Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Why do some people/reviewers dislike the story of Pillars so much.

story plot deadfire pillarsofeternity

  • Please log in to reply
160 replies to this topic

#1
Mikeymoonshine

Mikeymoonshine

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 301 posts
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer

So both Pillars Of Eternity and Deadfire reviewed very well and were (so far for deadfire) well received by players too. 

 

However I do remember hearing a lot about how the story for POE was slow, boring , "dry" ect especially at the start. I've looked at a few reviews for this game and I am noticing that although it is reviewing very well some of the critics are saying the story is bad, they couldn't get into it and it's slow at the start. 

 

Now I don't think the story of Pillars Of Eternity is like the best story I have ever played in a video game or anything. I have plenty of criticisms of it but then I have plenty of criticisms of the story in many games. Compared to other games though I really don't get why it got these comments and although I am still pretty early on in Deadfire I feel the same about this game. 

 

What is it about the way these stories are told that is putting people off? Where as a relatively simplistic story like in the Divinity OS games does not seem to be getting this kind of response (and I am not bashing those games I loved those too). 

 

The "slow at the start" comments especially are odd as this is pretty standard for this kind of rpg and a lot of people who are making these arguments should know this. 

 


  • Tick, Rheios, Sanjid099 and 1 other like this

#2
gloomseeker

gloomseeker

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 115 posts

That just tells you what these people know. 

 

A slow start is actually perfect for an RPG because it allows the player to build up his character. Remember the exchange with Calisca in PoE1? That's the sort of things that help flesh out a character and make him or her a little more than some numbers on the character screen. 

 

With that being said I still think PoE1 did a poor job introducing its setting. There is just too much information when you're getting started and it can only be overwhelming. 

 

I can't really say how Deadfire's introduction would feel to someone who hasn't played the first game but I think it's following the same pattern mostly. Having played the first game makes things much less confusing though. 

 

IMO the problem is not that the story is bad, it's more about those people not wanting to invest in the story. Perhaps they feel the path to be taken is not obvious enough. Maybe they want dragons to show up right after character creation just like in Skyrim (which is absolutely terrible and something no self respecting Game Master would do in a pen and paper RPG). Frankly I don't really know. I'm just glad we still get the opportunity to play games that provide a "slow" start. 


  • Tick, Rheios, Alhoon and 9 others like this

#3
Phyriel

Phyriel

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 210 posts

I don't know. What people are you referring to? I never heard amassed voice flaming on PoE story, I always thought it was generally praised and appreciated duh? 

 

Anyway i'll try to dig with you assuming what you said is actually true. First thing that comes to my mind is maybe a setting? Its being semi-realistic middle age sort of fantasy and maybe by not being hyper fantasy it makes people expect a novel of Tolkien proportions? It's just a wild guess tho. For me some plot twists in poe 1 were breath taking, mostly in vanilla game, dlcs were more d&d fashioned stories. 



#4
Wormerine

Wormerine

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 2599 posts
  • Location:Belfast
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer
PoE1 had a bad habit of telling you a story instead of playing it. Sure, conversation with Maerwald was cool, but it would be much better if discovered via dungeon, or puzzle or anything gameplay related.

We will see we’re Deadfire will take us, but so far it has been excellent. Really well defined characters and locations, and learning about world while exploring, fighting and, well, doing stuff.
  • JFutral, Tanred, lastpawn and 5 others like this

#5
Phyriel

Phyriel

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 210 posts

IMO the problem is not that the story is bad, it's more about those people not wanting to invest in the story. Perhaps they feel the path to be taken is not obvious enough. Maybe they want dragons to show up right after character creation just like in Skyrim (which is absolutely terrible and something no self respecting Game Master would do in a pen and paper RPG). Frankly I don't really know. I'm just glad we still get the opportunity to play games that provide a "slow" start. 

 

Or maybe contrary to what I said this is true, people being overwhelmed by being just a part of a bigger world right from the get go. I like that approach also, makes you feel small and try hard to work your way up from the undertow. 



#6
LordBlade

LordBlade

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 43 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I found PoE1 to be a little boring overall.

 

I loved the game as a whole, but I did find lots of the writing to feel overly dragged out.

As (12)Mage said, a lot of the story felt like it was just you being told of some story that's going on, instead of you feeling like you're a part of it. Much of the game had you doing things, and then learning about important stuff, then doing more things, then learning more. It didn't feel like you were directly guiding the story.



