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Gamescom talk - Josh needs help

counseling soul feedback wacky

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#21
Sacred_Path

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Still, Josh has taken notice of the problem so it's kind of pointless of you to deny it exists.

Did you see the GDC talk? Did he say anything along those lines? To my knowledge, Josh Sawyer only wishes for more diverse environments (which is quite understandable regardless of tone) and would like to add, quote, "Some sillier characters", emphasis on some - and, true enough, the game could use a little bit more humor, altho not that much. Overall, from interviews I've seen/heard, he's fairly happy with the tone of the world they've set in the original game. So where did you get the idea that even Josh Sawyer agrees with all of your points, disregarding the fact that him agreeing doesn't necessarily mean he's correct?

 

 

It's in his slides http://media.obsidia...ooking-back.pdf

 

lol @ him agreeing with all of my points. I said he's clearly not come to the same conclusion as me (or he doesn't admit it)



#22
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I'm not saying you can't prove that. I'm saying you haven't, not even by the vaguest of approximations.

 

I'm fine with you ignoring my points, just don't pretend to be able to follow what I've said



#23
FlintlockJazz

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I disagree with the premise of the OP.  I loved Pillars, which reminds me I need to do another playthrough.



#24
Sacred_Path

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Personally for me the "wackiness" of the BG games got old very quickly, I didn't enjoy them for this reason but rather the following: A fairly sensible main plot, some interesting side quests, some of the less squeeing characters, exploration of what felt like a well realised world and of course the personal nature of the protagonists connection to the overarching narrative.

 

Minsc and Boo and their humour were not paticularly attractive, and became old very quickly because there was nothing else to them, whereas Morte in Planescape took the place of Mercutio, a derisive observer with far more character and depth. Thus beyond the quips lay an interesting person, rather than yet more wackiness. Interestingly enough I would say Korgan Bloodaxe also fulfills essentially the same role, there is more to him than just his psycopathy, though that is not explored in enough detail but more hinted at through his interactions with others.

 

I think if Poe lacks a distinctive "soul" then the answer lies in making a complete game rather than cutting corners, having attributes that make sense and are intuitive, having no features that are left unexplained because the developer couldn't be bothered, having a main quest line that affects one personally, not being herded into chokepoints where all ones hard work is rendered pointless, exploring the world one has created rather than altering it upon introduction, making mechanics that are sensible and easily explained rather than try to bluntly solve a gameplay problem.

 

However that's my own view, and it may be that there is no single answer when it comes to such a nebulous conundrum.

 

What makes side quests interesting? If you're making a fantasy RPG but you want to keep things "serious" you're obviously limiting yourself in what you can do. Defiance Bay suffers a lot from this, you just have to compare it to Athkatla to see that. An undead making machine is nothing compared to having a gang war with vampires, though that is also a problem of scope. But things like Pernisc's or the Salty Mast's quest are as banal and predictable as they come.

 

BG's world seemed well-realised because it integrated the fantasy elements well. In PoE they stand out like a sore thumb.

 

Humour and silliness aren't synonymous with wacky in this case. I take wacky here to mean anything requiring suspension of disbelief. However, seriousness stumps suspension of disbelief, so silliness can enhance the fantasy aspects (within limits).

 

The points you mention would make for a more cohesive/ convincing gaming experience, but I don't see anything there that would require throwing the term soul around. Games can be a polished experience without anyone talking about soul.



#25
Nonek

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Spoiler

 

What makes side quests interesting? If you're making a fantasy RPG but you want to keep things "serious" you're obviously limiting yourself in what you can do. Defiance Bay suffers a lot from this, you just have to compare it to Athkatla to see that. An undead making machine is nothing compared to having a gang war with vampires, though that is also a problem of scope. But things like Pernisc's or the Salty Mast's quest are as banal and predictable as they come.

 

BG's world seemed well-realised because it integrated the fantasy elements well. In PoE they stand out like a sore thumb.

 

Humour and silliness aren't synonymous with wacky in this case. I take wacky here to mean anything requiring suspension of disbelief. However, seriousness stumps suspension of disbelief, so silliness can enhance the fantasy aspects (within limits).

 

The points you mention would make for a more cohesive/ convincing gaming experience, but I don't see anything there that would require throwing the term soul around. Games can be a polished experience without anyone talking about soul.

