Larian Studios
Posted By: Droata Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 16/05/21 08:50 PM
It feels quite out of character for Lae'zel to follow the player around like a lost puppy instead of heading off to find her creche. Or for Wyll not to settle the score with Spike unless he gets permission from the player.

It seems like the NPCs should either act with more autonomy, or should be given some compelling narrative reason to obey the player in all things.
Posted By: Niara Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 01:16 AM
The player character is a blank slate nobody, and there's no reason why anyone would follow them as the leader - but that would be okay if our companions were also fairly average people with their own things going on, but nothing too dramatic. As it is, all of the companions have epic edge-lord back stories that are so extravagant and ridiculous that the very idea of them choosing to follow our character's decisions is laughable. It's a really silly flaw in the current design. The developers love their mary-sues, though, and don't really seem interested in listening to other opinions on the matter.
Originally Posted by Niara
The player character is a blank slate nobody, and there's no reason why anyone would follow them as the leader - but that would be okay if our companions were also fairly average people with their own things going on, but nothing too dramatic. As it is, all of the companions have epic edge-lord back stories that are so extravagant and ridiculous that the very idea of them choosing to follow our character's decisions is laughable. It's a really silly flaw in the current design. The developers love their mary-sues, though, and don't really seem interested in listening to other opinions on the matter.


Maybe you just have a better tadpole than anyone else? If you ignore Shadowheart she says she felt drawn to seek you out (and stab you but you can talk her down and invite her to join you).

Like, of all the Tadpoles, your tadpole was the...tadpoliest? Like its Tads, are just huge. And that's how Tadpole hierarchies are established. You just whip out your Tads.
Posted By: Niara Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 01:42 AM
Then it would behoove the game to establish that in a way that doesn't leave the situation feeling like completely contrived nonsense. They could, they don't. Regardless of the reality, it's poor writing and poor design.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 01:49 AM
It makes sense for Lae'zel to join Tav initially. At the very least, Tav put up a decent showing on the mindflayer ship and rescued her. But if Tav spends too long doing non-Creche things, then she would definitely leave. Or beat Tav into submission.

It makes sense for Shadowheart to join Tav initially. She is the most "normal" companion; basically a cult member with her memories gone, and thus the closest to Tav. However, she clearly has strong opinions so it's odd that she just lets Tav make all the decisions. At the very least she should be more snarky when Tav makes a decision she disagrees with.

It makes sense for Astarion to join Tav initially. Astarion is completely out of his element, having suddenly been given the entire world. It also makes sense for Astarion to follow Tav; at the very worst Tav is a source of food. At best, Tav is a source of enjoyment and probably the first person Astarion can call a friend in a long time.

Wyll...personally I think Wyll has exaggerated all his accomplishments, so he probably needs Tav's help. I love that he'll leave the party if you side with the goblins.

Gale...if we believe the whole "tadpole+lost of Mystra's favor has reduced me to a measly level 2 wizard," then he possibly does actually need Tav's help. But Gale does have some important goals. If the player doesn't feed him, then he should leave the party. Or at the very least get more insistent, eventually resorting to stealing items from the party. Honestly though, his backstory is too accomplished for this to be believable. He explored the reaches of magic with Mystra and did that whole thing with the Orb...can he seriously not fend for himself? Does he not have better connections (to other wizards/libraries/etc) to have better options than Tav?!??!? At least, he should think of Tav as a peer and not his leader.

tl;dr: The deference shown by 2 out of the 5 companions is sensible in the current version of BG3: Astarion (Tav is his first friend and potential food) and Wyll (useless on his own; also does leave if you anger him enough).
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 05:24 AM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
It makes sense for Lae'zel to join Tav initially. At the very least, Tav put up a decent showing on the mindflayer ship and rescued her. But if Tav spends too long doing non-Creche things, then she would definitely leave. Or beat Tav into submission.

It makes sense for Shadowheart to join Tav initially. She is the most "normal" companion; basically a cult member with her memories gone, and thus the closest to Tav. However, she clearly has strong opinions so it's odd that she just lets Tav make all the decisions. At the very least she should be more snarky when Tav makes a decision she disagrees with.

