Jump to content

Worried about companion reputations


Recommended Posts

I'm all for deeper companion relationships, but I'm very concerned about the developers mentioning that there will be a reputation/approval system. In almost every game I've played that has one it has been a serious annoyance and I feel encouraged to metagame or cheat in order to not miss out on content. I think the idea has potential but I've yet to see any game do it without it being more trouble than it's worth. DAI (yes, really) has probably come the closest to doing it well. Some issues I have with the system are:

 

 

 

I love you! I hate you!

A serious issue in Tyranny, within a few lines Barik can go from telling me how much I disgust him to telling me that he respects me greatly. Well, which is it? This is clearly not how a rational person like Barik would act and was caused by the separate Loyalty/Fear system that were treated as separate to each other instead of being taken into consideration together.

 

Solution: Every line of companion dialogue with an approval check should check all relevant meters instead of just one e.g. Barik should recognize that you're a mixed bag instead of flipflopping between praising and trashtalking you.

 

 

 

You didn't bring me to these approval opportunities, so I hate you!

Okay, this one can be justified if the event is clearly important to a companion, like bringing Gann with you to the hags in MotB. Other times it can be very arbitrary and punishing to the player for no real reason - Obsidian's older games like Kotor 2 and NWN 2 were awful when it came to this but even Tyranny suffered from this. Didn't bring Neeshka to the Jerro's dungeon? Didn't bring G0-T0 to Onderon? Didn't bring Boone to five seemingly random locations? Sucks to be you!

 

Solution: Spread approval opportunities throughout the whole game as much as possible, instead of focusing them in specific places where the player has no reason to believe they should bring them. Alternatively, give substantial approval gains/drops in personal quests or approval opportunities where an attentive player will know that they should bring them.

 

 

 

 

We agree and disagree on too many things!

Aka the approval meter tug of war where you end up in the middle, but your companion relationships will only progress when you hit a specific approval or disapproval level. The game treats you as if you haven't spoken to the companion at all! Very disappointing when the game forces you to give up on a companion.

 

Solution: Approval or disapproval shouldn't be on the same meter and should be counted separately. If they have to be on the same meter then approval opportunities should be designed in a way where players will always land on either side instead of the middle, or companion relationships should always progress but with your approval level changing the flavor of the dialogue.

 

 

 

 

I hate you so you are literally Hitler!

Being mean to a companion can understandably make them upset with you and want to leave, but sometimes they throw accusations at you that are completely untrue. Even worse, you can't defend yourself because all their accusations are general in nature! This is more of an issue in Bioware games but I can count a few instances where Obsidian have done it e.g. Madison in Alpha Protocol. Good examples of what not to do are DAO disapproval conversations like Alistair or Leliana, where you are accused of everything that's wrong in the world because they personally don't like you.

 

Solution: Disapproval conversations should focus on what you have done and not what you might have done. If a companion is the type to get angry over things you've done to others then the game should track this and the companion should point these out specifically when confronting the player character. Obviously Eder isn't going to be happy about that time I threw a cat into the river, so it's fair and expected of him to bring it up again when he's had enough. If I'm a nice guy who only ever wrongs Eder then his disapproval conversation should focus on the way I treat him and not others.

 

 

 

Are there any other issues people have with companion approval systems?

Edited by Selky
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I hate you so you are literally Hitler!

 

y 'know, we would play that game. sorta a william burroughs thing?

 

am generally not a big fan o' the affection minigames.  even so, am convinced we will see more rather than less.  

 

requesting the developers avoid using the companions as a primary lore dump source.  if the developers are wedded to the notion o' informing the player rather than showing, then at least attempt to do so through means other than the companions.  get an evocative and compelling history or genealogical primer is virtual oxymoronic.  given how we will no doubt have an affection minigame for companions, the lore dump dialogues is unnecessary cumbersome.  if we ask durance 'bout magran's favorite shampoo after we completed a major quest, will we see new options?  less lore dumps, but if you need 'em, at least mark the lore dumps in some way so we don't needs click through 'em a half dozen different times during the course o' a game.

 

...

 

well, we got more, but most o' our companion concerns is not tied specific to the affection farming mechanic.  don't genuine like affection farming, but is not gonna disappear, so avoid silly da:o gift giving and don't bury the affection minigame under layers o' lore dumping.

 

that said, turning us literal into hitler for failing affection minigame would be kinda surreal.  try to work that into a future game.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as gaming the system to not miss out on content. I usually see it more as gated content, and not exactly something to be gamed. If you want to get different content, play through again fulfilling a different character role. I get that some content is their for every play through, and some content is branching in nature.

​As for <insert katy perry - hot n cold> styled interactions. I do think you have a point. Maybe your reputations will aggregate to some extent to produce more of a "mood" response. Which might be more realistic. I do see a possible problem with going that route. You're likely to end up somewhere on the middle of a bell curve as opposed to the extremes. And if you do get one reputation to an extreme it's likely to be balanced by the others (when taking the aggregate.) Which could create rather middling same-y interactions. I see you sort of describe something similar with your tug of war example.

​So somehow consistency needs to be achieved but how. Well you as the player might suspend your disbelief a bit more, which can sometimes be the answer. Or you could realize that real people are often contradictions. Certainly it's not all on the player though. Perhaps how the characters react could be written a little less "on the nose" that way they never feel like they are wearing themselves on their sleeves in two dialectically opposite ways.