 

 

For me "interesting" is a presentation of personal or relatable problems or situations, that is at one with and hopefully enhances the gameplay of a quest. It can be as deadly serious as say Vault 11 in New Vegas or the backstory of Durlag's Tower, or as lighthearted as much of Torment was, so long as it is implemented well. Defiance Bay I agree was not as well realised a setting as Athkatla, and nowhere near Vizima, Britain, Tarant or Sigil, however wackiness had nothing to do with that, it was more a case of a lack of focus on the little touches that aid verisimilitude, and the lack of thematic reinforcement.

 

BG was alright, however as a setting the Realms are hardly attractive and as vanilla as they come, and I would not say any element was presented well, it is a renaissance fayre setting with a thin veneer of out of place cultures. The setting of Poe definitely needed exploring and expanding upon more, I would have cut almost half the games locations that are nothing but backdrops for grinding and detailed the remainder with far more depth and reactivity. There is interesting worldbuilding in Poe, it needed to be brought to the fore and examined.

 

Seriousness does not stymie suspension of belief, quite the opposite, it enhances a gameworld if it has verisimilitude, if the inhabitants show realistic behaviour and the issues of the world are well presented. Silliness is alright for silly situations or for breaking tension, if always used in a serious situation however it is likely to become vapid squeeing, out of place, childish and unrealistic. Morte serves as a counterpoint to the grim, driven and serious tone of much of Torment, the lighthearted and serious being well used, but even Morte's quips fade when the issue of his lying is brought up and the past is remembered. Seriousness has a place just as much as any other element, and many fantastic elements are not just serious but horrifying or outlandish in the extreme.

 

I used "soul" because it was used in your opening argument, I find it too nebulous a term personally, but I would argue that a cohesive and convincing experience goes a long way towards making the player feel the gameworld has "soul." I would use Arcanum, Betrayal at Krondor, Fallout, Torment, the mid Ultimas and the first Witcher as games that were cohesive, presented fantastic elements well and reinforced their thematic messages through gameplay and features. I think you are focusing upon the wrong problems in Poe, I do not think it lacked fantastical elements, or what you term "wacky" ones, I think it did not present them well enough, did not explore them, and did not plant the priotagonist firmly enough in the midst of them.


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#26
Loren Tyr

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I'm not saying you can't prove that. I'm saying you haven't, not even by the vaguest of approximations.

 

I'm fine with you ignoring my points, just don't pretend to be able to follow what I've said

 

 

I can follow them just fine, which is also how I can discern the utter lack of anything resembling a foundation for the claims you're making. But if you don't want to back up your views, like a sad little troll, that is entirely up to you. Though it raises the question why you started the thread in the first place. 



#27
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It's in his slides http://media.obsidia...ooking-back.pdf
 
lol @ him agreeing with all of my points. I said he's clearly not come to the same conclusion as me (or he doesn't admit it)

Yes, that's where he mentions they should introduce some sillier characters, not that the game as a whole is not wacky enough, which brings me back to my original point of majority of people apparently liking the game.



#28
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For me "interesting" is a presentation of personal or relatable problems or situations, that is at one with and hopefully enhances the gameplay of a quest. It can be as deadly serious as say Vault 11 in New Vegas or the backstory of Durlag's Tower, or as lighthearted as much of Torment was, so long as it is implemented well. Defiance Bay I agree was not as well realised a setting as Athkatla, and nowhere near Vizima, Britain, Tarant or Sigil, however wackiness had nothing to do with that, it was more a case of a lack of focus on the little touches that aid verisimilitude, and the lack of thematic reinforcement.

 

I'm also talking about "little touches", however I can pinpoint what is meant by that. Verisimilitude is part of that btw. As it is now PoE's world doesn't make sense, dialogue is very personally oriented while the world is classic fantasy. It's also just as vanilla as D&D btw, unless you think widespread use of firearms somehow sets it apart.

 

Seriousness does not stymie suspension of belief, quite the opposite, it enhances a gameworld if it has verisimilitude, if the inhabitants show realistic behaviour and the issues of the world are well presented. Silliness is alright for silly situations or for breaking tension, if always used in a serious situation however it is likely to become vapid squeeing, out of place, childish and unrealistic. Morte serves as a counterpoint to the grim, driven and serious tone of much of Torment, the lighthearted and serious being well used, but even Morte's quips fade when the issue of his lying is brought up and the past is remembered. Seriousness has a place just as much as any other element, and many fantastic elements are not just serious but horrifying or outlandish in the extreme.

