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Things T:TON Did Right and Constructive Criticism for a Sequel

Gunnar

Arbiter
Joined
Jul 10, 2016
Messages
819
No, please, no dungeon. Not with this combat and not with these designers. If you thought TOEE lacked diversity in bugbears, just imagine how these people would populate a dungeon.

How would you make a good dungeon for this game? If you could tweak the combat a little, (since they're going to do that)

Dunno, I certainly am no game designer. I'm just saying that these people would just fill the whole thing with about 2 dozen of the same enemy and you'll have to fight all of them in the same neverending crisis that will make you want to kill yourself.

With this combat system, and the items that are available I think the best way would to have very small fights... against say maximum 3-4 enemies, preferably of different types. Even then, the speed needs to be considerably increased and the stupid, useless animations decreased and that faggot animator with his root motion faggotry fired and shamed in public.

Yeah I tend to agree with this. Fewer, more interesting enemies.

Some kind of stasis pod concept might work where you open the pod to initiate the encounter and it's usually just one enemy.

The companions should have been: the genocide, the tortured levy, a psychic warrior, possibly the projection, the specter, etc.
 
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Self-Ejected

Lurker King

Self-Ejected
The Real Fanboy
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
1,865,419
Good for them.

No, it is bad for them. Because you are not taking your backers seriously, and you lose a enormous amount of good will for doing that. “Banner Saga” sold like hot cakes, but the second game was a fiasco because they thought they didn’t need to engage with their audience.

Not every developer needs to design by committee, community or focus group.

That’s false. Games are designed by committee because you are making a specific type of cRPG, with specific type of features, for a specific type of player. Players are ultimately the reason why developers made games. Without players there is no reason to make games, unless you want to work for free. When you decide that players preferences are not important because you decided to put developers on a pedestal, you are turning the world on its head.

I find it refreshing that they do their own thing. Having a strong vision and not altering it to a huge extent due to community feedback is a rare approach these days.

Right, but in order to do “their own thing” they need to do other things well. Their visions need to be accompanied by either solid combat system, or decent C&C, or good writing, or good atmosphere, etc. and these features can be discussed and analyzed. They need to be arrogant or lazy to ignore feedback regarding these features.

A task must indeed have a difficulty level of some type. The problem is that in the real world, an attempt to complete a task typically does not result in either a total success and total failure.

Of course it does. You could argue that not all your results are equally efficient, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are either successful in your task or not. If your task is to sell X units of Y, you are successful if you achieve that number, and fail otherwise. But you can sell way more than what is necessary and in this case you are more efficient.

This is why it's rarely possible to determine a single sufficient level of skill for succeeding at a task, because people can do things with great ease, they can manage after considerable effort or with the help of appropriate aids and resources, they can come up with a solution that is suboptimal but partially does the job and so forth.

A character system with stats and skills is an abstract model of people’s abilities and talents. Complaining that is idealized it is pointless because all models are idealized. Now, considering your other criticisms, I’m sure that you either have or can conceive systems to account for these variables. People can do things with great ease if they are talented, e.g., you have 9 points in INT, but need only 5; they can manage a task with effort if they have only what is enough, you have 5 points in INT and you need 5 points to achieve the desired result; they can succeed with the help of appropriate aids and resources, this can be interpreted as using a consumable to improve your stats momentarily, etc. I don’t understand what you mean by “a solution that is suboptimal but partially does the job” because you either do the job or you don’t. You can say that someone can do the job in a less efficient manner, and we have ways to support this in cRPGs, e.g., a critical hit is more efficient than a normal hit, but both are successful in damaging the target. In fact, you can even consider other elements that can affect your success, e.g., people can succeed because they got lucky, and you can consider luck a stat such as in FO.

For this reason, PnP RPGs tend to have task resolution that breaks down to grades of success, along the lines of perfect success, partial success, success with a cost, minor failure, critical failure and such. Regrettably, this is something that CRPGs do infrequently and inconsistently at best, because generally speaking such degrees of success would have to be scripted individually, which starts to increase the complexity of a game exponentially.

Your talk about degrees of success is confusing, but there is a simple reason why most developers don’t invest in fail-and-go scenarios. First, it takes a lot of resources to implement these different scenarios. It’s not just a matter of adding different levels of bonus or XP as it is the case with critical hits. You need to implement a specific outcome for each check. Second, cRPG players have being spoiled by decades of developers hand holding and fluffy skill checks. If you waste your time investing in these less than optimal results, they will feel personally insulted and reload until they “get it right”. AoD, for instance, has tons of these fail-and-go scenarios, but players simply ignored all that because they can’t accepted they can’t beat certain checks.

