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How to dramatically improve the stronghold with simple things


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The stronghold system, is a brilliant one in general. Surely it can be improved but it's the best "stronghold system" I've ever played in a crpg. 

Yet, it feels soulless and impersonal at the same time, at least for me.

 

With a few decorative npcs and a few lines of dialog, according to what you build, you could easily change that. 

 

-Guards standing at the gate, greeting their lord when you enter the stronghold (maybe differentiate greeting by reputation).

-Soldiers training at the training grounds with possibility to upgrade their armor and weapons (leather, chain, plate/staves, swords, halberts/sw&sh).

-Philosophers arguing at the forum. Peasants/Nobles watching them.

-Nobles in the throne room, decoration on the tables of the throne room and maybe a carpet.

-Gardeners attending the gardens.

-Priests and acolytes coming to study or pray at the temple from other lands.

-Rangers, druids visiting the warden's lodge.

-Peasants at the Brighthollow. Extra nobles when you build the pool for example, librarians and scholars when you build the library.

-Construction workers, especially when something is being contstructed. I would also rather speak to an actual construction master npc rather than do it from an Impersonal interface. 

 

This simple thing, just placing npcs with a name, even if they don't have dialog (but it would be nice if they made a comment), would go a HUGE way towards making the stronghold more realistic, RP friendly and enjoyable, at least for me. For example, I don't care if my soldiers can't kill a xaurip, their presence only would suffice.

 

-A secondary thing that I feel is not quite right with the stronghold is that it feels like a field with a random assortment of buildings. I would prefer a road leading to some stairs to a decent castle entrance with the secondary buildings branching from it (like a condensed realistic stronghold for example the one in NWN) and a pit on the other side of the gate as well.

 

-Also I really miss "throne sessions" and taxes regulation now that I remember D'Arnise keep in BG or NWN keep. Sessions with nobles/peasants coming to their lord for simple, everyday things and you decide over their fate as well as decide about the amount of taxes (forgiving/normal/cruel), shaping your character's personality and the way people treat you. Also the Lavok's Sphere's apprentice system in BG was extremely enjoyable - made you actually feel like an archmage.

Edited by Bleak
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This is not enough. The gameworld needs to react to you being a Lord of a Castle on a trade crossroad so close to Defiance Bay.

 

They need to add some more words into different conversations with key individuals like Lady Webb and others that will recognize your position IF you are managing the Stronghold well. That means that if you talk to these NPCs when you have your Stronghold Trade value (or trade + security combined) above certain amount they will comment upon your position and if not they will not. No changes to story need to be done, no requirement to have Stronghold developed. Just add comments about it to every important player in Defiance Bay (3 factions, Valirians, Lord of the city, Lady Webb, leaders of Mob organizations).

Even adding a title before your name when they talk to you would be better than nothing.

 

Also if would be cool if some of the more military NPC could even comment if you are not managing it well - like when having your trade value above your security value - they could comment about hearing how it is vulnerable to attack.

 

Also if your Stronghold is developed past certain point, Lord of Defiance Bay should send a permanent emissary there. And if your Stronghold is not part of Defiance Bay area, other powers should send their emissaries as well.

Edited by archangel979
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This is not enough. The gameworld needs to react to you being a Lord of a Castle on a trade crossroad so close to Defiance Bay.

 

They need to add some more words into different conversations with key individuals like Lady Webb and others that will recognize your position IF you are managing the Stronghold well. That means that if you talk to these NPCs when you have your Stronghold Trade value (or trade + security combined) above certain amount they will comment upon your position and if not they will not. No changes to story need to be done, no requirement to have Stronghold developed. Just add comments about it to every important player in Defiance Bay (3 factions, Valirians, Lord of the city, Lady Webb, leaders of Mob organizations).

Even adding a title before your name when they talk to you would be better than nothing.

