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Pillars of Eternity 2: The endings are all immensely horrible. [Heavy Spoilers]

Discussion in 'Obsidian Entertainment' started by JohnSmith24601, May 26, 2020.

  1. onemananadhisdroid Augur

    onemananadhisdroid
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    Good questions, but the Gods in the Pillars universe never struck me as particularly reasonable. Arguably, that's another main theme of the series/game. They're man-made, and perhaps due to such, have that flaw. They're constantly arguing for the entirety of the game. There's an Eder line something along the lines of Gods being like kids playing around whilst their parents aren't around. Old chap may just have Int 10, but from my Per, he's got that spot on.
     
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  2. NJClaw Ontopolover by choice Patron

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    I'm fine with the idea of flawed gods (Eora deities are still less flawed than the Greek ones, for example), but how they behave in Deadfire is on a whole new level of unreasonable.

    I'm sure that even a not particularly bright child would try to stop someone from reaching the cabinet that holds the Big-Spankinator-2000 Metal Belt of Doom.
     
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  3. Lawntoilet Cipher Patron

    Lawntoilet
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    I think there is a line or two where the other gods are telling Ondra and Magran to keep their hands to themselves because they disagreed with their past interventions, so they're trying to be "sneaky," but maybe I'm misremembering and being fabulously optimistic.
     
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  4. jac8awol Learned

    jac8awol
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    Guys we're giving more thought to this stuff than the original creators. Looking for logic is an exercise in futility. The whole ordeal screams delegation and compartmentalization. That, combined with the ham-fisted progressive themes killed my goodwill with this studio. I was really looking forward to a successor to Baldurs Gate, with POE1 and again when I took a chance on 2, and both times I left disappointed.

    Well it's good to know there are others out there who tried to follow these thought experiments to their conclusions...
     
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  5. Drowed Arcane

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    Woops, true, you're right. It's been awhile, I don't remember the names that well and I ended up mixing the two.

    Interesting, I didn't know that at the end of the game there was an additional explanation about the gods supposedly breaking the natural cycle - but for me, it's too little to late. That's the central point of the story/plot. It is literally what should motivate the attitudes not only of the player, but of everyone around him. Okay, the player has the issue that he's essentially "controlled" by the gods and forced to do what they want, but that's a threat and not an internal motivation. This explanation you gave was something that should be exposed at the beginning of the game, not at the end. That information shouldn't have been a last minute plot twist, what the fuck.

    It's a question of pacing, motivation, build-up. You need to gradually give information to the player (or reader) about your story and your world in order to justify the actions of the player himself and characters. In fact, the funny thing is that everyone in the story acts as if they already know information that was never expressly told to them. And the strange thing is that if that information could allow the characters to have several interesting conversations about the issue at many points during the game. Maybe some would agree with Eothas, maybe others would believe that there is another solution, and so on. This could be a central point in the plot, where several characters have different opinions and motivations, and various agendas clashed. (Remembering also that technically only the player and part of his group even know the fact that the gods didn't exist forever).

    Instead, there were some random conversations inserted in specific points of the story, and revealed only at the ending. POE2 gives all the signs of a poorly constructed and badly thought out story, and tried to repair the damage too late. But I think I'll look for a Let's Play just to see the "new" ending, I left the game shortly after the conversation with Eothas on the first face-to-face encounter with him. I don't think it will motivate me to play it again, but hey, at least I'll know how Obsidian actually tried to cover up the hole they got themselves into.
     
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  6. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    https://steamcommunity.com/app/560130/discussions/0/2250056952664274878/

    Eh, I'm giving up on that thread. Notice how not one person has a generally negative view on the game? The whole conversation feels so one-sided. If the devs only ever listened to these guys, it would make perfect sense that the game is this bad.
     
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  7. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    Haha maybe it also has something to do with the modern practice of hiring a team of mediocre writers instead of just one good one? I always feel that it's strange to have different writers create different characters independently and then years later into the development they would have a big meeting to try to cobble together all the different elements. You could tell by how disjointed some of the character conversations are, in both games. Not sure if you guys ever played a little indie game called Age of Decadence, but one guy actually wrote the whole thing himself and the story in that game is amazing!
     
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  8. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    Can you tell us why?
     
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  9. taxalot I'm a spicy fellow. Patron

    taxalot
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    Yes.

    But tomorrow, when I'm sober.
     
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  10. Darth Canoli Magister

    Darth Canoli
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    I'm shocked, it really comes at a surprise ...

    So, the endings epitomizes the whole game, retarded attributes, MMO-like "balance", shitty features piling up and oh, surprise, the endings are shit too.
    I didn't see that one coming, really ...
     
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  11. JohnSmith24601 Educated

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    Okay, while you're doing that, let me lay out some major differences between the two games.

    MOTB:
    ~You wake up not knowing what's happened.

    ~You find out that you've become a spirit eater, cursed to consume fey and elemental souls in order to survive.