It makes sense for Astarion to join Tav initially. Astarion is completely out of his element, having suddenly been given the entire world. It also makes sense for Astarion to follow Tav; at the very worst Tav is a source of food. At best, Tav is a source of enjoyment and probably the first person Astarion can call a friend in a long time.

Wyll...personally I think Wyll has exaggerated all his accomplishments, so he probably needs Tav's help. I love that he'll leave the party if you side with the goblins.

Gale...if we believe the whole "tadpole+lost of Mystra's favor has reduced me to a measly level 2 wizard," then he possibly does actually need Tav's help. But Gale does have some important goals. If the player doesn't feed him, then he should leave the party. Or at the very least get more insistent, eventually resorting to stealing items from the party. Honestly though, his backstory is too accomplished for this to be believable. He explored the reaches of magic with Mystra and did that whole thing with the Orb...can he seriously not fend for himself? Does he not have better connections (to other wizards/libraries/etc) to have better options than Tav?!??!? At least, he should think of Tav as a peer and not his leader.

tl;dr: The deference shown by 2 out of the 5 companions is sensible in the current version of BG3: Astarion (Tav is his first friend and potential food) and Wyll (useless on his own; also does leave if you anger him enough).

I think it makes sense for all the tadpole hosts except for Lae'zel to stick together. Once she finds out about the Githyanki that the Tiefling encountered she should be off to meet them, and you should have to follow her if you want to see what happens. It doesn't make any sense for her to follow the player around rescuing children from hard-hearted druids, killing the goblin leadership, rescuing Halsin, standing around while you solve moon-puzzles and explore an ancient Sharite temple, etc. when she has a mind-flayer parasite in her head and she knows that her people can help her.

Especially since every time you interact with her, she pretends to be the boss, but anytime you interact with anyone else, she lets you do all the talking.

My issue is less with whether it makes sense for everyone to band together, but rather with how leadership is determined afterward. Even if Wyll is exaggerating all his accomplishments, he still has to keep up appearances as the Blade of Frontiers. He should be presenting himself as the frontman of the group in every interaction. The player could still call the shots by either butting heads with Wyll over it, or by gently guiding Wyll one way or another in an advisory capacity. It doesn't make much sense for Wyll to let everyone see the Blade of Frontiers take a subservient role to Tav the Guild Artisan without so much as a cutscene addressing why though.

Astarion, Gale and Shadowheart all seem less invested in being leaders themselves, but why would they look to Tav the Guild Artisan for leadership instead of the Blade of Frontiers or the Githyanki with an actual promise of a cure? They all have tadpoles that could turn them into mind flayers. When interacting with Raphael, or the Hag, or Halsin, or anyone else who could have some bearing on this life-or-death situation in their lives, one would think they would be invested enough to interject some kind of dialogue. A question or two maybe. Some bit of arcane knowledge from Gale, or some acerbic wit from Astarion perhaps. There just doesn't seem to be any narrative explanation for why they all stand around twiddling their thumbs while the player does all the talking. It makes them seem completely disinterested in their own fate.

It seems like there ought to be a cutscene where everyone votes on whether to seek out Halsin or try to find the Githyanki, and the player has to break the tie. Or a scene where tensions over leadership between Wyll and Lae'zel come to blows and the player has to diffuse the situation with some kind of compromise or beat both of them into submission. Or literally any explanation at all. Right now it feels like the player calls all the shots and does all the talking simply because the NPCs know that they are just NPCs in a video game.
Posted By: CJMPinger Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 05:29 AM
Honestly, I do think there needs to be a little more party decision making but it might be better to make every origin character done first so we can account for everyone I guess? But yeah Laezel should have some kind of convincing needed to delay on the creche, something like playing to a growing doubt that she is starting to have.
Posted By: Niara Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 05:49 AM
Those suppositions really don't stand up at all though (Edit: this is to mrfuji's comments, I was just slow in typing), not for more than the five minutes it takes to walk from the wreck to the druid grove.