 

What you are saying is that if an NPC takes things seriously the player will too, I'd say that's an unsubstantiated claim and one I can't confirm. The history of games is full of examples of serious business stories but the delivery is completely laughable and doesn't touch the player at all.

 

I'm not talking about turning PoE into a comedy game so that's hyperbole. PoE OTOH mostly lacks any tongue-in-cheek moments. A good RPG runs the whole gamut of emotion, PoE's tone is that of a ladies' teaparty throughout.



#29
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It's in his slides http://media.obsidia...ooking-back.pdf
 
lol @ him agreeing with all of my points. I said he's clearly not come to the same conclusion as me (or he doesn't admit it)

Yes, that's where he mentions they should introduce some sillier characters, not that the game as a whole is not wacky enough, which brings me back to my original point of majority of people apparently liking the game.

 

 

Do you have trouble reading the slides? He even uses the word soul.



#30
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By "disappointed with PoE" I meant no more than "disappointed with this certain aspect of it", although I've seen enough people criticize the game at large. Still, Josh has taken notice of the problem so it's kind of pointless of you to deny it exists.

 

Josh also seems to think that six party members may be too much. That he sees a problem doesn't necessarily mean that there is one, or that his analysis of it is correct. But even if we do posit that there is at least a significant minority of players who found the 'soul' to be lacking in some sense, that doesn't mean that your analysis of it is correct. And frankly, you have yet to provide any compelling argument for your "soul == wackiness" claim. 

 

Moreover, even if wackiness is what those players complaining about soul were missing, it doesn't follow that a) adding wackiness would have made for a better game, or b) adding wackiness would have made for a more successful game. If adding soulful wackiness pleases one segment of the audience and disgruntles another segment of the audience in equal measure, it's just a lateral move as far as b) is concerned. 

 

 

If Josh thinks 6 party members may be too much.. this really gets me worried. What i love most about PoE and older IE games were having 6 party characters. Tyranny put me off with just 4 characters. I understand the reason why 4 characters. Because of controllers and consoles. Now i don't hate consoles, in fact consoles are awesome for first party AAA exclusive games like Uncharted 4, God of War, Last of Us and stuff that i'm looking to play. But CRPGs like PoE are not something i look forward to play on consoles. There are way too many games being ruined in gameplay due to the fact there have to designed for consoles and controller in mind. Because of consoles, you dont see 100 spells in a spellbook anymore in most modern RPGs.

 

Now don't blame me for highlighting about consoles. To be perfectly honest, it makes no sense for any developers/publishers to not bring games to as many platforms as possible. It's money and business as usual. PoE and PoE2 will be available for consoles anyway sooner or later anyway. But please i dont really want gimped down gameplay because it has to bring the games to consoles.  I really hope PoE2 will have 6 characters again and really an improvement over PoE. Just look at Swordcoast Legend how it died a swift death because it was designed for consoles in mind.


Edited by Archaven, 25 August 2016 - 10:12 AM.

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#31
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For me "interesting" is a presentation of personal or relatable problems or situations, that is at one with and hopefully enhances the gameplay of a quest. It can be as deadly serious as say Vault 11 in New Vegas or the backstory of Durlag's Tower, or as lighthearted as much of Torment was, so long as it is implemented well. Defiance Bay I agree was not as well realised a setting as Athkatla, and nowhere near Vizima, Britain, Tarant or Sigil, however wackiness had nothing to do with that, it was more a case of a lack of focus on the little touches that aid verisimilitude, and the lack of thematic reinforcement.

 

I'm also talking about "little touches", however I can pinpoint what is meant by that. Verisimilitude is part of that btw. As it is now PoE's world doesn't make sense, dialogue is very personally oriented while the world is classic fantasy. It's also just as vanilla as D&D btw, unless you think widespread use of firearms somehow sets it apart.

 

 

 

Seriousness does not stymie suspension of belief, quite the opposite, it enhances a gameworld if it has verisimilitude, if the inhabitants show realistic behaviour and the issues of the world are well presented. Silliness is alright for silly situations or for breaking tension, if always used in a serious situation however it is likely to become vapid squeeing, out of place, childish and unrealistic. Morte serves as a counterpoint to the grim, driven and serious tone of much of Torment, the lighthearted and serious being well used, but even Morte's quips fade when the issue of his lying is brought up and the past is remembered. Seriousness has a place just as much as any other element, and many fantastic elements are not just serious but horrifying or outlandish in the extreme.

