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The New World update #29: On C&C and Storytelling

Discussion in 'Iron Tower Studio' started by Vault Dweller, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    As you probably know by now, Choices & Consequences are more than just a feature for us. It’s the foundation on which the game is built and a concept we’ll continue exploring and evolving as long as we stay in business. The reason it’s so important to us –and hopefully to you – is that the players need a steady stream of choices to craft their own tales and it is the consequences that give meaning to those choices and alter the tale.

    AoD was our first attempt at C&C and I’d rate this attempt at 6/10. We did many things right and – predictably - we did many things wrong. We also learned quite a lot in the process and we hope that The New World will take C&C to the next level, offering a less restrictive and more engaging experience.

    Essentially, there are 3 types of choices:

    • Multiple quest solutions to let you handle quests in a manner fitting your character. Keep in mind that you will not be able to handle every situation (aka side quest) with brute force or clever words, so some exceptions will apply, but you will be able to beat the game with combat, stealth, or diplomacy.

    • Taking sides in various conflicts, big and small, thus leaving your mark on the gameworld and defining your character through actions (aka role-playing). These decisions aren't based on skills but on your opinions, allegiances, beliefs, past decisions, etc. It works best when there’re plenty of double- and triple-crossing opportunities, like going to kill Lorenza in one of the assassins quest in Maadoran and letting her talk you into killing Darista and Gaelius instead, which affects your options with Hamza when you run into him in Ganezzar.

    • Big Decisions that alter the story (i.e. branching), affect the gameworld, and have far reaching consequences.

    Since Big Decisions are appropriately rare (you can’t alter the storyline every 5 min) and multiple quests solutions are often determined by your build, the meat of the game is taking sides in conflicts, which is a lot more complex than pointing at some ruins and saying ‘there be monsters’.

    First and foremost, the player has to give a damn. Obviously, it’s a very subjective criterion and a major risk factor, especially in a non-fantasy game. Fantasy, ancient mysteries, sword & sorcery hold a certain, deeply engrained appeal. The sci-fi does not, unless it’s reskinned fantasy. However, since we can’t do much about it, we’ll put these concerns aside for a moment and focus on things that are actually within our control:

    • The conflict should be properly designed, meaning it should have a past and a future. The player should see how the conflict came to be, all the factors that led to it, and how the events might unfold after the player’s interference.

    • Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. The player should feel that he/she is doing the right thing. Whoever the player sides with are the good guys fighting the good fight, the other side automatically becomes the evil that must be stopped (i.e. good and evil shifts with perspective).

    • Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. Unlike in a traditional or reskinned fantasy setting, there is no "good" or "evil" faction; every faction presents the upsides to its strategy, and players will be able to see the downsides as well. Once you pick a side, other factions' beliefs become obstacles that amplify the downsides to your faction. As Mark Yohalem said it, “in a world where you can only make an omelet by cracking eggs, they keep trying to knock eggs out of your hand on the floor, mess with the heat on the stove, or slosh the pan.” Players shouldn't feel like paladins, but they should feel that they’re doing the right thing under the circumstances.

    • Handling the conflicts in different ways must have different consequences, ideally ripple-effect style. The player should see the short-term consequences (hooray, we won!) but not the long term effects as the player wouldn’t have all the info (especially on the first playthrough) to consider all the angles. Well, Luther could hardly imagine that his fiery proclamations would eventually result in a bitter divide and a 30-year war…

    Now back to the above-mentioned concerns:

    We don’t expect everyone to like the conflicts and the themes we offer to explore, but we hope that our core audience would enjoy and appreciate the attention to details. Unfortunately, hope is not a very reliable tool, so we have to seek feedback to make sure we stay on the right track.

    Since I talk to Mark Yohalem (the developer of Primordia who’s currently working on Fallen Gods, one of my most anticipated RPGs) quite often, I casually dump my files on him every chance I get. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I praise him, he praises me, everyone’s happy. It’s not like that at all. While I do praise his work and think that his Fallen Gods updates are really awesome, he is merciless, relentless, and tenacious in his criticism. You guys should see him tearing into my work like a fucking chainsaw. It’s a sight to behold.

