'd say that the Devs did a good job of making it possible to overcome the biggest fights without needing to fight.

 

 

What would have been fantastic for the backer content is if they ended up writing up their stories and then they built in a few overarching quests that tied them together.

The stories are fantastic in my opinion but that sound effect and constantly going into soul mode did get tedious.

It was also a bummer that they really had no relevance besides being static story tellers.  Creating quests around them would have tied them into the game world more I think.

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When I completed the main story I had hoped to continue the adventures with that character from that point in the expansion. To my knowledge this is how rpg expansions usually work and the official information I had read about The White March did nothing to dispel that expectation.

It was announced as a TotSC style expansion from the start.

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RPG's still have this kind of expansion, it's not that rare.  Witcher 3's expansion Heart of Stone is like this.

 

That being said, I agree that the expansion disrupts the narrative of the main campaign.  The explanation of "oh, the [bad guys] were here too" feels kind of shoehorned in there.  Not to mention the combat of Acts 3-4 now need to be rebalanced to account for the big boost in experience and loot people get from the White March.

Edited by Flix
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The explanation of "oh, the [bad guys] were here too" feels kind of shoehorned in there.  Not to mention the combat of Acts 3-4 now need to be rebalanced to account for the big boost in experience and loot people get from the White March.

 

I agree. It sure is possible that the Leaden Key had an interest in the White Forge for purposes that may or may not be related to the main plot (and probably aren't), but if this isn't expanded in part II, it will remain but a weak, shoehorned plot hook.

 

Frankly, I didn't need the Leaden Key's involvement as a motive to go visit Stalwart. They sent a plea for help to my keep; I can decide to shrug it off and focus on the issues at hand, or be kind-hearted and go help my fellows even if that's not directly related to my own predicament.

 

 

... aaand the critical path in PoE could really use bracketed scaling. I'm all in favor of side, optional content having no scaling but the critical path should not become trivial for completionists. (That said, Act IV does have an option to scale up the fights if you're level 14; I just don't see Part II's adding two more levels without bracketed scaling as being mechanically viable.)

Edited by AndreaColombo

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

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.. aaand the critical path in PoE could really use bracketed scaling. I'm all in favor of side, optional content having no scaling but the critical path should not become trivial for completionists. (That said, Act IV does have an option to scale up the fights if you're level 14; I just don't see Part II's adding two more levels without bracketed scaling as being mechanically viable.)

 

Yes, for sure.  The impression I got from the developer posts and interviews about this is that they didn't want to punish or alienate players who only had the time or energy to play the main story line, so they made sure to have main story be easy enough for low and mid-level characters. 

 

It rubs me the wrong way though, as the "completionist" gets framed as a sort of neurotic with too much time on their hands, grinding away doing tedious things that average players wouldn't want to do.  But all I'm doing is exploring maps, meeting characters, solving quests, fighting enemies (in other words, playing the game).  What I take away from those posts is that they feel PoE should cater to people who don't have the time or will to actually just play the game (so why buy this game?).

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Well, the story is already so poorly told don't really mind the interruption. As for overleveling me, it works out mostly well. If one does everything right up to the point of no return before starting WM, I think it barely dings me 13. White March itself is somewhat scaled, so I like how it gives something to do with all the swanky high level stuff. Granted, WM itself gets me capped fairly soon in, but I'm fine with level caps for the system they have going.

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^ I didn't really find the story to be poorly told, but I guess that boils down to personal taste.

 

Regardless, the only way you could max out at level 13 before jumping in the pit - besides using the IE Mod - would be to ignore the bounties entirely. I have lots of content still to go in my current play through (including most of the bounties) and I'm already level 13.

Edited by AndreaColombo

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

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Hmm, well, not sure what's going on. I've had 6 playthroughs since 2.0, and all of them end with a bunch of folks around 13 when I run out of stuff to do in vanilla, and I do most everything except the companion quests. The only thing off the top of my head that increases xp gain is less party members, so that could easily influence it if you're ever undermanned.

 

Noticed complaints about the backer stuff. Yeah, that also was horrible in the game, but I'm not blaming the devs for that. Better game without them? Of course. Would we have the game without them? Probably not.

 

Also don't want to sound like I'm calling the writing or characters or lore bad in the game. That's all very well done (well, the lore is pretty generic, I guess.) Looking at everything by itself, it's all rather nice, but it's just presented as a whole in a very poor manner. That said, it never gets in the way of the game. At no point in the game does it make one wince or take me out of it, and it's easy enough to space bar through on repeats.

 

For some examples of games with just god awful writing, I recently played Lords of Xulima and belatedly got into Alan Wake, and the core writing in those games was so awful it just killed any immersion or flow with the constant grimacing it produced.

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^ my bad, you mentioned "before starting WM" which for some reason I didn't pick up.

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

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  • 10 months later...

It's been quite a while, but now I've read the responses it feels wrong not to comment. ;)

My post was aimed in the first place to give feedback to the developers of my expectations and what things I appreciated about the game and didn't.
I realise it's limited to my preferences, but I trust it will give a more complete picture to the developers/ marketeers to see whether they've succeeded in reaching the intended audience.

A reference to another expansion in another game doesn't really help to inform people who are not familiar with it, so it's not strange people would miss how the expansion would fit in with the rest.

In my case, I have played Baldur's Gate with the TotSC expansion so I guess it's been too long ago for me to pick up on the reference.

Games like PoE are aimed at players who are familiar with the older type of rpg's like Baldur's Gate and Torment. Those players, at least the ones who grew up with them, will be quite a bit older now and generally won't have as much time to get into games as they used to, so I feel it's important to make sure they're well informed before they decide to buy an expansion.

Ultimately, I've decided to start a replay after all. :)

Part of why I started an iron man game was to encourage myself not to reload as much and to accept the story/ results as it happens. I like roguelikes as well, but the difference with those kind of games is that they're designed for their replayability. As I mentioned I play rpg's like PoE for their story primarily, so I would like to see it through and still make the character choices that fit with it and not to escape any hard fights when I (my character) normally wouldn't.

With hindsight, starting an iron man game was probably a mistake because it was not designed to fit my playing style.

I've replayed Oblivion a several times as well, but that's mostly because of the mods (and again because it's an open world rpg, designed to be replayable). As a game on itself I thought it was a step back from Morrowind, even though it improved on many fronts, like the dynamic character scripting and the more involving fights. In my opinion the basic game Skyrim isn't really an rpg anymore because it just assumes you want to undertake every quest available and gives no option to refuse it. Even the mods couldn't really get me back into Skyrim.

It's quite exceptional nowadays for me to return to or even start out with an unmodded game, so the developers must have done something right. ;)

I'm glad that there are crowdfunding options available that weren't before, so grand design games for 'niche' audiences can still be written, but rewarding backers should in no way impact the game immersion as much as it has in rpg's. (in my opinion)

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