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Eternity Josh Sawyer reflects on his failure with Pillars of Eternity

Discussion in 'Obsidian Entertainment' started by Roguey, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. apostrophe Literate

    apostrophe
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
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    The worst game I somehow forced myself to finish. Everything was bad.
    - Stats, leveling, and whole char development is terrible. They managed to make a well-balanced system without dump stats by making everything boring and meaningless. 3% damage bonus from Might, great when I reach level 10 and put a point after rounding I will do 1 damage more per strike, exciting. And when you factor in that classes meant do to damage, like cipher or rogue, already have a 40% bonus it gets even more pointless. Only stats worth it are those that give you saving throws (or however this game chose to name them) and only for tanks since the game forces MMO tank, healer, DPS system. Accuracy, the main combat attribute is on a linear progression curve.
    - Itemization is terrible. Only a couple of weapons have unique mods that you can not craft or buy and they are not fun or powerful (except maybe retaliation). There is no excitement from finding better gear. The same goes for crafting when you finally get the mats for something you can be 100% sure you can buy it in the next town or it will drop in the next dungeon. This also makes weapon and armor selection quite boring, you could not equip everyone in BG2 with katanas, there were simply not enough good ones in the game. In PoE entire back row can use muskets and shotguns.
    - Combat is just a mess, everything was badly designed or badly implemented. And with combat speed and the micro required you had to hit pause every 5 seconds completely runining the experience. Also, you could not cast buffs before combat for some reason witch effectively made every spell in that category useless because at lower levels if you don't CC you die, and at higher levels, it was just a waste of time. This and all of the above combined with no combat experience made exploration pointless.
    - Writing. If I remember correctly this game actually bragged how many text is in the game, because Planescape. Who the fuck thinks that is important? Do people go and ask for book recommendations based solely on number of pages? Not to mention that PST didn't even have that much text, BG2 had more text. There is a bar in PST filled with interesting characters including a divine letter of the alphabet, burning man, a couple of demons, bartender who can sell you eyes etc. and they all combined have less to say than any village idiot in POE. Now the average POE village idiot does have some beautifully written lines about local history and surrounding areas but most of it is just pointless boring information with a lot of fluff. Also, I really don't expect every beggar on the street to have Shakespeare's mastery of the English language, it just looks dumb, pretentious and breaks immersion.
     
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  2. Verylittlefishes Scholar Patron

    Verylittlefishes
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    Just remembered that most fun gear management I experienced was in Rage of Mages II.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Daedalos Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Daedalos
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    Okay, apologzy accepted, Josh. Can we have a TB mod for Pillars 1, now? Thanks in advance! :)

    In seriousness though, it's perfectly understandable why POE2 sold poorly.

    I mean, you already had questionable interest in poe1 in the later stages and expansions, and you had few people invest and complete the game.

    Then you want to make a sequel that even convolutes the story even more, but this time you mix in it with all kinds of weird tones and places - pirates? ancient cultures and civilizations, religious themes and gods all over, a giant god walking across the water, quirky ship combat, island hopping.
    You try to go hard on the LORE, but its genuinely uninteresting and fails to capture peoples attention.

    The entire world, setting and story felt like such a staunch departure from the setting from poe1, that people rightfully felt put off, and was kind of wtf?

    Even if POE2 mechanically was a better game than 1, it ultimately overshot what made poe1 great.
     
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  4. Verylittlefishes Scholar Patron

    Verylittlefishes
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    The lore in Deadfire is fucking broken, I couldn't care less about these indistinguishable from each other Negroes native tribes with unpronouncable names and weird accents. Also I didn't get the final talk with Eothas. I get the ending in PoE. Okay. I return souls, or I release souls, or whatever, and also Gods are Mortals. Okay. But wtf was that about in the Deadfire final? Honestly, I can't even remember it. Was the world lost and hopeless because Eothas gone? But he is not God, as we've learned before. Or is he?

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Haplo Liturgist Patron

    Haplo
    Joined:
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    It had decent impact in TW1. Too bad that it was but a shadow in later iterations.

    Amazing how much TW1 did right and in how many aspects it was the best of the series.
     