    ~You find out that an ancient spirit, Akachi the Betrayer, now resides in you and that he carried the spirit eater's curse with him.

    ~You find out that some old lady was once Akachi's lover, and she put Akachi's soul in you to potentially end the curse.

    ~You learn that your own soul is actually trapped in the Wall of the Faithless, so you travel to the land of the dead.

    The endings depend on what you choose. It's true that you can't possibly destroy the Wall of the Faithless, but it actually makes sense here. The Lawful Neutral God of Death is not just going to let you destroy the status quo that has worked for centuries. And what good reasons do you have for requesting this? You only heard about the Wall of the Faithless like 20 minutes before the end! You're just a guy trying to get rid of an ancient cursed spirit and get your soul back. This game plays out like a detective story, and the main focus is not about the Wall of the Faithless...at all.

    POE2:

    ~You wake up and Bereth immediately blackmails you into finding out what Eothas is up to.

    ~You track down Eothas and find out that he's going to destroy the Wheel and potentially get every soul trapped in the In-Between.

    ~The Gods order you to stop Eothas.

    ~You get to the end. Eothas curiously asks you a couple questions. He says, "cool story, bro" and then proceeds to destroy the Wheel anyway.

    The story here is clearly more focused on the fate of the world and stopping Eothas at all costs. In fact, throughout the game, they beat you over the head with it. Getting your soul back seems like a side project because at one point you can actually choose to NOT take the lost fragment of your soul back.

    So the two games are actually immensely different.
     
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  12. Lawntoilet Cipher Patron

    Lawntoilet
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    Doesn't Kaelyn tell you about it way earlier than that? You're right that the Wall isn't the focus of the game though, it's more personal than that.

    The two games do touch on some of the same themes, and there are similarities, but MotB's writing is immensely better.
     
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  13. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    Oh yeah, I think she might briefly mention it in one of the dialogues. But like, when you hear about the Wall of the Faithless, you can't possibly know that it has anything to do with you. So it was like a foreshadowed thing? I'm not quite sure though because it has been over 10+ years since I played it. You guys are making me want to boot up NWN2 again lol...

    Also, when you get to Kelemvor at the end, you're basically begging to have your soul released. It's already kind of a highly irregular thing for the God of Death and Keeper of Souls to release one of the souls in his care. It was probably unprecedented. The dude was cool enough to let you get your soul back, so I think it's a little ungrateful to be judging the god for what he does to keep the universe in balance.
     
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  14. Lawntoilet Cipher Patron

    Lawntoilet
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    I also haven't played it in a long time but boy is MotB great.
    Kaelyn talking about the Wall is foreshadowing, and it's also just an example of how well the companions in MotB are integrated into the story. They all have their own agendas but are also tied in so well with the main plot and the MC's personal problem and history.
     
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  15. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    Oh yeah, had great memories playing MotB. The teenage me kept trying to bang Kaelyn lol...not knowing that it wasn't an option.

    I agree that the companions are very well integrated into the story. You don't see writings like that a lot anymore. Take Eder's companion quest in POE1 for example. The two of you go into the ring city to read about what happened to Eder's brother, then you go into the wild to kill some random dudes...and then nothing happens. I mean, really, you don't even find out for sure if Eder's brother is alive or dead...and what does it have to do with you being a Watcher? Zero connection whatsoever.
     
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  16. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    JohnSmith24601

    The point isn't that "it's totally OK you can't change Eothas' mind because he's a god". The point is that depending on the situation, the player being confronted with a fate that he cannot change, or someone he cannot persuade, is an interesting and powerful moment. I am sick of the deus ex machinas where the story is specifically written to allow the player to redeem or kill the dumb guy, create or destroy an entire faction, and decide the fate of everybody.

    Now, the problem is: the really interesting part of being confronted with a fate the player cannot escape, is choosing how the player responds to that fate - through nihilism, outrage, bargaining, etc. - and what that reveals about the player character and their role. This is why the stories around Durance and Waidwen, and to a lesser extent Eder, are some of the most compelling in the series: they are genuinely transformed through their effort to respond to the greater fate they are bound to, and in the process they exercise meaningful agency (which is not the same as "I decide how everything happens"). The problem is that in POE2, the protagonist does not get to do any of that, they just get to whine on a phone call with some boomers.
     
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  17. JohnSmith24601 Educated

    JohnSmith24601
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    Interesting insight. I hadn't thought of it like that, but I do have to point out that this "inescapable fate" feels very out of place in the game. In fact, Bereth drops hints on two different occasions that "you might be the only being on Eora that Eothas might listen to". It's heavily implied that you'd be able to dissuade Eothas from doing whatever he's doing, though at the time you had no idea what that was exactly. I seriously wonder if the option was cut out at some point during the development because a lot of things in the game kind of pave the road to that option.

