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No Lady Webbs this time, please


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She was just too convenient. Here you are trying to find this shadowy figure leading a shadowy group with a shadowy purpose, you have no actionable leads, and a messenger comes along and invites you to meet an expert who is exactly what you need.

 

Then, as soon as you no longer need her, she dies -- as if to punctuate that she was only written in to solve the problem of getting the player to the next part of the story.

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No Iovaras personally. She came across as a mouthpiece for the writer.

But she was fine in the visions, wouldn’t you say? Only at the end was it a problem?

 

Perhaps the takeaway is that massive story dumps in a single conversation are not as satisfying?

 

We also didn’t discover the truth about the gods; we were informed. In the same conversation, we are informed of Thaos’ plan for Woedica.

 

We don’t even find Iovara on purpose. Contrast that with Planescape Torment. Find your journal. Find Pharod. Find Lothar. Find Ravel. And so on and so on. It’s a hunt, following thread after thread, piecing together the tapestry. Imagine chasing an unknown for an unknown reason and not meeting Ravel until the end of the game and learning everything then.

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Agreed with Iovara, I thought she was the weakest element in the game personally. What I wrote about her in my review:

 

 

 

Our journey to 'Enlightenment' concludes with a revelation that shatters all previous conceptions of Eora’s natural order and great chain of being: from the mouth of Iovara we learn that the gods aren’t 'real', and that they were created by a now-defunct culture so as to fill the void they found when looking for them. Upon reaching this moment, I have to admit I was not all too convinced by it – in fact, in my first run through the game I felt the remainder entirely soured by it. In retrospect I’m still in two minds about it, but I feel I’ve grown to appreciate it more, and the reason is this: tying into the shift towards modernism and humanism that is at the heart of Pillars of Eternity’s themes, the acknowledgement that the gods were created by kith marks a rotund inversion in power, where Man is no longer made in the likeness of God but vice versa. With this, kith are truly independent to forge their own path and reach their own understanding of the world, no longer requiring 'permission' from the gods to do so. It’s a fitting conclusion to the central conceit, but I can’t help feel it goes about it in a manner that isn’t particularly elegant, nor does it leave much room for interpretation and differing points of view. For starters, Iovara is all too eager to serve these revelations to us in very expositional fashion, going to great detail about the way things happened and what led to the gods being created; we are also left with little choice but to accept this as is told, despite having interacted with the gods before and having empirical evidence in-game to their existence (if not their origin as such). To the best of my memory I also cannot recall any indication prior to our meeting her that what she speaks of might be thus. Her words are absolute, and backed by little more than a martyr's fallacy: her suffering in the face of an age-old Inquisition, her death in defense of her ideals, and the seeming selflessness of her actions all readily make her an authority of truth that I can’t help question in the same way I would the usual zealot. Likewise it threatens to simplify and reduce the more nuanced depiction of religion as seen above to an almost villainous ploy whose function is only to act as a deliberate mantle from a truth that is perceived to be dangerous; in turn I can’t help feel the theme outlined in the above paragraphs loses much of its strength, or is invalidated altogether.

This also comes in conflict with a theme that links all of our companions and their respective arcs, which is to do with the inaccessibility of the past, with its immutability, and having to face things that cannot be changed, or that cannot be known. Edér hopes to find a reason to his brother’s enlisting to Waidwen’s army, Kana hopes to find an ancient piece of scripture valuable to his culture, the Grieving Mother hopes to find peace in the denial of the past… Every character eventually faces a moment of impossibility in their quest, and they have to come to terms that things won't be as they want them to be. Whether Edér’s inability to know what his brother thought at the time, Kana’s discovery that the tablet he was after has been destroyed, the Grieving Mother’s request for her memory to be erased not changing the events that happened, these and more all mark a sensation of bittersweet dissatisfaction that links all of their stories, and they are much more interesting for it: with every uncertainty and impossibility, what matters is ultimately the approach each character takes and the way they deal with these instances. The conclusions that each character, and the protagonist, arrive to are worthier than the answers that would have otherwise been given, and it is what in the end makes each of these quests fulfilling, and enriching. Why, then, is it that when every character is denied of an answer and comes out all the wiser for it, we, the protagonist, get to find the answer we seek? How much more interesting would it have been for me if the answer had been implied instead: maybe Iovara, despite all her selflessness, could have resented in her dying hour and in the eternity spent in that adra prison the man that handed her over to her fate, and ended her quest to enlighten the world; if so, maybe she could have *denied* the answer from the protagonist, and left him to his suffering. Maybe we’d have to make do with what we could gather from the vision that followed Thaos’ demise, and seen at that moment the suggestion to the gods not being real. The question here is more important, the seed of doubt as powerful as the statement of the gods’ falsehood; the conclusions and questions we make to ourselves after the fact, likewise, more personal and lingering than the answers served to us.