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  6. HoboForEternity sunset tequila Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    pretty much. i already said how much it would be better if deadfire was focused on finding ukaizo as the platinum chip type of plot devices and new character. that would make randomly sailing across random island makes more sense, faction mechanics that makes more sense , and overall more possibility of open ended plot (pretty much just damn copy new vegas here.side with faction A to get plot device Y, or faction B for plot device Y, or independent choice, etc)

    i have no problem with deadfire mundane plot and politics, in fact i find them the better part of the worldbuilding. the fantasy part is mostly generic, with some interesting concept of gods that are badly executed and implemented in the story.
     
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  7. MajorMace Learned

    MajorMace
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    This whole masturbatory self-satisfied celebration of deadfire (get it ?) sales is somewhat lame tbf.
    Since there's obviously not a single sane person in the world that would actually take sales as a solid indicator of quality for a video game, even less so for a niche oldschool crpg, the only valid reason to point this failure again and again is to ravel in it and celebrate the collapse of decline. This goes to all the predictable "but, science !" replies, since these would be posted of bad faith, maybe a little bit of malice as well.

    Decline, mind you, means isometric crpg with hand-crafted loot, backgrounds and dialogues in this case. How did we get to this situation ? Well we all know how, it started with sawyer's being a smartass, people disliking his smartass comments and bashing his design ideas on every - single - occasion. You can pretend it's not, because his game turned out to be shit on release, so you can convince yourself you knew it all along, that it all makes sense and that this displays an acute perception from you. But it's just not true, anyone with a little bit of objectivity will realise that the main problems making poe an absolute chore to play through have nothing to do with anything we could have known prior to release. Bugs fucking up the stats permanently, circonvoluted storyline and ineffective narration, bland companions & interaction, shit c&c... But as a matter of fate, it all came together and proved, all for the most hazardous reasons, that sawyer was indeed a fag with shit ideas.
    Meanwhile, in the real world, criticism about engagement system, character customisation and itemisation is but a memory since none of this mattered in the grand scheme of things. Even more so in the sequel since it's been all fixed. But there's no time for critical thinking at the moment, we're hatin' !

    And that's the baffling aspect of this morbid circlejerk that has been going on for 4 years now (!). That's the maximum extent of a shared and cultivated butthurt over some californian mediocre designer and his irrelevant ideas that he swallowed back as fast as he offered them. Roguey's transformation is spectacular in this regard, the dude is basically making pennance these last few months and god forbids anyone ignores that he knowns that sawyer is a hack now. He's basically cured from his strange illness, a cure which strangely feels like another illness but I digress.
    What are we happy to see go, in the end ? I don't even understand why anyone would be glad about this demise. Is it a matter of teaching a lesson to soyboy sawyer and his statements on "degenerate gameplay" ? Is it just spite or is there a rational take out there, because really all I see is yet another oldschool isometric crpg failing, and I can't see a single good reason to be happy about that besides personal vendettas and whatnot (you get a pass chris <3).
    Whether people would feel indifferent about it, is perfectly normal and the case of the majority here and elsewhere, but this shameless display of edginess is just plain retarded. We're getting to levels which might launch poe into greater heights than oblivion. A game where npc interactions is handled by a random minigame, where dialogues is handled by keywords and stock text, where combat revolves around mashing the mouse and where there isn't a choice anywhere to begin with. Some here, will actually, genuinely consider it the same. Like, not out of sheer edginess mind you : they actually put both these games on the same level.

    This game channels more resentment than the banal shit boring outer worlds somehow. Which is from the same dev and the equivalent of poe, except that, you know, it's triple AAA popamole pew pew bonanza. But, and understandably so, nobody gives a shit about this one. It gets even more puzzling when you know that the outer worlds doesn't prey on baldur's gate for quick shekels, but on fallout.
    Truly there's something magical about either sawyer or poe. I've seen quite a share of shovelware, we all have. I've seen the mediocre, the banal shit boring, the irredeemably stupid, but none has generated such passion as poe.

    Considering deadfire improved a lot on the gameplay (see the points made in the post from apostrophe up there, everything is adressed in the sequel basically) + the sales suggest that maybe a fifth of poe's players actually even tried the sequel, this whole behaviour is irritating.
    I'll take my shit for posting this, but I do think it had to be posted. This has nothing to do with poe's quality (or lack thereof), obsidian's writing (in)capacities or sawyer's diet, this isn't a defense of any of these or any of these actors. I have 0 faith that this last point will get through but it's essential to take a step back and think : why am I happy about this situation ?