 

What you are saying is that if an NPC takes things seriously the player will too, I'd say that's an unsubstantiated claim and one I can't confirm. The history of games is full of examples of serious business stories but the delivery is completely laughable and doesn't touch the player at all.

 

I'm not talking about turning PoE into a comedy game so that's hyperbole. PoE OTOH mostly lacks any tongue-in-cheek moments. A good RPG runs the whole gamut of emotion, PoE's tone is that of a ladies' teaparty throughout.

 

 

There are a number of things which set it apart, firearms is one though they have been used in fantasy settings before, seperate species instead of races of humanity, the emphasis on souls and the almost alchemical manipulation of them, cultures defining their citizens rather than race, the issue of divinity which I can't go into in the non spoiler section, etcetera. These are not entirely new but taken together they are a welcome break from the more uninspired D&D settings.

 

No what I am saying is that NPCs should react realistically rather than spouting cheesy one liners, this gives the impression that they are more grounded and living through their situation therefore aiding verisimilitude, rather than the usual squeeing which invariably grows tiresome. In acting terms it would be called acting naturally rather than mugging for the camera. Poor delivery is poor delivery, a seperate issue.

 

I know you're not asking for a wacky comedy Mr Sacred, I think the wacky was just a poor choice of words on your part, and there might well be room for more lighthearted moments in the game. Personally I found there were enough, for instance Durance was probably the most likeable and funny character i've met in quite a few years of gaming.

 

However I still think that you are, with respect, incorrect in your summation that it is lightness of tone that is the major stumbling block in Poe, I think it is a number of far more serious and hard to fix issues that could be improved. This is subjective though, so I am simply putting forth my argument that wackiness is the least of Poes problems.

 

Edit: For instance a problem which I think is being plastered over is this use of the highlight system, there are far more organic ways of communicating information: Look at Torment, a weird world filled with strange concepts and they were explained through gameplay, relatable characters and good design. You wish to reinforce that belief can affect reality then look at Mourns for Trees and the Mebbeth tuition questline. You wish to explain weapon proficiency and training, then look to Porphiron in the Hive. I far prefer this organic design that provides so much roleplaying opportunity rather than read exposition.


Edited by Nonek, 25 August 2016 - 11:05 AM.


#32
tinysalamander

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I have no idea about the “soul” thing, but I really liked the portrayal of a (possibly) benevolent healer god that actually did something. And he isn’t even present in the world.



#33
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Do you have trouble reading the slides? He even uses the word soul.

Yes, there's the word 'Soul' used in the presentation. There's also the word 'Silly' used in the presentation. Neither has much relevance to what you are saying or to your statement "Josh thinks he's onto something" in relation to the tone of the world and both could be interpreted in may ways. What I'm asking you to do is to quote the relevant parts of the presentation as I don't see how do they relate to what you're saying so that we may continue the discussion constructively. You're doing yourself a disservice by trying to pass me as an idiot as opposed to properly quoting your sources - it's not actually that difficult to do and it would have saved us like 2 posts.

 

The only part I have found which is relevant is "Introduce more diverse locations, be attentive to lore pacing, use Tyranny’s highlight system, include some sillier characters – possibly a different companion type." which doesn't at all reinforce your point that mr. Sawyer would consider the general tone and seriousness of the world a problem. Then there's "Players and reviewers had mixed to favorable reactions about the world and lore. There was a lot to learn and keep track of. Many players wished for more light, funny, or silly elements." He didn't say he agrees with the sentiment - just that it's a reaction of unspecified "Many" players which, again, is not saying much. In short: You're stretching his statements without even knowing the context.


Edited by Fenixp, 25 August 2016 - 10:46 AM.

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#34
hrwd

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finding his 'soul', specifically.

 

During his Gamescom presentation Josh mentioned a common complaint of players who were disappointed with PoE because they found its 'soul' to be missing. Josh also comments that 'soul is elusive'. Implying, of course, that players don't actually have a clue of what it is they're missing. So let's help him.