In other party-based RPGs, the player character is the leader because the other companions lack the immediate personal drive or direction to BE the leader - your character steps into that role. this is not to say they're weak or weak-willed, but rather that there is always something that sets your main character's path more firmly than their personal business... and it sets it for your player character more specifically than for them. NWN2 is a good example; your character is thrust into being the leader for your party because their personal objective is the most important thing on the table, and your companions, while they do have their own drives and motivations, were generally treading water or otherwise indecisive about acting, when your character was not... or you brought them on when they had nothing immediate that was more important, and/or they owed you. Larian's characters, however, don't fit and of these reasons, because they are all so uniquely special and powerful and awesome and driven that none of them are followers, and your own character doesn't have anything that sets them apart or ties them to the driving factor of the core story more than the companions. If they do, then it needs to be established right near start of act 1.

Lae'zel, it makes sense for her to let *You* travel with *HER* - but she would absolutely be the one making the decisions, and letting you leave the party if you don't agree to follow her; she has a goal, and a plan, and a hierarchy, and a very specific and overt protocol to follow, and she views all material plane dwellers as lesser creatures, culturally speaking. She would never in a million years simply slip into playing follow the leader to *You* without so much as a conversation about who is leading you. Why has she given leadership of the party over to your character? Why is she unwilling or unable to act upon her own needs and plans, to the extent that she will fall into following another person without much in the way of conversation or challenge? There is no reason. There needs to be one.

Astarion makes the most believable sense, but only until they reach civilisation. It makes at least some believable sense in that he'd accept you making the decisions out of habit, but very soon that habit would give way to really wanting to squeeze the most out of his newfound freedom, and I can't really imagine him willingly following your lead and letting you be the decision-maker at that stage, unless there was something more tangible causing him to do so.

Wyll makes absolutely no sense at all; he's very definitely a cut-your-own-way person, and even in his weakened state, he's got a plan and a goal, and would be unlikely to declare you the leader of the party over himself or his own plans and needs - especially given. Wyll would tell you that he's going to do something, and he'd ask, invite and entreat you to come with him... but he wouldn't meekly say 'yes boss' and follow you when you decide to do something different instead, no chance.

Shadow, again, no chance of her humbly deciding that you are the leader of the party, and the one to make decisions. She's so busy telling you that she has pressing business and that it's none of your business ,that the idea of her actually following you is completely ludicrous, unless she really is a whiny, timid, deeply indecisive person underneath her mask - which she may well be, aside from the fact that she's probably an avatar/chosen of selune, or the living incarnated truth of the darkmoon heresy. I'd believe either. Like the others, she's got a very strong sense of purpose and a goal, and that does not gel with letting a random that she doesn't know anything about make all of her decisions for her, even when they're things she doesn't like or doesn't agree with... especially when we decide to do things that expose the party to danger, which she is very adamantly against doing. She'd be gone in a heartbeat after the first few times of that.

Gale... a former archmage, who, though diminished in power, still has his archmage brain, bearing, memories and history. He's definitely not going to be the sort to put someone else as the party's leader. He's absolutely the most qualified to lead the party and make the decisions that need to be made, at least in his own eyes... the idea of him kow-towing to a random nobody that he doesn't know is perhaps the most ridiculous out of all of them.

If there IS a reason that causes the others to feel that our character should be the leader and the one making the decisions, then it needs to be established early on. Currently the game does not do this, and it makes the whole party dynamic feel ridiculous. It's compounded by the fact that all of the party banter is between each other, and never involves out character, and all of our conversations are one on one, with individuals, as though this were an adult visual novel. we're not just the 'leader', we're functionally the detached, uncommunicative general leader who spends all their time away from 'the rabble' and doesn't associate with them unless it's absolutely necessary... and they all accept that.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 06:38 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
Those suppositions really don't stand up at all though (Edit: this is to mrfuji's comments, I was just slow in typing), not for more than the five minutes it takes to walk from the wreck to the druid grove.

