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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. Stokowski Arcane

    Stokowski
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    Dear Josh,

    You were responsible for Icewind Dale II, so I will always :hug:you.

    However,

    1. You make single player games. Stop obsessing over balance. It's a nebulous goal that does nothing to improve gameplay in a single player title.

    2. Separation of base attributes into physical and mental/spiritual isn't evil. It works really well. Hybridisation and synergies develop naturally enough from deratives (skills), not bases (attributes). Attempting to hydridise base attributes (and balance them, naturally) leads to conceptual idiocy like Might affecting spell power, or Barbarians needing high Intelligence to fuel Area-of-Effect abilities. Stop it.

    3. Re-inventing the wheel, with worse spelling, does not great lore make. If you cannot be truly original, then just steal from the best and save a lot of labour (and eye-strain).

    5. If your story revolves around a major conceptual conundrum, get the fundamental question correct. No point harping on about "what if the gods don't really exist?" when the crux is "how does it matter if the gods are created, rather than creators?"

    4. If your story revolves around a major conceptual conundrum, integrate it properly into the plot, rather than being an occasional visitor.

    EDIT: Not your idea apparently: 5. Short text adventures are neat. But they are a wholly inadequate form for a game of naval combat. FFS.

    6. Pre-buffing isn't a metagaming sin. If we're travelling in tombs infested with undead, an anti-fear buff makes sense. If in a fire cave, facing fire creatures, a shield against fire damage is logical. This isn't breaking holy writ; it's common sense adventuring. Taking that away makes the game world seem more stupid. Can you afford that?

    7. If your priestess must speak with such an accent, make them a priestess of NASCAR. It would make more sense. (And be more fun.)

    :littlemissfun:

    Yeah, remember fun?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  2. passerby Savant

    passerby
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    How about replying to the whole paragraph that had a very clear message, instead of unfortunately worded sentence quoted out of context, before I fixed it ?
     
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  3. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    This would also mean that White March sales could be higher than you think. :M

    Now you're getting it.
     
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  4. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    If there is anything Josh has done well in terms of gameplay design, it is to remove pre-buffing. It might make sense to pre-buff yourself from a narrative standpoint, but from a gameplay perspective it's just tedious busywork that adds nothing. It's muuuch better to actively think whether to buff or to use other things in combat.

    Either way, the system isn't what kept normies away from PoE2. Nobody analyses this thing outside of dedicated forums like this one.


    Before Steamspy went all anal, I think we knew the exactish number of WM copies sold, but I'm not sure about this at all. Either way, yes, WM's sales could've been higher than I think, but is it enough to think PoE2 would sell an equal amount of copies or even more? I doubt it.

    As for me now getting it, DLC is being created, so there's definitely something going on there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  5. AW8 Arcane

    AW8
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Josh originally cut ship combat because he didn't feel it was good, but Feargus put it back in as a stretch goal. Making it in CYOA form is the only realistic implementation on Deadfire's budget.

    So this particular complaint should be sent up the chain, to Feargus.
     
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  6. nikolokolus Arcane

    nikolokolus
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    I look at POE1 as a competently made, very ernest game that was desperately trying to keep the lights on, but never appeared to be the product of somebody's desperate need to get a unique creative vision out in the world. The result was a bland, apathetic, "paint by numbers" experience that I eventually set aside and never looked back. POE2's promise of more of the same made it easy to take a hard pass.
     
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  7. RickOmbo Educated

    RickOmbo
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    It's like pre-christmas christmas.
     
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  8. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

    Kyl Von Kull
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    Yes!!! Pretty sure it was Fenstermaker, but either way “the gods are man-made and this asshole’s been working hard to keep it a secret” is a lot more low key than “the gods are real and they’re about to go to war.” Or “the gods are real/fake and they need to consume human souls to prevent some looming catastrophe.” The twist at the end of POE is what you get when your boss wants you to tell a story about a titanic struggle between the gods and you don’t like that idea at all.
     
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  9. Stokowski Arcane

    Stokowski
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    I'm not sure I follow. Casting a spell once at the start of a dungeon level is more "tedious busywork" than casting the same spell at the start of every combat?

    Or are you thinking that those abilities should all be removed and all fear/fire/whatever resistance is fixed to gear or permanent features of class or species?
     
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  10. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    If you are casting the same buff every encounter, or have it constantly up anyway, there's something wrong. Either the encounters are trashy, copy-pasted time-wasters, or pre-buffing exists but should be baked into the classes and not be an extra button to push after every rest. What I mean is that it's better to weigh the pros and cons of buffing, debuffing, damaging, healing etc. than the buffing layer being exclusively out of combat. It just makes more sense gameplay-wise.
     
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  11. Efe Scholar

    Efe
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    he could have limited prebuffing, by stacking constraints or by limiting active amount.
    you can even keep that buff active at all times in a "buff slot" so you dont cast it every encounter.

    removing it outright helped how? seems to me he just randomly tore away at existing systems to fix a relatively small problem.
     