    Recently I did manage to score some positive points and I’d like to share them with you:

    * * *

    A few weeks ago, I had the painful pleasure of reviewing a small dialogue from The New World. I say “painful” because I adored The Age of Decadence and had managed, despite its very public development, to go in without knowing much about its story or setting. Every time I learn more about TNW, I’m taking a usurious payday advance against when I finally get to play it in a few years. Sure, it’s fun to have a little something now, but I’ll be destitute when the release roles around.

    And now I get to offer the same bitter pill to you, dear reader, because Vince asked me to share my analysis of the dialogue for this update. This is doubly brilliant, since it not only lets Vince put up a long-winded pretentious discussion about narrative themes while maintaining his own laconic reputation, but also will make his future posts seem even more practical and modest in contrast to this one. Given that Vince is basically a real-life Miltiades, I’m not sure why I keep following him into these alleys…

    The dialogue at issue is a quest and mirror-quest where the player meets Lord’s Mercy, a gunslinging lady at the head of a gang of toughs. Mercy is currently in the employ of one Jonas Redford, the owner of a brothel and the de facto boss of the Pit. A powerful outsider gang, called the Regulators, was recently brought into the Pit to help keep out another faction, The Brotherhood of Liberty. But now the Regulators are themselves trying to take over the Pit, and their leader Jeremiah Braxton (erstwhile Faithful Gunner of the Church of the Elect) is hoping to take down Jonas. (Anyone familiar with the television show Deadwood should have an immediate sense for Jonas and the interlopers trying to give him the boot.) The player winds up on one side or the other of this conflict and needs to either make sure Mercy stays loyal to Jonas, or flip her to Braxton’s side.

    At the outset of my conversation with Vince about the mechanics of the dialogue, I gave him my thoughts on what I understood the dialogue’s themes to be. (That’s because Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing persuaded me that when the writer knows what thematic significance a dialogue has, it helps him keep the dialogue lean and focused.) Now, with a little bit of editing, I share my thematic assessment with you.

    • The struggle over the Pit is, like in Deadwood, basically a story about frontier independence being swept away by powerful forces from back in “civilization.” Also, as with the overrunning of Greece by Rome (or any other of a hundred historical examples), it's about how the shortsightedness of internal factions in inviting outside powers leads to all the insiders losing their stature.

    • This struggle is taking place against the backdrop of a failing colony ship, so there’s also an undercurrent that as the world breaks down, power can perversely become consolidated into a few factions’ hands because the middle-class prosperity and law-and-order that maintain individual freedom are lost.

    • Jonas is a stalwart of the frontier/insider old guard: a rough and ugly man, but ultimately an exemplar of rugged/ruthless independence. Braxton represents the more sophisticated, more cultured, more connected, more powerful, more modern outside/civilized strength.

    • Being a Badass Lady, Mercy already starts halfway off third base in terms of player sympathy. She values her Word, her God, and her Gun, which is to say, she's an All-American Hero. Given that she's an All-American Hero, she's naturally on the side of rugged independence, which is where we find her.

    • The effort to flip Mercy to Braxton is thus about the prostitution of Lady Liberty to wealth and power, no? It's Arthur Miller’s Death of a Gunswoman in one short act. (Ironic that her prostitution should entail abandoning a pimp in favor of a churchman, but life is rich with such little ironies.)

    • Conversely, the mirror interaction with Mercy is a matter of saving her from such prostitution.

    • Because a huge part of AOD's appeal, and I think TNW's appeal, is the squalid bargaining the player is tricked(? enticed? invited?) into carrying out, it's excellent that the interloping powerful faction should be in many ways more appealing than the local independence faction because that lets the player think, for a while, that he's doing the Right Thing when helping Braxton and the Wrong Thing in helping Jonas. And in neither case does he come off clean, since it's not like Jonas is George Washington and of course Braxton is a straight-up warlord.

