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What drove BG3's success, game mechanics or emotional engagement?

n0denz

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Apr 3, 2024
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Present Day, Present Time
I've yet to play it and have been avoiding a lot of the press to avoid spoilers in case I get interested in it one day. I'm not sure though whether its popularity is due to it actually being good or being the first zoomie's first CRPG.
 

agris

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Apr 16, 2004
Messages
6,877
that’s interesting, so itemization is massively improved over the DoSes? Not drowning in random garbage of +1 or 2%?

Lemming42 that’s what I’m saying, you’re sensitive to factors that don’t drive success on the scale of BG3’s.

re: environmental interactions, do they extend beyond pushing enemies off ledges, exploding barrels/oil, or water puddles as hot spots for elemental spell effects? if this is covered well elsewhere feel free to link, i don’t expect a dissertation
 

Nifft Batuff

Prophet
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
3,237
When BG3 arrived, the majority of gamers did know almost nothing about the classic BG games, apart maybe being very old games with a D&D setting. They did know DOS1-2 thought. The name "Baldur's Gate" hasn't helped too much to the success of BG3.
 

Lemming42

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Location
The Satellite Of Love
@Lemming42 that’s what I’m saying, you’re sensitive to factors that don’t drive success on the scale of BG3’s.
I think the things I mentioned are key drivers of the game's success. Even if people are being hooked in by things like the characters or word of mouth buzz, what's important is that there's a strong game waiting for them when they do decide to check it out, and that's why people are sinking so many hours into multiple playthroughs. I think C&C in particular is something that people show a lot of interest in; the game's easily on par with most titles that could claim to be its competitors in that regard, and generally leaves BioWare in the dust. There is quite a bit of fake C&C as usual for these type of games but the player mostly has the ability to do things which the game will remember and bring up later.

re: environmental interactions, do they extend beyond pushing enemies off ledges, exploding barrels/oil, or water puddles as hot spots for elemental spell effects? if this is covered well elsewhere feel free to link, i don’t expect a dissertation
There's the usual barrelmancy and elemental stuff but there's also things such as: manipulating enemy AI (eg casting Minor Illusion to draw guards away from their posts or lure them into traps), using magic or manipulation to navigate the environment (eg moving objects to create stairways, or casting Reduce on yourself to reduce your weight and then having a party member with high STR pick you up and throw you onto a higher ledge), occasional alternate routes (eg breakable walls or destructible bits of scenery that can be used to slip by enemies or plan ambushes), and more. The game also has a stealth system and crime system which allows you to try and sneak into places and get arrested - the crime system is far from perfect but it's nice that it's there.

This all opens up a lot of routes for cool stuff - the goblin camp is still one of the best examples, where my solution involved splitting the party into three groups who each had to pull off their parts of the plan near-simultaneously. My solution for getting into the fortress in Act 3 was equally fun, my Gnome protag got picked up and thrown across the moat by the party's Barbarian and then had to sneak her way through the fortress solo until a way could be found to bring the others across. There's few other games that will just go along with whatever batshit plan the player comes up with, and have systems in place to allow it to work.

It has some of the best use of non-combat magic in any RPG I've played, no doubt. And the world is often designed around accomodating creative use of it, as opposed to something like Daggerfall/Morrowind where you can do insane shit with magic but in doing so you just break the game since Todd didn't anticipate it.
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
There's the usual barrelmancy and elemental stuff but there's also things such as: manipulating enemy AI (eg casting Minor Illusion to draw guards away from their posts or lure them into traps), using magic or manipulation to navigate the environment (eg moving objects to create stairways, or casting Reduce on yourself to reduce your weight and then having a party member with high STR pick you up and throw you onto a higher ledge), occasional alternate routes (eg breakable walls or destructible bits of scenery that can be used to slip by enemies or plan ambushes), and more. The game also has a stealth system and crime system which allows you to try and sneak into places and get arrested - the crime system is far from perfect but it's nice that it's there.