In comparison, the Numenera system is a step closer to what PnP RPGs can accomplish, since it can differentiate between situations in which you succeed easily and situations in which you manage after using up resources.

I think it is a lazy way to approach the problem, with robust resource management or not. First, it does make sense to improve some of your abilities with consumables, e.g., your concentration, but the idea that you can improve your charisma or intelligence with items is just silly. Second, it doesn’t prevent the frustration that it is intended to solve, and the frustration is this: “I have X points, but the game asks for XY”. It has nothing to do with degrees of success, it is about ego. If you fix the possibility of abusing the system, players will frustrated by failing in skill checks. Instead of discussing the wonders of Numenera system, we should be discussing players’ prejudices and why most cRPG developers don’t take character systems seriously.

And you think "hey, we are inXile, makers of Wasteland 2, we are making yet another isometric cRPG" isn't nostalgia enough? Shadowrun isn't nostalgia?

That’s not how things worked. “Hey guys, is Brian Fargo. Do you remember me? I made Wasteland, the father of Fallout. Gives your money so that we can make a Fallout-clone new Wasteland. With Obsidian it was the same thing. “Hey guys, we want to make new cRPGs that play like BG2-clone IE games. Give us your money”. These things are there.

I'm not even going to talk about le evil SJWs since I don't care about that topic.

You don’t. You just wonder why the game world feels so castrated, sanitized and mediocre.

but to imply "Torment" was the sole reason ToN was funded is ridiculous.

I said that it was the only reason why the kickstarter was so successful. If they pitched for a new narrative-cRPG it would got funded with much less money, anticipation and promotion. And probably we wouldn't even discussing the game right now. It would be InXile's Tyranny.
 
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Sigourn

uooh afficionado
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
5,685
That’s not how things worked. “Hey guys, is Brian Fargo. Do you remember me? I made Wasteland, the father of Fallout. Gives your money so that we can make a Fallout-clone new Wasteland. With Obsidian it was the same thing. “Hey guys, we want to make new cRPGs that play like BG2-clone IE games. Give us your money”. These things are there.

Is it so? Saying "inspired by IE games" is no different than saying "inspired by Fallout", like so many indie developers do, but almost none of them deliver. It's a gimmicky phrase, "would you back my [inspired by random game it won't even resemble]?". Wasteland 2 was backed by nostalgia and because of Fallout, that much is true. But Tides of Numenera didn't need Torment on the title to be backed, and that was what the whole argument was about: without Torment, the game still would have been made, and it wouldn't be as criticized as it is today.

You don’t. You just wonder why the game world feels so castrated, sanitized and mediocre.

Torment is shit, but not because of ess jay double yous, unless The evil ess jay double yous.

Unless, of course, you are one of those morons who push their own agenda by blaming the political dispositions of game developers as the reason why their games suck. As opposed to calling them useless retards, like any normal human being would.
 

Karellen

Arcane
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
327
A task must indeed have a difficulty level of some type. The problem is that in the real world, an attempt to complete a task typically does not result in either a total success and total failure.

Of course it does. You could argue that not all your results are equally efficient, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are either successful in your task or not. If your task is to sell X units of Y, you are successful if you achieve that number, and fail otherwise. But you can sell way more than what is necessary and in this case you are more efficient.

I am now wondering if you have experience with PnP RPGs, since there's nothing particularly mystical about grades of success, a mechanic that has been used in PnP RPGs for decades. But if you would like to get an example of how an outcome of a task is clearly not binary, I don't mind giving one. Let's say you're negotiating to free hostages from robbers. Here are some ways the situation might go:

Perfect success: Hostages are freed and the robbers turn themselves in on the spot.
Major success: The robber releases one hostage to show good faith, agrees to release the rest in exchange for gold.
Minor success: The robber demands gold and a particular item from a local dignitary in exchange for the hostages.
Minor failure: The robbers panic and attacks you, a fight ensues.
Critical failure: The robbers are outraged by your nonsense and start to murder the hostages.

So, clearly, degrees of success and failure. Many PnP RPGs use a system like this for various reasons, partly due to realism, partly for pacing (basically to prevent situations where players keep retrying the same task over and over again, in true Fallout style, until they succeed), but also because it actually makes character builds more distinct in play. With non-binary results, characters who are exceptionally skillful get qualitatively better results than ones who are just barely making it, which makes specialised character builds more interesting.