I other party-based RPGs, the player character is the leader because the other companions lack the immediate personal drive or direction to BE the leader - your character steps into that role. this is not to say they're weak or weak-willed, but rather that there is always something that sets your main character's path more firmly than their personal business... and it sets it for your player character more specifically than for them. NWN2 is a good example; your character is thrust into being the leader for your party because their personal objective is the most important thing on the table, and your companions, while they do have their own drives and motivations, were generally treading water or otherwise indecisive about acting, when your character was not... or you brought them on when they had nothing immediate that was more important, and/or they owed you. Larian's characters, however, don't fit and of these reasons, because they are all so uniquely special and powerful and awesome and driven that none of them are followers, and your own character doesn't have anything that sets them apart or ties them to the driving factor of the core story more than the companions. If they do, then it needs to be established right near start of act 1.

Lae'zel, it makes sense for her to let *You* travel with *HER* - but she would absolutely be the one making the decisions, and letting you leave the party if you don't agree to follow her; she has a goal, and a plan, and a hierarchy, and a very specific and overt protocol to follow, and she views all material plane dwellers as lesser creatures, culturally speaking. She would never in a million years simply slip into playing follow the leader to *You* without so much as a conversation about who is leading you. Why has she given leadership of the party over to your character? Why is she unwilling or unable to act upon her own needs and plans, to the extent that she will fall into following another person without much in the way of conversation or challenge? There is no reason. There needs to be one.

Astarion makes the most believable sense, but only until they reach civilisation. It makes at least some believable sense in that he'd accept you making the decisions out of habit, but very soon that habit would give way to really wanting to squeeze the most out of his newfound freedom, and I can't really imagine him willingly following your lead and letting you be the decision-maker at that stage, unless there was something more tangible causing him to do so.

Wyll makes absolutely no sense at all; he's very definitely a cut-your-own-way person, and even in his weakened state, he's got a plan and a goal, and would be unlikely to declare you the leader of the party over himself or his own plans and needs - especially given. Wyll would tell you that he's going to do something, and he'd ask, invite and entreat you to come with him... but he wouldn't meekly say 'yes boss' and follow you when you decide to do something different instead, no chance.

Shadow, again, no chance of her humble deciding that you are the leader of the party, and the one to make decisions. She's so busy telling you that she has pressing business and that it's none of your business ,that the idea of her actually following you is completely ludicrous, unless she really is a whiny, timid, deeply indecisive person underneath her mask - which she may well be, aside from the fact that she's probably an avatar/chosen of selune, or the living incarnated truth of the darkmoon heresy. I'd believe either. Like the others, she's got a very strong sense of purpose and a goal, and that does not gel with letting a random that she doesn't know anything about make all of her decisions for her, even when they're things she doesn't like or doesn't agree with... especially when we decide to do things that expose the party to danger, which she is very adamantly against doing. She'd be gone in a heartbeat after the first few times of that.

Gale... a former archmage, who, though diminished in power, still has his archmage brain, bearing, memories and history. He's definitely not going to be the sort to put someone else as the party's leader. He's absolutely the most qualified to lead the party and make the decisions that need to be made, at least in his own eyes... the idea of him kow-towing to a random nobody that he doesn't know is perhaps the most ridiculous out of all of them.

If there IS a reason that causes the others to feel that our character should be the leader and the one making the decisions, then it needs to be established early on. Current;y the game does not do this, and it makes the whole party dynamic feel ridiculous. It's compounded by the fact that all of the party banter is between each other, and never involves out character, and all of our conversations are one on one, with individuals, as though this were an adult visual novel. we're not just the 'leader', we're functionally the detached, uncommunicative general leader who spends all their time away from 'the rabble' and doesn't associate with them unless it's absolutely necessary... and they all accept that.

This is truth.
Posted By: Passerby Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 07:23 AM
And I'll add that Gale shouldn't even be groveling to Tav for access to magical items, especially if he was in the party when a magical item was acquired. He'd argue that he had as much right to the treasure as anyone else in the party. He would just take the items he needed and inform Tav that he was doing so, out of courtesy.
There is many things in games, books, or movies that dont make much sence, but its esential for story. :-/
I would say Tav's leadership is certainly one of them.