This all opens up a lot of routes for cool stuff - the goblin camp is still one of the best examples, where my solution involved splitting the party into three groups who each had to pull off their parts of the plan near-simultaneously. My solution for getting into the fortress in Act 3 was equally fun, my Gnome protag got picked up and thrown across the moat by the party's Barbarian and then had to sneak her way through the fortress solo until a way could be found to bring the others across. There's few other games that will just go along with whatever batshit plan the player comes up with, and have systems in place to allow it to work.

It has some of the best use of non-combat magic in any RPG I've played, no doubt. And the world is often designed around accomodating creative use of it, as opposed to something like Daggerfall/Morrowind where you can do insane shit with magic but in doing so you just break the game since Todd didn't anticipate it.

Stack boxes to reach certain places (though somewhat redundant with Misty Step and high STR jumps) or arrange objects to funnel enemies to where you want them, including into traps. I think you can also stack boxes and use that as a starting point for Eagle Heart Barbarian's Diving Strike. You can destroy bridges under enemies (e.g. use fire to burn the web bridges and have the Act 1 spider boss drop down for lots of damage).

It may not be the most game-changing or mind-blowing stuff but it adds a lot of flavorful and fun options.
 

Perkel

Arcane
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Messages
15,927
n+1 design aka true roleplay where everything you do matters and there are almost no hard walls.
 

KeAShizuku

Novice
Joined
Dec 11, 2023
Messages
83
I have found Codexers to be shockingly insular. It makes me a little sad, sincerely so. I wish RPGs were as mainstream as some 'Dexers think they are.

A few weeks ago I saw a post from someone saying they were astounded at No Man's Sky having continued to pull the numbers it does despite Pathfinder: Wrath of Righteous being a far better and far more well-known property.

It was like having to tell a child that Santa Clause isn't real.

Lol I understand very well. However that doesn't mean that I personally have to give a flying fuck does it?

Like my mom used to say "if your friends jump off a bridge to get to a Taylor Swift concert doesn't mean you have to".

Baldur's Gate 3 sold 3 trillion copies- I don't care.
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
The ruleset is so thin and dumbed down that it doesn't matter, tbh. It is a true RPG lite
Bullshit. It may not be as quite as complex as D&D 3E or Mathfinder but other than that, I'd like to know what other paragons of complex systems design you have in mind. BG3's 5E implementation is more complex than whatever it is most other games in the genre have to offer and it is sure of fuck more complex than anything based on AD&D 2E.

"RPG lite" my ass. It's one thing to not like BG3, it's another thing to make up stupid shit in lieu of arguments.
 

Haplo

Prophet
Patron
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
6,254
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
that’s interesting, so itemization is massively improved over the DoSes? Not drowning in random garbage of +1 or 2%?
Yes. Frankly there's a lot of broken items with special properties. Too many, probably. You're drowning in magical gear already in Act 1, including some items with strong, unique properties.
And in Act 2 you'll find some items which eclipse end-game gear in most games (stuff like Arcane Acuity items, Snowburst Ring).
 

luj1

You're all shills
Vatnik
Joined
Jan 2, 2016
Messages
13,731
Location
Eastern block
The ruleset is so thin and dumbed down that it doesn't matter, tbh. It is a true RPG lite
Bullshit. It may not be as quite as complex as D&D 3E or Mathfinder but other than that, I'd like to know what other paragons of complex systems design you have in mind. BG3's 5E implementation is more complex than whatever it is most other games in the genre have to offer and it is sure of fuck more complex than anything based on AD&D 2E.

Racial bonuses are banal compared to games like NWN or KotC. You get Darkvision, wow!

Fuckin Clerics have Wizard spells like Fireball

Anyone can use scrolls

no Ability Score requirements

no verbal/somatic component system

etc. etc.