And yes, doing the above in CRPGs with pure scripting is prohibitively expensive, but I am unconvinced that that is a good reason to stick to strictly binary results and fixed stat thresholds, because when you do have that system, the game can very easily be viewed as an optimisation problem to figure out the correct stat investments needed at each part of the game. I do not think it is correct to call this an ego problem; it is simply players doing what players do, seeing an easily gameable system for what it is and gaming it to maximise success. You might have noticed that in the T:ToN review thread they've been discussing the stat thresholds of PS:T and how much one needs to invest in various stats. It should be no surprise that people plan characters in this sort of way in a game like PS:T in which getting to see the content is very much the point. I suppose that's one way of "taking the character system seriously", but it doesn't really encourage roleplaying as much as it does metagaming.

I do wholeheartedly agree that CRPG players are particularly sore losers, though, so you have a point there. Having said that, I think the best antidote to this is to make games more dynamic and strategic; basically, to make the metagame more complex and interesting, so the optimal solution isn't just to find out the correct stat spread to get what you want. There are plenty of games that manage this; FTL is a particularly obvious example of a game in which players get screwed over by nebulous dialogue options, miss out on best solutions due to previous choices and are at a constant risk of death-spiraling and losing the game, and yet it's a game enjoyed by RPGCodex (according to poll results, anyway) and filthy tablet casuals alike. The game manages this largely because there is no optimal, predetermined solution, but instead a combination of luck and strategy. Correctly applied, I think that something like the Numenera system could be a step in the right direction for cRPGs, but, obviously, T:ToN isn't that step yet, so like I said, that's just theory.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2015
Messages
823
Location
Isometric realm
- I like the engine, the backgrounds are incredibly done;
- loading times are faster (love the fact that we can zoom in a lot, just the size of PS:T);
Too bad we don't get to see weather effects like rain, also fog( Defiance Bay in POE );
- would love to have the option to listen to every written word. I already have one laser operation because of games like Fallout 1,2, Arcanum, BG and so on, don't want to go through that again;
- text could be even bigger (like in Wasteland 2 or Pillars of Eternity);
- backgrounds could be in different colors like in Pillars (brown) and different font color;
- the quests and reactivity are better then Pillars 1, companions are good but could have more interesting comments;
- I like the combat a lot more then PS:T;
- liking the Tides system but I would love to have the ability to see what Tide governs each NPC;
- every single NPC has other comments, I never saw this in another game;
- we even have tasks that are not marked as quests and can spend some time to figure out what it could be done;
- I love that you can make the game harder or easier by what choices you make, also the length of the game is determined by the way you play.(1st play was about 20h, 2nd 50h)
- I really am pretty impressed with how the majority of players that played this game really loved to read, I never thought we could have this in our time anymore;

Things I would like to see in patches (or mods):
- much better integration of the interface for PC - we really need a log for conversations (we need sort button in inventory, when opening inventory always Castoffs comes first even if another party member was selected);
- add more sound effect to the game,
in the Oasis mere we don't have any , when opening the portal to Endless Gate also no sounds
- add more options in menu for PC: Pillars of Eternity had already a lot of them, also no command line in game.
 
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karfhud

Augur
Joined
Jun 23, 2013
Messages
176
Location
Smoldering Corpse Disco Den
Just finished ToN yesterday, so fresh off my mind, in no particular order:

- Bloom was pretty much perfect, it definitely carries over the ambiance of Sigil. It's thoroughly well designed, from the NPCs and their themes, through quests, audio, up to the visuals. I only wish it was bigger and had more content.

- Sagus Cliffs stands in kind of a contrast to the Bloom. While it has its moments (the psychic Smoldering Corpse Bar, for instance), it generally feels much more... random, and less polished, than the Bloom.

- Companions were uneven. I immediately ditched Aligern and Callistege (the two characters you meet right at the start ought to be over-the-top-interesting), Tybir felt similarly bland. Erritis, on the other hand, was brilliant. Matkina and Rhin fall somewhere in between. My biggest concern with the companions, though, is that they don't really reinforce the theme of the game... apart from Erritis, maybe.

- I enjoyed the entire storyline, but pacing seemed a bit off.

- Crises turned out nicely. I liked the fact that combat is just one of the ways you can resolve each (...most) of them.