 

For people to be disappointed, there must have been certain expectations. We can assume that these expectations had something to do with the Infinity Engine games. All of these were D&D games, and most were set in the Forgotten Realms. I believe this is already the heart of the matter. As Josh mentioned elsewhere, D&D has always been an uneven rules system, torn between simulationism and gamism. And the Forgotten Realms are a notorious setting; they have been called silly, which they often are, but most of all they strive to be fantastical. Or, as I put it, wacky™.

 

In high fantasy, wacky things always happen. One of the tenets of fantasy is simply to boggle the mind, or at least surprise the recipient. Beings and items show unexpected behaviour or unnatural properties all the time.

 

In his quest to balance the rules and avoid degenerate player behaviour - which is often just making use of these special properties - pretty much everything in the game was streamlined. If you compare e.g. Baldur's Gate 2 with PoE, BG's wackiness is apparent. Its quirky spells, for example, have far more to offer than PoE's samey buff/ debuff/ damage spells. No hard counters means less impressive abilities on enemies. And magical items hardly ever did anything exciting - not even mentioning the fact that you always knew what they did right away.

 

The second blow to the traditional fantasy elements that could have been came from the game's tone; it's clearly trying to be serious. I say trying, because serious fantasy is boring and a dichotomy. My argument here rests on two assumptions:

 

1) fantasy is always escapist

 

and

 

2) escapism is not serious business.

 

​Now, PoE clearly wanted to be darker in tone than the IE games, but dark =/= serious. In many cases, there's nothing sillier than a grimdark setting. So I'd say this in itself wasn't problematic - PoE could have been a dark, but still fantastical game, like its predecessors. What's really problematic is that it takes itself too seriously - and serious and wacky are on opposite sides of the spectrum. As such, this approach was unsuited to a successor of the IE games, or even fantasy RPG's at large. Sentient items, level draining, or raising the dead are more than just mechanics. They reinforce suspension of disbelief by being tied to the numbers. And I don't care if these are old, tired examples - Obs' job would it have been to make it better, not to simply avoid all this stuff.

 

Serious fantasy is awesome. Things with great consenquences etc...so nice! LoTR, WHFB etc etc...

 

You are wrong. Josh, please keep PoE 2 as serious as possible. This includes abilities too.



#35
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There are a number of things which set it apart, firearms is one though they have been used in fantasy settings before, seperate species instead of races of humanity,

 

This is mostly fluff and very little is actually made of the racial diversity in-game. Hardly anyone raises an eyebrow when they see a godlike (how could they with all the backer godlike NPC's standing around). Playing a death godlike was completely disappointing as the reactivity hinted at in the manual wasn't present.

 

the emphasis on souls and the almost alchemical manipulation of them

 

Attributes don't revolve around souls

 

Abilities don't revolve around souls

 

Combat resolution doesn't revolve around souls

 

Souls are only sometimes mentioned in dialogue

 

I wouldn't call that emphasis.

 

cultures defining their citizens rather than race

 

Seems like a contradiction, everyone's a different species but in the end everyone basically is Vailian or Dyrwoodan?

 

No what I am saying is that NPCs should react realistically rather than spouting cheesy one liners, this gives the impression that they are more grounded and living through their situation therefore aiding verisimilitude, rather than the usual squeeing which invariably grows tiresome. In acting terms it would be called acting naturally rather than mugging for the camera. Poor delivery is poor delivery, a seperate issue.

 

"Squeeing" seems to be a big thing to you, do you mean that NPC's express strong emotions? If so, I find that very fitting in a classic fantasy setting, especially because we're talking about a frontier type setting here. These people are the sons and daughters of settlers and pioneers, they shouldn't exhibit Victorian mannerisms.

 

I know you're not asking for a wacky comedy Mr Sacred, I think the wacky was just a poor choice of words on your part, and there might well be room for more lighthearted moments in the game. Personally I found there were enough, for instance Durance was probably the most likeable and funny character i've met in quite a few years of gaming.

 

I think it's a fitting word, however superficially when people hear wacky they think of parody or goofiness, but I already explained how silly elements fit into the picture here. Anything that requires or facilitates suspension of disbelief is wacky in this context,

Yes I agree Durance was a fitting companion for this type of game. OTOH he also sticks out almost too much for exactly this reason.