#7
Mikeymoonshine

Mikeymoonshine

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 301 posts
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer

That just tells you what these people know. 

 

A slow start is actually perfect for an RPG because it allows the player to build up his character. Remember the exchange with Calisca in PoE1? That's the sort of things that help flesh out a character and make him or her a little more than some numbers on the character screen. 

 

With that being said I still think PoE1 did a poor job introducing its setting. There is just too much information when you're getting started and it can only be overwhelming. 

 

I can't really say how Deadfire's introduction would feel to someone who hasn't played the first game but I think it's following the same pattern mostly. Having played the first game makes things much less confusing though. 

 

IMO the problem is not that the story is bad, it's more about those people not wanting to invest in the story. Perhaps they feel the path to be taken is not obvious enough. Maybe they want dragons to show up right after character creation just like in Skyrim (which is absolutely terrible and something no self respecting Game Master would do in a pen and paper RPG). Frankly I don't really know. I'm just glad we still get the opportunity to play games that provide a "slow" start. 

 

I get the complaint but I also kind of liked the being thrown into the lore deep end thing. It felt like I wasn't having my hand held so much. If I didn't understand a reference or a word or a phrase I had to ask someone, read the codex, read books ect to find out. I can see why some would just not find this enjoyable though. 

 

Deadfire explains a bit to you but then throws you into the deep end again and I am enjoying constantly having to read about what some valian phrase or some huana word means. The pop up codex boxes from tyranny help there.  :p


  • Rheios likes this

#8
LordBlade

LordBlade

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 43 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

 

Deadfire explains a bit to you but then throws you into the deep end again and I am enjoying constantly having to read about what some valian phrase or some huana word means. The pop up codex boxes from tyranny help there.  :p

 

Yes, I was really happy to see the pop up boxes for various terms in the game. The first game desperately needed that, as they kept throwing countless terms at you without any real explanation.


  • Wormerine, Sanjid099 and PantherX14 like this

#9
Mikeymoonshine

Mikeymoonshine

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 301 posts
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer

I found PoE1 to be a little boring overall.

 

I loved the game as a whole, but I did find lots of the writing to feel overly dragged out.

As (12)Mage said, a lot of the story felt like it was just you being told of some story that's going on, instead of you feeling like you're a part of it. Much of the game had you doing things, and then learning about important stuff, then doing more things, then learning more. It didn't feel like you were directly guiding the story.

 

I suppose but that was because you weren't guiding it, you were hunting down the person who was. I agree there could be a little more show not tell though. 



#10
LordBlade

LordBlade

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 43 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I don't think it's so much that we weren't guiding the story, as that it felt like we were doing pointless things while the story was advancing.

We would do a big story element, but then the "real" story would go on and we'd learn about it after the fact. And that story bit we just finished seemed pointless. It felt disjointed, like our actions had little to do with the actual plot of the game (right up until the end).



#11
master guardian

master guardian

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 339 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Im loving the actual game play of Deadfire.

 

But i must admit im finding the main plot narrative extremely dull. Every time I hear that narrator i think " Jesus i cant wait to this crap finishes so i can get back to playing the game again"

 

IMHO they have got the narrative and the main plot very wrong. It is not captivating, interesting or well written.

 

If they ever do a game like this again they need to get a new narrative team at obsidian to do it because they let the rest of the team down.

 

Dont get me wrong the game is still unbelievably good just not the narrative


  • Xyron, Rheios, Sanjid099 and 3 others like this

#12
Tigranes

Tigranes

    Obsidian VIP

  • Members
  • 10478 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

POE had a pretty decent story, it was just (1) too serious and heavy-handed, which is distinct from having a serious and dark story; (2) way too wordy with far too much exposition dumping. The combination of those two makes the story wearisome and sloggy in a way that doesn't happen in Torment, MOTB or KOTOR2, all of which again have very serious themes, but are far better written.

 

No opinion yet on POE2. I like the first hour, though they again needed an editor cutting out all the superfluous and overwrought descriptives repeated 8 times over.


  • Ontarah, Tanred, Gunnar.Maluf and 1 other like this

#13
Murp

Murp

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 138 posts
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

I think it just comes with the genre and it's size.

 

The community is pretty small and many fans of these types of games consider themselves "intellectuals" and their opinions are very important (no offense).

 

it's mostly a lot of nitpicking but then there are some reasonable things that should be looked into.

 

Nothing is perfect.