    I didn't use oblivion as an example innocently earlier. This shit is tiresome. These butthurt posts who carry on from generation to generation. This game, and again it's really just the game -nobody gives a shit about outer worlds, rightfully so-, basically generates the same behaviour that bethesda games. It's impossible to have a discussion about it here. The differences are that few people actually played this one, and that bethesda games make millions and are revered as exemplar rpgs when deadfire sunk (get it?) and few people but us actually know of its existence to begin with.

    So you don't miss the point :
    - I'm not saying oldschool games get a pass on harsh criticism, if harsh criticism there should be then so be it.
    - I'm not saying poe is good or worthy of interest or something. Try not to give in to quick & easy interpretations.
    - Don't question my tastes, I'm insecure. Thx.

    J'accuse.
     
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  8. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    I've read through the rest of this thread and the buffing discussion really is something else.

    1. It was never an issue for anyone (up until autism apparently became contagious like common cold).
    2. I can't think of a single recognizable crpg where it works like it does in your imaginary worlds (buffing for every fight, buffing every 10 minutes, etc), which is why point 1 is true (my deduction skills are amazing, I know).

    Just imagine all those thirty-something IE fans staying wide awake long into the night, thinking: BG2 was an amazing game, but how do we improve on it? Oh shit, right, you could cast spells outside of combat, that's so fucked up. If only we could have a modern rtwp game where you can cast bless only once the combat starts, that would be sweeeeeeet.

    I mean, right?

    Finally, even if it was an issue, the way POE "solved" it is 101% plebeian. Just look at an actually good crpg, like Wiz8, and see how (pre)buffing works there. It's not rocket science.
     
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  9. Verylittlefishes Scholar Patron

    Verylittlefishes
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    True RPGs, like The Age of Decadence or Disco Elysium are in no need of your untermensch "magyk".
     
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  10. Max Damage Learned

    Max Damage
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    I don't follow the development of fucking video games that much, what if the game just blows monkey dongs regardless of what amount of autism was spilled on both sides? Shocking thought, I know. I don't give a shit about sales, especially when it comes to singleplayer games. Devs get shafted all the time, hell, Black Isle went under through no retardation of their own. I take no mirth in fact that there may not be PoE 3, I have nothing against the dev of New Vegas, everybody is free to talk whatever they want (again, I don't autistically follow even the games I look forward to) as long as the end product is actually fun to play. Best of luck to Josh, hopefully he learned from his mistakes and won't repeat them in the future. Him developing 1 decent game in the past doesn't elevate his current or future projects to the status of sacred cow, get your head out of your ass.
     
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  11. AdamReith Educated Patron

    AdamReith
    Joined:
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    Prebuffing was some of my favorite stuff in BG. It forced you to actually look at what you were fighting and think about how best to deal with it. Like, oh shit a demon better slap on protection from evil. It's very thematic and very fun meta wise.

    I only just now realised it wasn't present in PoE or Tyranny because I'm a bit retarded. Why would they ever remove that?

    PoE hate-discussion is fantastic because it's making me realise all the things I loved about BG without even realising it.
     
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  12. Efe Scholar

    Efe
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    what sawjer truly needs is a cynical codexer to reflect his ideas on.
    someone that can be brutally honest with him... it would work out great as long as he doesnt pick fluent.
     
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  13. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Developers have largely abandoned places that criticize their work for safe space echo chambers
     
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  14. Wunderbar Arcane

    Wunderbar
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    yeah, sawyer should return to codex. Unfortunately, he's scared of Roguey.

    Roguey , could you create an account on badgame and start harassing him by posting some trivia?
     
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  15. MajorMace Learned

    MajorMace
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    Wrong. Some still come here.
    When they have a game to sell you, then they fuck off and you never see them again.

    Right now, Ziets is kickstarting his studio, I'm an oracle and make the prediction that you won't hear of him once he releases his highly monocled game.
     
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  16. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    I've seen complaints about prebuffing all over the internet. Someone created a mod for NWN2 to make it a bit more tolerable https://neverwintervault.org/project/nwn2/other/gui/rod-preparation
     
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  17. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    Hah. I put a vid of that on YouTube. What a waste of time.

