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*a lot*

 

I could kiss this guy. Seriously, thank you for writing that post; it needed to be written and seen. Every single word of it, as I can guarantee that you're not alone with your story, mine is quite similar. The biggest difference between our stories is that I recently reinstalled PoE with the "now I'm going to finish the game, if for nothing else then for being able to import a save to Deadfire", but what happened was that I found myself, *again*, quitting shortly after reaching Twin Elms. This time my save still exists, so I might eventually suffer through the rest of the game, but I can whole heartedly sign the notion that what I've realized about the game twice now is that I'm not having any fun playing it.

 

My list of issues is a bit longer though, for example the stat system is too divorced from reality to forge any connection with my character. They butchered the extremely well formed interface between instinctive perception of reality and the fantasy of the game that was present in D&D, because they had this arbitrary political view of the "there should not be bad builds" and "every build is equal" - type, which I find to be a rather infantile mentality (it actually has an eerie resemblance with a Social Justice agenda, which just adds in another layer of disgusting). Make a system and let the nature of that system determine what works and what doesn't instead of forcing some ridiculous "anything goes" agenda. Unlimited freedom is the ultimate lack of freedom; you're free to make a choice that isn't interesting enough to make you even want to make a choice. I faced this issue especially when creating my character. Every single class felt uninspiring, the stats and abilities all felt arbitrary and I simply wasn't interested in making any of the choices the game presented me with, as none of those choices had any real meaning. I never felt like I was playing an actual game, I felt more like I was expected to play make-believe, and that definitely isn't my cup of tea. Hasn't been for a long time, I had enough of that when I was a child.

 

Another gripe I have is with the spell design; especially with ciphers there are way too many weird spells that work in very unintuitive ways, and which are obviously made unnecessarily more complicated simply to make them appear fancy and different. When leveling up and picking up spells, I'd go through them and be like "I don't really want to take this one" with every single spell and ability, until I realized I didn't want to pick any of them, and then I just took the ones that were the most straight forward or mechanically powerful.

 

There's one thing you said that I really have to criticize though, and it's this:

 

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.)

 

The gaming industry is in a desperate need of strong ideas, weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want" and "working together to come up ideas" and "respecting every point of view as equals" have resulted in a steady stream of extremely uninspired and uninspiring games. You obviously have good vision for gaming, and what makes your ideas strong is that instead of being grounded in meaningless rhetoric like most people, your ideas are grounded in reality. Not everyone will like your ideas, but screw them. A good strong idea will win over everyone who is worth winning over in the long run if it receives the love and care it needs to grow into a practical implementation.

 

The industry needs people like you, and I think you could bring a better type of passion for it. If you can't code for yourself, try to find people who can and try to learn these skills. You already have the gift of vision, that's all you really need, everything else, including those skills you feel you lack, you can build. Start small. A friend of mine has a saying that I sometimes have trouble implementing but really like the wisdom of: "How do you eat a whale?" -"With one piece at a time"

 

EDIT: Oh, and don't listen to people who try to give you advice on 'how to enjoy something you don't like'. You're wise enough to know that it's simply not worth it.

Edited by Ninjamestari
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weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want"

 

Remind me to never play any game with you ever.

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weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want"

 

Remind me to never play any game with you ever.

 

 

I liked the "equality is disgusting" part, too.

Okay I'm exaggerating, that's not exactly what he said...

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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!

Great post. I certainly don't think that your complains are invalid, and there are quite with which I agree with. I did have a hard time making my way through PoE even though I enjoyed it every time I played it. I felt it was underdeveloped. The thing is, my complains for the game are usual for the first game in the series and bear some signes of a game funded by kickstarter.

 

My biggest complain was that the game felt underdeveloped. Quest weren't as elaborate and reactive as I expected from Obsidian RPG. It was a big game, but shallow - lots of areas were farily empty with no significant importance. The game seemed big for big sake. It was also fairly conservative, while I always like about Obsidian that they did try new and cool things, rather than following set formula. 

 

I was disappointed with the scripted interactions (story books segments.) When I saw them for the first time, I imagined a creative and versitile way they could be used. They never reached their potential. For the most part they were interactions you could simply win by having one of the one-use item like hook and rope or crawbar.

 

The story is the interesting thing. I wasn't a big fan of it as it was going on. I wasn't engaged by it. It was clever. Using old and tired tropes and reimagining in an interisting way. However, I got very Dragon Age vibe from it. Being dark, broody and vague without having the point. Now, the ending is what changed it for me. It is a shame, you didn't push through, as I strongly believe that the ending pays off for a lot of the problems the game had. Storylines reveal common themes, the small sidequests bring you the knowledge of the world to understand games main point and it all very nicely ties together. From dull but solid became one of the most thought provoking games I played in a while. 