#14
Fiaryn

Fiaryn

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 101 posts
  • Steam:Fiaryn
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

PoE1 is fairly dry, and lacks the bombast that people have come to expect in RPGs from Bioware RPGs. It has a **** load of text, in no small part due to Avellone's characters being brick walls of absurdly dense prose (that is not a compliment). It's not hard to see why people would be put off, even as a fan.


Edited by Fiaryn, 10 May 2018 - 04:06 PM.

  • Aleh1811 likes this

#15
Tigranes

Tigranes

    Obsidian VIP

  • Members
  • 10478 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I should say, I really loved how dry POE1 was. That was the big positive for me. Most RPGs have way too much overwrought woe is me cringy Disney-on-steroids drama dripping from every line of dialogue, and relative to that Eder, Sagani, etc. were really refreshing and enjoyable. (Durance and GM are very melodramatic, but I couldn't help but like Durance, at least.)


  • Tanred, Gunnar.Maluf, Rheios and 7 others like this

#16
Yosharian

Yosharian

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1060 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer

> However I do remember hearing a lot about how the story for POE was slow, boring , "dry" etc especially at the start. I've looked at a few reviews for this game and I am noticing that although it is reviewing very well some of the critics are saying the story is bad, they couldn't get into it and it's slow at the start. 

 

Well, as someone who doesn't think highly of Pillars 1's story, I can attempt to explain why I dislike it personally.  But before I begin, let me just preface my comments by saying that my dislike of the story has nothing to do with me disliking literature in general, or not liking dark stories, or anything like that.  So if you're going to respond to my comment by painting me as an illiterate, or as having poor/unrefined tastes, you can **** right off.  You're free to disagree with anything I write of course, these are just my personal feelings on the story.

 

SPOILERS FOR PILLARS OF ETERNITY 1 AND BALDUR'S GATE 2 BELOW

 

Anyway, here goes:

 

  • Thaos seems ill-defined to me as a character and a villain.

He's just this cardboard cut-out that I'm following around because the plot demands it, rather than me actually being interested in him.  He starts off as this mysterious character who has something to do with my awakening, but I don't know for sure, and we spend the first half of the game chasing breadcrumbs that he's dropped; then we come face-to-face briefly but all he really does is talk in riddles, and I'm left thinking: well I guess I'll run after him, but I'm not all that bothered really.

 

If I compare him to someone like Jon Irenicus: that ****er stole my soul.  And he was a right pretentious git about it too.  I wanted that guy dead from the very first minute I saw him, and it only grew throughout the game as he messed with me again and again and again.  I'm not saying that all plots have to revolve around a particular type of character, but Thaos, to me, does make for a spectacularly boring villain.  He lacks the charisma of other memorable villains.

 

I have played through most of Pillars at least 2-3 times now, 4 if I count my aborted first playthrough, and I have never gotten interested in Thaos.  The one time I managed to complete the game (despite being utterly uninterested in the plot), I really didn't care what happened to Thaos.  He was just a meaningless end-game boss to be defeated in order to access the ending slides.

 

  • The writing style is generally overwritten.

I suggest that before you read the following paragraphs, you read through this: http://literarylab.b...tten-prose.html

 

After reading that, you should understand that what I'm about to say doesn't come from a dislike of elaborate or beautiful prose.  For example, one of my favourite books is One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, an extract of which you can read here: https://www.nobelpri...quez-prose.html

 

At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.

 

Pillars 1's writing is full of unnecessary complication, of the type discussed in the first link from Literarylab.  It's a chore to read through endless reams of overwrought description and awkward similes.  Much of it is contained within companion dialogue, which is surprising considering that the dialogue in the game is written by a variety of different authors, many of them established experts in their field, such as Chris Avellone.

 

I suppose this point is redundant without examples, so I'll try to provide some, but it's not as if I wrote down the worst examples I saw while playing through the game or anything like that.

 

  • Example: Durance dialogue/description

 

Durance: His chuckle dies into a smile, a genuine one.

 

'Dies' into a smile?  This is just an awkward verb to use here.

 

Durance: As you study [the staff] deeper, it shimmers slightly in your eyes, like water catching the light weaving across the statue.  Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.

 

This is from the moment where you meet Durance by the statue of Magran.

 

'It shimmers in your eyes' is a really confusing phrase.  'In' my eyes?  How can something shimmer in my eyes?  That doesn't make any sense.