 

(For context, my full review: https://glitchwave.com/game/pillars-of-eternity/review/algroth_89/89145720/ )

 

Definitely agree with Lady Webb too, though she came across as a more charismatic character all the same.

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No Iovaras personally. She came across as a mouthpiece for the writer.

But she was fine in the visions, wouldn’t you say? Only at the end was it a problem?

 

Perhaps the takeaway is that massive story dumps in a single conversation are not as satisfying?

 

We also didn’t discover the truth about the gods; we were informed. In the same conversation, we are informed of Thaos’ plan for Woedica.

 

We don’t even find Iovara on purpose. Contrast that with Planescape Torment. Find your journal. Find Pharod. Find Lothar. Find Ravel. And so on and so on. It’s a hunt, following thread after thread, piecing together the tapestry. Imagine chasing an unknown for an unknown reason and not meeting Ravel until the end of the game and learning everything then.

 

Actually no, she wasn't fine in the visions either.  In fact, one of the problems is that when we we finally meet her in person I thought we were finally going to get to see what it was about her that made all these people follow her, because I did not see it in the visions.  She lacked that quality that would make people die for her that she supposedly had and just seemed like an obnoxious airy fairy who talked about finding your own way (as long as its her way) whose principles you are not allowed to confront or debate, portrayed as fact without evidence.  If she had been portrayed as a fanatic like Thaos, just the opposing side, it may have been more satisfying, or at least not so fricking 'perfect'. 

 

And yeah, informing us the 'gods aren't real' didn't help, especially since her reasoning is not that they don't exist but that they were created: at that point I had no idea that the gods were NOT created beings or were supposed to have existed before the world.  I knew at least some of them had portfolios that managed aspects of creation but then so do many of the Faerun gods in Forgotten Realms and half of them have been replaced by others including mortals!  Real world religions have or had gods that came about after the creation of the world and were even created by other beings, the Greek gods in particular, so the bigger surprise was that I was supposed to think they were the ones who came before the world and that was supposed to be a pre-requisit for godhood.  If that's the case, that ruins my goals for ascending to godhood then! ;)

Edited by FlintlockJazz
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Lady Webb

 

I like her, but she was too much, in a deus ex machina way. Convenient NPC is convenient, but knowing what Obsidian is capable of, her writing could've been handled better. Unraveling the mystery is what makes the game more exciting, and the way Lady Webb appears and throws information at you is almost like a spoiler for The Watcher. Maybe less fuss for the character, but less fun for the player.

 

Iovara

 

I'm a sucker for Deionarra-type characters, and in my humble opinion this is a very good moment in the game. I agree that the talk leaves little space for deliberation (e.g. prove to me you are right, woman! oh no, you can't), but all-in-all this meeting was long anticipated by me from the start. It's not perfect, but it's more then I could've hoped for since Planescape. We have a saying in Polish: a sparrow in your grasp is better than a pigeon on the roof.

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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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No Iovaras personally. She came across as a mouthpiece for the writer.

But she was fine in the visions, wouldn’t you say? Only at the end was it a problem?

 

Perhaps the takeaway is that massive story dumps in a single conversation are not as satisfying?

 

We also didn’t discover the truth about the gods; we were informed. In the same conversation, we are informed of Thaos’ plan for Woedica.

 

We don’t even find Iovara on purpose. Contrast that with Planescape Torment. Find your journal. Find Pharod. Find Lothar. Find Ravel. And so on and so on. It’s a hunt, following thread after thread, piecing together the tapestry. Imagine chasing an unknown for an unknown reason and not meeting Ravel until the end of the game and learning everything then.