 

Now, the good ending doesn't invalit previous concerns. A lot of story telling is done by plain writing and I believe the problem is in lack of reactivity/weak quest design. You talk a lot, and learn a lot but rarely influence or are part of anything important. Even when you do (finale of second act) it is all the smoke screen, invalidating choices you made just after you made them. It is all bad, but it also very smells like the first game in the series. Building engine, figuring world, themes and mechanics and not enough time to flesh out what was built. Here is me hoping that sequel will fix those problems.

 

Also stronghold. It was weak, and felt like kickstarter promise fulfilled rather than sensible addition to the game. and so did Caed Nua dungeon. It was a lengthy and visually cool but lacked interesting content. Enemies you fought were just enemies you would fight outside, with no twist. Later stages felt especially added for the sake of floor length rather than meaningful contet. Adra dragon was cool though.

 

I found expansions to be the best part of the game, with more interesting quests, better designed locals, and better told story. Scripted interactions were much better utilized. If Deadfire will be on the level of White March I will be happy with it, and I still hope they will do better!

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weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want"

 

Remind me to never play any game with you ever.

 

 

I liked the "equality is disgusting" part, too.

Okay I'm exaggerating, that's not exactly what he said...

 

 

Spoken like someone who relies on enforced equality for validation. Don't you think one would get better results in an environment where ideas actually have to earn their validation? How do you even recognize bad ideas if you pretend that every idea is equal?

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1)My list of issues is a bit longer though, for example the stat system is too divorced from reality to forge any connection with my character. They butchered the extremely well formed interface between instinctive perception of reality and the fantasy of the game that was present in D&D, because they had this arbitrary political view of the "there should not be bad builds" and "every build is equal" - type, which I find to be a rather infantile mentality (it actually has an eerie resemblance with a Social Justice agenda, which just adds in another layer of disgusting). Make a system and let the nature of that system determine what works and what doesn't instead of forcing some ridiculous "anything goes" agenda. 

 

 

2)The gaming industry is in a desperate need of strong ideas, weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want" and "working together to come up ideas" and "respecting every point of view as equals" have resulted in a steady stream of extremely uninspired and uninspiring games. You obviously have good vision for gaming, and what makes your ideas strong is that instead of being grounded in meaningless rhetoric like most people, your ideas are grounded in reality. Not everyone will like your ideas, but screw them. A good strong idea will win over everyone who is worth winning over in the long run if it receives the love and care it needs to grow into a practical implementation.

 

 

Ok, there is so much wrong with this post: arbitrary political view of the "there should not be bad builds" and "every build is equal"

 

Since when game design means politics? They want to give you more freedom of roleplaying and opening the way of building your character. The problem with D&D is that there is a good way of building character and a bad way. Class define what will you do, and certain classes require certain stats. Therefore, no you don't have a choice. You cant build a wizard with low intelligence. If there is a one good way of building character and all other are bad, then why to have a choice at all? Josh mentioned he isn't a fan of class based system at all, and maybe it is why. In something like fallout&fallout2, you build character and then decide what he will become. In here you choose a class and then give him stats which allow him to do, what he does best. To open up roleplaying possibilities they decided spread importance of stats to be similar for every class. Yes, it does create new problems. No, it is not a political statement.

 

 

pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want" and "working together to come up ideas" and "respecting every point of view as equals" have resulted in a steady stream of extremely uninspired and uninspiring games. I guess you never worked in creative field. There is no weakness in listening to feedback. Yes, you need to respect your artistic vision and keep in sight a goal you want to achieve. However, listening to feedback is not the same as betraying your artistic vision. No matter if you are a film director, game developer, musician, painter you always create for someone, for audience. It might be a narrow audience, but it is still someone. You always serve. If you want to see what masterpieces you get when you shut down all criticism and do what you believe is good just look up "games" by Digital Homocide Studios. Believe me, there is no thing more difficult than throwing out an idea you are attatched to, or one you worked on for a long time. 

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So couple things.

1: Everyone's feedback is always valuable, even if you didn't play the game.  After all, there is a reason you didn't play it.  Some feedback will be better than others, but all feedback is useful.

2: People who thought Eternity was BG3 really annoy me, because they made it abundantly clear to anyone who looked that Eternity was a new IP, with a new ruleset, in a new world, that would have nothing to do with BG3 other than being "an Isometric 2d background RPG using real time with pause".  If you thought you were backing BG3 that was your bad, not Obsidians.