For someone who plays earlier editions it IS dumbed down and lite, you are just a cuck
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
The ruleset is so thin and dumbed down that it doesn't matter, tbh. It is a true RPG lite
Bullshit. It may not be as quite as complex as D&D 3E or Mathfinder but other than that, I'd like to know what other paragons of complex systems design you have in mind. BG3's 5E implementation is more complex than whatever it is most other games in the genre have to offer and it is sure of fuck more complex than anything based on AD&D 2E.

Racial bonuses are banal compared to games like NWN or KotC. You get Darkvision, wow!

Fuckin Clerics have Wizard spells like Fireball

Anyone can use scrolls

no Ability Score requirements

no verbal/somatic component system

etc. etc.

So fucking what, it's still a massively complex system compared to almost every other RPG. "RPG lite" is as retarded a claim as you are as a person.

You can make a similarly pointless laundry list of stupid shit in BG3 that other games don't have. No verbal spell component? Who gives a fuck? There is a silence spell and it works.

"Racial bonuses" don't make a system more "complex", it simply means that some racial picks are better for some builds than for others, and it's not like a +1 or +2 ability score bonus wasn't just as "banal". It doesn't get more banal than straight up numerical bonuses.

Some of the racial bonuses are impactful. Humans and Half-Elves getting shield proficiency? Casters being able to equip shields without having to blow a feat on it is fucking huge. The Wood Elf mobility bonus is nice for mobility based builds. Some races get Darkness as a class feature and that can be very impactful if you play around it. The Half Orc bonuses are extremely good for certain melee builds. Halfling Luck is awesome and so is Lightfoots' advantage on stealth checks. The Githyanki bonuses are great, too.


For someone who plays earlier editions it IS dumbed down and lite, you are just a cuck

It's not an "RPG lite" by genre standards, that's just a fucking stupid thing to say, even if it is less complex than 3E. Less complex is not the same as "lite". Also: LOL at calling people "cucks" like it's 2016.
 

Laz Sundays

Educated
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Messages
195
People are more cucks today. More deviant in every regard. Sensitive deviant cucks. But it's ok, it will die out on it's own.
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
Yeah, I mean, believing that it's fucking irrelevant that spells don't have a somatic component system in a fucking video game or disagreeing on the minutiae of Elf race bonuses totally makes me a "cuck".

Jesus fucking Christ, some of you people really should be euthanized for the betterment of the human gene pool.
 

Roguey

Codex Staff
Staff Member
Sawyerite
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
35,933
Comparing sales of old games to today is very apples and oranges. Mass Effect launched in 2007. That's 17 years ago. Since then gaming has grown bigger than all other entertainment mediums. Andromeda, which was a sluggish late entry into the series, and definitively worse than its priors, still made more money. Physical copies of games have nearly evaporated and the availability of goods to consume games in the first place are far more widespread. There are phone games and generic indie schlock that have sold more than Mass Effect.
Skyrim from 2011 sold tens of millions. Mass Effect 3 from 2012 and Dragon Age Inquisition from 2014 didn't even come close even though it was an explicit goal of the Biodocs to hit 10 million. They hit the ceiling on their semi-linear cinematic games. Bioware upper management ended up resenting the writers because of this, as Gaider has talked about.
 

Lyric Suite

Converting to Islam
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
56,981
BTW, this thing popped up on my youtube feed today and it reminded me of what someone said about the writing in the older BG games:



There's probably better examples than this but either way it shows why the writing in BG1 & 2 was valid, even if the quality wasn't exactly the greatest, and it's because it felt like this are the characters talking. The things they are saying are in line with what we know about them and the suspension of disbelief is maintained throughout. Of course Jaheira would be bothered by Minc making a rukus in the wild, she is a druid!

I didn't get this out of BG3. Just that "look at how quirky i am" attitude the writing had instantly took me out of the setting.
 

Lyric Suite

Converting to Islam
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
56,981
I didn't get this out of BG3. Just that "look at how quirky i am" attitude the writing had instantly took me out of the setting.

