Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
JFSOCC

I never finished Pillars of Eternity.

Recommended Posts

Does that remove my right to argue, critique or contribute to the sequel? You decide.

 

I've played until I arrived in Twin Elms, I cleared out the entire 15 level dungeon but after I arrived in Twin Elms I saved the game

and then didn't return to it, eventually I uninstalled PoE to clear space for another game on my small SSD drive.

So, I've been thinking about why I didn't finish PoE and what could be learned from my limited experience.

 

Why didn't pillars work for me? It wasn't immediately obvious to me. Longstanding members of this forum will know that I was quite active here during development of PoE, and felt very invested in its success. This may have influenced my reception somewhat, so perhaps there are some lessons for those of you who now feel the same way about Deadfire.

 

One of the reasons might have been the balance update that came out right after I saved, which changed stat allocation to different attributes. I actually believe my character might have been fine regardless. One reason is because I feel that stat bonuses were relatively insignificant. When I started the game I had high hopes that through gameplay I would improve my character in such a fashion that I could spec her out the way I wanted to. Make her feel distinct. Having achieved a relatively high level for the point in the game progression that I stopped playing (I think it was two below the cap) I didn't feel like my character had significantly been improved. What improvements I did have were all from items, which I hoarded on my own character at the expense of the party because screw them.

 

So the granularity of the progression might have been a factor.

 

I also learned, whilst levelling, that I was fairly limited in my options. Not only were abilities level gated (which meant I HAD to take another ability and commit before finishing my levelling, severely restricting the build.) but they were also obfuscated so you could not plan ahead. (But what about the wiki, you ask? at the time it was incomplete and I shouldn't have to rely on a third party resource to begin with)

I believe this resulted in feeling less ownership of my character.

 

The Stronghold. I focussed on upgrading my stronghold completely as fast as I could, and I did. What did it bring me?

A choice of rest bonuses, a place to store my companions so that I could click through the conversation story progression of each of those I didn't use whenever I was back there, and a prestige and security rating that I'm not quite sure affected much of anything.

Now from what I've seen the team has understood that the Stronghold failed in its execution and is trying to remedy this with your ship in Deadfire. It's looking to go the right way this time. Still, I'd like to list what I think made the stronghold so shallow an addition to PoE

1. It didn't seem to produce content based on your input. If I upgrade a section, it was upgraded, there was some loot, maybe, some lore, perhaps. This is failed potential. Say I upgraded the library, why didn't it unlock for me a bunch of quests to go hunting for books, lore, scrolls, a librarian? To actually BUILD the library, to have people come who specifically came looking for the books you brought back. To make choices.

Other than minimal loot, lore and a visual change, it was just a checkmark off the list of things to upgrade.

2. There was no customisation. This meant that I felt very little ownership of this place. After all, I could rebuild it, but I could not put my personal stamp on it. (with exception of perhaps two mutually exclusive upgrade choices that altered fortification/prestige.)

If instead there had been a spot that could be upgraded, but you had to choose what to put in, that choice would already have given you more ownership of the stronghold.

If you could combine customisation with produced content, you would have had diverging narrative, and I think that would have been great.

Now, I know, with the limited time and resources, trying to work all that in would have forced the stronghold to either be the centrepiece of the game or be cut entirely. I think either would have been OK. (and it pains me to say that)

 

Quest density, progression, and reactivity. When I left for Twin Elms, I had done everything that I had found I could do in Defiance Bay, None of the quests have been memorable enough for me to recall exactly what happened. I ticked them off my list so I could continue to grow stronger, I don't think I was very invested in any faction I encountered. I picked one (the knights) and then there was a binary conflict.

What I do remember? I remember the asylum being full of phoney scientists, and stealing treasure from a noble's house by going in through the side window.

Time and time again the game wanted me to follow its story, and denied me the opportunity to make my own.

That is a design choice, one that I now believe was communicated well enough by the developers here on the forums and elsewhere. I just blinded myself because I was looking forward to that other type of RPG. The one where you make the story and the worldbuilding elements tell the narrative.