    • So, with this set-up in mind, helping Braxton to subvert Mercy’s loyalty to Jonas should be about humiliating Mercy and/or undermining the values that are important to her. It’s about getting her to trade her code of ethics for blood money, cheap status, or personal safety. Logically, helping Jonas to keep her loyal should be about the flipside, but in order to make it work within the bleak message of AOD/TNW, Braxton’s men should have an opportunity to point out what kind of scum Jonas is. Ultimately, the proviso to “fight for the American dream” given by The New World is “on behalf of an aging pimp who beats his whores and slits kids’ throats.” The game is set at a point where the gangrene has gone too far—mutilation, death, or mutilation followed by death are the three options for the colony ship. There’s neither a Flood nor a Redeemer coming.

    • If I'm right on these themes, I think the dialogue could use just a little bit more length (probably one more node's worth) so that you have more room for Mercy to waver and falter. And rather than having her persuaded in a way that makes her decision seem increasingly reasonable and confident, I would do it in a way that makes her seem increasingly weak and fearful, or at least compromised. My suggestion would be that the two roleplaying paths you’re offering the player (other than just fighting Mercy) are:

      (1) You establish an awful Et tu, Mercy? in which you show that even the steely-eyed, gang-leading, gun-slinging, hand-over-the-quickdraw-holster, views-the-scripture-like-Sam-Jackson-in-Pulp-Fiction-before-he-goes-soft lady can be bent and broken by the shabby corruptions of the world.

      (2) You carry out the grim work of convincing a good woman to lend her gun to a petty pimp so that he can keep the Pit as his fief, which is really another way of saying that we are doomed to have at best the devil we know. And, of course, having bumped off the Protectors and having lost a good swath of his own gunmen in the process, Jonas has simply exposed the Pit to domination by some other outside faction down the road.

      (3) You might also offer a “player is also naive” path in which he persuades Mercy to side with Braxton because he’s a Good and Noble Man in contrast to Jonas, leading to the inevitable discovery that actually Braxton is simply a better class of bully bastard.

      Ultimately, I think this early quest will pull of the neat trick of simultaneously establishing that the player is a free agent capable of tilting the balances of power in a world of deadlocked factional struggles and establishing that there isn’t really room in this setting for a “good guy with a gun” to drive out the bad guys. After all, Mercy is the good guy with a gun, and at the end of the day, she’s just a trigger lady for one or another of the bad guys.

    * * *

    You can convince Mercy to join your cause, whatever this cause might be. If you aren't much of a talker, you can kill her (either in a more or less fair fight or via stealth assassination) to weaken your enemies. Alternatively, let Mercy convince you to side with her when she makes her own play for power (she will help Jonas defeat Braxton, then you'll help her take out Jonas). Thus, the outcomes are:

    • The meddling carpetbaggers are defeated, the Pit remains independent ... but virtually defenseless. Now that the Regulators are gone, the Brotherhood might will surely come knocking on their door again.

    • The Regulators take over, bringing much needed law & order. Being a realist, Braxton knows that he must make an alliance with a major faction. The question is which one but we can leave it up to you. It will be relatively easy to make a deal with the Protectors of the Mission, the hardest with the Church as you'd have to convince Braxton to make amends and do some groveling for the greater good.

    • Lord's Mercy takes over. Maybe now is a good time to tell you she's an Old Testament kinda woman. Her God is a vengeful God and said so Himself in the Good Book. He's all fire and brimstone to His enemies, never thinking twice when it came to righteous retribution. If that’s what her name means, Mercy does her best to live up to it.
    Hopefully, this update will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of quests, conflicts, and themes. Your comments, questions, and complaints are always welcome.

    http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7583.0.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
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  2. D_X Arcane Patron

    D_X
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    MRY, report for 'fisting.
     
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  3. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Vince gets to collect a promoter’s fee from my fists.
     
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  4. Alpan Learned Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Something interesting caught my eye. A little bit of crossdimensional posting:

    This is an adorably American view of liberty, with the definition making special room for the rugged frontiersman's distrust of government, which is in no way universal. More specifically, it combines the idea of positive liberty (freedom to act upon one's (ostensibly) free will) and negative liberty (freedom from the interference of others) but curiously limits the non-interference condition to government. It has a blind spot where other people's intrusions are concerned, and the subsequent extreme examples and anarchy definition suffer as a result.
     