3: Yes it was doomed to fight a nostalgia fight against BG2, which it was going to lose no matter what.  Why?  Because it is a nostalgia fight.  Nostalgia isn't based on reason, or fair analysis, it is based on emotion.  The new will always lose to the nostalgic, because the new doesn't have the same "feeling".  It doesn't matter if that "feeling" is just in your head, or if the new is actually just as good, or superior in multiple ways. 

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Ok, there is so much wrong with this post: arbitrary political view of the "there should not be bad builds" and "every build is equal"

 

Since when game design means politics? They want to give you more freedom of roleplaying and opening the way of building your character. The problem with D&D is that there is a good way of building character and a bad way. Class define what will you do, and certain classes require certain stats. Therefore, no you don't have a choice. You cant build a wizard with low intelligence. If there is a one good way of building character and all other are bad, then why to have a choice at all? Josh mentioned he isn't a fan of class based system at all, and maybe it is why. In something like fallout&fallout2, you build character and then decide what he will become. In here you choose a class and then give him stats which allow him to do, what he does best. To open up roleplaying possibilities they decided spread importance of stats to be similar for every class. Yes, it does create new problems. No, it is not a political statement.

 

 

pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want" and "working together to come up ideas" and "respecting every point of view as equals" have resulted in a steady stream of extremely uninspired and uninspiring games. I guess you never worked in creative field. There is no weakness in listening to feedback. Yes, you need to respect your artistic vision and keep in sight a goal you want to achieve. However, listening to feedback is not the same as betraying your artistic vision. No matter if you are a film director, game developer, musician, painter you always create for someone, for audience. It might be a narrow audience, but it is still someone. You always serve. If you want to see what masterpieces you get when you shut down all criticism and do what you believe is good just look up "games" by Digital Homocide Studios. Believe me, there is no thing more difficult than throwing out an idea you are attatched to, or one you worked on for a long time. 

 

 

I use the word 'politics' because it describes the phenomenon quite accurately. "Everything should be equal" is a political belief, as it implies not only an assumption of what reality is like (all things aren't necessarily equal), but also that active measures are to be taken in order to affect that reality (make things more equal). In game-design context this is often referred to as "design philosophy", but it is also a policy (a principle or a set of principles through which decisions are made). I really wasn't expecting that I'd have to spell this out for anyone, but what the hell, I have the time now so no skin off my back.

 

When you make a statement like "the problem with D&D is...", you make it based on the general assumed principles you believe in. This is politics. The term politics is quite broad and isn't restricted to matters of the state. Even families have internal politics, they're the inevitable consequence of a group of humans sharing common space. There are several assumptions you make with your beliefs for example that I very much disagree with. For example, you seem to operate under the belief that "more choice is always better than less choice", and I would point out that this is not true. Also you claim that in D&D you don't have a choice to make certain kinds of characters, but this isn't true either, you *can* make a fighter with a negative modifier in every physical stat, there just happens to be consequences of that choice, the character not being very good at what it is supposed to be doing (fighting) among them. So we disagree on a very fundamental level on what makes a game good, because where you see this as a lack of choice and thus a bad thing, I see it as a consequence to your choice, and I think that those consequences are what give those choices meaning. Having all the choice and no consequences is the same thing as having no choice at all since all choices lead to the same outcome.

 

 

Now let's tackle this feedback problem, you know there is this gray area between the "only my ideas are good, **** you all and I'm not going to listen to anything you say, lalalalalalala!" and the "All your ideas are very good, none of them are better or worse than the others, so we will distribute our time equally among ALL of them without having any sort of priority because all the ideas are equally important" - extremes. My whole point revolves around the observation that these days people tend to fail in the latter manner way more often than the former. Neither extreme produces viable results in the long run. Perhaps I should have articulated that more clearly in the first place but here it is now. You can tell which problem is the more prevalent one due to the fact that the problems they produce are very different. The too authoritarian group can't learn from their mistakes and keep repeating them over and over and over and over again, trying the same failed approach until the earth is devoured by the dying sun, while the too liberal group keeps re-inventing the wheel and never being able to really build anything and will essentially produce an experiment after experiment after experiment. In essence the first group keeps banging their head against the wall while the latter group will just aimlessly wander around in circles without ever really getting anywhere.

 

Now obviously neither of these problems exist here in these extreme forms, but the problems PoE does have clearly indicate the too liberal approach, the unwillingness to commit to a single idea and accept its flaws and start building around it, and everything I've heard about Deadfire sounds like an experiment rather than something solid. The first PoE suffers from the very same thing. Now I do have faith that even if Obsidian fails to deliver an outstanding game, at least their experiments will be interesting ones, so no real catastrophe is going to come that way.