 

Actually no, she wasn't fine in the visions either.  In fact, one of the problems is that when we we finally meet her in person I thought we were finally going to get to see what it was about her that made all these people follow her, because I did not see it in the visions.  She lacked that quality that would make people die for her that she supposedly had and just seemed like an obnoxious airy fairy who talked about finding your own way (as long as its her way) whose principles you are not allowed to confront or debate, portrayed as fact without evidence.  If she had been portrayed as a fanatic like Thaos, just the opposing side, it may have been more satisfying, or at least not so fricking 'perfect'. 

 

And yeah, informing us the 'gods aren't real' didn't help, especially since her reasoning is not that they don't exist but that they were created: at that point I had no idea that the gods were NOT created beings or were supposed to have existed before the world.  I knew at least some of them had portfolios that managed aspects of creation but then so do many of the Faerun gods in Forgotten Realms and half of them have been replaced by others including mortals!  Real world religions have or had gods that came about after the creation of the world and were even created by other beings, the Greek gods in particular, so the bigger surprise was that I was supposed to think they were the ones who came before the world and that was supposed to be a pre-requisit for godhood.  If that's the case, that ruins my goals for ascending to godhood then! ;)

 

 

Not to mention mortals (sometimes with a god/dess in their lineage somewhere) ascending to godhood in some manner, usually great heroes. I know this is gonna get smacked as heretical, but if you think about it, the various Saints in Christianity (and equivalents in Judaism and Islam) could very well be thought of as demigods or mortals ascended to godhood.

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No Iovaras personally. She came across as a mouthpiece for the writer.

But she was fine in the visions, wouldn’t you say? Only at the end was it a problem?

 

Perhaps the takeaway is that massive story dumps in a single conversation are not as satisfying?

 

We also didn’t discover the truth about the gods; we were informed. In the same conversation, we are informed of Thaos’ plan for Woedica.

 

We don’t even find Iovara on purpose. Contrast that with Planescape Torment. Find your journal. Find Pharod. Find Lothar. Find Ravel. And so on and so on. It’s a hunt, following thread after thread, piecing together the tapestry. Imagine chasing an unknown for an unknown reason and not meeting Ravel until the end of the game and learning everything then.

 

Actually no, she wasn't fine in the visions either.  In fact, one of the problems is that when we we finally meet her in person I thought we were finally going to get to see what it was about her that made all these people follow her, because I did not see it in the visions.  She lacked that quality that would make people die for her that she supposedly had and just seemed like an obnoxious airy fairy who talked about finding your own way (as long as its her way) whose principles you are not allowed to confront or debate, portrayed as fact without evidence.  If she had been portrayed as a fanatic like Thaos, just the opposing side, it may have been more satisfying, or at least not so fricking 'perfect'. 

 

And yeah, informing us the 'gods aren't real' didn't help, especially since her reasoning is not that they don't exist but that they were created: at that point I had no idea that the gods were NOT created beings or were supposed to have existed before the world.  I knew at least some of them had portfolios that managed aspects of creation but then so do many of the Faerun gods in Forgotten Realms and half of them have been replaced by others including mortals!  Real world religions have or had gods that came about after the creation of the world and were even created by other beings, the Greek gods in particular, so the bigger surprise was that I was supposed to think they were the ones who came before the world and that was supposed to be a pre-requisit for godhood.  If that's the case, that ruins my goals for ascending to godhood then! ;)

 

 

Not to mention mortals (sometimes with a god/dess in their lineage somewhere) ascending to godhood in some manner, usually great heroes. I know this is gonna get smacked as heretical, but if you think about it, the various Saints in Christianity (and equivalents in Judaism and Islam) could very well be thought of as demigods or mortals ascended to godhood.

 

Oh definitely, I even considered using Saints as just such a demigod level myself in a tabletop campaign (that never got started, though I may now use that idea for another campaign...).

"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

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Iovara

 

I'm a sucker for Deionarra-type characters, and in my humble opinion this is a very good moment in the game. I agree that the talk leaves little space for deliberation (e.g. prove to me you are right, woman! oh no, you can't), but all-in-all this meeting was long anticipated by me from the start. It's not perfect, but it's more then I could've hoped for since Planescape. We have a saying in Polish: a sparrow in your grasp is better than a pigeon on the roof.

