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Author Topic: Let's play AoD!  (Read 551814 times)
Claw
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« Reply #990 on: April 08, 2008, 07:42:40 pm »

Aww, now I want to play the game now.



Smartass.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 02:13:14 pm by Claw » Logged
flaminghat
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« Reply #991 on: April 08, 2008, 08:18:48 pm »

Aww, now I want to play the game.

what, and you didn't before?


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« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 06:26:55 pm by flaminghat » Logged

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TheLostOne
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« Reply #992 on: April 09, 2008, 02:39:33 pm »

Thanks very much for your time and patience, Vince. 

I do have one concern I'd like to mention. 

Most of the alternate solutions to quests require skill checks.  There seems to be a good variety and making sure that no skill or stat really gets left behind.  Have you made sure to include enough alternate dialogue paths that don't require a skill check though?

Most of the choices I've seen follow this pattern:

1. Vanilla option.
2. Clever option. [intelligence]
3. Schmoosing option [etiquette]
4. Ninja option [sneak]


This gives an array of possibilies, but on a playthrough as a blacksmith craftsman all you see is:

1. Vanilla option.

Even if you have one of the applicable stats you're still only getting 2 options.

I hope there's a fair amount of diversity in dialogue flavor to allow for greater roleplaying possibilities.  Something like:

1. Vanilla
2. Vanilla with smartass tone
3. Vanilla with obsiquious tone
4. 5. 6. [int][eti][snk]

I know you're not a fan of "fake" choices, but I think it's important to let people have a little freedom to say things how they want to say it even if the consequences are negligible.  IMO "padding" the dialogue is only bad if there's nothing of substance besides flavor options.  You don't have that problem so more flavor text can only help.

I know we've only seen some examples here, and you very well may not have this problem in the game right now, but I think it's worth mentioning.
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Vince
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« Reply #993 on: April 10, 2008, 11:04:03 am »

Most of the alternate solutions to quests require skill checks.  There seems to be a good variety and making sure that no skill or stat really gets left behind.  Have you made sure to include enough alternate dialogue paths that don't require a skill check though?
What would be the point? Don't you think that would make skills meaningless or less important?

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Most of the choices I've seen follow this pattern:

1. Vanilla option.
2. Clever option. [intelligence]
3. Schmoosing option [etiquette]
4. Ninja option [sneak]
"Vanilla" options usually lead to some skill checks. So far we've shown 3 conversations: Feng, Dellar, Raiders' leader. The "vanilla" options lead to paying the asking price, telling Dellar about the camps defenses (Perception-based), and negotiating the ransom (trading skill check).

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This gives an array of possibilies, but on a playthrough as a blacksmith craftsman all you see is:
If you dump all your points into crafting (and combat, I assume), then yes, you'll only get the simplest options, but that's the idea, isn't it? The game mechanics don't support pure craftsmen, which is why we don't have blacksmith or alchemist "backgrounds", even though we have complex crafting/alchemy systems.

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I hope there's a fair amount of diversity in dialogue flavor to allow for greater roleplaying possibilities.  Something like:

1. Vanilla
2. Vanilla with smartass tone
3. Vanilla with obsiquious tone
What's the point? To role-playing personalities Bio style? I know that many people want this feature, but we are more interested in providing options for different skills, stats, and abilities. Call it a personal preference.

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I know you're not a fan of "fake" choices, but I think it's important to let people have a little freedom to say things how they want to say it even if the consequences are negligible.
Maybe, but it doesn't fit into our "design philosophy".
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Scott
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« Reply #994 on: April 10, 2008, 11:43:17 am »

I endorse that design philosophy.  Instead of pepping up conversations with a bunch of pointless feelgood chaff, spend the effort creating dialogue that has an impact and actually means something.

Remember running into Elminster in Baldur's Gate?  I liked the dialogue option to basically say,

"Out of my way you old fool or I'll smack you so hard you'll land in Harvestmonth!"

and he goes, "Ooooh, you're dark!"  And otherwise gives you the exact same advice he would have otherwise.  Advice which itself was meaningless.