 

Damn I hope this made any sense. Feel free to ask for clarification if I didn't cover some point sufficiently.

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I use the word 'politics' because it describes the phenomenon quite accurately. "Everything should be equal" is a political belief, as it implies not only an assumption of what reality is like (all things aren't necessarily equal), but also that active measures are to be taken in order to affect that reality (make things more equal). In game-design context this is often referred to as "design philosophy", but it is also a policy (a principle or a set of principles through which decisions are made). I really wasn't expecting that I'd have to spell this out for anyone, but what the hell, I have the time now so no skin off my back.

Uh logical disconnect of the day here?  Real life, and video games, have nothing to do with each other.  "I want all player builds to be viable" is not on any level, by any ridiculous stretch of imagination, a political statement.  It is a video game design choice.

 

Considering the first game in this series opens up with a tree of people hung for literally no reason, and or crimes they did not commit, I think it is safe to say Obsidian understands that "all things aren't equal in the real world".

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I use the word 'politics' because it describes the phenomenon quite accurately. "Everything should be equal" is a political belief, as it implies not only an assumption of what reality is like (all things aren't necessarily equal), but also that active measures are to be taken in order to affect that reality (make things more equal). In game-design context this is often referred to as "design philosophy", but it is also a policy (a principle or a set of principles through which decisions are made). I really wasn't expecting that I'd have to spell this out for anyone, but what the hell, I have the time now so no skin off my back.

Uh logical disconnect of the day here?  Real life, and video games, have nothing to do with each other.  "I want all player builds to be viable" is not on any level, by any ridiculous stretch of imagination, a political statement.  It is a video game design choice.

 

Considering the first game in this series opens up with a tree of people hung for literally no reason, and or crimes they did not commit, I think it is safe to say Obsidian understands that "all things aren't equal in the real world".

 

 

Did you even try to understand what I was saying?

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Sure, you can call decisions like those "policy", as in "design policy" or terms like that.

But that is not what the wording of that post implies. Without further specification, "a political view" will always be understood as a reference to real-life politics, and the out-of-the-blue reference to a buzzword like "SJW" strongly reinforces that. And it is the duty of the writer to make his intentions clear.

Backpedalling to "technically, everything can be called political" is dishonest.

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Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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Sure, you can call decisions like those "policy", as in "design policy" or terms like that.

But that is not what the wording of that post implies. Without further specification, "a political view" will always be understood as a reference to real-life politics, and the out-of-the-blue reference to a buzzword like "SJW" strongly reinforces that. And it is the duty of the writer to make his intentions clear.

Backpedalling to "technically, everything can be called political" is dishonest.

 

I didn't backpedal into 'technically everything can be called political', politics is an umbrella term for all sorts of politics. And I *was* talking about real life politics, family politics, office politics and corporate politics *are* real life politics, they're just no state-level politics. I really don't see how people have such trouble making the distinction, the word politics is very commonly in use for all these contexts. Also, I really don't give a flying **** what you call the underlying phenomenon, I was trying to communicate an idea, and I expect it to be treated as such. Getting hung up over a word and refusing to see the context is not only dishonest, it's idiotic. I really have no interest in arguing about the meaning of a word, just accept the meaning that is given in the context and use it to familiarize yourself with the presented idea, then comment on that idea. If you think a word is being misused, you're free to mention that as a side note, but if that is the only thing you are willing to contribute to the discussion, you'd be doing everyone a favor by not responding at all.

 

Language is a tool of communication, there is no other inherent truth to it. I used the word politics because I felt it conveyed the message. If you're confused about the idea, ask for clarification and I'll attempt to do so. So I'll ask you a question: are you interested in discussing how the company politics affect game design, or are you interested in arguing about the meaning of the word politics. If you're interested in the latter, go find some linguistics forum, otherwise, focus on the presented idea, and stop derailing the discussion into nitpicking about the meaning of an individual word. 

So I'll ask you a question, are you interested in discussing how the company politics affect game design, or are you interested in arguing about the meaning of the word politics. If you're interested in the latter, go find some linguistics forum, otherwise, focus on the presented idea. 

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Sure, you can call decisions like those "policy", as in "design policy" or terms like that.

But that is not what the wording of that post implies. Without further specification, "a political view" will always be understood as a reference to real-life politics, and the out-of-the-blue reference to a buzzword like "SJW" strongly reinforces that. And it is the duty of the writer to make his intentions clear.