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  12. Mr. Magniloquent Learned

    Mr. Magniloquent
    Joined:
    May 31, 2018
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    The Present
    Cons
    1. Try-hard not-D&D rip-off.
    2. Terrible, narrow, gimmicky classes
    3. Gimmicky, awkward, boring spells.
    4. Gimmicky disatisfying talents.
    5. Boring, directionless plot.
    6. Needlessly abstract statistics.
    7. Lore dumps.
    8. BALANCE.
    9. Mediocre companions.
    Pros
    1. Nice art direction.
     
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  13. ga♥ Liturgist

    ga♥
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    Your whole paragraph is retarded. You are attributing the success IE games attained to piracy, in a weak way to defend PoE.

    "Ofcourse PoE had less success... there's no piracy anymore" this is what you mean.

    Just go kill yourself retard.
     
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  14. Stokowski Arcane

    Stokowski
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    Yeah, but did you see the suit on that guy?

    One is immediate and memorable (ouch, you fucker!), the other is abstracted (I have a home? I'm supposed to care about it? OK ... ).

    If I survive being shot in the head I'm a badass (though possibly brain-damaged too). If I "survive" death by ending up chatting with the god of death, then what have I really lost? (Other than a fear of death.) Guess I'm literally a chosen one ... again ... strong deja vu, much apathy.

    :M
     
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  15. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    Why limit it when what he has done makes perfect sense in terms of gameplay? Besides, food is prebuffing, so he couldn't remove every bit of it.
     
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  16. Xeon Augur

    Xeon
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    I don't think you always need buffing for fights aside from bosses but I still like pre-buffing. Its more efficient, for example you can just pre-buff fully and full burst every encounter in the map and clear them up before they run out.
     
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  17. Stokowski Arcane

    Stokowski
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    OK. I can see it's easy for a game to devolve into too much of that - copy-pasted activity forced by copy-pasted encounters - but the alternative seems to be to remove thematic elements from combat areas. And I think that's throwing away too much. Fires caves are cool, y'know ... well, they're ackshully hot, but ... themed sites for extended combat encounters are not something I would want done away with (or even watered down, too much). It's still possible to have varied combat encounters within a themed area in which a long-term buff (or two) makes both narrative and gameplay sense.
     
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  18. Trashos Arcane

    Trashos
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    Benny, as he appears in FONV's introductory clip, is still an internet meme. Not only had he shot you in the head and buried you, but he was that cool charming dude in an impressive suit. His dialogue in the clip was good. The ambience was good. Someone there had a vision for Benny, he was not "by the numbers". That clip was impressive.
    You could do an exactly same clip conceptually, and it could be a failure. Execution matters. Details matter. Talent matters. Filthy casuals may not be able to articulate why they were impressed, but they know it when they are impressed.

    Anyway, PoE1 (which I have played) was not good enough to create a new following for this type of game (and it had the chance), and Deadfire (which I have not played) was apparently not good enough to ignite any dying fire.

    How do you even sell Deadfire to someone? Pirates!? Everyone is bi!? Better than that PoE1 game that you didn't like much?! Great story about... no, no, the writing is not good, about... you know, all sorts of stuff?!
     
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  19. Butter Erudite

    Butter
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    You can have certain enemy types cast dispel so that pre-buffing works in general, but can't be relied on for the big encounters. They even did it in a little game called Icewind Dale.
     
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  20. ItsChon Resident Zoomer Patron

    ItsChon
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    Both of these posts raise an important point. When we talk about how effective a games hook is, we're looking back at it retroactively, after we've already come to some sort of conclusion about whether or not the setting and characters in the world that has been presented to us are interesting. The reason Deadfire's hook is so shit is that the writing in the game is garbage and you quickly come to hate all the stupid shit about the setting and characters that you see. This is why I think talking about hooks is silly, because either the game is engaging and atmospheric or it isn't. I'd love for someone to give me an example of a game with a great story, setting, and characters, that has a weak hook.
     
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  21. Akratus Self-loathing fascist drunken misogynist asshole Patron

    Akratus
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
     
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  22. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    The solution to pre-buffing isn't to remove it, it's to make it attract enemies since spellcasting is loud. Looking at Kingmaker, just having spellcasting cause enemies within X range come investigate would cut down on a lot of the abuse, but let you cast 10 minute/hour per level spells at the start of the dungeon as you logically should.
     
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  23. lophiaspis Savant

    lophiaspis
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    Tsk tsk. Shoulda listened to the Codex, Josh.
     
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  24. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Well that is what happens when you ignore places where people that know some real shit about RPGs and focus on twatter and tumbler groups. The problem was the same with all the obsidian games in the past 10 years,bad writing.
     
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  25. Yosharian Cipher

    Yosharian
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    /thread
     
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