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  5. Binky Learned

    Binky
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    I think he would end up like Linos if he stayed in the corporate world: a soulless money-grubbing vulture. Only smiling when he would destroy a rival or earn another buck.

    Anyway. Setting and C&C is generally what Vince* does well.
    *I'm not using VD anymore. Reminds me of venereal disease/WD-40.
    AoD example: Paullus
    Show Spoiler

    He's a cold and calculating man who started at the bottom and rose through the ranks to become the leader of the Imperial Guards (IG). He deliberately sets the events in the AoD world in motion by sending Carrinas, an impulsive, insubordinate man to Teron.

    If you do nothing, Carrinas fails in his little coup against Antidas and gets killed (a noble martyr of the IG to be avenged and a troublesome pest removed at the same time). Gaelius tries to bring the Ordu and fails. Both Meru and Gaelius ask Paullus to help them. Paullus chooses Gaelius - where he'll continue his path to absolute power.

    Now for the choices. You can:
    • Make him the absolute ruler of the wasteland. (destroy all noble houses, or leave only Daratan standing)
    • Make him Agathoth's favorite fruit fly.
    • Make him the Grand Master of Les Templiers and the true power in Meru's new order.
    • Foil his plans by arranging an alliance between House Daratan & Aurelian.
    • Foil his plans by arranging an alliance between House Daratan & Crassus.
    • Foil his plans by serving Agathoth/Balzaar/becoming a demigod.
    • Foil his plans by convincing Carrinas to join Meru. Or by breaking the siege with the airship.
    • Make him the absolute ruler of the wasteland... and then wake up Agathoth.
    And finally, the best part of the game: convince Gaelius to use the Ordu against him. The strategist set events in motion that end with him getting killed and his faction decimated. Poetic justice.

    Bad example of C&C in AoD?
    (Almost) All roads lead to Agathoth. Ignored Antidas or got him killed? Irrelevant. Find the temple. Want to focus on your faction and not bother with the stupid map? Too bad. Find the temple. Fine. You find the temple. You find the sarcophagus. Great. NOW you can tell your master the temple doesn't exist.

    Should you deal with the threat? Sure IF you have lore/crafting or are a killing machine. Have 10 in traps & alchemy and 10 in intelligence and enough supplies to blast the temple to Zhin? Too bad. Suddenly your ruthless/resourceful/ambitious/cunning character turns into a moron.


    What Vince could learn from MRY? How to write better endings for one. And how to make people actually care for the characters.
    Show Spoiler
    Primordia has wonderful endings. From the utterly depressing, to pyrrhic victory, to the triumphant. Say it ain't so! Gloomy MRY can make an uplifting ending? Yup. But all humans are dead! Yup. And the world is devastated. Yup.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q6Pdx7TfNs

    "I have my old comrade, now in arms. My new friend, freed from the crushing weight of Metropol. And all those who have come looking for a new start."
    Humanity lives on in its creations. The robots have preserved their individuality and their fate is in their hands.

    An example from PS:T. Fin Andlye - a kind and patient man. Learn the language of Uyo. Learn that you killed him. Confess that you murdered him.

    "I think I understand... I sense your regret, and would forgive you. May peace be with you, pupil of old, and may you prove kinder in this life than in the one which saw an end to mine..."

    There is not a single moment like that in AoD. None. You can save lives, be altruistic, and not care about a single one of the characters you've helped/saved.

    I've played Witcher 1 & 2. I didn't really give a shit about anything. Why? Anything you do in those games is wrong.
    To caricature: Geralt gives a girl a cookie? It's laced with arsenic. She dies. Don't give her the cookie? She gets struck by lightning. She dies. Help an old man? He's a cannibal. Congratulations. Kill the old man? A pogrom starts. Ignore the old man? The old man starts a revolution, thousands die. Pick a flower? A king goes insane and invades a neighboring country.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  6. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    The reason the American view of liberty is not universal is because Europe and Asia were buttoned up pretty tight when it came to governments. The locals were never free to develop that distrust when the government was finally forced upon them. There were two events that briefly created government-free zones: the French and the Russian revolutions. Curiously, both revolutions had the same acts: overthrow, freedom for all, mandatory reign of terror, the revolutionary leaders turning on each other, dictatorship, etc.

