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Game News Seven Dragon Saga Kickstarter Update #11: David Shelley on Goals

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Infinitron, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    RPG Wokedex Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: David Shelley; Seven Dragon Saga; Tactical Simulations Interactive

    We already a know a bit about Seven Dragon Saga's Goals system from a pre-Kickstarter blog post on the game's website, but the latest Kickstarter update from David Shelley describes the system in far more detail, along with a cool example demonstrating its usage. I quote:

    During character creation, the game asks three questions about personal motivation, and then asks the player to select a final Goal. Goals are part of the character advancement, but also method to give each character a bit more personality than a pool of abilities. Even a poorly chosen goal will not cripple a character, so the choice shouldn't be high stakes.

    The first question derives from the Race of the character, asking about her youth. The second comes from the Class selected, and the third from the Specialty. Together they provide an abbreviated background for that character.

    We have over a dozen Goals charted out, but expect to tweak this as we layout the different quests. Our plan is for players to get equal opportunities to choose each Goal, and that no Goal gets allied only to ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ solutions to quests.

    So at creation, the player must decide how he will apportion the Goals. Will she strive to match all the characters’ Goal as closely as possible? If so, then when she reaches a solution to a quest that matches, all the characters benefit. But the long term consequences might not be what the player wishes. Also no quest has possible solutions which match every Goal, So a narrow selection of Goal removes the possibility of rewards in the majority of quests.

    Let’s take a look at the two Goals in the image above: Seeker and Serenity. How might they come up and into conflict in resolving a quest? The player’s ultimate goal is securing the Dragonsteel mines and clearing a path for its long term export to the empire. The party comes upon a village in a well situated vale, overlooked by a lord’s castle. The vale appears clear of dangerous monsters, and the road in decent shape.

    The town has befriended a Fire Wyrm; a tough, non-flying dragonkin, all scales and smoke, and used it to drive off monstrous threats. They have also used it to keep the lord’s tax collectors at bay, and they have no interest in obeying a distant emperor. The lord has enough troops to threaten any unilateral deal the party could make with the villagers. The castle has been a repository of old books for some time, and the lord would be happy to share its knowledge with the party, if his tax problem were solved. Possible solutions.
    • Assault the village, slay the Wyrm. Resulting in the villagers no longer being a problem, but the lord’s tax base destroyed. Intimidate or eliminate the lord, and access the library. The player satisfied the Seeker Goal (and probably some others). The vale is now vulnerable to monsters, bandits, etc. Villagers and nobles in the surrounding area are not going to be friendly.
    • Lure the Wyrm away from the village and slay it. The lord can reestablish the old status quo, and reward the party. The vale is less protected, the villagers are probably unhappy and a few get strung up. The player gets the Seeker Goal Nobles in the region are friendlier, villagers less so.
    • Set up a threat forcing both the villagers and the troops to join forces (lure something in). Use a bit of diplomacy to bridge the gap. The lord underestimates the party’s benefits and does not choose to reward them, but agrees to help secure the vale for the empire’s route. The player gets the Serenity goal, for minimizing the disruption to the locals.
    • Set the Fire Wyrm onto the castle, slay the noble. Library burns. Villagers agree to protection of the empire, lest local nobles come for vengeance. The player satisfies neither goal. However, this option could still satisfy the Goal of another character. So some Goals can be complementary, while others will commonly conflict. For instance, Thrill of Battle and Serenity are going to be uncommon bedfellows.
    In the above example, we note the following: how the player enjoys playing, how the choices affect long term elements of the world, and the individual character goals all jostle for priority. Is the player most interested in random mayhem, consequences be damned, in optimizing the rewards to his characters? Or is the player interested in diplomatically shaping the world to achieve the edict from the emperor. These many opportunities to explore and experiment, should provide plenty of fun.​

    Nice - that quest is definitely Vault Dweller-approved. This is the sort of thing that should have been given a prominent place in the game's initial pitch.
     
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  2. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Definitely.
     
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  3. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    I remember when Wasteland 2 development updates gave us the C&C example of the boy drowning in a lake.
     
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  4. Athelas Arcane

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    That's not going to make it into the game.
     
