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On the ages-old question of whether "Gothic 3 could have been good if finished"

Discussion in 'Piranha Bytes' started by MWaser, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. MWaser Learned

    MWaser
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    The topic came up in a group chat I was a participant of recently, and it got me thinking: could it have been good?

    Let's start with the issues. As I see it, Gothic 3 suffers from 2 major flaws that are its complete undoing:

    Flaw #1 - Basic gameplay mechanics and balance:

    Gothic 3 was, and still is by all means, a broken game. The melee combat was, at release, probably one of the worst ever put into an action RPG, with infamously bad stunlocking and terrible AI which could be very easily exploited against human/humanoid enemies for a free victory. The Alternative AI introduced in the later Community Patches has made the melee combat considerably less terrible, albeit I still would not call it good. Furthermore, nothing has ever fixed the balancing insofar that magic is by far and large infinitely more overpowered than other combat methods, both for you and for the AI - enemy spellcasters are orders of magnitude more dangerous than non-spellcasters. And it is the most boring and mindless of spells (elemental archer style) that are the most powerful and useful in the game, as well - nothing to praise.
    Even besides that, the damage calculations in the game are poor - armor is not very useful, even the lategame armor which is difficult to acquire. Its silly reputation requirements also serve to do little more than to try and poorly imitate, in the new system, the reward factor that Armor served in terms of faction progression in the first 2 games. Damage scales badly with better weapons, and thus range is far more important than damage. The biggest damage scaling can be seen, ironically, within the already most overpowered magic which scales its damage with Ancient Knowledge. Because of these aforementioned things, there is little sense of progression that is meaningful and noticeable because you can take on most challenges, including mass fights, at a relatively early point in the game, and the biggest difficulties (such as spellcasters and big fights where you can't help but be surrounded and stunlocked) still present a major challenge in the lategame, unless you are yourself playing the aforementioned overpowered spellcaster yourself.

    Flaw #2 - Story, faction and quest system:

    I don't know the overall consensus in here, so perhaps my opinion is abnormal, but I don't actually think the story itself or its structure is a major detriment to Gothic 3. Yes, it is structured as a major fetch quest, and there are many things that can be improved upon in it, but I see the validity of its open-endedness by making it a truly non-linear possibility when you are given such a broad task. What is far more damning however is the most basic and common factor of the game, and that is the nature of repeated, grindy reputation farming within cities, whose only purpose is letting you see leaders of the cities, which is largely unnecessary as most of them provide you with no important information which you can work off and the only benefit is getting quests to kill rebels or getting rebels to help you (in orc cities) or getting a way of getting global Hashishin reputation in hashishin cities by seeing their leaders. The main quest's leading motivation that you are started with, to find Xardas, is hurdled by reputation significantly twice (if you don't already know the game) because the important information that he's in Nordmar are given in one city, and reputation is required to pass TO Nordmar in another city (though there exist alternate passages). However during the game you are deluded by NPCs into thinking that you should grind out reputation in every city because you absolutely need to talk with each and every orc leader on the way. And this reputation grinding involves inane activities that also clearly show the devs had no idea what kind of quests to give you, so most cities in the game have some arbitrary arena which gives you NPC combat opportunities in 1 vs 1 situations which otherwise would almost not happen in the game at all due to the way it's structured. To get into more individual details than that is pretty unnecessary since I think the best summary of this point would be to just say "Gothic 3 is a game about doing inane quests to see a number get to 75 so you can progress a quest flag with someone, 30 times".

    What if it were more polished?

    Here's where I get to the thread title again. What about these issues could be improved if the game was not, so to speak, "rushed", or maybe if PB had some more good ideas to work with?

    Gameplay Mechanics wise, the balance and formulas could certainly have been done better with some attempt, but the crux of the problem is that the game's design in gameplay is not suited for the presentation and requirements of the story. Magic in particular, if it were powerful, but made into a more double-edged sword, could have been interesting. Damage spells being AOE and hurting your allies in a game that should be more relying on allies (more on that later), having longer cast times almost always to require allies to cover for you, and having tactical buffs/debuffs could have worked wonders for the mechanics of the game, as well as remove the omnipotence from enemy spellcasters at the same time. Of course you could add plenty of more polish that would have been welcome, like more fighting styles akin to the improving styles with ability of Gothic 1/2, but that's fluff that's not as important to the core gameplay ideology (even if it could potentially be a big improvement)

    Now, story wise, let me present an example I thought of instead of just writing out raw statements, to both show how storywise it could have been made more engaging and could have interwoven itself with gameplay more at the same time.