Yeah, I want more of that action!
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caster
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« Reply #995 on: April 10, 2008, 11:58:36 am »

It would be another matter if those options would lead to making somebody change their attitude towards you.
That i would love to see. You know, choose the wrong tone of speaking to someone and problems arise... and different interesting reactions happen.
Depending on the NPCs character of course.
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TheLostOne
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« Reply #996 on: April 10, 2008, 12:09:34 pm »

I tried to make it clear that I wasn't suggesting fewer meaningful choices, but rather adding more flavor in addition.

Quote
What would be the point? Don't you think that would make skills meaningless or less important?


No.  The skill checks generally provide a "better" solution.  They are rewards for commitment to a path.

What I'm talking about is variety other than skill checks.  If I didn't train my whole life as a ninja, I might not be able to escape the guard.  If I'm not incredibly strong or charismatic I might not be able to overpower him through strength or persuasion to let him go.  Does that mean that I'm left with only one choice?  I don't think it necessarily should.  I've still got my personality and choice of attitudes.

I'm talking about depth of narrative to supplement depth of gameplay.  Your skill checks provide both, but my question is if you don't meet skill check requirements does that mean you should have no variety in narrative?  You should be more limited than a highly skilled person, but you still should have roleplaying possibilities.

I'm not saying you haven't done any of this because I've seen a few examples of different paths that aren't skill check required.  I was only wondering if I make a sub-optimal build by spreading myself too thin or only pumping up one skill to it's highest level, am I going to feel like I'm playing an adventure game, or will I feel like I've got a decent amount of roleplaying options?  You don't need skill to be deceitful or traitorous or nice or rude or happy, etc.  These are things that any human can experience and when you're roleplaying I think it's important to be able to express some of that as you see fit.

Edit: Also, I'm not saying fake flavor options are the best choice.  As caster said, I'd rather non-skill options have a decided effect on the characters and world.  If in the interest of time and sanity that becomes impossible, my opinion is added variety without consequence is preferable to a single dialog otion.  This is because in a roleplaying game, identifying with and expressing the character you're playing is of utmost importance.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 12:12:45 pm by TheLostOne » Logged
Vince
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« Reply #997 on: April 10, 2008, 12:50:43 pm »

No.  The skill checks generally provide a "better" solution.  They are rewards for commitment to a path.
Not sure I agree with this philosophy.

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What I'm talking about is variety other than skill checks.  If I didn't train my whole life as a ninja, I might not be able to escape the guard.  If I'm not incredibly strong or charismatic I might not be able to overpower him through strength or persuasion to let him go.  Does that mean that I'm left with only one choice?  I don't think it necessarily should.  I've still got my personality and choice of attitudes.
Well, surely you're good at something (other than talking with an attitude)?

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I was only wondering if I make a sub-optimal build by spreading myself too thin or only pumping up one skill to it's highest level, am I going to feel like I'm playing an adventure game, or will I feel like I've got a decent amount of roleplaying options?  You don't need skill to be deceitful or traitorous or nice or rude or happy, etc.
You can double-cross and lie to people a lot, if that's what you're asking (see kill the spies quest, get rid of Cassius quest, assassinate the IG commander (in the RPG Vault article) quest, etc).  If that's what you meant, then I misunderstood your question.
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cardtrick
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« Reply #998 on: April 10, 2008, 01:49:20 pm »

I'm back from my foray into Suburbia Generica (New Jersey), but I have a hell of a lot of posts to catch up on. However, I just wanted to say that I personallly share TheLostOne's preference for having a variety of dialog options that are not tied to skills (and I would point to Obsidian or Troika as an example here, rather than Bioware; just because dialog options don't require a skillcheck doesn't mean they have to be meaningless).

However, I think this is one area that isn't open for debate in the context of AoD. Vince has made his stance on this issue abundantly clear from the very beginning, and the focus on roleplaying through character skill (rather than character personality, or alignment, or something else) has been one of AoD's firm guiding design principles. Despite my personal preference, I have a lot of respect for Vince's approach to this, and can't imagine it changing due to discussions on the forum; debating grammar and critiquing art content are great, but the forum has no place altering the basic principles underlying the game. That would move AoD dangerously close to the morass of mediocrity that is "design by committee."
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Claw
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« Reply #999 on: April 10, 2008, 02:39:56 pm »

Well, surely you're good at something (other than talking with an attitude)?
Wouldn't that be a skill as well?
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cardtrick
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« Reply #1000 on: April 10, 2008, 02:43:10 pm »

This is the 1000th post in this thread.