- The class of my choosing - Jack - felt very lackluster.

I think the Codex is way, way too critical of ToN; while it probably won't have the lasting impact of PS:T, it's still a very good game with an incredible story and an unforgettable setting. I'll give it a second go, it felt very replayable throughout...

...I really want to follow the "I'm the Changing God" line to the very end and see how it changes things.
 

StaticSpine

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Dec 14, 2013
Messages
3,232
Location
Moscow
Shadorwun: Hong Kong
What was done right?
  • The atmosphere of total weirdness.
  • Side quests and NPCs.
  • Castoff's death mechanic leading to different outcomes instead of a game over screen.
  • Backgrounds are nice.
Everything else could be better. Pretty sure InXile won't consider taking feedback form Codex or making another Torment game after this release.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
66
I thought the game was okay but there were a lot of issues that kept me from enjoying it as much as the premise and 11/10 reviews out there would lead me to believe.

-Text was way too verbose and not always as good as the writers thought. I know that reading lots is integral to this game but far too often the writing just needs to move along. "I get it already" and "Cool, another Mere. But oh man..." weren't uncommon thoughts, speaking for myself. Pretty sure it would have been better to write fewer details and focus on making those few details (more) interesting.

-I'm not a backer and didn't come to this game as a Planescape: Torment fan but rather just another cRPG player, but I still think the whole "Torment spiritual successor" thing is a fiasco (as it should be) and a huge minus towards the game, and the game itself seems to try to have its cake and eat it too. What a bunch of Kickstarter marketing bullshit.

-The crisis system is a great idea, because it gets you out of that "kill everything" mentality when you switch to combat mode in a cRPG and it could be developed further in other games, just make the actual fighting and moving around in it much faster and the option to fast forward through AI movement, because as it stands in this game it's way too slow.

-Yet another underwhelming act 3/epilogue in a RPG videogame. I was expecting a new legit hub before the end of the game instead of going back into the mind space or whatever and just having a few environmental "bubbles" (repurposed cut content, more like. "here's how the game would be if it took place underwater!") to visit. And the confrontation with the Sorrow. Felt like it was pandering to me. She had no reason to let me live and yet she does. The other people that were around had no reason to let me do what I did and yet they all do. After all, we have to roll the credits already (ah, now you cut to the chase, bit too late).

-Too much money I didn't know how to spend and I was suprised the character development topped off at Tier 4, I was thinking I'd get at least 2 more levels. Not that you need them in this game.
 
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DeepOcean

Arcane
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
7,398
There were some good ideas here and there, I really liked the electricity eating humanoid race, the foremans and that Sagus Cliffs is actually some old repurposed space port for some dead race. The tavern of the fifth eye and the idea of you having to drink one of the drinks to see Malaise and you having two very different ways of dealing with it. The Necropolis and the Endless Horror quest are nice and the Bloom has its moments especially when you interact with it.

Those are good world building moments but they are rare, the game tries to disguise the lack of content with poorly thought out NPCs and their endless boring without context exposition about things without importance.

Rhin and Arritis are interesting characters but this is more when contrasted with the really weak others, not that they are supper massive good.

Problem is two fold, the game lacks content and the main quest sucks all the way through. There is nothing of positive in it, the characters, the motivations, the delivery, nothing is salveageble in there. While those moment I mentioned are indeed interesting, they aren't enough to offset the massive downsides.

Really, this game suffered from some serious management issues, lack of transparency to not say outright lies. There are suspicions that Fargo cut the game dry when he saw the sales wouldn't be that good, the whole deal with Techland, the blacklisting of the codex, the hidden cuts... Really, I don't trust InXile to make a sequel to this game or any other game whatsoever.
 

Mortmal

Arcane
Joined
Jun 15, 2009
Messages
9,202
Some very good idea yes, the setting is awesome, unique atmosphere, some would find imperfections with the cobblestones but i thought the background were quite good and even gorgeous sometime.The quests were original , especially the companion quests. Loved rhin and erritis.
Now it seriously lack of pace, combat should have been more dynamic, fthere's so few options to chose from they could have made it fast and rtwp or even arcade like arcanum, its not worse. Thats the perfect exemple of turn based gone wrong.Writing is good but they throw you too much too early without any actions and without giving any motivation to read it.You dont need it to solve puzzles, nothing is really challenging by the way, you dont need it for your personal goals. All in all it wasnt so bad but very very short, 20 hours for one playthrough, and i dont feel like replaying.