    The example I thought up will regard itself of the city Montera, as it is one of the biggest cities in Gothic 3's Myrtanian mainland, and such offers a good opportunity to present the example. Let's start with the base prospect being the same: You need to find a way to talk to the Orc Leader, for information about Xardas, perhaps. However, instead of stupidly grinding reputation to 75, let's say that instead, only people presented to the orcs by the human mercenary leader would have such privilege. To achieve that, the game could offer you some options:

    1. Get the favour of Marik, the mercenary leader, by testing the loyalty of his people thoroughly, finding the rebel contact in his mercenaries and betraying him to the orcs (pro-Orc, anti-rebel option)
    2. Replace Marik as the mercenary leader with the help of the rebels by destabilizing the area around the city, showing his incompetence to deal with the problems and baiting him into making extra bad decisions, while doing favour for the rebel contact to get him appointed as the new mercenary leader (pro-rebel, anti-Orc option)
    3. Replace Marik as the mercenary leader with the help of Sobota, the Hashishin slave merchant who is conflicted with him by putting him into a "political incident", and getting a Sobota-favoured Hashishin appointed as the new mercenary leader (pro-Hashishin, rebel-neutral option)

    Giving the player such choice would be far more interesting than the forced reputation grinding, and furthermore, would present more sensible opportunities:
    • You get to talk to the orc leader for your own business' sake in either case, no matter whose side you'll be taking later, and moving on with your "main quest task".
    • For the rebels' side, you actually influence the situation of the city and it is not just you "getting inside" that matters to them and suddenly earns you their help in liberation
    • For the orcs' side, you weaken the rebels and gain the orcs' trust, which then would allow you more viable options for discussing "permanently dealing with the rebel problem" with the orc leader
    Furthermore, some of the sidequests that relate to the city could have greater importance as well:
    • For rebels, removing the guards from the ruins' side and removing the mercenary from the watchtower would give your rebel allies vantage points for attacking in the case of the revolution without having to get through the main gate
    • The quest for getting wheat and milk could be worked with further - imagine an option to get the wheat to the rebels while claiming the grain thieves already sold it, while poisoning the milk that you give back to the quartermaster. These combined could give an hp bonus to the rebels in case of attacking while giving penalties to the city defenders.
    • Quests for Okara regarding smithing could have accurate representations on the later attack forced by giving rebel soldiers improved damage and armor.
    Now, for the liberations themselves, the game should actually allow you to recruit a significant group of soliders from the given faction you're working with under your command, potentially to also place them at vantage points around the city you'd be assaulting before the assault itself. Same goes for working on the side of the orcs, where, in the base game, you are left fending completely for yourself if you choose to attack the rebel camps, working with the orcs should allow you to grab a bunch of orc warriors and mercenaries when you launch a full scale attack on the weakened rebel camps.


    These ideas might seem a bit far-fetched to you, since I am clearly making Gothic 3 into a game of large-scale conflicts here, but I think that is what PB had intended with it, while not making its mechanics work for it at all in the end. I think if they fully dedicated themselves to the idea, made those conflicts more legitimate by giving you ways to actually carry them out without just being a one-man army yourself while still giving you plenty of opportunity for the one-man armying against less ridiculous odds such as groups of dangerous wilderness creatures and lesser enemy patrols, it could have ended up being functional enough in that way.
     
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  2. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    Gothic 3 is irredeemable shit.

    I've tried to get into it so many times, ever since it came out in 2006, with and without Community Patch, and I just can't do it. Everything about this shitpile triggers me. I mean just look at the melee animations, some of the basic sword swings don't even look like you are attacking the other guy, like their mo-cap actor or whatever was too lazy to extend his arm fully.

    And just the general structure of melee combat. You have blocks that you have to hold down to initiate, and they animate really slowly, and sometimes don't animate at all. Meanwhile, enemies are coming at you with constant quick attacks, good luck synchronizing your slow-ass barely responsive parry to their fast slashes. Then, on top of that, you need to respond differently to quick attack vs power attack, but there is barely any difference in enemy animations for them, and they both come so fast, so trying to figure out how to respond from that is just hair-pullingly frustrating. That's why whenever I see youtube videos demonstrating g3 combat, the person just steps back instead of parrying most of the time.

    And then the fucking start. My god, this has got to be the single worst start to an RPG ever. The intro is over, you find yourself in the middle of a fucking battle, without any kind of warning or introduction or anything, in a game that changed the controls completely from the prequels. You get 2 shitty info screens that are supposed to pass for a tutorial, but don't even pause the fucking battle, what an unholy clusterfuck. As much as I love Piranha Bytes in general, whoever came up with this game start needs to 1. lay off cocaine, and 2. get their ass fired.

    I guess at some point they realized what a mess it was (presumably in between cocaine snorts), and their solution to this was to make your character unkillable in this sequence. Aside from being stupid, this just makes it worse, because thanks to their Gothic AI, orcs will pick up your fallen sword after knocking you out, making the whole experience even more frustrating. So you run around that cursed village looking for another weapon, and most shit everyone else drops is 2 handed or requires more strength or skill than you have at that time. There is one more one handed sword in one of those shitty huts, but eventually, after 30 orcs zoom in on you, good luck keeping that one.

    I cannot imagine how the same company that created Gothic, Gothic 2, Risen 1 and ELEX could've created this pile of shit. I really cannot.
     
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  3. MWaser Learned

    MWaser
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    Honestly, I could sit here all day and night if I just wanted to list off reasons for which Gothic 3 is abysmal as it is, but that was not my intention here. What I hear people often claim or wonder is the thread question, in that "Could Gothic 3 have been good if it weren't rushed before completion?"