This false expectation will most certainly have affected my enjoyment of the game.

 

So beware those of you who might not be; while Obsidian will love your feedback, never forget that they are making THEIR game, through their vision. If you want to make the argument that I was looking to play another game than PoE, you may be right. It's very easy to get blinded to this because you're overly invested.

 

Combat

I hated combat. Not because it was hard, or easy, or simple or complex, mostly because of the epic battle music. It started to grate on me really fast. Variation, not as bombastic when I'm fighting a less impressive group of opponents, that might make a difference.

I also didn't quite ever get that "click" moment where I felt that the toolkit of character abilities I got got used strategically or tactically.

Either they were unnecessary, or by the time I could use them the battlefield had changed. I played a rogue, I cleared the 15 level dungeon, I don't know if that's meaningful. Never did beat the dragon though.

This is probably because I suck at combat, and I'm stupid and I should feel stupid. so please tell me in the comments below. (and don't forget to like and subscribe)

Flow of combat just did not work out for me.

 

Reading

Yes, Josh repeatedly stated that this was a game for people who love reading.

Well, Josh, I ****ing love reading. I've read James Clavell, I read Rothfuss, I've read Tolkien, Douglass Adams. I read a whole bunch of fantasy and science fiction authors, travelogues, popular science, news articles, I spend altogether way to much time on forums reading. I read for fun. So please don't dismiss me when I say there was too much reading.

Any backer NPC I clicked was essentially nothing more than a wall of text. I'm actually kind of glad that I was too poor to pay for the tier I wanted because I would have been disappointed finding out that's all you meant by backer NPC. After a while it doesn't matter how well its written anymore. In a game, there needs to be some purpose, some interactivity. It doesn't have to be the case with every.single. NPC, but it would have been nice to see it with more.

I felt incentivised to click every one of them because I didn't want to miss anything. However, after a while, I got that this was flavour and flavour only. Games are a visual medium, I think there could have been a great deal more of show than tell, and there would still have been room for volumes of text that I would have been happy to pour through.

I noticed myself sometimes fast forwarding dialogue to my dialogue options. That's bad player behaviour. Something went wrong when that happens, especially if that someone is a self-professed lover of the written word.

 

What happened was that reading became a chore. ticking quests off the list was a chore, clearing out the dungeon was a chore, combat was a chore, upgrading the stronghold was a chore. They were things I did to myself, grinding things, waiting for the game to become fun.

 

I suspect that when I reached twin elms, having cleared my quest log, cleared the dungeon, finished my stronghold, I was unburdened from the to-do list, and when I reached and new quests got dumped on me, I instinctually had enough. I hadn't been having fun. I didn't feel engaged.

 

The activities in themselves have to be fun/engaging. If you want me to read, what makes reading engaging? If you want me to play the stronghold, what makes the stronghold fun? The activity in itself needs to be fun, my neurotic psychological tendency for optimal play by wanting to do everything I can wasn't. But that's a psychological tendency that many players will be vulnerable to.

 

So why am I being such a downer on Deadfire's forum? Well honestly, I hope it won't be seen as that. I hope my critique and perspectives will help Deadfire's development, whether that lies in expectation management, game focus or scope or anything else.

That I'm back here should tell you something.

 

Do I think PoE was bad? No. It was flawed, and it probably wasn't for me, but I already was invested.

Learning that Deadfire will allow savegame imports actually made me consider finishing Pillars, briefly. There were things I liked. I loved the visuals of that dungeon right after were Eder opens up. I liked the reputation system, I was one of the few who actually liked the item improvement mechanic. Though I see its limitations and I like what the devs are suggesting for Deadfire items.

 

I've learnt some things

1. I will refrain from being as invested in Deadfire as I was with PoE. If I want Obsidian to make my game, I should contract them. Let them make theirs instead. I hope this will prevent me from blindly acquiring unfair expectations.