 


However I still think that you are, with respect, incorrect in your summation that it is lightness of tone that is the major stumbling block in Poe, I think it is a number of far more serious and hard to fix issues that could be improved. This is subjective though, so I am simply putting forth my argument that wackiness is the least of Poes problems.

I see other problems as well, such as the stronghold, combat resolution, the attribute system etc., but I actually think these problems are superficial compared to the fact that for a fantasy RPG, there's precious little well-realised fantasy in there.



#36
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Do you have trouble reading the slides? He even uses the word soul.

Yes, there's the word 'Soul' used in the presentation. There's also the word 'Silly' used in the presentation. Neither has much relevance to what you are saying or to your statement "Josh thinks he's onto something" in relation to the tone of the world and both could be interpreted in may ways. What I'm asking you to do is to quote the relevant parts of the presentation as I don't see how do they relate to what you're saying so that we may continue the discussion constructively. You're doing yourself a disservice by trying to pass me as an idiot as opposed to properly quoting your sources - it's not actually that difficult to do and it would have saved us like 2 posts.

 

The only part I have found which is relevant is "Introduce more diverse locations, be attentive to lore pacing, use Tyranny’s highlight system, include some sillier characters – possibly a different companion type." which doesn't at all reinforce your point that mr. Sawyer would consider the general tone and seriousness of the world a problem. Then there's "Players and reviewers had mixed to favorable reactions about the world and lore. There was a lot to learn and keep track of. Many players wished for more light, funny, or silly elements." He didn't say he agrees with the sentiment - just that it's a reaction of unspecified "Many" players which, again, is not saying much. In short: You're stretching his statements without even knowing the context.

 

I've said repeatedly that Josh isn't actually aware of the problem I've pinpointed - either that or he doesn't admit it publicly (and with good reason, because it's one thing to say "our mechanics need tweaking" and another to say "on the whole our game was pretty uninspired").



#37
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Attributes don't revolve around souls
 
Abilities don't revolve around souls
 
Combat resolution doesn't revolve around souls
 
Souls are only sometimes mentioned in dialogue
 
I wouldn't call that emphasis.

There's an entire class focused on abilities based on soul manipulation + a bunch of abilities unlocked for Watcher throughout the storyline are supposed to be based on soul manipulation. It's just fancy talk for 'magic' of course, but that particular theme penetrates into all aspects of the game, including monster lore.

 

Anyway, I'd say that if it's fantastical nature of the setting we're discussing, major recurring themes of the setting are not exactly unimportant - and soul manipulation was one of the most intriguing and fantastical themes Pillars of Eternity operated with, albeit it was premise that was fantastical while its exploration much more grounded. Which... You know, was one of my favourite things about Pillars.

 

I've said repeatedly that Josh isn't actually aware of the problem I've pinpointed - either that or he doesn't admit it publicly (and with good reason, because it's one thing to say "our mechanics need tweaking" and another to say "on the whole our game was pretty uninspired").

 
Allow me to remind you that this discussion on "What did mr. Sawyer mean" started with this response to my post:

By "disappointed with PoE" I meant no more than "disappointed with this certain aspect of it", although I've seen enough people criticize the game at large. Still, Josh has taken notice of the problem so it's kind of pointless of you to deny it exists.

Which is where I started to try and figure out where has Josh Sawyer admitted it's a problem in the first place. Because without it, bringing up his name in the conversation is kind of pointless in the first place so I figured you probably know something I don't.



#38
Nonek

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There are a number of things which set it apart, firearms is one though they have been used in fantasy settings before, seperate species instead of races of humanity,

 

This is mostly fluff and very little is actually made of the racial diversity in-game. Hardly anyone raises an eyebrow when they see a godlike (how could they with all the backer godlike NPC's standing around). Playing a death godlike was completely disappointing as the reactivity hinted at in the manual wasn't present.

 

the emphasis on souls and the almost alchemical manipulation of them

 

Attributes don't revolve around souls, Abilities don't revolve around souls, Combat resolution doesn't revolve around souls, Souls are only sometimes mentioned in dialogue. I wouldn't call that emphasis.

 

cultures defining their citizens rather than race

 

Seems like a contradiction, everyone's a different species but in the end everyone basically is Vailian or Dyrwoodan?

 

No what I am saying is that NPCs should react realistically rather than spouting cheesy one liners, this gives the impression that they are more grounded and living through their situation therefore aiding verisimilitude, rather than the usual squeeing which invariably grows tiresome. In acting terms it would be called acting naturally rather than mugging for the camera. Poor delivery is poor delivery, a seperate issue.

