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Author Topic: Let's play AoD!  (Read 552194 times)
Hümmelgümpf der Bruzzelzwerg
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« Reply #255 on: January 15, 2008, 10:59:33 am »

I don't think there is anything wrong about missing the opportunity to get some phat lewt if you choose the peaceful scenario. Don't forget that smooth talkers have less expenses, since they don't depend on pricey equipment as much as more combat-oriented characters do.
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This is the story of one man's emotional journey through things good and ill, the things that make life worth living, the tears and dessert of existence – that is, it was until receiving feedback from focus groups, money men, their yes men and the mystics of marketing, and so now it's about a magic baseball player dating a stripper with a heart of gold who gradually unlocks his ultimate power with the help of an "urban" robot during their quest to defeat an evil samurai sword wielding
Priapist
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« Reply #256 on: January 15, 2008, 11:11:14 am »

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Suggested "loot and face teh consequences" scenario is a reload fest that isn't about role-playing but about getting all the loot you can carry. Chris Avellone's cartoon comes to mind here. It sounds that people are curious about peaceful options, but in the end, they still prefer and expect some good ol' fashioned violence. Any comments?

I can't really deny the fact that people will still want to "game" the dialogue, and you shouldn't necessarily pander to that, but... I don't think that's the whole issue here. The problem is more with what seems like an artificial limitation, and possibly confusion of motive.

The way I see it, most players are going to opt for the intimidation option - as an assassin, your whole modus operandi is fighting on your own terms, with a guaranteed advantage. If you can't achieve that through stealth, then you improvise. So I see that "intimidation" option as stalling while you better assess the situation, to the player's eyes, there's nothing to lose. If they fail they're in combat, which is as good as option #2, and at this point there's no way of telling what sort of advantage either party gets from initiating combat, so it's hard to reason in favour of attacking first.

If they succeed at the intimidation, the least you'd expect is to buy some time. There might even be the expectation that he's going to lay down his arms and trouble you no further. The problem is, the only resolution for success is that you grab the map and scarper, which doesn't seem intuitive from any perspective, and there's nothing to suggest that not fighting the guy will deny you the liberty to either rethink your decision, or take any further action in the situation. That's what I'd expect if I'd failed to intimidate the guard, in that moment after he bares his teeth and charges at you, our quick thinking assassin decide's it's time to go.

I think you can still keep the same overall choice vs consequence - there's no way to get to that chest through non-violent means - but you need to pad out the various options to be less black and white:

    [1]Give the guy who chooses to silently attack the guard some kind of advantage for acting quickly and decisively
    [2]Give the guy who intimidates/stalls a few opportunities to test the water, and progressively stack the odds against him the longer he chooses to push his luck
    [3]Add a third option to grab the map and bolt without attempting to fight or intimidate. Check it against a stat or a skill so it's not an instant escape - the character is making a conscious choice to use agility rather than brains or brawn.

...and so forth. I realise it's a considerable amount of extra scripting, but I think it's well worth it to avoid frustrating players with misleading choices in the short term. For instance - consider The Witcher, where you may provide for a faction only to find that a week down the track they've used those provisions to accomplish something you really didn't want to happen. You suck it up, and think harder about the next decision you have to make.

If that same choice provided the consequence a matter of seconds later, then I'd think a good portion of players would be frustrated and reload in order to game each of the choices and decide which suits them best. It's even worse mere minutes into the game, since unless it autosaves, you might potentially have a player who is pissed enough to abandon their character almost from the outset.
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cardtrick
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« Reply #257 on: January 15, 2008, 11:19:10 am »

It's fine if the choice is between leaving peacefully or risking your life for the sake of extra reward -- in fact, that's great. However, it's not clear that that is the choice being made from the dialog.

It is very reasonable for the player to choose "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down" and expect to have a few options upon success (attacking once the guard's lowered his sword for a bonus, splitting the loot with the guard, bribing him, intimidating him further into leaving, etc.).

I understand that you can't have all of those options. You've made some arguments for why they don't necessarily make sense, and moreover there's the bigger issue of developer time constricting choices. That's fine. But when a reasonable choice is not going to be available, it would be better to make that clear to the player. Otherwise all you're doing is encouraging reload syndrome. If I was playing this, I would want to make the guard back down and then attack him while he's unarmed. (Who wants to leave witnesses?) I would expect that choosing option 1 would lead me to further choices. If I chose option 1, and then saw that I had no option but to leave, I'd be a little annoyed and would probably reload to choose option 2. I don't reload when I make a choice and am not thrilled with the consequences; but I do reload when the game makes a choice for me or doesn't seem to interpret my choice in a reasonable way.