 

'Like water catching the light weaving across the statue.'  So this is an attempt at a simile.  The staff is shimmering, and the effect makes the staff... no wait, not the staff, it makes it seem like there's water there... floating in mid-air?  Between you and the staff?  Ok, I guess... so it's as if there is water, and it's catching the the light weaving across the statue that's nearby...  god, this is a confusing sentence.  It's very pretty but it's quite difficult to dismantle the meaning.

 

'Whatever power was bled from the staff, it doesn't make it - or the wielder - any less dangerous.'  Ok so this sentence is trying to create the image that, despite the power that's gone from the staff, it's still dangerous, and so is Durance.  But why?  This old man dressed in rags doesn't seem dangerous to me.  He's more like a runty hermit with a boss eye than a deadly enemy.  How would I even know how dangerous he is?  How would I know what power was bled from the staff?  (this is early on, before you know anything about the Godhammer and Durance's role in it)  How would I know that despite the power being bled, he's still dangerous?  Nothing about this exchange makes me think that this guy is dangerous.

 

  • Example: general description from prologue

 

A handful of dark figures stands above the fallen, treading on limbs and backs and heads, jerking their axes from bodies as if from half-split logs as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them.  One of them, towering and severe with a thick beard tassled with knots, holds a wet blade at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan, the last of your caravan left standing.

 

So this is another painful pair of paragraphs, this time from the start of the game.

 

'dark figures'  It's not that dark in this scene.  The enemies here could be described in detail and it would give much better understanding to the player.

 

'as if from half-split logs'  This is another awkward simile.  Half-split logs... so we're comparing these dead bodies to.. logs?  Why?  Other than similar shapes, why would you make this comparison?  Does it make these enemies appear fearsome, to compare them to woodcutters?

 

'as they prepare to add you to the sprawling pile beneath them.'  I'm already reeling from the confusing attempt at a simile with half-split logs, and now I have to dismantle this...  add me to the sprawling pile beneath them..?  The bodies can't be a pile.  Unless they brought all the bodies together to put them into a pile.   The bodies would be quite spread out.  So not a pile.  And sprawling?  Remember, the definition of pile is a heap of things laid or lying one on top of another.  So, a sprawling pile?  This is just a really awkward description.  It's quite difficult to think of a pile of things as being sprawling.

 

'at the neck of the man you recognise as Heodan'  Another awkward set of phrases.  At-the-neck-of-the-man-you-recognise-as-Heodan.  Why not use 'at Heodan's neck'?  Is it really so important to add this layer of detail, and in this sentence?  'The man you recognise as Heodan' just makes this entire sentence cumbersome.

 

Anyway, I could go on, but again these are by no means the worst examples.  They are, however, representative of writing that is generally ponderous and difficult to understand.

 

Game writing, and really, good writing in general, doesn't have to be flowery and intricately detailed in order to do its job.  One choice word, description, simile, etc is worth ten flat ones.

 

There are a few other points I could make, perhaps about some of the supporting cast, but I already wrote a lot, and Thaos and the general quality of the writing are the two main problems I have with the story, so I guess this is ok.


  • Stoibs, Varana, Zitchiock and 4 others like this

#17
LuccA

LuccA

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 135 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I'll not play PoE2 for a few months, but I'm reading a few reviews.

 

The opinion on the story that got me most worried was Rock Paper Shotgun's on-going review. It said that the main story was too disconnect from every other quest (kinda similar to PoE1 actually). In PoE1 however, it was more forgivable because the main story was you seeking a way to get rid of your soul-awakening. It did not feel very imediate - which was a complaint from a lot of people - but at least it made sense when your character was dealing with a slow-progressing illness and chose to adventure here an there in sidequests.

 

Now, however, there's a giant god that took your soul stamping cities (apparently) and it just feels weird (according to the review) to be doing anything else besides following that god. This is a very poor story design decision and it god me less excited to play the game :(.

 

Can anyone who have played the beggining of the game give their thoughts about that?



#18
Yosharian

Yosharian

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1060 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer

I'll not play PoE2 for a few months, but I'm reading a few reviews.

 

The opinion on the story that got me most worried was Rock Paper Shotgun's on-going review. It said that the main story was too disconnect from every other quest (kinda similar to PoE1 actually). In PoE1 however, it was more forgivable because the main story was you seeking a way to get rid of your soul-awakening. It did not feel very imediate - which was a complaint from a lot of people - but at least it made sense when your character was dealing with a slow-progressing illness and chose to adventure here an there in sidequests.