But i would honestly love if our companions were more autonomic ...
And i would see no problem if Lae'zel would sudently appear in conversation with Giths saying something like "I tracked you ... you have found my kin!" and runs towards them, maybe even join them against us, if we will be especialy rude ...
Same as Wyll and Spike ... there is even excuse offering from the story, since Mizora could told him that she was draged in goblin camp ... and it kinda makes sence that he would not stay in our camp, poking fire with a stick. :-/
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 12:21 PM
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
There is many things in games, books, or movies that dont make much sence, but its esential for story. :-/

Indeed. When something in a game, book, or movie that is essential to the story doesn't make sense, that is a literary device typically known as a plot hole. For example, it doesn't make much sense for Rey to be able to summon lightsabers to her hand with the force and defeat Jake Skywalker's most prodigious student in a lightsaber duel when she has had absolutely zero Jedi training. But it was essential to the story, so they went ahead and put it in.

This (among many other bad decisions in the Sequel Trilogy) was widely regarded by many Star Wars fans as a bad decision. Storytellers seeking to avoid similar schisms in their own audiences will make every attempt to avoid building their narratives around things that don't make sense.

Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
I would say Tav's leadership is certainly one of them.

I don't think Tav's leadership is essential to the story. Wyll could be trying to lead the group one direction and Lae'zel could be trying to lead it another and Tav could be just tipping the scales one way or another with some persuade rolls. Wyll could be doing the bulk of the talking during dialogue cutscenes and Tav could offer helpful suggestions in an advisory capacity. Tav might start out as a follower at the beginning and then become the leader over the course of the story as part of his arc. It seems like there are plenty of ways to tell an interesting story without having Tav make all the decisions from the very beginning.

That said, I am also fine with having Tav be the leader of the group right from the get-go, as long as there is a compelling narrative explanation. There are plenty of ways to set the player up as the leader of the group. In Tyranny, the player is a Fatebinder, which gives them legal power authority to order their minions about. In POE the player has objectives to accomplish whereas Eder just needs to get out of dodge, and makes the hilarious assumption that tagging along with you will be safer than chancing the brigand-riddled-roads alone. In POE2, half of your companions were sent by their respective organizations to spy on you, so they have to follow you around. The others are either longtime friends like Eder, or people who need something that only the player can offer, and agree to follow you in pursuit of their respective MacGuffins.

BG3 currently offers no explanation at all as to why Tav is the leader of the group.
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
There is many things in games, books, or movies that dont make much sence, but its esential for story. :-/

Indeed. When something in a game, book, or movie that is essential to the story doesn't make sense, that is a literary device typically known as a plot hole. For example, it doesn't make much sense for Rey to be able to summon lightsabers to her hand with the force and defeat Jake Skywalker's most prodigious student in a lightsaber duel when she has had absolutely zero Jedi training. But it was essential to the story, so they went ahead and put it in.

This (among many other bad decisions in the Sequel Trilogy) was widely regarded by many Star Wars fans as a bad decision. Storytellers seeking to avoid similar schisms in their own audiences will make every attempt to avoid building their narratives around things that don't make sense.


There are possible logical explanations for Tav to be selected as leader, I had mentioned one - she/he just has the better parasite. Like an alpha parasite. or maybe its like the Nameless One Planescape: Torment - he attracts people like himself, who exist in opposition to their natures. All of us having the parasite draws us together, and we subconsciously select a leader.

Other ways to address it may occur to you, but Ragnarok makes a good point - for a cohesive story to form you require a central protagonist. Otherwise your single player game is a single character adventure. Now I think personally Multiplayer is the better and more fun way to play and it resolves the issue you discuss because you can't control what 3 other people do, and we have to have consensus on next steps...or not and everyone does their own thing, total chaos happens.

But for people who really only want to play single player the game is optimized for a party of 4.