    Both revolutions spawned the same rugged frontiersmen who, once tasted freedom, didn't want to be governed by others. Naturally, it didn't last long as both states quickly resumed tight control over the locals.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestor_Makhno

    Nestor Makhno or Bat'ko ("Father") Makhno was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist revolutionary and the commander of an independent anarchist army in Ukraine in 1917–22.

    As commander of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, Makhno fought all factions which sought to impose any external authority over southern Ukraine, battling in succession the Ukrainian Nationalists, the Imperial German and Austro-German occupation, the Hetmanate Republic, the Russian White Army, the Russian Red Army, and other smaller forces led by Ukrainian otamans. Makhno and his movement repeatedly attempted to reorganize life in the Huliaipole region along anarchist lines; however, the disruptions of the civil war precluded any long-term social experiments.
    He was the genius who came up with the idea of putting machine guns on the back of horse-drawn wagons, which made chasing his men a whole lot of fun:

    [​IMG]

    It was a quick post not a treatise on liberty and freedom. Traditionally, it was the state that restricted freedom in a variety of creative ways, not other people (whose ability to interfere and infringe always paled in comparison to that of the state). Ideally, freedom and laws restricting it should be properly balanced, but mankind can't into balance so we create more and more laws and regulations, reducing various freedoms further and further.
     
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  7. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    At some point during the development the focus switched to faction questlines while the ending remained the same. Naturally, it feels forced and disjointed. Suddenly, everyone gives a fuck about this temple. We should have made the temple optional and much harder to get to and added another chapter for non-temple endings.

    I don't think you should be able to destroy the temple on your own no matter how much black powder you have.
     
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  8. Binky Learned

    Binky
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    It was an exaggerated example. A caricature. You could prepare a nasty surprise for Agathoth as he exits his chamber. Not that it matters now.

    Correct.

    My post wasn't about AoD. I should have made that clearer. AoD is done. The New World is in development. Perhaps the points I raised were already discussed by Iron Tower. Perhaps not. In any case, you've already sold the game to me. As long as Iron Tower doesn't rust and keeps making interesting games, I'll keep buying and playing them.
     
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  9. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    We went over every flaw and every bit of constructive criticism (meaning criticism that doesn't fall outside of what we wanted to do). I don't believe we could have done better back then, considering the inexperience and mounting pressure, but we can do better now and we did learn from our mistakes. I'm sure we'll make new mistakes, but The New World will be a much better game.

    :salute:
     
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  10. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Binky As I wrote in another thread, I, too, yearned for a "paladin" faction to support in AOD (or a "paladin" path to pursue for my self), and I think that its absence -- and the pain it brings -- is a key part of the game's excellence. AOD is fantasy that rebukes the noble lie. In some ways, it's funny that people are chewing Vince out for praising rugged frontier individualism because AOD is something of a refutation of the Fury Road / Fallout vision of the apocalypse as something that will bring about a bright new world in which rugged frontierfolk will create utopias (after dealing with the trollish remnants of the world that mostly perished in fire); those basically say, "If all the world were reduced to frontier days, the best qualities would emerge from a mix of benevolent men and feisty women to bring about the idealized frontier image of Little House on the Prairie or Giants in the Earth." AOD says, "If all the world were reduced to frontier days, human greed, fear, shortsightedness, seflishness, and clannishness would push us the rest of the way to extinction." The inspiring (?) message of AOD is that you shouldn't think that the reset button can solve the world's problems; you ought to fix and save the world we have.
     
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  11. Binky Learned

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    I didn't yearn for a paladin faction. The absence of choice bothered me. To ignore the temple completely. To deal with the threat to your power (small as it was), and so on.

    Show Spoiler
    A character that kills Agathoth's vessel would not necessarily do it to save mankind & institute a constitutional republic etc. etc. but because he/she wouldn't want to be a puppet, a slave. To quote Levir "I kneel before no man. It's why I've chosen this life." For example, I didn't expect to destroy the space things - even though it is implied it is possible to harm them. The Arch one prattles how men are worms and how the things that sided with Agathoth paid a high price when they returned to the void. They are not immortal. They can be harmed. Not by men, but by turning them against each other & using their power against each other. But to have that option would have been absurd. As would have been the option to have yourself declared Emperor.
     