(And yeah, I've been refreshing this page ever couple of minutes waiting for someone to post so I could get the 1000th one without triple posting.)
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #1001 on: April 10, 2008, 03:25:14 pm »

This is the 1000th post in this thread.

(And yeah, I've been refreshing this page ever couple of minutes waiting for someone to post so I could get the 1000th one without triple posting.)
And the 1001th post is gonna tell you you're a bonehead and a spammer ;-)
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TheLostOne
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« Reply #1002 on: April 10, 2008, 03:27:16 pm »

No.  The skill checks generally provide a "better" solution.  They are rewards for commitment to a path.
Not sure I agree with this philosophy.

It's not a philosophy, it's a fact.  I'm not talking about why they exist, I'm talking about the function they provide.  You want to let someone play a scholor so you have lore skill checks.  Passing these checks will give you alternate way's to complete quests, extra information about the storyline and objects.  That's what I mean by reward for dedication, not that you're patting the player on the head for maxing a stat.

Quote
Quote
What I'm talking about is variety other than skill checks.  If I didn't train my whole life as a ninja, I might not be able to escape the guard.  If I'm not incredibly strong or charismatic I might not be able to overpower him through strength or persuasion to let him go.  Does that mean that I'm left with only one choice?  I don't think it necessarily should.  I've still got my personality and choice of attitudes.
Well, surely you're good at something (other than talking with an attitude)?

I hope you're joking.  I'm talking about a character I'm playing in the game not myself (the player.)

If you mean "surely my character is good at something", then probably, but you don't (and shouldn't) have a skill check for every possible skill in every possible quest.  The thought of having quests that don't match my build and seeing only one dialogue choice throughout is what worries me.

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Quote
I was only wondering if I make a sub-optimal build by spreading myself too thin or only pumping up one skill to it's highest level, am I going to feel like I'm playing an adventure game, or will I feel like I've got a decent amount of roleplaying options?  You don't need skill to be deceitful or traitorous or nice or rude or happy, etc.
You can double-cross and lie to people a lot, if that's what you're asking (see kill the spies quest, get rid of Cassius quest, assassinate the IG commander (in the RPG Vault article) quest, etc).  If that's what you meant, then I misunderstood your question.

That's in essence what I meant.  Non skill-check dialog options that still provide you with choices.  What I've seen so far looks fine, but then again I'm seeing all possible options.  I just wanted to ensure that on an actual playthrough I'll have choices to make and branching dialog's even if I don't meet the skill requirements.

Cardtrick brings up a good point that I hadn't considered pertaining to the focus of your design: Roleplaying based on your character sheet (skills/stats) not on alignment or personality.  We get into these group discussions and always argue about the best and ideal way of doing things and tend to forget about the scope.  I also respect where you've chosen to put your focus, and don't mean to imply that it was misguided.  My concern and this current topic of discussion came from the rather simplistic thought that once the skill/stat checks we don't meet are stripped away the remaining options might look a little sparse. 
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Vince
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« Reply #1003 on: April 10, 2008, 08:51:44 pm »

No.  The skill checks generally provide a "better" solution.  They are rewards for commitment to a path.
Not sure I agree with this philosophy.

It's not a philosophy, it's a fact.  I'm not talking about why they exist, I'm talking about the function they provide.  You want to let someone play a scholor so you have lore skill checks.  Passing these checks will give you alternate way's to complete quests, extra information about the storyline and objects.  That's what I mean by reward for dedication, not that you're patting the player on the head for maxing a stat.
I understood what you meant. I didn't agree with the "better" solution" part.

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Quote
Well, surely you're good at something (other than talking with an attitude)?
I hope you're joking.  I'm talking about a character I'm playing in the game not myself (the player.) If you mean "surely my character is good at something"
Obviously. Your own skills are irrelevant to this discussion.

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The thought of having quests that don't match my build and seeing only one dialogue choice throughout is what worries me.
There are plenty (as in a shitload) of ways to handle the main quests, so don't worry about it. Some side quests have limited solutions (i.e. you are told to attack the caravan in the first IG quest), but that won't come as a surprise. If you sign up with the Imperial Guards, you should expect a lot of fighting and dying opportunities, so if you lack fighting skills, stay away from them army boys.