 

Also if would be cool if some of the more military NPC could even comment if you are not managing it well - like when having your trade value above your security value - they could comment about hearing how it is vulnerable to attack.

 

Good points. I would also like to see some more interaction from the world, besides Caed Nua. The most basic of things though is some population in it, it still kind of feels like a ruin even if you fully upgrade it.

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Guest BugsVendor

I would be very happy if they'd drop this idea altogether.

 

For this "stronghold system" to become worthwhile of your time it would have to be complex enough for a game of it's own and it just loses it's purpose of a mini game. 

 

Seriously, they came up with it in the coffee dock to get another kick-starter milestone.

 

It doesn't mean that there can't be no place like home or some sort of base with reoccurring quests as main story goes by, but any systems with "level of defence" or trade or anything like that are just a waste of dev time. What will be next ? Tower defence mini game?

 

Seriously obsi, if you ever read this forums please focus on CORE elements of the game in PoE 2.

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Personally I enjoy a player stronghold with a little of micromanagement in such a game.

 

It certainly wasn't a "coffee dock" idea since it existed in older games such as BG or NWN. In these games, strongholds were less complex and they offered a lot to the game. I don't know if you appreciated them in those games but I did, a great deal. So even if more complexity is welcomed, it is not needed.

 

What is done is done in PoE 1. You may be disappointed by it (I am too in some aspects) but I guess you are able to understand there is no point in "scrapping" it or removing it now. Even if you are not a developer you can understand that adding a few npcs, using already existing models in the game and writing a couple of lines of dialog takes minimal resources, so it has virtually no side-effects.

Edited by Bleak
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If the stronghold was like BG2 where it was class specific and had neat quests involved, or NWN2 OC where it was a major plot point... Then it would be cool. However, it is just there. You get some bounties, it has the dungeon, and you can upgrade it for wome minor buffs and some stores. It isn't crucial (nor interesting imho) whatsoever. However, I would just not add a similar system to PoE2 than remove it from PoE.

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If the stronghold was like BG2 where it was class specific and had neat quests involved, or NWN2 OC where it was a major plot point... Then it would be cool. However, it is just there. You get some bounties, it has the dungeon, and you can upgrade it for wome minor buffs and some stores. It isn't crucial (nor interesting imho) whatsoever. However, I would just not add a similar system to PoE2 than remove it from PoE.

They already said for PoE 2 they plan to make it more like BG2.
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I don't mind the idea of a "base of operations" sort of stronghold.  But I'd envision it as more like a townhouse in the city of Defiance Bay or a farm house in Dyrwood Village.  Just a place to hang one's hat and rest safely (and free).  A more "minimalist" sort of stronghold. 

 

Within PoE's story, it could have been a room at the HQ of the faction you choose to align yourself with, for example.

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I don't want to be the guy who mentions DA:I, but if that game did anything right, it was to make your "stronghold" feel alive. Lot's of people and some nice progression. Bleak and Archangel979 both have good additions.

Personally I suspect that the lack of people is mainly because there is no tavern at Caed Nua. 

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What strikes me as weird is that they could have easily added some NPCs to liven up the place but they didn't. Just place already existing npc models from the rest of the world. At the very least, construction workers. 

But yes I agree with what is said here. Great news that they said that they will do it like BG, can't go wrong if they do. It would also be better if it was a part of the main plot like in NWN.

I haven't played DA:I to see its stronghold.

Edited by Bleak
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Guest BugsVendor

What strikes me as weird is that they could have easily added some NPCs to liven up the place but they didn't. Just place already existing npc models from the rest of the world. At the very least, construction workers. 

But yes I agree with what is said here. Great news that they said that they will do it like BG, can't go wrong if they do. It would also be better if it was a part of the main plot like in NWN.

I haven't played DA:I to see its stronghold.

 

This game is lacking in terms of overall polish, its not just the stronghold.

 

The whole experience with the game would have been so much better if they gave it a little more time instead of rushing it out.