Backpedalling to "technically, everything can be called political" is dishonest.

 

I didn't backpedal into 'technically everything can be called political', politics is an umbrella term for all sorts of politics. And I *was* talking about real life politics, family politics, office politics and corporate politics *are* real life politics, they're just no state-level politics. I really don't see how people have such trouble making the distinction, the word politics is very commonly in use for all these contexts. Also, I really don't give a flying **** what you call the underlying phenomenon, I was trying to communicate an idea, and I expect it to be treated as such. Getting hung up over a word and refusing to see the context is not only dishonest, it's idiotic. I really have no interest in arguing about the meaning of a word, just accept the meaning that is given in the context and use it to familiarize yourself with the presented idea, then comment on that idea. If you think a word is being misused, you're free to mention that as a side note, but if that is the only thing you are willing to contribute to the discussion, you'd be doing everyone a favor by not responding at all.

 

Now, english is not my first language, so I double checked if there is an additional meaning of politics outside government which I don't know about. According to oxford dictionary there is one non government related definition:

 

'often the politics of - The principles relating to or inherent in a sphere or activity, especially when concerned with power and status.

‘the politics of gender’

So yeah, I think you misused the term and the mention of SJW pushed it even further. Unless you imply there is some power struggle among game devs or Obsidian itself and that the "lets make more character builds valiable" is a result of that.

 

But ok, lets talk in terms of the game design.

 

There are systems which game designer like to avoid. If a game system doesn't add depth to the game, or doesn't offer a choice it is usually a badly designed system. An example I like is manual purchase of guns and ammo in XCOM: UFO DEFENCE. It was a tidius work. They were cheap enough so you could always afford them. There were no choice regarding what clip or what gun you had. You just had to remember to buy those so you wont send your squan barehanded. As the result, Firaxis' XCOM remake and unofficial Xenonauts remake removed this system. Why? It wasn't a choice, it even wasn't management. Just busywork. The thing is I liked it. It was hilarious to get lost in everything and send you squad to the mission and then evacuate once you realized they have no ammo. But it wasn't good game design. 

 

D&D Infinity Engine games were mostly combat focused. Yes, you could build wizard with low constitution, or rogue with low dexterity, or fighter with low strengh and constitution. But that is the point? With the way classes are designed you won't get significant bonus for putting your spare points in other areas. Now in fallout it was differently. Game would give you special dialogue if you were an idion. Not always worse one. You could be a killing god, but you also could use your charisma or smarts. Being horrible in combat made sense and was valid. Being bad in combat in PoE or BG is not valid.

 

I will not go as far to say that PoE system is better than D&D and I understand complains that the system wasn't as impactful. But it gains flexibility which wasn't there before. It is a traid off, and considering that the combat is not really optional I would say it is for the better of the game. It is a system which better fits the overall game design.

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2: People who thought Eternity was BG3 really annoy me, because they made it abundantly clear to anyone who looked that Eternity was a new IP, with a new ruleset, in a new world, that would have nothing to do with BG3 other than being "an Isometric 2d background RPG using real time with pause".  If you thought you were backing BG3 that was your bad, not Obsidians.

Now that point is interesting to me. Because I knew all that, and still was a bit of a victim of wanting BG3. 

 

On paper, PoE was eveything I wanted - new world, new game, new character. The problem was, on surface it was very similar to BG. The structure, artistic design, gameplay. While I played it, I was thinking - "well, it is not really 'fun,'" or "wow it is unnecessarly grim." I think I would have easier time getting into it, if the setting was visually more disconnected from what I remember of IE games. It was a tribute to those games, while at the same time taking a different direction. Playing it for the first time was weird - on one hand a nostalgia trip, while not being familiar at all.

Edited by Wormerine
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weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want"

 

Remind me to never play any game with you ever.

 

 

I liked the "equality is disgusting" part, too.

Okay I'm exaggerating, that's not exactly what he said...

 

 

Spoken like someone who relies on enforced equality for validation. Don't you think one would get better results in an environment where ideas actually have to earn their validation? How do you even recognize bad ideas if you pretend that every idea is equal?

 

 

You start out with every idea being equal, then weed out the ideas that don't fit your theme, don't fit your goals, don't achieve what you want in a reasonable time, etc. etc.

 

Every idea being equal in theory doesn't equate to every idea being equally applicable to every situation at every moment. While I'm on a tangent here, if you don't listen to what your players want *nobody will want to play your game*.

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Wait, if it's bad devs bother with "communicating with the players to see what they want", awful and pathetic idda that it is, does that mean the guys mad that party size is only 5 will shut up?