2. I can't stay away. I love Obsidian and what they do.

3. I have very strong ideas, notions and beliefs for an RPG, but that would be -my- game. (It will never be made because I have no coding skills and no art skills.)

4. I shouldn't lie to myself, I try to play optimally and I will grind in order to do so.

 

For the future:

I think the team working on Deadfire has made some good changes. Having your ship be your stronghold means it plays a central role in your story, there will be customisation as well. Reducing the number of big cities to one will allow for more focus, it will be a larger quest hub. The differences in each section of the city seem rich in potential for interplay and aesthetic.

The limitation PoE had with animation budget led to the story book segments, it's a different choice than I would have made for PoE, but seeing it return in Deadfire with it being expanded upon I think is going to really make the game distinct. It's an interesting feature that I like to see reach its full potential. I also think it will help transitions really well.

The change in approach to items will likely make those more distinct and therefore memorable, it might also add to player build customisation.

And lastly, YES! (sub)tropics baby! Whoo!

  • Like 18

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, Twin Elms, you were so close to the finish line!

 

Your post is a bit long to comment on everything but to grab a few points:

  • Not enough options when leveling: Sure, I can understand that feeling, we all want more options and for our character to feel unique. Although with 11 classes, I think PoE1 still gives you more options than many other games on the market. Never fear, with the introduction of multiclassing and subclasses in Deadfire, your options will be OVER 9000!!!
  • The Stronghold: Yeah, no surprises there. I think this was universally the most hated/disappointing feature of the game. But it’s worth mentioning that it improved in later patches.
  • The 3 factions: Yeah, they weren’t great either. I found the Doemenels to be a lot more fun than the other 2 though. You should give them a shot if you play again.
  • The Reading: My advice here is don’t try to be “completionist” with the reading in PoE ;) I never clicked on any backer characters. I thought that at times the language was a bit *too* flowery and could have benefited from the KISS rule, but there were also some really good parts.
  • Combat: Music never bothered me ;) I think this is a problem of taste.
Edited by Heijoushin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dude. Reaching Twin Elms and not finishing is just sad man. So close!

 

17turbo-articlelarge.jpg

 

If I were you I'd give it another shot. The game with WM and all patches is really improved, and a really good experience. Go finish man, it's totally worth it! If nothing else so you can export your Watcher to Deadfire.

Edited by TheisEjsing
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see the point in most of your criticism, but these things mostly just didn't impact my enjoyment of the game too deeply. Admittedly, I'm fanboying pretty hard for Pillars 1 (I wasn't very active during its development... hm...).

 

That said, JFSOCC, I like your style. That was a calm, well stated, and above all well thought-out post. My hat's off to you. It's a pity that Pillars 1 didn't give you what you hoped for, and I keep my fingers crossed that Deadfire will.

  • Like 8

Endure. In enduring, grow strong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give it another shot. The combat is way, way better than in 1.0. As are items. Character progression, too. They even fleshed out the stronghold a bit (although it does still feel somewhat tacked-on). They've removed lots of pointless trash mob encounters, and made some really good ones in White March.

 

That said, if you don't like the combat, items, and character progression, it's unlikely the rest of it will rescue it for you. It's not that it's bad, it's that it's not good enough to carry the game on its own. 

  • Like 5

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience was quite similar to yours, and I very much remember you as an active member during PoE development on these forums.

 

I had exactly the same experience with the backer NPCs. I wanted to engage, but quickly realized there was nothing to interact with.

 

I've played the game over 3 major sessions, the last one when WM2 released, and still haven't finished it. I'm fairly completionist, the first session lasted until I left the first major city and got really sick of the meaningless trash mobs everywhere. This somewhat mitigated in later patches, and I picked the game up again and completed Twin Elms up to the "point of no return". The last time I picked it up I went into WM and completed half of it. I've completed all of Od Nua and other side content.

 

I hated the idea of an "upgradeable" stronghold when the stretch goal was released, and the implementation lived up to my expectation. I play "deep" RPGs in order to get away from the feeling that games are just thinly veiled spreadsheets.