If you can't add the options I want, that's fine. I understand. But please do try to make it clear when such options aren't going to be available. Changing the line to "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly" would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further. You could make things clearer still, and really make sure that the player understands his choices, by instead using "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly. [truth]," as Obsidian did to good effect in MOTB. That would be my preference, but you may consider it too metagame-y.

(By the way, someone has posted a response while I was typing this, but I don't have time to read it right now. Here's hoping it doesn't make what I said redundant.)
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Vince
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« Reply #258 on: January 15, 2008, 11:44:31 am »

The way I see it, most players are going to opt for the intimidation option - as an assassin, your whole modus operandi is fighting on your own terms, with a guaranteed advantage. If you can't achieve that through stealth, then you improvise.
That's a great point.

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If they succeed at the intimidation, the least you'd expect is to buy some time. There might even be the expectation that he's going to lay down his arms and trouble you no further.
Doesn't sound very reasonable though.

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...and there's nothing to suggest that not fighting the guy will deny you the liberty to either rethink your decision, or take any further action in the situation.
Rethinking your decisions sounds awfully close to meaningless options or XP farming.

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That's what I'd expect if I'd failed to intimidate the guard, in that moment after he bares his teeth and charges at you, our quick thinking assassin decide's it's time to go.
You are near the window and the guard is a few steps away (I'll post the overview shot when I get home), blocking the door. When the guard charges you, it's too late to try to climb out the window.

Quote
[1]Give the guy who chooses to silently attack the guard some kind of advantage for acting quickly and decisively
[2]Give the guy who intimidates/stalls a few opportunities to test the water, and progressively stack the odds against him the longer he chooses to push his luck
[3]Add a third option to grab the map and bolt without attempting to fight or intimidate. Check it against a stat or a skill so it's not an instant escape - the character is making a conscious choice to use agility rather than brains or brawn.
I'll consider it. Thanks.
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Vince
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« Reply #259 on: January 15, 2008, 11:53:42 am »

If you can't add the options I want, that's fine. I understand. But please do try to make it clear when such options aren't going to be available. Changing the line to "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly" would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further. You could make things clearer still, and really make sure that the player understands his choices, by instead using "I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down. I'll just slip out quietly. [truth]," as Obsidian did to good effect in MOTB. That would be my preference, but you may consider it too metagame-y.
We'll consider that as well. *scratches head.
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Priapist
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« Reply #260 on: January 15, 2008, 12:07:16 pm »

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Rethinking your decisions sounds awfully close to meaningless options or XP farming.

Okay, rethinking was probably a bad word. I wasn't thinking in terms of a "do over", more along the lines of giving the player reasonable opportunity (or information) when they're choosing what essentially amounts to a course of action to remove them from a once-off situation, never to return.

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I'll just slip out quietly.

I'd be happy enough with that. It makes it clear that you're almost bargaining your way out of a potentially hostile situation, rather than defusing it.
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Morbus
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« Reply #261 on: January 15, 2008, 12:23:04 pm »

Any comments?
That's why I expect the game to reward me for going for a peaceful solution, with experience and possibly loot. I don't wanna kill the guy (I just said so in the dialog!), I just might wanna loot the place...

But that's ok if you don't think it's coherent and consistent.
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Vince
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« Reply #262 on: January 15, 2008, 12:29:37 pm »

Any comments?
That's why I expect the game to reward me for going for a peaceful solution, with experience and possibly loot.
It does, but not every time and not everywhere.
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TheLostOne
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« Reply #263 on: January 15, 2008, 12:30:25 pm »

I agree that it needs to be more clear.  Playing an assassin I'd want to take as few risks as possible. 

Attacking an armed bodyguard who is completely prepared for a fight: Risky. 

Convincing him not to fight and leaving: less risky. 

Convincing him not to fight and then attacking him while he's off guard to ensure there are no witnesses: least risky in the long term. 

That's my train of thought.  Now this isn't PnP and you can't put everyone's favorite option in the game, but in a game like this with many choices that tries to emulate PnP choice heavy gameplay it's important to clarify when a choice just doesn't exist.