    Anyway, you don't know what prebuffing is until you've soloed a Fighter/Mage/Cleric in BG2. :P
     
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  18. frajaq Arbiter

    frajaq
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    you fellows should follow his twitter btw

     
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  19. biggestboss Savant

    biggestboss
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    https://www.kotaku.co.uk/2018/02/15...nity-ii-publishers-and-dwarven-discrimination

    Kotaku Shill Journo: You guys have been working on games like this for a long time – is it hard to remember to keep things streamlined, or accessible?

    Josh Sawyer: Yes. It's a game that we know how to make. I guess the thing is though, going all the way back to Icewind Dale ... I worked on Icewind Dale, and then I was the lead on Icewind Dale II, and ... In QA there was such, at Black Isle, there was an enormous gulf in player capability. And a lot of it depended on system mastery. And I was someone who, I grew up playing D&D, I played a tonne of it at university, too much at university, and I kind of just assumed that everyone understood how to play D&D, and so I designed combat and counters that were just ruthless, and brutal, and psychotic.

    I remember one experience in particular, where we had a QA tester come up to my office and he said, "This is impossible. This fight is ridiculous, I've been trying to get through this for two and a half hours. What in the world were you thinking?" And I'm like, "What fight?" And he told me the fight, and I turned to my office mate who was also really good at these sort of games, I was like, "How many tries did it take you [to beat that fight]?" He's like, "I think I got through it on the first try." I'm like, "Yeah, I got through it on the first try too."

    And so this tester says, "You are fucking lying. You're so full of shit." He's like, "Show me – show me how you did it." So I load it in, and I started pre-buffing. And I had three casters going for five rounds pre-buffing, and people drinking potions. He's asks, "What are you doing?" "I'm pre-buffing." He's like, "What do you mean?" So I explained all the different bonuses that I got, and how they stacked with each other, and how I cast the longest duration spells first, so that by the time I got to my shortest duration ones, that they were at the end of sequence and all this stuff. And then I transitioned, and I went in, and I fucking just wiped out the whole map. And he was like, "That's how you're supposed to do that?" I'm like, "Yeah, that's how I do every fight."

    There are people who want pre-buffing actually in Pillars II. I'm like, "No, dude." Because it's these things that create gulfs. We have buffs, and they're powerful buffs, but you can't pre-buff. You have to do it in combat. So there's an opportunity cost. The smart character can still time the things out and be crafty and clever, but it doesn't create this enormous gap between players.

    That's the stuff that I want to avoid. I want there to be tactical complexity and depth, I don't want it to be something where there's no-brainer choices that if you don't make you’ll handicap yourself, and if you don't play the game in a very specific way, you're just going to set up for failure.
     
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  20. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    "I saw complaints all over the internet" doesn't tell me much. I've got a decent exposure to IE games, their fans and discussions about them since they were released and never got even a hint of this being a pain point, let alone a major one. Then there's a question I'm writing about in the second point - whether these are people who feel the need to cast every buff possible whenever they go to a toilet (and I'm willing to believe that such people exist, I just can't understand them and don't think they're numerous) or if you actually miss out in any way if you don't do that. Personally, I don't know a crpg for which the latter was true.

    And that mod seems to be a much better solution than what POE did, but what isn't.
     
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  21. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    swing and miss because in aod you prebuff by applying whetstones and poison flasks to your weapons
     
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  22. Butter Erudite

    Butter
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    Those damn Black Isle devs creating gaps between players who cast their spells and players who don't.
     
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  23. biggestboss Savant

    biggestboss
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    Thanks for reminding me of this. I've been wracking my head on a good way to architect a buffing/pre-buffing system for a game that has real time exploration and turn based combat but consistently managing the durations of said buffs have been a blocker for me. AoD's "spear is coated with poison for your next 5 attacks" is the kind of system that I think I need to ape.
     
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  24. Deadman Arcane Patron

    Deadman
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    Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    there is an anti-sawyer conspiracy.
     
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  25. Desiderius Found your egg, Robinett, you sneaky bastard Patron

    Desiderius
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    Or you could, you know, let the dude get his joy of discovery from learning how to pre-buff. Like you did Josh. So much that you played too much at University.

    The vanity/snobbery of his cohort is truly a bottomless abyss. Gnosticism is a helluva drug.
     
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