Edited by KaineParker
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Jesus I need to stop discussing about so many separate subjects at once, but since I'm an idiot I'll try to compile every single point here anyway. Let's start with the politics and advanced communication as a side note; in order to understand the use of the word, you need to understand that the word itself isn't important, the concept it represents is important. Exchanging complicated ideas is impossible if one insists on using strict text-book definitions for the words, this is what causes problems when trying to communicate with the legal jargon for example. Strictly defined language is great when you're trying to argue and win the argument, not so great when you're trying to exchange ideas and actually communicate.

 

A word such as politics can be used to communicate an abstract concept, which in turn can be used in a variety of different concepts. The word itself is just a 'key - name' that can be used as a reference for a more complicated concept, so that you can say for example 'politics' and anyone familiar with the concept to deduce the implications rather than you having to spell every detail out individually. If any of you have done any programming, you know that when a part of the program communicates with another it is more useful to simply send in a reference value that points into the areas of the memory where the necessary information is contained rather than sending the whole package of information from one method to another. The human exchange of ideas also benefits greatly from a similar approach to language, so that we can start communicating in concepts instead of mere words with strict definitions.

 

Despite being a wikipedia article, this describes politics as a concept. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics

 

The Social Justice comment I made was also more a reference to the overall manner of thinking that leads to these "everything must be equal" design policies, which I find to be quite detracting for the whole industry. This is another way political mindsets seep into the game development process; we think that our political beliefs and our design philosophies are completely separate, but our subconscious mind doesn't really draw a distinction, it just uses the learned and accepted pattern and uses it where-ever it is seemingly applicable. Guarding against this effect is possible, but it is also difficult and requires a rigorous mind for one to be able to guard against it reliably.

 

And after witnessing my side note transform into a full blown rant, I'll just have to hope you'll forgive me that and move into the more interesting stuff. Damn I'll be ashamed if the actual game design stuff doesn't even grow as long as the side-rant ^^

 

 

But ok, lets talk in terms of the game design.

There are systems which game designer like to avoid. If a game system doesn't add depth to the game, or doesn't offer a choice it is usually a badly designed system. An example I like is manual purchase of guns and ammo in XCOM: UFO DEFENCE. It was a tidius work. They were cheap enough so you could always afford them. There were no choice regarding what clip or what gun you had. You just had to remember to buy those so you wont send your squan barehanded. As the result, Firaxis' XCOM remake and unofficial Xenonauts remake removed this system. Why? It wasn't a choice, it even wasn't management. Just busywork. The thing is I liked it. It was hilarious to get lost in everything and send you squad to the mission and then evacuate once you realized they have no ammo. But it wasn't good game design. 

 

D&D Infinity Engine games were mostly combat focused. Yes, you could build wizard with low constitution, or rogue with low dexterity, or fighter with low strengh and constitution. But that is the point? With the way classes are designed you won't get significant bonus for putting your spare points in other areas. Now in fallout it was differently. Game would give you special dialogue if you were an idion. Not always worse one. You could be a killing god, but you also could use your charisma or smarts. Being horrible in combat made sense and was valid. Being bad in combat in PoE or BG is not valid.

 

I will not go as far to say that PoE system is better than D&D and I understand complains that the system wasn't as impactful. But it gains flexibility which wasn't there before. It is a traid off, and considering that the combat is not really optional I would say it is for the better of the game. It is a system which better fits the overall game design.

 

 

As far as design goes, I don't think it is useful to just compare the end results of the systems; even the best of ideas can produce crap when implemented badly, and I think we can both agree that the AD&D system had some glaring flaws about it. The thing I'd like to point out though is that the concepts behind the ability scores (strength, dex, con yadda yadda) were by far superior to those in PoE. The D&D stat concepts are firmly rooted in reality, strength representing physical strength, constitution how healthy and fit you are and dexterity your overall ability to coordinate your physical movements. Then the mental stats of Wisdom representing willpower, perception and 'intuition', Intelligence your ability to reason and learn and Charisma representing the strength of your character. Very distinct concepts that provide a solid and intuitive connection between your character and the stats he/she has. Obsidian sacrificed this in order to pursue a philosophy of "no bad builds" and I think that was a major mistake. It certainly made me unable to truly connect with my character the way I could in 3rd edition D&D (Yeah, again, the AD&D system that was used in infinity engine games was just abhorrent, although I did prefer the AD&D way of handling multiclassing over 3rd ed).