As far as the Witcher example goes, the main difference is that in one example you're being suprised by what an NPC chooses to do, but in the other you're being suprised by what the character you're playing chooses to do.  That should never happen unless you're playing a predefined character like TNO or Geralt.
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Vince
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« Reply #264 on: January 15, 2008, 03:12:32 pm »

Okay, rethinking was probably a bad word. I wasn't thinking in terms of a "do over", more along the lines of giving the player reasonable opportunity (or information) when they're choosing what essentially amounts to a course of action to remove them from a once-off situation, never to return.
So, what would you suggest then?

PC says: I was paid to kill one, and since I don't work for free, you can relax and put your sword down.

The guard studies you, evaluating his chances. From behind narrowed eyelids, he considers your crossbow at great length. Finally he nods and lowers his sword, but shows no intention of backing away.

Then what?
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Sleet
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« Reply #265 on: January 15, 2008, 03:20:30 pm »

Agree with cardtrick. Should be an option to do more.
Good dialogue, some options:

As he lowers his sword,
  • You nod to the chest. "Tell ya what, let's split what's in there." (Influence roll: success you split the swag and go your separate ways. Fail: battle!)
  • "Drop the blade then my friend, and leave now." (intimidate roll - successful he leaves you can loot room. Fails: battle!)
  • "I think you need a new boss. Want to work for the TRUE power in this town?" Discuss with guard your guild and its many benefits! (influence roll - success he joins guild and you gain rep. Fails: battle - cannot leave him now with him knowing your guild! You get all the swag of course in chest either way)

Our assassin is now a vet!  Wink
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 03:29:12 pm by Sleet » Logged
Vince
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« Reply #266 on: January 15, 2008, 03:42:41 pm »

... would at least make it clear that there won't be options to split the loot with the guard, bribe him, or intimidate him further.
Well, let's see: bribing doesn't make sense because the guard isn't a threat and you don't need anything from him; same goes for intimidating him further - how much further and why?; as for the loot splitting option, first, you don't know how much loot is there, so making deals sounds bit "munchkinish" to me. It's one thing if you can tell "The merchant brought ten large diamonds with him. Keep your mouth shut and you can keep four.", it's quite another saying "If you let me loot the room, I'll give you half of whatever junk I find!" Besides, here is what you get from the dead merchant and the chest:

200 imperials:
robe
the map
curved dagger
several gem stones

How would you split it with the guard?


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Vince
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« Reply #267 on: January 15, 2008, 03:47:35 pm »

You nod to the chest. "Tell ya what, let's split what's in there." (Influence roll: success you split the swag and go your separate ways. Fail: battle!)
That can work.

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"Drop the blade then my friend, and leave now." (intimidate roll - successful he leaves you can loot room. Fails: battle!)
You would want the guard to leave the room and alert the inn crowd that there is an assassin in the room?

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"I think you need a new boss. Want to work for the TRUE power in this town?" Discuss with guard your guild and its many benefits! (influence roll - success he joins guild and you gain rep. Fails: battle - cannot leave him now with him knowing your guild! You get all the swag of course in chest either way)
Your guild is well known. It's a "legitimate" dispute-solving business.

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Special_Can
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« Reply #268 on: January 15, 2008, 03:47:56 pm »

So being killed because you chose to ignore an armed guy while looting the room is no real consequence?

 Like other people already pointed out, and my point was that if you start to add dialogue choices for every idiot or mistake out there, you have an infinite number of things you can add. It's fun, especially with a game that thrives in that sort of thing and such an open developer. Vince has to draw a line, and I think he drew it.  Wink

 Vince: Can't you just attack him anyways after the conversation?
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I roleplay. If there un-conscious, i just walk away and pretend there dead.
TheLostOne
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« Reply #269 on: January 15, 2008, 03:48:01 pm »

I'm fine with just making it clear that the intimidate option is the end of the scene, but since you asked for suggestions:

* Attack him now that his guard is lowered. (give some kind of ap or initiative bonus or penalty to the guard)

*Slip out silently through the window.

*"You look pretty green, and I doubt you were getting paid much for this job.   The merchant's guild has laid claim to your former employer's belongings so you won't get to keep those either.  How about we come to an arrangement?" Then convince him that you can make it look like the guard was knocked out and the room was looted afterwards maybe even plant evidence that the thieves guild did it if you've got the skills (forgery? streetsmarts?).  You could introduce faction tension there.   You could also choose to betray the guard and not give him his cut afterwards, but that could lead to a bad encounter with him and some buddies later.

As far as how to split it, you'd fence the goods, get a certain coin amount for them and split it or just keep them for yourself and face the consequences.
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