But the real game is Multiplayer as I have always said - glad we are all on the same page on that one - haha :P
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 01:45 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
There are possible logical explanations for Tav to be selected as leader, I had mentioned one - she/he just has the better parasite. Like an alpha parasite. or maybe its like the Nameless One Planescape: Torment - he attracts people like himself, who exist in opposition to their natures. All of us having the parasite draws us together, and we subconsciously select a leader.
Nah, not likely since you can be an origin character and be a leader of a party.
My bet is no one really thought about why custom character is a leader, since the focus was and still is on origin characters.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
There are possible logical explanations for Tav to be selected as leader, I had mentioned one - she/he just has the better parasite. Like an alpha parasite. or maybe its like the Nameless One Planescape: Torment - he attracts people like himself, who exist in opposition to their natures. All of us having the parasite draws us together, and we subconsciously select a leader.

Sure. That would be a great story for them to actually tell in the game.

[Illithid][Wisdom]Use your connection with Wyll to force him to back down.

As Wyll draws his blade to settle the score with the goblin that took his eye, his hand trembles with the sword half drawn. He glares at you in recognition, struggling against the invisible force of your will. You hold his gaze until he looks away, defeated, and his blade returns reluctantly to its sheath.


Using the tadpole to dominate your companions into submission would be a great explanation for Tav calling the shots. Unfortunately, such an explanation is not currently present in the game. Nor is any other explanation.
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
There are possible logical explanations for Tav to be selected as leader, I had mentioned one - she/he just has the better parasite. Like an alpha parasite. or maybe its like the Nameless One Planescape: Torment - he attracts people like himself, who exist in opposition to their natures. All of us having the parasite draws us together, and we subconsciously select a leader.

Sure. That would be a great story for them to actually tell in the game.

[Illithid][Wisdom]Use your connection with Wyll to force him to back down.

As Wyll draws his blade to settle the score with the goblin that took his eye, his hand trembles with the sword half drawn. He glares at you in recognition, struggling against the invisible force of your will. You hold his gaze until he looks away, defeated, and his blade returns reluctantly to its sheath.


Using the tadpole to dominate your companions into submission would be a great explanation for Tav calling the shots. Unfortunately, such an explanation is not currently present in the game. Nor is any other explanation.

Right but that's a very overt and obvious subversion of will. What if its something that's subconscious - like being the baboon with the biggest reddest ass - or if you need a human analogy, we ascribe leadership to men with very large, wide faces - regardless of actual competency or ability.

The Tadpole manipulates our behavior in obvious and not so obvious ways. I know it sounds convenient - but there is some evidence to suggest this may be the case.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
There are possible logical explanations for Tav to be selected as leader, I had mentioned one - she/he just has the better parasite. Like an alpha parasite. or maybe its like the Nameless One Planescape: Torment - he attracts people like himself, who exist in opposition to their natures. All of us having the parasite draws us together, and we subconsciously select a leader.

Sure. That would be a great story for them to actually tell in the game.

[Illithid][Wisdom]Use your connection with Wyll to force him to back down.

As Wyll draws his blade to settle the score with the goblin that took his eye, his hand trembles with the sword half drawn. He glares at you in recognition, struggling against the invisible force of your will. You hold his gaze until he looks away, defeated, and his blade returns reluctantly to its sheath.


Using the tadpole to dominate your companions into submission would be a great explanation for Tav calling the shots. Unfortunately, such an explanation is not currently present in the game. Nor is any other explanation.

Right but that's a very overt and obvious subversion of will. What if its something that's subconscious - like being the baboon with the biggest reddest ass - or if you need a human analogy, we ascribe leadership to men with very large, wide faces - regardless of actual competency or ability.

The Tadpole manipulates our behavior in obvious and not so obvious ways. I know it sounds convenient - but there is some evidence to suggest this may be the case.

If that is what they are going for, they need to have better breadcrumbs. I wasn't left with the impression that there was some mysterious force at work that I wanted to learn more about. I was left with the impression that the dialogue felt contrived and the players leadership status unearned.