 

Now, however, there's a giant god that took your soul stamping cities (apparently) and it just feels weird (according to the review) to be doing anything else besides following that god. This is a very poor story design decision and it god me less excited to play the game :(.

 

Can anyone who have played the beggining of the game give their thoughts about that?

 

My thoughts as someone who hasn't played the game yet is that I pay as much attention to RPS' opinions as to do to the colour of my morning turds


  • GuyNice and gloomseeker like this

#19
Voss

Voss

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 750 posts

For PoE1, it was the speed (which I'd say the main story is too fast, and padded with side quests that don't actually matter), but the railroad, with the scheduled stops for utterly massive exposition. 

 

You start with a freak accident that has nothing to do with you.  You want to learn more, so you're looking for these people.

Maerwald is required, and you're required to kill him... for reasons.  Conveniently, he info dumps you for your next stop...

 

where you learn about your three required fedex quests. 

Lady Webb then info dumps you and introduces literally everything, including the random guy you're chasing.

 

but you can't go anywhere until the animancy hearings magically make the floods stop between the city and the next town.

Any seemingly plot relevant decisions you made in the city  are discarded when Evil Pope shows up and renders it all moot.  So you chase him some more.

 

He goes down a hole.  You (probably) finish up a whole lot of side quests, then follow him down a different hole.

Some dead elf randomly infodumps even more stuff at you. It vaguely relates to why the game wants to pretend you have trouble sleeping sometimes, even though that never actually mattered.

 

The big problem with all the infodumps so far is they're savagely overwritten in lurid purple prose, and poke haphazardly and half-heartedly at questions covered in your local Intro to Philosophy course.  But with literally 'a (mind) wizard did it' as the acceptable (and correct) answer.

 

Finally you catch up to the guy who's made you lose sleep, accidentally.  You're quest suddenly transforms to 'find out more' to a mandated murder. (For the crime of  being nearby when you walked out of a cave).   And incidentally, being the foremost cause of every atrocity the world has ever known.  Luckily, despite succeeding completely in his plans for the souls of children, he had utterly failed to throw the switch on the machine, despite the fact that it probably took you a month or more to finish up all the sidequests, and he's been down there all that time.

 

You then pick an ending, ME3 style, by throwing a switch on a machine.

 

This is not a good story.   The ongoing GrimDerp and the relentless stupidity, bigotry and ignorance of the settlers (or the natives) don't help any.

 

 

So far Deadfire is... a little more approachable.  The various factions are doing things for relatable and relevant human reasons.  Unfortunately the main story seems to taken most of its cues from PoE1, but happily seems completely irrelevant to whatever is going on in the Deadfire.  (at least so far).


Edited by Voss, 10 May 2018 - 06:40 PM.

  • Aressem likes this

#20
dukeisaac

dukeisaac

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 242 posts
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

I'll not play PoE2 for a few months, but I'm reading a few reviews.

 

The opinion on the story that got me most worried was Rock Paper Shotgun's on-going review. It said that the main story was too disconnect from every other quest (kinda similar to PoE1 actually). In PoE1 however, it was more forgivable because the main story was you seeking a way to get rid of your soul-awakening. It did not feel very imediate - which was a complaint from a lot of people - but at least it made sense when your character was dealing with a slow-progressing illness and chose to adventure here an there in sidequests.

 

Now, however, there's a giant god that took your soul stamping cities (apparently) and it just feels weird (according to the review) to be doing anything else besides following that god. This is a very poor story design decision and it god me less excited to play the game :(.

 

Can anyone who have played the beggining of the game give their thoughts about that?

So I've played 15 hours so far and here's my impression.

 

I understand where the reviewer is coming from. True, there is a looming threat that everyone is talking about (Eothas) and it feels weird not to follow it.

 

But you know what ? I don't care. Without spoiling anything, every step you take towards Eothas only shows how unprepared you are. He is almighty, you were brought to the brink of death. And despite that imminent threat, real world problems, problems to which you can relate, are right in front of you. What are you going to do ?

 

This is a roleplaying game. So roleplay. If you want to solve the main issue, just go, nothing is stopping you. But if you want to be mister nice guy, well, here's a world of issues and have fun solving them. Deadfire provides this and in my experience so far, each quest gives insight into this world and it has been so far very interesting.

 

Haven't seen the whole plot yet, but I like where it's going. Eothas isn't the only problem in the Deadfire, he's only the most apparent one.


  • LuccA, sp3cw4r, peko and 4 others like this





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: story, plot, deadfire, pillarsofeternity

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users