 

I didn't mind the combat, and thought the dialogue was very well written. However, I feel the narrative designers of the game were making the same rookie mistake that many new novelists do, where protagonists only exist in order to be carried through their idea of a good story, rather than actually being part of it. When your main character turns into a 'convenient plot device', it's usually bad.

 

That's where I'm at right now, and I'm still waiting for any kind of feeling of wanting to pick it up again. I have a few companion quests, WM part 2, and the content after the "point of no return" left. I really liked the game, but I did not have those commitment issues while re-playing BG2 before PoE release.

 

As an ending note, I want to mention that I approach games very differently now than I used to. Few, if any, can hold my attention for long. I don't get that same hype, or warm feeling in my stomach, that I did as a kid when going into a world of adventure. I found myself putting it down and picking up a good book a number of times. This makes me chalk down most of my misgivings with PoE to just having changed as a person, not that it was a bad game. It did, after all, hold my attention for more hours than any other game in many years.

Edited by mstark
  • Like 1

"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, try installing the expansion(s), go finish it, then come back to Twin Elms. White March was a much better design than base game and Twin Elms and forward is much better than midgame (imo). Also, I believe the plot is so good at the end (it doesen't seem so during the game up to that point) that you should try and finish it just for that.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And never click on gold-plated NPCs. Never.

Except to murder Sturm Brightblade to death.

 

I suspect that it saved me a good deal of boredom that I stopped caring about backer NPCs very early on. :grin:

  • Like 5

Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to kill as many backer NPCs as I can get away with. The one exception is Visceris.

  • Like 5

The sky had never seemed so sky, the world had never seemed so world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And never click on gold-plated NPCs. Never.

Except to murder Sturm Brightblade to death.

 

I suspect that it saved me a good deal of boredom that I stopped caring about backer NPCs very early on. :grin:

 

Yes, but even though you could ignore all their stories, alas it was impossible to ignore that half of the population was Godlike.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for making this thread so I don't have to stand up and admit it alone. ;)

 

I haven't finished it, either. For me it was just that the story didn't grab me.

 

I backed POE2 anyway, and I've been doing POE1 a bit more, trying to be less of a completionist, and I have been enjoying it in shorter play sessions. Mass Effect: Andromeda is coming out in a few days, though, so I might be in trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New flash: most players never finished PoE. That's true of many other cRPGs as well.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/08/pillars-of-eternity-does-it-matter-if-people-dont-finish-games-any-more

 

(I did finish once, then skipped the end game on the second play through.)

Edited by rjshae
  • Like 1

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New flash: most players never finished PoE. That's true of many other cRPGs as well.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/08/pillars-of-eternity-does-it-matter-if-people-dont-finish-games-any-more

 

(I did finished once, then skipped the end game on the second play through.)

 

Only 6.2%. Weird. Well, I suppose if you look at the Steam Achievements, it kind of confirms it. Only a mere 44% have completed Act I and it gets less and less as you go down.

I mean, I won't tell other people how to enjoy their games but... seems like a waste of money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

New flash: most players never finished PoE. That's true of many other cRPGs as well.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/08/pillars-of-eternity-does-it-matter-if-people-dont-finish-games-any-more

 

(I did finished once, then skipped the end game on the second play through.)

 

Only 6.2%. Weird. Well, I suppose if you look at the Steam Achievements, it kind of confirms it. Only a mere 44% have completed Act I and it gets less and less as you go down.

I mean, I won't tell other people how to enjoy their games but... seems like a waste of money.

 

Keep in mind, things can mess with those Steam achievements. Early on, there was a stat-building bug that you had to use the console editor to fix. That bug was fixed in patch four or five, but people who cheated prior to that to fix their stats still had achievements disabled. I have a complete game with no achievements (and no other cheating) due to this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ye i finished the game but steam didnt reflect that with an achievement. i generally had steam offline when im playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I beat PoE once, though after getting to level 12 with the bounties I plowed through the crit path because PotD combat at that point was tedious and boring. At any rate if you got to twin elms you played through more than most and got enough of 1.0x mechanics to be able to talk.