They could have Volo mention something to the player about how odd it was for the Blade of Frontiers to be following them instead of the other way around. Or wonder why Lae'zel was still there instead of going off on her own to find her creche. That might at least give the player some confidence that there really is a plan and that things really will make sense eventually.
Posted By: Sabra Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 05:57 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
What if its something that's subconscious - like being the baboon with the biggest reddest ass - or if you need a human analogy, we ascribe leadership to men with very large, wide faces - regardless of actual competency or ability.

The Tadpole manipulates our behavior in obvious and not so obvious ways. I know it sounds convenient - but there is some evidence to suggest this may be the case.

This has been my headcannon.
Posted By: CJMPinger Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 06:11 PM
I think something that could do this is convey this during the illithid dream. The tadpole already is buttering us up and trying to seduce us, so I think it'd make sense for it to also have a line saying something about how the others will follow or that we are the best one or something.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 10:40 PM
Originally Posted by CJMPinger
I think something that could do this is convey this during the illithid dream. The tadpole already is buttering us up and trying to seduce us, so I think it'd make sense for it to also have a line saying something about how the others will follow or that we are the best one or something.

That could help give some narrative explanation for the bizarre power dynamics. It comes into play a little late for my tastes though.

I had already lost any investment I had in the characters by the time I got to that point. And folks refraining from messing around with Illithid powers don't even get that dream at all as I understand it.

I think interactions that make sense would be far preferable to an elaborate explanation for why interactions don't make sense. Especially if players aren't going to be privy to that explanation until several hours into the game.
Posted By: timebean Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 17/05/21 11:45 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Right but that's a very overt and obvious subversion of will. What if its something that's subconscious - like being the baboon with the biggest reddest ass - or if you need a human analogy, we ascribe leadership to men with very large, wide faces - regardless of actual competency or ability.

The Tadpole manipulates our behavior in obvious and not so obvious ways. I know it sounds convenient - but there is some evidence to suggest this may be the case.


Welp…it is now impossible for me to look at my boss’s face without thinking about a baboon’s ass. Thank you for making my life a little better!

The way I see it, Asterion stays because he is lost and looking for safety (self preservation is his whole deal)…and he is used to being ruled over by someone. Wyll needs your help and let’s you take the lead to keep on your good side so you will help him keep his promise to the tieflings. LaZael would make more sense if you went the creche first thing, and thus her staying with you would be to do ready herself to deal with the traitor dragon rider with a force at her side…plus, she will never talk for the group as she does not understand Faerun culture (a convo u have with her in the grove). Gale and Shadowheart make no sense…unless they have nefarious reasons or a compulsion (which they very well might).

To me…this is the classic issue of having to suspend your belief in how much time is passing and not think too much about the order you are doing things…an issue with every rpg ever. Narratively, it could make sense for each character if u pretend u did their quests first thing (except for Gale and Shadowheart).
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 18/05/21 06:11 AM
Originally Posted by timebean
The way I see it, Asterion stays because he is lost and looking for safety (self preservation is his whole deal)…and he is used to being ruled over by someone. Wyll needs your help and let’s you take the lead to keep on your good side so you will help him keep his promise to the tieflings. LaZael would make more sense if you went the creche first thing, and thus her staying with you would be to do ready herself to deal with the traitor dragon rider with a force at her side…plus, she will never talk for the group as she does not understand Faerun culture (a convo u have with her in the grove). Gale and Shadowheart make no sense…unless they have nefarious reasons or a compulsion (which they very well might).

If Wyll lets you take the lead to stay on your good side, there should be dialogue to that effect. It's pretty extreme that the Blade of Frontiers won't settle a score with the goblin that took his eye without permission from Tav the Guild Artisan. Even more bizarre that the Blade of Frontiers stands to the side quietly twiddling his thumbs while Zevlor heaps all praise on Tav the Guild Artisan for saving the Tieflings from certain doom. Y'know, the Save the Refugees quest that Wyll recruited Tav to help him with.