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  12. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Ah. I was responding to this part, and the part about happy endings:
    As for the other point, more variety of outcomes is definitely good. I always thought AOD was among the best games ever in the range of choices you can make, but the ending was somewhat limited, it’s true.
     
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  13. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    We did have a good range of options there, more than most games that send you to some long forgotten temple at the end. You can kill the god, you can kneel and bring him a lord of your choice, you can convince him to elevate you (the chosen one ending) and go deal with Meru, you can do his bidding and challenge Balzaar if you've already performed the ritual, you can blow up the temple, and you can walk away and leave it alone. I don't think that offering you an option not to go to the temple at all (while keeping the overall structure the same, i.e. without that extra chapter I mentioned) would have made the ending better.
     
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  14. Trash Player Learned

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    AoD isn't that bleak. It is a cruel and unjust world but the worst days are over. There are 2 great houses and a mediating force capable of keeping semblances of order and administration. Trade is alive, if the roads are still treacherous. Extrajudicial paramilitary forces are either facing extinction or aligning closer to the top dog.
    For all the ills this slice of the dead Empire suffers, from both men and gods, people lives on. They kneel, they beg, they sell whatever pass for pride for pittance and rest uneasily on heaps of inscrutable relics, which would reduce everything on top to nothing at a whim. But they live.
     
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  15. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I remember a much grimmer picture, where a huge percentage of the human and material capital of the region was destroyed to no good end, without any factions (other than maybe the Imperial Guard) really the wiser for it. Meanwhile, the ecological damage of the last war seemed unlikely to heal within the lifespan of the dwindling human habitations. And there remained a lot of unexploded superordnance sufficient to wipe out what remained of civilization, but not enough know-how to use the non-destructive surviving tech for any meaningful upside. Possibly I just did a worse job of navigating the world's politics.

    Also, I'm pretty sure at my game over there was an immortal demon enslaving the area because that was back when a talkie character couldn't really do anything other than that.
     
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  16. Binky Learned

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    I was talking about Witcher 1 & 2. How anything you do or don't do in those games leads to something bad happening - to the point you stop caring what happens. I've edited the post to make it clearer.
    Edit: And I wasn't referring to happy endings, but better endings. I found ALL endings in Primordia satisfying. There are two satisfying endings in AoD:
    Show Spoiler

    • You become a demigod. Have you read the Tower of Fear by Glen Cook? You become Nakar the Abomination. Your message to mankind? Submit or die. I don't consider this a happy ending.
    • You destroy the noble houses and then wake up Agathoth. Dictator Paullus vs Agathoth. I don't consider this a happy ending either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  17. ItsChon Erudite Patron

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    I've read through some of these updates and tried sifting through the website + sub-forum, and I still don't really have an understanding of what the game is about. Haven't been able to find a trailer or a brief summary of what's trying to be implemented. This is likely a failure on my part, as I probably missed something somewhere; but could someone point me to some resources or something that'll shed some light on the game and how it's going to play? Is it going to be similar to AoD, what is the art style, etc? Reading through some of these updates has me very interested, I just don't know what I'm interested in. Thanks.
     
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  18. Shilandra Learned

    Shilandra
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    The Hive
    There doesn't seem to be a lot of room to manipulate factions to your own ends. It looks like you can listen to people and have then convince you to help but you can't seem to join a faction to steer it the way you want. Like can you lie to mercy and turn her against Jonas but only because you want her to take over so she can go to war with Braxton and they wipe each other out so you'll have less competition to deal with in the future or you just want to consolidate the remnants of what remains from the war into a powerbase you can use later?