I am sure this wont happen, sales are probably catastrophic but i would give them a second chance and back tides 2.
 

cvv

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
18,285
Location
Kingdom of Bohemia
Codex+ Now Streaming!
Change writers, before everything else.

Seriously, the writing team just wasn't up to the task they set themselves. They were not good enough, simple as that. They decided to build a cathedral of a game, a Sagrada Familia of the genre. But if a group of architects decide to build Sagrada Familia they better make damn fucking sure they're the best, most brilliant, most experienced bunch of architects the profession can offer. There are flashes of brilliance in TToN but whoever was responsible for the main bulk of the writing is not....that.

And yeah, the setting. Jesus. Writing a compelling imaginative story is hard enough but setting it A BILLION YEARS in the future? Who came with a dimwitted idea like that? Not even the biggest giants of the sci-fi genre could've pulled that off. The moment they announced the setting is Numenera I immediatelly got a feeling these people have no damn idea what they were doing.

All of that in mind - let's not forget the bulk of the fan rage didn't have anything to do with the writing or the setting. Most journos and even players think the writing is brilliant. If you read Steam reviews most people complain about cut content and the turn-based combat. If inXile truly starts listening to feedback the first thing they'd wanna change for the sequel is making the combat RtwP. So yeah....
 

FeelTheRads

Arcane
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
13,716
As I said before, big parts of this game read like they've been written by interns. Not professional writers by any stretch of the imagination.
I wonder how much, if anything, they've put on BN and sea's back.

Most journos and even players think the writing is brilliant.

Most of those also think Fallout 3 had brilliant writing.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
4,584
Strap Yourselves In Codex+ Now Streaming!
Change writers, before everything else.

Seriously, the writing team just wasn't up to the task they set themselves. They were not good enough, simple as that. They decided to build a cathedral of a game, a Sagrada Familia of the genre. But if a group of architects decide to build Sagrada Familia they better make damn fucking sure they're the best, most brilliant, most experienced bunch of architects the profession can offer. There are flashes of brilliance in TToN but whoever was responsible for the main bulk of the writing is not....that.

And yeah, the setting. Jesus. Writing a compelling imaginative story is hard enough but setting it A BILLION YEARS in the future? Who came with a dimwitted idea like that? Not even the biggest giants of the sci-fi genre could've pulled that off. The moment they announced the setting is Numenera I immediatelly got a feeling these people have no damn idea what they were doing.

All of that in mind - let's not forget the bulk of the fan rage didn't have anything to do with the writing or the setting. Mos

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_Earth

Come on, it's time to put this tired "ONE BILLION YEARS OH NO HOW COULD THEY" meme to rest. I'm not defending the writing nor the way the setting was executed (I played just 2-3 hours in), but saying that "One Billion Years into the future" set them up for failure is silly.

The setting is fantasy with a sci-fi twist, not real sci-fi that tries to explore how the world could actually look like in the farest feature. It doesn't matter if they say 100K, 1M or 1B years, it's just a number that conveys that you have officially entered fantasy land with space magic and shit and that any connections with our world and reality are in name only.

This is like saying Space Mehruns, Orks and Space Elves is an unrealistic portrayal of how the world will look like in the 41st millenium. Don't be such an autist.
 

existential_vacuum

.PNG Police
Patron
Joined
Aug 22, 2016
Messages
1,864,792
Location
Pub across the street
Make the Codex Great Again!
don't think magical homosexual genderfluid space negroes make sense in either case.
Maybe it doesn't. But what if they tried to make a sequel to one the most critically acclaimed movies of all time?
14783425287160.jpg

and still failed
 
Self-Ejected

Sacred82

Self-Ejected
Dumbfuck
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
2,957
Location
Free Village
that's right guys, black gays are science fiction. In a spacefaring age they would long have been cured of their ways, by the Lord Jesus no less.
 

Gulnar

Scholar
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
133
Make a Fallout: Torment game. The resulting butthurt will destroy the galaxy and nothing will be a problem anymore.
Yes, but only if bethesda handles the programming side of it.
And EA the release.
 

harhar!

Augur
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
229
Don't put so much useless, crappy text in the game.

Put more interesting text in the game. I don't even feel like I'm missing anything important when I just click through the dialoges. There should be some point in reading all of it. Or make the story interesting enough that I actually care about tons of lore.
 

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