 

In Spanish we have a similar expression - "más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando" (a bird in hand is worth more than a hundred flying)... I don't really think it applies to this case though because there simply wasn't a need for a Deionarra-type character, and it's even better to have none than to have a very poor attempt at it.

 

I don't even think they are that much alike either. Yes, both are ultimately doomed by their love for the protagonist, but the way their demise plays out and the kind of characters they are are very apart from one another. For starters, Iovara is a martyr, and her death is in service of an ideology that she thus corroborates as true. Deionarra is a victim of manipulation through and through, she sacrifices herself for a man she wasn't able to see for his real (present) self. The former speaks of another strength to the character, the latter of a weakness. Iovara is far too perfect and idealized throughout, she is a caring, selfless leader and voiceperson of truth whose only flaw is to trust an agent too much; Deionarra, on the other hand, may be the bearer of truth given her role as an oracle, but her actual character is far more flawed - her vision comes at the cost of blindness to the present, and even as you talk to her in her ghost-like form you manipulate her into seeing you as the lover she imagined you as ("Deionarra, I am in danger..." and so on). One aspect that I really like about Deionarra is that her blindness to the present suggests that the Nameless One she may have loved was a future him, not realizing that the future self would be radically different to the practical incarnation. Iovara is nowhere near this complex or flawed, and whereas Deionarra's prophecies only hint at a possible future and destiny ("you shall meet enemies three, but none more dangerous than yourself in your full glory" and so on), this is all in stark contrast to Iovara's far more concrete, factual revelations which leave absolutely no room for multiple interpretations. Whereas Deionarra foreshadows, Iovara outright explains, and does so things that had no apparent precedent throughout the game and which would also work far better had they been left up to the player's conclusions.

Edited by algroth
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Yeah, I thought they did a good job of making Iovara seem zealous to the point of insanity. She's a mirrored counterpart to Thaos. If she's a mouthpiece for the author, then that author needs to get some psychiatric help.

 

Only that unlike Thaos, her motivations are proven to be altruistic and her beliefs to be true. Likewise, she is always portrayed as some benevolent liberator whose beliefs also never drive her to committing atrocities of any sort the way Thaos did, that we learn of anyhow. Also to house2fly, to the best of my awareness I was never given an option to tell her I didn't think she was right, or to argue against her exposition. This is even more worrying when, at least during my first playthrough, my character literally asked out loud "could this be true, that the gods are a lie?" right after the interaction.

Edited by algroth
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Only that unlike Thaos, her motivations are proven to be altruistic and her beliefs to be true.

 

 

Thaos' motives can certainly be construed as altruistic. He wants to end religious warfare, for one. He wants to remove dangerous technology like animancy from people. How many animancers do we meet in the game who aren't crazy nut jobs? Our own world might be a lot safer if we were prevented from discovering nuclear fission.

Iovara's a likeable person, but she's determined to undermine the authority of the gods, regardless of whether they have a positive impact on people's lives. She values being right over the welfare of others. I'm not sure she's altruistic at all.

 

 

Also to house2fly, to the best of my awareness I was never given an option to tell her I didn't think she was right, or to argue against her exposition. This is even more worrying when, at least during my first playthrough, my character literally asked out loud "could this be true, that the gods are a lie?" right after the interaction.

 

 

 

This is definitely the thing that was wrong with Iovara with me. Even if I do have an option to agree with her, I don't feel like like I'm really saying that if I don't have an option to say "you're full of baloney, you fool!" for contrast.

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Lady Webb seemed too Deus Ex Machina/talking head for my liking, and Iovara seemed like she should've been around for much more of the game than she actually was, that she should've been following you since Cilant Lis and expanding on your journey. I really liked her, such a poor tragic character, but not enough of her by far.

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You have been eaten by a grue.

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Only that unlike Thaos, her motivations are proven to be altruistic and her beliefs to be true.