    Maybe its because the whole outcome of the questlines can't be posted yet but it just kinda feels to me like even though how the player feels about factions is important that feeling is being driven by which faction can convince you harder to join them rather than the players personal motivations. Something like "That Jonas guy has a pretty compelling argument but braxtons faction will be far easier to manipulate in the future so ill join him"
     
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  19. Strange Fellow Magister Patron

    Strange Fellow
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Messages:
    1,666
    You could try the Codex review:
    http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=10157
     
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  20. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,301
    Imagine you joining an organization (the Democratic party, the Board of Education, the Hells Angels, the local trade union, a militia, etc) and quickly steering it any way you want. It just doesn't work this way.

    What you describe would be a good quest setup for a 'mafia' RPG. Since you aren't a gang/militia leader and you won't rule the Pit, so you don't have to take out the competition.

    That's how 99% of conflicts work in RPGs. You arrive to a new place, presented with a local conflict and offered an opportunity to take sides. Naturally, your ability to give a fuck is limited because the personal motivation isn't there, like you said. At best you get some reward or NPC for your trouble. Changing that would require some kinda strategic layer, which is something I'd like to try at some point, but not right now.
     
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  21. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,301
    The game will be similar to AoD, so since you didn't like AoD, there's a good chance you won't like TNW either. We aim to do better, of course, but the design core will remain mostly the same. It will be party-based (12 companions, party size is determined by your CHA, max party size is 4), turn-based combat, turn-based stealth (not CYOA stealth like in AoD). The setting is inspired by Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky, meaning 50s sci-fi, generation ship, mutiny, loss of purpose, etc. Early on you'll stumble upon a strange device meant for the future colony. Such devices are worth a lot of money, so you'll have to talk to the main factions and see who'd pay you more. Then the events will rapidly escalate and the status quo will out the window, all thanks to you.

    The EARLY screens are here:

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. ItsChon Erudite Patron

    ItsChon
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2018
    Messages:
    1,484
    Location:
    California
    I never really played AoD since the camera really bothered me so I pretty much put it on the back burner. Hopefully once I have some time and get to push past my initial discomfort I'll get to properly play the game and see if I enjoy it, as it seems to have a bunch of elements that I would like.

    Either way, thanks for the response; the screenshots look absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to give AoD a proper go.
     
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  23. Zanzoken Erudite

    Zanzoken
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    Messages:
    635
    Given these characterizations I don't think it makes sense for a religious idealist like Mercy to start off allied with a known scumbag like Jonas even if his regime does appeal to her rebellious streak. The fact that Braxton has religious cred and is presented superficially as the more upstanding choice would also be a factor.

    The story itself is fine -- it makes sense that the player could persuade Mercy to flip to one side or the other by shifting her perspective. But I think you got the setup backwards.
     
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  24. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,301
    For the record, Jonas isn't really a "known scumbag who beats his whores and slits kids' throats".

    For a scavenger, Jonas Redford was more successful and more ambitious than most. One of the key difficulties for a professional scav is to extract your finds as quickly as possible, since anyone else stumbling across your good fortune will quickly try to make it their own. In order to facilitate more efficient runs into the Wasteland, Jonas set up a base camp in Cargo Hold #3, right next to the action. Such a good idea couldn't remain secret for long, and his fellow scavengers soon began pitching their tents nearby. With its increasing popularity, the camp attracted a growing crowd of traders, whores, and other hangers-on, and people began to see it as a rugged alternative to the Habitats, which promised safety, but insisted on submission in exchange.

    At some point Jonas realized that more money was waiting to be made right there in the Pit, as it had come to be called, than out in the Wasteland. Thus he opened The Promised Land, the finest and only whorehouse in town. The success of this venture, and his own popularity, led to his role today as the de facto mayor of this frontier town.​

    The town attracted all kinds of people, including religious idealists like Mercy. She isn't really with Jonas but she makes a living in his town, so Jonas is counting on her support. If you side with Braxton, you'll be sent to recruit Mercy and the fact that Braxton has religious cred will be a bonus. Your conversation will be interrupted by Jonas' men coming to make sure that Mercy can be counted on. If you side with Jonas, you'll be the one doing the interrupting and you'll have a chance to convince Mercy to reconsider.
     
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  25. Shilandra Learned

    Shilandra
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    The Hive

    Tell me more about this turn based stealth you speak of?
     
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