 

There even was a consequence for your characters lacking any of the 6 stats; a STR of 0 would mean your character doesn't have any capability for physical movement and is thus completely helpless. A DEX of 0 would mean that the character cannot direct his own movements and again as a result is helpless. A character with a CON of 0 is dead, and thus helpless (this had some interesting exceptions with magically animated undead, who would define their liveliness through their ability to distinct themselves from the world through their charisma score). A WIS of 0 meant that you had no ability to perceive your environment in any way, helpless again. INT of 0 meant that you didn't have a mind at all, again helpless (golems for example didn't have intelligence score at all I think), and a CHA of 0 would mean that you cannot distinct between what is you and what is the environment, meaning that you completely lack self-awareness, again, rendering your character unplayable.

 

This all formed a really powerful connection between the actual fantasy, your character and the mechanics, because the mechanics were not made to serve the game first, they were made to represent the 'reality' of the fantasy your character lives in, and balancing was done afterwards. The sad part of this was that pretty much all computer-game representations of the system were pretty bad, due to the heavy emphasis on combat scenarios, and it was difficult to script in stuff so that the one-armed fighter of yours who has lousy physical stats but is smart as hell could utilize his vast intellect to overcome problems.

 

I think the D&D concepts are the best basis for any stat system in a crpg, but they do require some tweaking and more defined roles outside the fantasy, purely from a mechanical perspective. Some stats are easier than others; strength for example is quite straight-forward to make useful, although compared to most games I would add more mechanics that force you to make strength checks; knockdown resistances being a good example, some spells might also be physically demanding, for example conjuring a ball of force might require sheer physical strength to keep it from releasing prematurely, thus creating non-fighter class concepts that do require strength and thus a way for non-melee characters to utilize a high strength score should they have one through one reason or another. Dexterity is also straightforward and easy to make useful but not essential to all classes, same goes with CON.

 

The problems arise more when addressing the mental attributes. Wisdom is the easiest of them, like the D&D monk class perfectly demonstrates. A similar concept can easily be applied to other classes. INT I like to think should be the "versatility attribute", increasing the number of skills and feats you can perform, which is equally useful to all classes, and then there's the problem child of computer gaming, CHA. Charisma is the most difficult one for me. I can't really come up with any generic ways to utilize charisma in a meaningful manner with all classes that still would preserve the roots of the stat. The removal of CHA and WIS and replacing them with PER and RES wasn't a bad idea I think, but there's still something bothering me about those stats in PoE. Perception is *too* universally important, almost to the point where you just want to maximize it for every character that even considers acting offensively. The game might require a deeper stealth-dimension to it in order to separate the accuracy of your attacks from the stats and tie it to stealth/trap detection. Maybe some faint-attacks or something.

 

Damn I went into rant mode again, the overall point is that you can have meaningful choice and allow for variety of interesting builds without sacrificing restrictions. Choices need to have consequences in order to be meaningful, and the mechanics need to have a connection with the reality they're representing in order to preserve immersion. In all 3rd edition D&D games I've played, the stat system strongly reinforced the immersion. You immediately and instinctively understood what it meant if your character suddenly gained +4 strength or lost the same amount, and you also instinctively understood the limits of that change and what it wouldn't affect. In PoE, when you gain more Might for your spellcaster you kinda feel weird and the whole stat feels wrong, which for me at least, had a very powerful and negative effect regarding my ability to immerse in the world. It was like the moment I thought of the stat Might, I was no longer in the world, I was dealing with a gaming system, where as in D&D, thinking of the mechanics actually reinforced the immersion.

 

The problem with the PoE stat system is a big reason I brought up the whole politics angle; the whole system gave me the exact same feeling of dealing with an arbitrary system I get whenever I have to deal with politically motivated systems and practices in the real world. And man I *hate* politics. They disgust the **** out of me.

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weak and pathetic ideas that revolve around "communicating with the players to see what they want"

 

Remind me to never play any game with you ever.

 

 

I liked the "equality is disgusting" part, too.

Okay I'm exaggerating, that's not exactly what he said...

 

 

Spoken like someone who relies on enforced equality for validation. Don't you think one would get better results in an environment where ideas actually have to earn their validation? How do you even recognize bad ideas if you pretend that every idea is equal?

 

 

You start out with every idea being equal, then weed out the ideas that don't fit your theme, don't fit your goals, don't achieve what you want in a reasonable time, etc. etc.

 

Every idea being equal in theory doesn't equate to every idea being equally applicable to every situation at every moment. While I'm on a tangent here, if you don't listen to what your players want *nobody will want to play your game*.