 

I won't even mention horrible buggy release which was a slap in the face.

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What strikes me as weird is that they could have easily added some NPCs to liven up the place but they didn't. Just place already existing npc models from the rest of the world. At the very least, construction workers. 

But yes I agree with what is said here. Great news that they said that they will do it like BG, can't go wrong if they do. It would also be better if it was a part of the main plot like in NWN.

I haven't played DA:I to see its stronghold.

 

This game is lacking in terms of overall polish, its not just the stronghold.

 

The whole experience with the game would have been so much better if they gave it a little more time instead of rushing it out.

 

I won't even mention horrible buggy release which was a slap in the face.

 

 

Well in general I agree and I have some things I could comment on about every aspect of the game, even the story. I haven't finished the game yet though, but, excluding some certain things, until now only the stronghold has left me baffled from how unpolished it was.

 

I am no expert or game developer but I am confident they have the tools to add half of the things I mentioned in the OP in less than a day. What would it cost them to pick already existing NPC models to "populate" the stronghold and have them appear as you build more and more things? Perhaps the hardest part would be the few lines of comments they would have to write for them.

 

What would be really awesome is if you could raise armies and invade your enemies. But that would kind of be like a RTS game within a game.

 

Would be good but can't see it happening.

 

Errr...that may be going a little to far...

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What would be really awesome is if you could raise armies and invade your enemies. But that would kind of be like a RTS game within a game.

 

Would be good but can't see it happening.

Google Civcraft, new RPG/RTS currently in Early Access.

Or use this link: http://www.civcraftgame.com/

Edited by archangel979
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A whole invasion game is waaay too far from scope.  I would just say add some npcs, and give them the quests the gamewarden has, just with some writing.  Once they complete those inventory stock (including items the wandering shopkeeper may have had) or resting bonuses go up.  One of these days, it would be nice to be able to buy hiro's cloak.  

 

The lack of gamewarden gold would also lead to less economy bloat.

 

[edit - also, they could have used the lord of the stronghold as much better plot device to get you in the city / investigate animancy for the duc].

Edited by anameforobsidian
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Anything as long as it is RP friendly, polished and actually offers something to the game. If the stronghold had the things I mentioned in the OP is would be very enjoyable for me as opposed to now that I am completely indifferent about it because all it is, is just a remote micromanagement interface.

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What would be really awesome is if you could raise armies and invade your enemies. But that would kind of be like a RTS game within a game.Would be good but can't see it happening.

Google Civcraft, new RPG/RTS currently in Early Access.Or use this link: http://www.civcraftgame.com/
I had a look at that. It's a good idea but It didn't look to polished to me.

 

To do that properly, say an equivelant of warcraft 4 inside pillars of eternity would require a massive budget. Probably 10 million plus, minimum.

 

Your approaching mega gaming projects here, gta5 had a budget of tens of million from memory. Not as big as that but still would require a massive budget to do that properly.

Edited by brindle88
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One tiny tiny tiny thing that would help me enjoy the stronghold more is if there were at least some small announcement or recognition that I had upgraded all possible upgrades.  I just tonight finished the last upgrade and it only had an announcement I'd finished an upgrade just like it did for all others.  At least saying, "you did everything and you've masxed out your upgrade!" would be gratifying.

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bother?

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One tiny tiny tiny thing that would help me enjoy the stronghold more is if there were at least some small announcement or recognition that I had upgraded all possible upgrades.  I just tonight finished the last upgrade and it only had an announcement I'd finished an upgrade just like it did for all others.  At least saying, "you did everything and you've masxed out your upgrade!" would be gratifying.

There's an acknowledgement at the end of the game, but nothing else.  Oh, and the architect has a special dialogue when you get high prestige.

Also, I don't know why attacks were always fought in the throne room and not outside the massive walls I built.