 

I will admit PoE seems better now that I'm coming back to it, though kind of a bummer there's no multiclass Rogue/Cipher or Wizard option after Deadfire promised multiclassing.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did finish PoE so many times I lost track of it. BUT the OP has truth in it: in my first play through I also nearly stopped right after reaching Twin Elms. There is a sudden drop in motivation, a break in the game flow, whatever.

 

What kept me going was this forum. More precisely the character builds subforum.

 

It's fun to build powerful, quirky or even game breaking characters and try them out, then posting them here and discuss. Actually the last part is most fun I guess.

 

So I would say what kept me going all this time is the forum and not the game itself. Although I like it a lot, too.

  • Like 5

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

…in my first play through I also nearly stopped right after reaching Twin Elms. There is a sudden drop in motivation, a break in the game flow, whatever.

Whatever that was I also felt it. I didn’t stop but I’ve done only a few quests and there was always this “I want the game to finally end” feeling from that point on (although I’m pretty fine with long games usually).

  • Like 1

Pillars of Bugothas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here. I think Twin Elms itself is part of the problem. It's....boring.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did finish PoE so many times I lost track of it. BUT the OP has truth in it: in my first play through I also nearly stopped right after reaching Twin Elms. There is a sudden drop in motivation, a break in the game flow, whatever.

 

What kept me going was this forum. More precisely the character builds subforum.

 

It's fun to build powerful, quirky or even game breaking characters and try them out, then posting them here and discuss. Actually the last part is most fun I guess.

 

So I would say what kept me going all this time is the forum and not the game itself. Although I like it a lot, too.

100% the same

 

1 addition: playing mainly as a solo player in potd i have to say that i like much more the First part of the game, where every fight is diverse and you didn't have many option. In late game all fights become "you vs the horde", when you have to fight costantly 10+ enemies, their type and abilities matter much less, and the fight is reduced to survive alpha strykes/ do massive aoe DMG until you remain the only one alive. I would have liked much more some fights in end game against only 2-3 very powerful enemies, instead of constant floks of lower ones. The grey bear in wm1 can be a rare example of sigle Monster fight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget people who played it via GoG and pirated the game too. There may be more that finisehd it than steam suggests.

 

Also, Twin Elms was great. Defiance Bay sucked. :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Twin Elms had everything going for it except, you know...quests, NPC's, and activity in general. :D

Edited by Katarack21
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here. I think Twin Elms itself is part of the problem. It's....boring.

 

Agreed. It certainly is a colorful and well populated area with plenty of one-liner NPCs mulling around. But it felt a little disconnected from the rest of the story. Maybe the developers had run out of time and energy at that point?


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before everyone goes off on a tangent, I don;t know twin elms, I literally stopped before exploring it. I think I entered that inn, and saved there.

 

That so many in this thread comment about a break in motivation when reaching twin elms makes me wonder though. I know that this was the point for me where I had worked through (most of) my questlog, and I had nothing listed that I *needed* to continue.

 

This leads me to a question: Would it have been good for PoE to have had several quests open that continued in Twin Elms? On the one hand it might have given me the motivation to continue, on the other, it might have been a coercive motivation that reduced my enjoyment.

It also makes me think about how quests are listed. I've been thinking a lot about obfuscation in game mechanics, and I'm currently leaning to it being capable of improving your enjoyment.

 

So as a thought experiment, do you think it would have made quests more engaging if they weren't listed, or you were forced to write your own quest journal? I think there are good reasons why that would lead to frustration. If you haven't paid attention to a detail or key bit of information, or if you load a save after a long absence, that would potentially be destructive. However it could also have led to greater engagement with that one aspect of which I found the implementation so troubling: The reading. Obfuscating the quest log may have forced me to engage more with the dialogue, having a journal that I myself could edit would also mean that I wouldn't be certain if I'm finished with a questline or if I may have missed something, and would incentivise me to keep exploring, maybe.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
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...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...