    I tried to bring up some reasons for what in the basic concept of the game could have passed for a much better game, but that of course would include improving on all the most basic flaws first: such as the melee combat I mentioned and you expanded upon.
     
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  4. toro Arcane

    toro
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    MWaser The game could have been great if not rushed.

    Wrong.

    Gothic 3's combat is irredeemable shit but the rest is on par with the previous games.
     
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  5. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    Did mods eventually fix it ?
     
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  6. toro Arcane

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    It cannot be fixed because any real improvement requires access to the source code.
     
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  7. Doktor Best Arcane

    Doktor Best
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    Questdesign, faction system, loot, encounter design, overall balance and story is vastly inferior to every other PB game.
     
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  8. Daemongar Arcane Patron

    Daemongar
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    Finished Gothic 3. For an unfinished game, the game was 2x longer than it needed to be. Didn't feel any connection to the game, didn't feel like anything of substance was happening, and it took mods to make the game bearable. To answer OP: No. This thread is a joke.
     
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  9. JDR13 Prophet

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    Assuming "finished" means they were able to refine the combat and flesh out the game world, yes, I think it would have at least been above average.


    The world building was nowhere near to being on par with Gothic 1&2.
     
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  10. Alphons Learned

    Alphons
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    Similarly to other threads like this that pop around the net (Could Fallout 3 be good?):

    Yes, it could. I can see your ideas working, but they would require major rewriting/ redesigning of the whole game. It's a pointless discussion, because I don't doubt that somewhere on the internet someone already posted his really cool ideas to rewrite/ redesign failures like Anthem or Fallout 76.
     
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  11. hexer Guest

    hexer
    MWaser we can only speculate at this point.
    I suggest shooting your post in an email to PB, maybe somebody replies. You never know!
     
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  12. MWaser Learned

    MWaser
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    I didn't introduce this concept well in the OP, but I've seen multiple claims that "the basic design of the game wouldn't work", ie. the game being too open-world and unfocused, and the main story was too listless to work. There are plenty of issues to talk about regarding the endgame as well, but I just wanted to theoretize about improving Gothic 3 without completely scrapping its basis and just polishing that which had been already introduced.
     
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  13. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    I played it recently with the patches, it was pretty ok tbh
     
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  14. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    No.
     
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  15. toro Arcane

    toro
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    You might be right but I have a soft spot for the game.

    The atmosphere and exploration were good.
     
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  16. thesecret1 Prophet

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    The world was too ambitious, it was obvious that the devs didn't manage to properly fill it with content. The entire desert part should have been cut, IMO, instead focusing on the rest and doing it properly. Combat was shit but probably could be overhauled with enough time. Factions were done terribly. The per-city system was just too modular, too much disconnect between what you do in one place and another. To add insult to injury, if you free enough cities, you will get declared an enemy of orcs and be barred from like half the quests remaining in the game, since orcs will aggro you everywhere. Thus, the optimal way to play is to do all the basic quests everywhere and only then start freeing cities. Retarded.

    Could it have been made into a good game? Content could have been added, combat overhauled, but I don't think there was anything to be done with the city modularity. It was obviously core aspect of the design, again taken because the world was just too ambitious, too large. Gothic 3 could have been an okay game with enough time, but it wouldn't have reached the heights of its predecessors.
     
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  17. Tito Anic Magister Shitposter

    Tito Anic
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    Gothic3
    World(regions, cultures), music, factions, quests, magic[​IMG]
    Melee combat sux except
    Show Spoiler
    Silden halberd


    Verdict

    Play G3 but not melee or see spoiler
     
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  18. Skdursh Learned

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    I'd still rather play Gothic 3 than Skyrim. I actually don't think it's that terrible to begin with. Some missteps, but the world is still interesting.
     
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  19. Bricker Educated

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    I like G3 with patches
     
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  20. Ladonna Arcane

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    I finished it, but next to the prior games; not good.

    Way too little butter spread over too much bread.

    Verdict; Good for what it is.
     
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  21. Mikeal Cipher

    Mikeal
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  22. unfairlight Self-Ejected

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    Silly question, any game COULD have been good given enough time and money. It's just that in a lot of cases it would take complete overhauls to the systems.
    I'd say no but it would have been considerably better regardless. I don't think they could have fixed the worst of it like the bad combat, bad quests and largely empty copy paste world within the 1 year they had taken from them, even if the last year in game development is the busiest. Maybe it would have been on the lower end of PB games, like barely better than Risen 2 or 3.
     
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  23. Feargus Jewhart Learned

    Feargus Jewhart
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    So If I am understanding you right your point is that Gothic 3 would have been a good game had they not gone with any of the design choices they went with. So in other words your argument is that Gothic 3 could have been good had it been an entirely different game with the same titling?
     
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  24. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    Gothic 3 is good even unfinished ! Also porky is a faggot!
     
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  25. Rean Instructor Patron

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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    It's already good, even slightly great, just not great.

    Combat could have been better, engine a little more optimised, but other than that it is a really good game.
     
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