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  5. Shannow Waster of Time

    Shannow
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    What game? Currently it's looking awful. They're barely past 100k. Not even a fourth of what they're asking for. Several days in. The campaign has no momentum whatsoever.
    This update was good, but hardly anybody is paying attention. There is no hype. I've been significantly off in my KS predictions before, but if this gets funded I'd be very surprized. I don't think the campaign can be salvaged. Which is a shame, because I think the fault lies entirely in the way they've pitched this and conducted the campaign. The game itself would probably have been solid and easily funded.
    Just take this update:
    VD now approves of their quest design and C&C. But barely anybody takes notice anymore. When people were initially taking notice VD was all "That sounds Bioware-style non-choices :killit:" And I don't blame him. In our niche his opinion has weight. That's what people took away. That's what sticks. So no hype generated from the codex. If not the codex, who would hype this kind of game?

    It's a fucking shame. I hope they have it in them to try again. With lessons learnt.
     
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  6. SausageInYourFace Angelic Reinforcement Patron

    SausageInYourFace
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    Alas, that inital 'muh Bioware' reaction was completely unnescessary and based on the overinterpretation of a tiny bit of text, without any actually useful information out at that point to make a judgement.

    I think that more information about the system and the mechanics should have been available from the beginning so situations like that could have been avoided. The last few updates were all really solid to my mind and the game looks much better now that the system is beginning to take shape. But before that even the guys who were supporting the game (like me) basically based that mostly on good will. If the information that came out in the last few days would have been available right from the start, maybe things would have looked a bit different. So while I think people were too quick to dismiss this game, that reaction was also partly due to the lack of information that was available at that time.

    The thing still could pick up and make it actually but I guess now that it has been prematurely branded as loser, people just don't care anymore, even though its starting to look pretty interesting.
     
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  7. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    An absence of information leads to guesses and assumptions and the Codex isn't a place known for handing out benefits of the doubt like candy. The pitch and the first few updates were very generic and aimed at anyone but the hardcore audience, yet it didn't have anything to attract the casuals and the KS hipsters.

    Fewer people would follow a losing KS campaign. Unfortunately, it became clear very early that the KS will fail.

    Anyway, let's hope that the developers can handle the loss (and put the blame where it belongs), without getting discouraged. Hopefully, they've learned now what works and gets people excited and interested. KS campaign isn't a place to hold back or try to "avoid spoilers".

    Last (if the developer are reading), I'll say this:

    - know your audience (duh)
    - fuck people who aren't your audience
    - anything that doesn't excite your audience is wasting space and distracts people. You want DISTINCTIVE art not generic shit. If you don't have distinctive art, use words to dazzle the mind. The screen was shit because it looked like it was taken straight out of any shitty game, from Dungeon Siege to NWN2. The character art was generic and the head scarf on a dwarf did little to change it. Environmental concept art/renders/mock ups do extremely well - see Obsidian's KS exploding and Torment screens making a huge difference.
    - when explaining the game don't explain how to create a party to someone who's never played an RPG. Convince a veteran that he wants to play THIS party-based game
    - the video - excitement sells, see Craig Stern's video. Simply talking to the camera doesn't. Imagine that you're trying to impress a girl into letting you fuck her. Would you still sound the same way? If yes, you have bigger problems than this KS.
    - Unfortunately, the tiers and rewards matter. Start with $15. Your game may be worth twice as much but it will be worth a lot less if it won't get funded.
    - 10k to attend a launch party? How many of those have you sold? Yeah, that's why. Much like with point #3, if a tier is stupid, don't include it because someone might be stupid enough to buy it. Stupid shit is an unwelcome distraction. The goal is to make every backer wish he had more money to up the pledge, because many of them will IF you know what you're doing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
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  8. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    This can be done with limited early access slots too, so you don't have to discount everything and it gets people to pledge fast as they don't want to miss out on the slots giving you some momentum right away.

    Unless of course your pitch is lame enough people don't care.
     
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  9. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    One of the unspoken rules of KS - sell and then upsell. Once a person backs the game, he's committed. It's much easier to convince a low-level $15 believer to throw in extra $10 than to convince a fence-sitter to buy at $25. So why limit it? When you discount a game on Steam you do it to attract more buyers. You don't limit it and say the first 3,000 people only. Fuck, if 20,000 people want to buy it at $15, let them. It's KS so it's limited by default - the first 30 days only.
     
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  10. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    Yes that is true and the more people buy into the game the more spread you will reach, and more people will buy it.
     
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  11. Servo Arcane

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    [​IMG]

    Just in time for my bday :cool:

    Edit: fuck everyone who doesn't donate to this glorious cause just because the ks campaign is not off to a good start. If anything this should give you more of a reason to donate.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
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  12. Apexeon Arcane

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    Taking some notes down. Gold.
     
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