Right, because Minsc isn't the very definition of an ultra-quirky character.

But the character is meant to be that, this is not the writer showing off how clever or quriky they think they are. Misc was just drawn up like that conceptually and his dialog is consistent with his character. As far as i understand, he was made after some character one of the devs used in his tabletop games. Probably rolled a low int character with high strengh and roleplayed him like that for laughs.

Also, he was one of a kind, where as BG3's writing is quirky throughout.
 

Kiste

Augur
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
680
Also, he was one of a kind, where as BG3's writing is quirky throughout.

I simply don't see it. Larian "humor" aside, the companions don't seem particularly "quirky" in the usual definition of the word (odd or eccentric in behavior or character). Certainly not any more so than in, say, Dragon Age: Origins.

Sure, they have strong personalities and every single one of them has big shit going on but that's where the genre has moved to. BG1/BG2 had a shitload of companion characters, most of them were utterly forgettable and the ones we remember are the ones with quirks or with interesting shit going on. The Bioware style companion formula, which BG3 clearly follows, has moved to fewer characters that have more going on.

You could argue that what the companions have going on in BG3 is a bit too much or too big but that's a matter of taste. It doesn't make them "quirky". Lae'zel is "quirky" but that comes with the territory of being a rather alien creature and some sort of plain Becky Half-Elf personality would hardly be fitting for such a character.

Claiming that the writing, and the companions in particular, in BG3 are "quirky" is just some sort of lazy boilerplate criticism that you can always trot out if you're looking for something to criticize. It's vague enough of a criticism that it can mean almost anything.

I've yet to see anyone convincingly argue that the writing of the companions in BG3 is actually shit rather than merely stating that it's shit. I can understand that, say, Karlach or Astarion aren't everyone's cup of tea but are they badly written? No. They're perfectly fine. Maybe not great, but not bad either.
 
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Lyric Suite

Converting to Islam
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Mar 23, 2006
Messages
56,981
Well, i hated Karlach the instantly she started talking with her stupid anachronistic fuck this fuck that lesbo California shit.

Much of the quirky quality of the writing is found in the actual writing around the game, some of the NPC interactions but especially the books etc.

The companions themselves i found mostly boring and stupid.
 

Old Hans

Arcane
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
1,514
Well, i hated Karlach the instantly she started talking with her stupid anachronistic fuck this fuck that lesbo California shit.

Much of the quirky quality of the writing is found in the actual writing around the game, some of the NPC interactions but especially the books etc.

The companions themselves i found mostly boring and stupid.
karlach is the worst. its like someone won a contest to add their dumb D&D character into the game
 

Lemming42

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Nov 4, 2012
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The Satellite Of Love
I love Karlach and I like her speaking style because it's way preferable to the "pray, from where dost thou hail" shit that sometimes ends up in FR games (and is usually itself applied inconsistently as fuck too - BG1 has some lines written in that faux-medieval style, and other lines where people sound like they're straight out of the 1990s).

I never got why vaguely european-medieval-inspired fantasy should mean everyone talks like a dickhead at a renaissance fair, especially since my understanding of FR lore is that there are characters who have canonically visited modern-day Earth (and vice versa). Elminster has probably heard words like "Brexit" and "coomer" and "fleek".

The only issue with Karlach for me is the absurd backstory, same as the other characters. She'd be great if she was just some good-natured dumbass you happened to meet on the road, like a golden retriever in Tiefling form. But instead she's held back by this inane "I've just gotten back from being a slave-soldier for 99999 years" anime-ass crap which just seems at odds with the way she talks and acts. Even the infernal engine plot, which wasn't bad conceptually, would have been better off not being in the game IMO.
 

Butter

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I never got why vaguely european-medieval-inspired fantasy should mean everyone talks like a dickhead at a renaissance fair
lord_british.jpeg
 

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