 

 

Thaos' motives can certainly be construed as altruistic. He wants to end religious warfare, for one. He wants to remove dangerous technology like animancy from people. How many animancers do we meet in the game who aren't crazy nut jobs? Our own world might be a lot safer if we were prevented from discovering nuclear fission.

Iovara's a likeable person, but she's determined to undermine the authority of the gods, regardless of whether they have a positive impact on people's lives. She values being right over the welfare of others. I'm not sure she's altruistic at all.

 

 

Also to house2fly, to the best of my awareness I was never given an option to tell her I didn't think she was right, or to argue against her exposition. This is even more worrying when, at least during my first playthrough, my character literally asked out loud "could this be true, that the gods are a lie?" right after the interaction.

 

 

 

This is definitely the thing that was wrong with Iovara with me. Even if I do have an option to agree with her, I don't feel like like I'm really saying that if I don't have an option to say "you're full of baloney, you fool!" for contrast.

 

 

Thaos' 'altruism' in this case is similar to a dictator claiming he is oppressing the people so that they won't argue about who ought to be leader instead. The result to his 'plan' still has him imbued with some kind of eternal life and *lots* of power, as well as making his goddess the very object of people's worship. Yes, you could argue that Iovara would gain reknown and probably be a figure of power if she managed to succeed in her campaign, but to claim as much, as well as claiming Thaos is actually altruistic, is to start applying some really twisted mental gymnastics into the equation. As for whether Iovara values truth over the wellfare of others... I don't recall any evidence that points to that in the game itself. To just say it is because she's rebelling against the gods and thus putting people's lives at risk is really not enough, when the gods themselves are shown to be deluding people about their real origins and their actual original function. We may as well assume any liberator figure throughout the history of fiction has never acted selflessly or for the good of the people he was liberating.

 

And I also agree with the latter. The option to agree should always be there, but we ought to be able to disagree too, and not just in a "this lie is necessary" way (which is sort of what happens if you *do* decide to ally with Woedica or whatever). You ought to be given the chance to genuinely argue back and disbelieve, if that is what your character would do. In my case, for example, I did play a paladin through my first playthrough. He would have been pretty zealous and would not have accepted Iovara's words so easily and without a genuine argument back at her. Instead, he does, because that's apparently the only option.

Edited by algroth
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Yeah much of the content in PoE seemed like last minute filler to patch in the holes or gaps in the story or because the budget was too low or something.

 

I really hope they do not half -ass it this time on some features. like the whole base building thing was basically useless waste of time and not very fun at all. 

 

It should have had some important part of the game attached to it, like having it actually accomplished something worthwhile. 

Obsidian wrote:
 

​"those scummy backers, we're going to screw them over by giving them their game on the release date. That'll show those bastards!" 

 

 

 Now we know what's going on...

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My memory might be mistaken, but there was a trigger for getting to know Lady Webb, right? Maybe getting a high reputation with one of the factions. I agree she was a convenient NPC, but considering that she is the leader of the faction that surveils Defiance Bay, in a way, it is not unrealistic to consider that she would become aware of the Watcher's quest, or the Leaden Key's, and try to intervene.

 

She might have been convenient, but we earned her attention with our previous deeds in the city I guess.

 

Also, her dialogue might have been a little too lore-dumpy (although that's a problem with most of the NPC's in the game), but the writers managed to craft some cool poetic moments, like when she deliberately extracted information from Thaos in her last moments for the Watcher to see through his powers.

 

That's was kind of the pattern in PoE's narrative: uninspired lore-dumps with seldom good moments of elegant beauty.

Edited by LuccA
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I didn't mind Lady Webb as much as others here, she kept the red thread of the plot gathered, but it seemed like a great missed chance to holding a meeting with your companions and the caretaker in the stronghold to discuss the findings after each main quest. I suppose the flaw in that is that both companions and the Caed Nua were optional.

 

At the very least they could make the Watcher more active in the interaction with Lady Webb, being able to theorize the meaning after each main quest. An intelligent and/or perceptive Watcher should be able to theorize that they fused souls to some sort of greater being.

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When I first met her agent I thought I would do some secret missions for her and then, amidst a random mission, I would discover some leads to the misterious figure that is destroying the animancy populatiry, but, for my dissatisfaction, she was just a deus ex machina. Disappointed!

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