    My gripe with the companion quests is more like they have nothing to do with the Watcher at all. Like you're just there to do them a favor. And how has the companion quest in POE1 transformed Eder? It doesn't matter how that quest concludes, he is still the cool, chill, laid back dude when you meet him in POE2, as he always is.
     
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  18. Crichton Prophet

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    I agree; this topic is totally backwards; the Deadfire endings are great, the problem is the entire Watcher/Eothas/Skype Gods arc leading up to them. Instead of trying to center the plot around how the player and various factions respond to Eothas' return, the Skype gods are constantly calling and you can bitching you out as if there's something you can do about it. I think the problem for most players in not being able to stop Eothas is that generations of games up to this point have convinced them that when something is described as impossible, it means only the PC can do it. But Berath and co certainly don't do anything to help on that score.
     
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  19. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    johnsmithboy I concur on many of the other points you make - generally, POE2's extremely disjointed story nuggets prevent you from making meaningful actions during the game never mind the ending, and also prevent stuff from, well, making sense. My point was that not being able to persuade Eothas at the end is not really the problem, it's everything else.

    I feel like if Eothas fucking blew up half of Nekataka at the very start and everyone in Deadfire had to confront the reality of the statue as a ticking time bomb, it might have made things easier. Every quest you do and decision you make around factional politics, colonial tensions, whatever, could easily be looped back to it. People who start rioting and looting because the Gods are real / not real / going away / killing us / whatever. Natives who try to take the opportunity to fight out a better position in the archipelago. Ruins and refugees and dilemmas of who to save when you reach the fortress that Eothas walked over - as opposed to some random fucking lizards.

    And yes, the Gods On Skype are the worst part of the game not only because the conversations themselves are so asinine and badly written, but also because it creates the most shallow interpretation of the game's themes and the player's role. You are CHOSEN ONE but with an even more transparently stupid reason than usual, you keep being told YOU CAN DO SOMETHING even though it's extremely clear you can't, and the gods have even more contrived than usual reasons that they literally do nothing. Part of this is the aftershock of POE1's big reveal. After you pull the veil off the big alien/mystery/etc, you can only go downhill from there.
     
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  20. JohnSmith24601 Educated

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    Haha the Skype gods...That killed me. You guys make very good points here. I'm beginning to see it from your perspectives. Tigranes I think the game would really be way more interesting if Eothas blows up Nekataka instead of random remote sites that the factions semi care about. One of the craziest things in the game is actually when the Queen summons all the factions to the palace to deal with Eothas together. You reveal that Eothas is potentially going to end the world, but what do the factions do with that info? They still bicker and end up asking you to keep doing errands for them in order to gain their trust...lmao. It's like a giant asteroid is heading towards Earth and Russia doesn't want to help with nuking it because they have a housing problem in Moscow or something. I think the game would really benefit from linking all the factions to the main quest in some profound way. Like if the Vallian animancers are secretly attempting to manipulate the Wheel and they do not want Eothas messing with their master plan, then I think they would have a more vested interest in making sure that Eothas is stopped. I know it's not true in the game, but I'm just saying "what if", I guess.
     
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  21. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Yeah, I agree. They could have turned the whole Asteroid reaction into a really interesting arc, too - where maybe you are the lone witness trying to convince the factions to take this fucking thing seriously and they think you're a tinfoil idiot, or some of the factions realise it's a real doomsday but keep it under wraps and you decide what to do, so on and so forth. But that simply didn't happen. Obsidian have said how this disconnect is a massive flaw that came about from partly trying to squeeze in too many themes without being able to properly blend them together.

    I mean, this is exactly how real life works, right
     
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  22. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

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    Doesn't Wael kill Eothas if you give him the body in FS? Or does he show up after the wheel is already destroyed.
     
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  23. Crichton Prophet

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    Dunno mang. The Loredump NPCs in FS claim that Wael's titan can stop Eothas' titan, but I rammed a red hot poker up Wael's ass and used his body for crafting material.
     
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  24. sullynathan Arcane

    sullynathan
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    What's his power level?
     
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  25. AW8 Arcane

    AW8
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    What was up with that dragon? Why was it there? It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder if the designer building that encounter ever thought "Why are we putting a robot dragon here?" but held their tongue. Eothas is definitely too big for you to fight conventionally, but he is an obvious candidate for a memorable final boss after chasing his giant green form the entire game. Well, I suppose that technically the final boss is one of the factions you've pissed off showing up in the absolutely final encounter - but that was so forgettable I am currently questioning whether that actually happened after you spoke to Eothas. [​IMG]

    I really liked the 4 faction set-up. I would have prefered if the game had no god nonsense and instead focused entirely on the factions' struggle for control over the region as well as their differing opinions on dangerous new technology (luminous adra). The Skype Gods were really the worst of the worst. Zero player agency and railroaded scenes, but without the visual spectacle of a AAA cutscene. Just pictures to look at while the narrator drones on.
     
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