 

"Squeeing" seems to be a big thing to you, do you mean that NPC's express strong emotions? If so, I find that very fitting in a classic fantasy setting, especially because we're talking about a frontier type setting here. These people are the sons and daughters of settlers and pioneers, they shouldn't exhibit Victorian mannerisms.

 

I know you're not asking for a wacky comedy Mr Sacred, I think the wacky was just a poor choice of words on your part, and there might well be room for more lighthearted moments in the game. Personally I found there were enough, for instance Durance was probably the most likeable and funny character i've met in quite a few years of gaming.

 

I think it's a fitting word, however superficially when people hear wacky they think of parody or goofiness, but I already explained how silly elements fit into the picture here. Anything that requires or facilitates suspension of disbelief is wacky in this context, Yes I agree Durance was a fitting companion for this type of game. OTOH he also sticks out almost too much for exactly this reason.

 

However I still think that you are, with respect, incorrect in your summation that it is lightness of tone that is the major stumbling block in Poe, I think it is a number of far more serious and hard to fix issues that could be improved. This is subjective though, so I am simply putting forth my argument that wackiness is the least of Poes problems.

 

I see other problems as well, such as the stronghold, combat resolution, the attribute system etc., but I actually think these problems are superficial compared to the fact that for a fantasy RPG, there's precious little well-realised fantasy in there.

 

You're proving my point for me in this post: Many themes need expanding upon, representing through gameplay, and being more thoroughly detailed such as how a species can be wholly subsumed by another culture and why two species did not simply exterminate each other as competitors. The fact that you do not think that souls are emphasised enough is debateable, they influence almost every aspect of the game supposedly, but I agree that was not explored enough in this introduction to the game. The Godlike situation is laughable I agree. These are serious issues, however at least they are a break from the normal renaissance fayre setting of the Realms, I would never fault a developer for trying something different, though I will of course fault poor implementation.

 

No I do not frown on NPCs expressing strong emotion, though I would if they were stoical, I frown on wacky humour that is trite and ultinately irritating in the long run such as is all too common in BG. A Victorian attitude would be far more desirable than just representing characters as modern people, they certainly do not seem to be the independent sons and daughters of settlers, Mr Sawyer listed traits for these cultures but I see little reinforcement of that in game.

 

Not everything that requires a suspension of belief is wacky, nor is escapism always a silly thing, there are massive varieties of both these things that are not silly or wacky, horror, insanity, rage, sorrow, delusion, awe, greed, ultimate evil or good. I would say the game sticks out from Durance too much, exploring his story as a protagonist would have been a fantastic introduction to this world, personal and yet intrinsically connected to the themes they sought to introduce.

 

I remain convinced that adding wacky elements that frankly soured the BG series for me is not the answer to sorting out the problems I found in Poe, a better crafted, more well explored, thematically relevant and reinforced design through gameplay is what I would ask for rather than silliness. The fantastic elements are there already, they simply need exploring and reinforcing.


Edited by Nonek, 25 August 2016 - 12:09 PM.


#39
Tigranes

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There's ways to be wacky and funny in-setting.

BG's brand of wacky was sort of appropriate for what it was - a campy high fantasy romp where walking 'seriously?' archetypes like Gorion share space with 4th wall genre humour cameos. The natural extension (going too far, really) being the Divinity series.

 

There's plenty ways to have wacky and funny that works with POE's world and tone without introducing Minsc / HK-47. Pallegina, actually, could have been a dry-wit character if you look at how she is introduced, and Aloth could have provided some lightness if he wasn't so badly written.



#40
rjshae

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 Josh also seems to think that six party members may be too much. That he sees a problem doesn't necessarily mean that there is one, or that his analysis of it is correct. But even if we do posit that there is at least a significant minority of players who found the 'soul' to be lacking in some sense, that doesn't mean that your analysis of it is correct. And frankly, you have yet to provide any compelling argument for your "soul == wackiness" claim.

 

These days I think that five party members is just about right for a fantasy RPG; it gives you the four classic character types, plus an extra character to weight the mix in your preferred direction. Six character parties and their followers start to turn into a mob, while four character parties severely limit you tactically. I'd also prefer to have fewer, but better developed companions.







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