 

 

That's not really the "every idea is equal" -attitude problem I was referring to. What you describe is actually a part of a rather well defined and broadly used methodology called 'brainstorming'. I'm sure you've heard of it, and it is one of the few fancily named methodologies that actually does work when used properly. It is a widely accepted fact among the more successful business innovators that people don't really know what they want until they've tried it. This is why having a vision is so important, people generally don't have a very coherent idea about why they like the things they like, or even what they do like. Sure you must keep your ears open so that when the people ask you to kindly stop stabbing their eyes with a screwdriver, you can wake up to the fact that there just might be something wrong with your selected approach.

 

There is an important distinction between the equality of sources and the equality of ideas. Equality of sources is important; a good idea is a good idea, no matter how reprehensible and murderous genocidal **** is behind it, and a bad idea is a bad idea, even if it comes directly from the lord almighty in the heavens.

 

EDIT: sry for the double post :/

Edited by Ninjamestari

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No. There is no such thing as a "bad idea", only ideas applied outside of their proper place. Any idea can be of use--if used correclty, in the right context and in the proper manner. No story trope is bad in the right story, etc. etc. But--and this is the important part--not every idea will work for what your trying to accomplish. That's where a strong vision comes in; you have to know what will work and what won't work for what you're trying to accomplish. You don't throw them out; you put them aside, and revisit them later to see if they might work with other projects.

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*Nothing* has *any* meaning without the context. Ideas are nothing without context, with context they become good and bad ideas. Good ideas being the ones that can be used to achieve a relevant goal in the said context and bad ones being the ones which cannot. Damn you're obsessed with picking apart words; your way of thinking is applicable, but what you don't realize is that from a different reference frame the very same concept can be expressed with very different choices in wording. Seriously, put some effort into actually thinking about what other people say, you might even occasionally realize that their way of thinking doesn't differ that much from yours despite their different usage of words.

 

Ideas have no substance to them, you can form ideas at will when you have certain insights into the system in which you're working. There's no real difference in "throwing out" and "putting aside" when it comes to ideas. Sure some people are idiots and can't understand the fact that just because some implementation of an idea didn't work in some very specific circumstances, but I don't think one should go around assuming such idiocy until it is demonstrated. We don't truly disagree on the subject, you just have this weird obsession of turning the words a different way. Sure you can do that if it helps you keep your thoughts focused, but it isn't necessary in general.

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Okay, you and I are definitely coming at this from different perspectives. I wonder if this might be the schizophrenia coming into play. Weird affect issues and such.

Edited by Katarack21
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I never finished PoE either. I was in the wilderness on my way to Twin Elms fighting...adragons? I just couldn't find a a reason to care. Saved, quit. Ended up uninstalling. There were several principle problems I had with PoE:

  • I didn't like the mechanics, class style, or abilities. I understood what they were trying to do. I think there definitely was potential, but it didn't succeed. It was a bastardized MMO crunch masquerading as "not-D&D". When I first started playing, I thought they were alright, and was encouraged. Then it became tedious, particularly as very few of the abilities or spells impressed me.
  • ​The story was boring. I was at first intrigued, and I would have loved for them to stay with the mystery of the souless children longer. I had very little interest in the watcher, flashbacks, or the villian. Furthermore, I found the quests unmemorable and most of the NPCs uninteresting.
  • ​The world didn't interest me. It was not-D&D. Unlike PST which delightfully subverted what we love about D&D and medevil fantasy troupes, PoE just took the joy and charm out of it. It struggled to create its own identity because it ultimately never "maned up" and left D&D's house.​
  • ​Music was meh.

​I wanted to like it. I wanted to like it so badly. The aesthetic was right. The choose your own adventure panels were right. Half of the NPCs (Grieving Mother, Durance, Eder) were great. The principles it aimed for were right. I had thoroughly completed everything available, read everything, yet I just couldn't care. One zone away from Twin Elms and I just couldn't be bothered. I still want to believe, but as it stands I don't like Josh Sawyer's preferences. To me the standard-bearer for modernizing the best of old school RPGs has shifed from Obsidian to Larian's Divinity: Original Sin.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent
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I've got a confession to make. I just cannot get into D:OS.

I've tried to or three times. Tried different characters, different setups. I can't ever get past the first town. I just stop playing after a while. It....bores me.

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Did you play the game (D:OS) alone? It's really meant to play with someone else, that's where the fun begins. The game basically revolves around creating that authentic table-top court feel but limiting it to a smaller group of players. I loved the combat though, much better than X-Com's turnbased system imo. The story is kinda all over the place, it's goofy as heck, it doesn't take itself seriously compared to something like PoE.

Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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