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That's in essence what I meant.  Non skill-check dialog options that still provide you with choices.  What I've seen so far looks fine, but then again I'm seeing all possible options.
No, not all options. You see all dialogue options with an NPC, but not all options to handle a quest. That's one thing we couldn't show properly in the LP thread, but I'll dedicate an article to this element in the near future.

For example, if you decide to talk to Lord Antidas, you have 5 ways to get in:
- talk to Dellar and do one of his quests
- beat the hell out of him
- disguise yourself as a noble
- sneak in via the roof
- double-cross Feng in the "get rid of Cassius" quest.

If you decide to do the "free a kidnapped noble" quest for Dellar, you can do it 6 ways:

- Kill the raiders
- Assassinate the leader and intimidate other raiders
- Negotiate the ransom
- Describe the raiders camp (defenses, number of raiders, weak spots, etc) to Dellar. His enforcers will attack the camp; the outcome depends on your info.
- Convince the thieves guild to deal with the raiders since the raiders actions may affect the guild
- Convince the Imperial Guards to step in. Their price is Dellar himself.

So, while each of those options requires a skill or two, you have plenty of options to choose from and the game won't railroad you into solving quests a certain way if you lack certain skills.

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I just wanted to ensure that on an actual playthrough I'll have choices to make and branching dialog's even if I don't meet the skill requirements.
Choices? Yes. Branching dialogues without meeting skill requirements? Very few. Well, in the get rid of Cassius quest:

Description: Forty two year old loremaster Cassius, contemptuously called "young Cassius" by his gray haired colleagues, looks like a wealthy merchant, accustomed to finest things in life. Unlike most loremasters, Cassius never showed any interest in exploring and digging through the ruins and ancient battlefields, being perfectly satisfied with what he learned from libraries of his masters. He was working on his second tractate, analyzing manifestations of the divine will in year 4052, when Lord Antidas' emissaries made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

"How may I serve you?"

1. "Lord Antidas sent me to escort you. Follow me." [take him to an abandoned house]
2. "Lord Antidas sent me to escort you. Follow me." [take him to Lord Antidas]

If 1:
Cassius looks around and chuckles as if fully appreciating your joke. "It appears that I've underestimated how far that old bastard Feng would go to keep his job. One mistake is usually all it takes to end up dead these days, but that works both ways, don't you think?"  "I can bet my life", he smiles openly, "that he didn't pay you enough. Greed is such a ... fatal flaw." He takes off a ring and throws it to you. "This ring is worth at least 200 coins. Now take me to Lord Antidas. I'm tired and wish to rest."

1. "What stops me from killing you and taking the ring after?"
He smiles patronizingly. "The ring is not a payment. It's an example of my generosity, to show you what to expect once I'm the loremaster of House Daratan."

2. "Alright. Let's do it your way. What about Feng?"
"We'll let Lord Antidas worry about that. Let's not make him wait though."
 
3. "Coming here was a mistake, Cassius. Good bye." Cut his throat.

....

or when you tell Dellar about the ransom, if you negotiated it down to 500, you get two options:

1. "They want money. 1,000 imperials."
2. "They want money. They asked for 1,000 coins, but I talked them into being more reasonable. 500 imperials."

You can choose either options, but that's as deep as the non-skillchecked options get.

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My concern and this current topic of discussion came from the rather simplistic thought that once the skill/stat checks we don't meet are stripped away the remaining options might look a little sparse.
Only for pure fighters, which I think is a good thing.
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caster
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« Reply #1004 on: April 11, 2008, 09:13:33 am »

I kinda agree with TheLostOne here in general terms. Obviously AoD already has enoguh various choices (beautifull) done in another way and its design is as it is.

Maybe having such dialogue options that are not based on skills but do have consequences could be added to some specific NPCs...?

Then again it could confuse players needlesly.
However it is something i would like to see in some other game.
It could work well with some sort of personality system if the focus of the game is on character dependant consequences or with dialogue generating system idea Spacekungfuman suggested here:
http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=231.60
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The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
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