 

Really it feels like virtually all the technical work is done to make the stronghold pretty cool, they just need writers and quest designers to add more content.  I wouldn't have minded all the loading screens in the stronghold if stuff would have changed as you walked through it.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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Exactly my thoughts Bleak and archangel. I really, really wish for all this to be added in some way in the near future. The White March II will include some important other details though. It is a first step. But ALL what you both said in the 2 first posts are deeply needed.

 

A few more things:

 

- I want to be able to tell visitors to go away through actual dialogue. I really dislike having to use this impersonal mini game interface while i'm just beside them.

- Invaders of the stronghold should NOT be met INSIDE the walls when things are manually resolved, but OUTSIDE. Because it defeats the whole purpose of building WALLS. Plus, there should be some kind of portcullis (is it the right word?) and you should be able to loot the raiders rather than being forced to let them go by a loading screen.

- A limited quantity of siege machines on the walls (like in Raedric's hold) would be great too. May even be a further security upgrade. They should have NPC engineers. Of course, this, too, is more flavour oriented.

- I would like not to be warned that 5 ghosts will break into the main keep 7 DAYS later. There is no way i would be warned this much time beforehand. Actually the whole "invaders" system should be slightly reworked in order to make it more believable.

- I would like a "war room". What i mean is something like what you can see in the Crucible Keep and the Dozens' Hall: large table with map, marks, notes. A place where the chief of my garrison is, and where i can ask him about stronghold's defense related things.

- If Caed Nua is really a domain, then NPC recognizing you as its master is not enough. You can't say by your own you're a Lord in the Dyrwood. In BG2, it was by the power of Nalia and the laws she used that you were invested. The Duc should be able to make your position official (with some low nobility title maybe). Perhaps a reward after some key quest. This may even involve jealousy with some Crucible Knights.

 

The Stronghold is a cool thing. But there is SO MUCH more to do with it. Even without 1 whole year of development. Right now, it's not alive. It's impersonal. It's all about mini game interface. And it doesn't mix at all with neither the story, nor the world.

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Exactly my thoughts Bleak and archangel. I really, really wish for all this to be added in some way in the near future. The White March II will include some important other details though. It is a first step. But ALL what you both said in the 2 first posts are deeply needed.

 

A few more things:

 

- I want to be able to tell visitors to go away through actual dialogue. I really dislike having to use this impersonal mini game interface while i'm just beside them.

- Invaders of the stronghold should NOT be met INSIDE the walls when things are manually resolved, but OUTSIDE. Because it defeats the whole purpose of building WALLS. Plus, there should be some kind of portcullis (is it the right word?) and you should be able to loot the raiders rather than being forced to let them go by a loading screen.

- A limited quantity of siege machines on the walls (like in Raedric's hold) would be great too. May even be a further security upgrade. They should have NPC engineers. Of course, this, too, is more flavour oriented.

- I would like not to be warned that 5 ghosts will break into the main keep 7 DAYS later. There is no way i would be warned this much time beforehand. Actually the whole "invaders" system should be slightly reworked in order to make it more believable.

- I would like a "war room". What i mean is something like what you can see in the Crucible Keep and the Dozens' Hall: large table with map, marks, notes. A place where the chief of my garrison is, and where i can ask him about stronghold's defense related things.

- If Caed Nua is really a domain, then NPC recognizing you as its master is not enough. You can't say by your own you're a Lord in the Dyrwood. In BG2, it was by the power of Nalia and the laws she used that you were invested. The Duc should be able to make your position official (with some low nobility title maybe). Perhaps a reward after some key quest. This may even involve jealousy with some Crucible Knights.

 

The Stronghold is a cool thing. But there is SO MUCH more to do with it. Even without 1 whole year of development. Right now, it's not alive. It's impersonal. It's all about mini game interface. And it doesn't mix at all with neither the story, nor the world.

 

Impersonal is the word for the stronghold indeed.

I agree with all of these in general, especially the last. It would be even better to tie the stronghold to the main story more like in NWN2. 

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