​On bringing your companions different places. Yeah there should be a tolerance (in the engineering sense) built in, where perhaps you have to hit the majority of the companions interest points, but not all of them. Give enough opportunities to "sway" a companion. Maybe you will accomplish unlocking some content, but the companion might be less than enthused that it is you who is helping them. Since you did the bare minimum and butted heads far to often up to that point. Basically any moment that "impresses" or "dissuades" a companion, we need more opportunities for those than what is needed to get past reputation-based feature gates. That could allow greater granularity as to how gated content unfolds, instead of just a binary toggle of a scripted sequence.

​I think you are spot on as far as how companion disapproval of the player can go awry. Maybe Obsidian could keep track of the companions disapproval of your actions. Which basically unlocks a specific "retort" that will be saved for a future interaction. Later the companion will dredge up something from your past in an accusatory manner. That way arguments with them always seem topical and related the the player's history with said companion. Of course in these instances it would be best to allow the player to defend themselves in some form. Maybe not to change the companions opinion, because clearly their is a divided. But maybe the players response will garner increased respect. Basically earning "Kantian" points with a companion, even though consequentially they disagree with your actions. They might respect how you handle yourself, your candor and tact and all that. Maybe on occasions you do change there mind, because a particular past action had to be decided in the moment, and only later does everyone get to reflect on how those events panned out. - - - Of course too much reflection of the past could harm the pace of the game, you want to keep moving forward as well. Balance balance balance... if only this stuff came easily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate the approval system. I often need to choose the decision where I have to offend the least companions possible. I even have to micro manage these approvals so that all party members have an overall party approvals towards me so that they don't leave my party or even leave and go rogue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If disapproval is reserved for *extreme* matters, I'm fine with it, and it adds personality to the companions.

For example, it's only normal that Edér would hate me for beating his beloved animals, because that totally makes sense.

 

On the other hand, I would hate to micro-manage all the responses/quest order/whatever in order to gain the favor of my preferred companion(s).

Also, the companions are already too few, I hope they won't fight each others, otherwise having a party will be a pain!

In-fights and party desertions were unbearable for me in BG2, I had to download the happy mod in order to play with Viconia and Keldorn. And we are talking about a game with 16+ companions. Can PoE2 really afford these mechanics, given only 7 companions??

 

I wish Obsidian wouldn't dive headlong into this system. I strongly hope for a soft approach to party love/hate mechanics.

  • Like 1

Edér, I am using WhatsApp!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate the approval system. I often need to choose the decision where I have to offend the least companions possible. I even have to micro manage these approvals so that all party members have an overall party approvals towards me so that they don't leave my party or even leave and go rogue.

This, so much this. Especially in games where companions approval or lack of therof can have serious consequences. It destroys what little RP I can put into the games and stops me from considering "how would this character act in those circumstances?" instead I think "how should I act to keep [Companion] happy?".

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, Tyranny was particularly annoying for keeping everyone happy, because you're travelling with people from literally opposite factions. Whatever you do pleases the one and pisses off the other. Maybe this was intentional but... I'm guessing that most players want to keep the peace in their parties.

 

I agree with keeping this stuff for extreme moments. Unless you're doing something that obviously and directly offends a companion (like murdering their family or kicking Eder's dog), they don't need to make a fuss of it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, Tyranny was particularly annoying for keeping everyone happy, because you're travelling with people from literally opposite factions. Whatever you do pleases the one and pisses off the other. Maybe this was intentional but... I'm guessing that most players want to keep the peace in their parties.

 

I agree with keeping this stuff for extreme moments. Unless you're doing something that obviously and directly offends a companion (like murdering their family or kicking Eder's dog), they don't need to make a fuss of it.

 

I think it was very necessary. The whole idea behind Tyranny is that you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Someone will not simply be unhappy with you, someone will actively HATE you for your actions, simply because you took charge and resolved a conflict. Everyone hates everyone and if you involve yourself in that mess, then you won't be stay an unpartial observer. Someone will definitely suspect that you are trying to double-cross them, to betray them and that you are playing favorites with one faction over the other.

 

That is completely realistic and an important part of what makes Tyranny's political aspect work. 

 

I myself have managed to get highest possible Favour AND Fear from all of my companions (save for Barik, but I was purposefully antagonizing him, so he doesn't count). But for game purposes it's not necessary (or even needed). Companions need to love or to fear you, but in the end they are not your friends, they are your vassals. If you want friends, you need to pick a different game. Tyranny is all about gaining power and accomplishing your goals. Do you want to save the world from Kyros? Do you want to rule the world? Do you want to bring peace? Do you want to bring Kyros' Peace? Pick one and roll with it.

 

You can achieve a great many things, but in a somewhat ironic twist you will not find anyone you can really trust. You will stay alone, ruling from the top of the world.

 

 

With Pillars of Eternity it's more nuanced. You are still a powerful figure, but you are not a ruler per se. You do not actually "command" your companions, since they willingly join you and can leave you without too many consequences. This means that you may indeed have more equal and perhaps even more honest relationships. But unless one makes sure that everyone has very moderate viewpoints, I think companions WILL need to clash against each other. A colonist from Valia should not be able to easily get along with a native who hates all those invaders. And it would simply be very weak from storytelling viewpoint, to just let the Watcher stand aside and go "y'know, you both have very good points, but why can't we just be friends". Companions need to be able to call out your spinelessness, be appreciative of your support or hate you for your actions. Otherwise it means that those companion issues are completely unrelated to the main plot (and to the Watcher's actions). It sucks when companions storylines are divorced from what you do, since then the protagonist and their companions are all doing their own thing which barely intersects. That's boring.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My worry about this is that, if it's disposition based, you could easily end up with a situation where every possible companion disapproves of, say, cruel actions, but you have to take them because you're playing a paladin or priest that has that as a favoured disposition. So you end up with everyone hating you. Hopefully it'll be better implemented than that though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...