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Dragon Age update - zombie kittens are in!

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Dragon Age update - zombie kittens are in!

Game News - posted by Vault Dweller on Tue 26 June 2007, 16:23:06

Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age: Origins

Let's see what David Gaider has been up to:

On character advancement:
What's the real difference between, say, a 1st level fighter, paladin or ranger in D&D? Very little. The paladin and ranger don't cast any spells yet. They have maybe one class ability if they're lucky. Otherwise they're armor-wearing warriors with a +1 bonus to hit -- and that's it.

A Warrior in DA would start off the same way. Then you start buying your talents and skills in the way you want him to grow. You move him into the advanced class that you want, which will give you access to all the variety of class types that you find so very not-limiting.

On choices:
Rather than offer a whole bunch of cosmetic choices, we offer a smaller number of choices but try to make them much deeper -- your choice of race and class affect much more than your appearance, they dictate your entire introduction into the game and the world.

I suppose there are some who will still be put out even so, lacking the option to play their favorite sort of gnome or ogre or what have you... and that really can't be helped. Every decision we make on what the Dragon Age world is means there is one more thing it isn't. We're fine with that. We're not trying to please everyone, we're trying to make one thing and make it well enough that perhaps some of these people come to love it for what it is rather than dislike it for what it isn't.

On dragons:
Dragons are cunning to the point of having deductive reasoning, arguably even sentience, without having the ability to communicate or possess a civilization. They are like dolphins -- that will eat you.

Thoughts on different game systems:
When looking at stuff like whether or not to use a spells/day or a mana system, one thing you really have to look at from a design perspective is what kind of behaviour you are encouraging... because, quite frankly, it may not be the behaviour you think you are encouraging.

Take a spells/day system, as in you have X spells to cast per day and need a full night's rest in order to regain those charges. What behaviour results? Well, in a D&D game, you potentially end up with parties camping out repeatedly inside a dungeon... if they're hard-pressed, you end up with a rather odd system where every 30 minutes or so of difficult encounters are alternated with a good 8 hours of rest.

Oh, there's certainly arguments that can be made about tactics and using one-shot items such as potions or scrolls... and that's valid, but really any system can be "worked" in some manner. The basic resulting behaviour is what I'm talking about here. And Gvoekle is quite correct: typically people tend to lean to the conservative no matter what system they're in.

Take, for instance, item deterioration in an MMORPG. On one level you get the intended resulting behaviour: players need to spend time fixing and/or replacing broken equipment. That creates a need, perhaps as a nod to the economy model. But what about other behaviours? In one MMO I played, the result of item deterioration was "naked battles". When groups planned on going into large fights or raids where they knew they would die repeatedly, they wore no armor and took along as poor equipment as possible. It was almost silly, really.

So you have to ask yourself as a designer: is this the behaviour I want to encourage? Does this behaviour fit in with the experience the game will have, as well as the other systems in place?

Mana systems also have their issues. Take regeneration of mana. If you have any mana regeneration over time, what happens? That's right... you end up with players having their characters waiting there on-screen in real time, doing nothing in order to regenerate their mana. Slow down the mana regeneration, and what happens? Typically, people wait longer and get more annoyed because they feel they have to do so. So take out regeneration... let's say you simply restore mana after every combat? Well, then you would probably end up with "spell binge" inside of combat-- where the goal is to use up the entire mana pool each and every single fight.

Could that work? Maybe, depending on whether the rest of the system is built to accomodate it. All I'm saying here is that no matter how you design the workings of the magic system what's important is not that you look at it from an aesthetic or theoretical standpoint but that you look at it from a behavorial one... as that's what we'll be doing.

Some forum ass-kicking and face-stabbing. With extreme prejudice:
And if you find that too frustrating, as I said above-- perhaps it's time to move on. Door's over there. I always find it interesting that some people immediately accuse everyone who dares to argue with them as fawning fanbois (or, in this case, as "licking" our butts ) as if demeaning everyone else here makes their viewpoints more mature and valid. Ad hominen, indeed.

Because otherwise? Zombie kitters. Rawwr. Serious stuff, man, and nobody needs that.
So once we're ready to talk about Dragon Age in detail, we'll do it both here and abroad. Until then? Feel free to speculate, as well as argue. Just don't be an *** about it. I, on the other hand, I may decide to be an *** if I wish, on immersion or any other topic. But that's because this is my house and YOU are the guest here. And because life's not fair.

And you can perceive whatever you like. It's when you feel the need to offer your perceptions as insults that we take exception. You don't like it when I roll my eyes at every mention of "immersion"? That's fine. You disagree with what others have said on linearity or what have you? Also fine. You don't like Chris Priestly? I suggest stabbing him in the face, but that may only work for me. Either way, there's nothing wrong with opinions. Just don't be an ***, like I said.

EDIT: stupid swear filter. *shakes fist at Chris*
Keep up the good fight, Dave.

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