It's hard to buy into the idea that he is this gregarious persona when he won't say two words to any NPC that you encounter other than Spike or the three Goblins chatting about him. Killing the Goblin leaders was his plan, but when we get to them, he doesn't say anything to Gut, he doesn't say anything to Minthara, and he doesn't say anything to Ragzlin. He won't talk to Auntie Ethel, and if you want to leave Mayrina in the hands of a monster, the most pushback you will get from Wyll is a disapproving frown.

Wyll is really just there to cast eldritch blast and to feed you exposition about his backstory when you click on him at camp. But since no rapport or dynamic is established with him during the actual adventure, I find that I am not particularly invested in his backstory.

The issue of how leadership is determined in a party full of large egos and extremely high stakes should absolutely be addressed in the game, and not left to the speculation of fan theories and headcanon.

Originally Posted by timebean
To me…this is the classic issue of having to suspend your belief in how much time is passing and not think too much about the order you are doing things…an issue with every rpg ever. Narratively, it could make sense for each character if u pretend u did their quests first thing (except for Gale and Shadowheart).

I disagree wholeheartedly. Plenty of RPGs bend over backwards to address these issues. Tyranny establishes the leadership of the player by casting them in a position of legal authority. The entire prologue of Pathfinder: Kingmaker is dedicated to establishing how the player becomes the leader of the campaign into the Stolen Lands, complete with other characters vying for control, and the possibility of losing party members who don't like your leadership style. POE establishes clear relationships not only between the player and their companions but between each other. A lot of thought is put into why each one follows the player, and what they get out of it. And none of them are shy to speak their mind when you start talking to an NPC.

The dialogue in BG3 is beautifully animated, but ultimately not as rich and well thought out as other games of the genre. It left me feeling less invested in the characters.
Posted By: timebean Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 18/05/21 11:11 AM
All good points. Made me think of Dragon Age and how cleverly they constructed the reason why everyone followed you (because u were the last warden with treaty power) and why you were an underpowered chode (because you were brand new). Then you get some flavors of followers, from religious nuts to mommy figures…but in the end, they all just want to kill some darkspawn with u. AND may even turn on you if you screw around too much (Sten) or make the wrong choices (Zevlan).

I seriously doubt Larian will bother tweaking these relationships or the logic for your custom char to be followed. They have made it pretty clear that you *should* be playing one of the Origin chars. Ie, playing custom gets you less dialouge options (from mined datafiles if what origin chars get), less development (you have no personal story like the others), and less reason to be the leader of this group. That is a bummer for sure. Especially if you are like me and have no desire to play an origin char.

On the other hand, it is even more unbelievable to me that ANY kind of the origin chars would be accepted as the leader either. Why would Lazeal follow Wyll? Or Gale follow Asterion? And all of the chars are so arrogant, it is impossible to imagine them giving a crap about the other companions to bother talking to them in camp all that much. (Another reason I would not enjoy playing as any if them).

None of these people would ever follow each other around. Their personalities are too strong. If the tadpole brings them together, and the leader has a super tadpole or whatever…it needs to be explicitly defined (beyond dreams one may or may not get). But even then…they would def have more to say during dialogues where u take the lead (although to be fair they do interject quite a bit already).
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 19/05/21 10:22 AM
Originally Posted by timebean
All good points. Made me think of Dragon Age and how cleverly they constructed the reason why everyone followed you (because u were the last warden with treaty power) and why you were an underpowered chode (because you were brand new). Then you get some flavors of followers, from religious nuts to mommy figures…but in the end, they all just want to kill some darkspawn with u. AND may even turn on you if you screw around too much (Sten) or make the wrong choices (Zevlan).

I seriously doubt Larian will bother tweaking these relationships or the logic for your custom char to be followed. They have made it pretty clear that you *should* be playing one of the Origin chars. Ie, playing custom gets you less dialouge options (from mined datafiles if what origin chars get), less development (you have no personal story like the others), and less reason to be the leader of this group. That is a bummer for sure. Especially if you are like me and have no desire to play an origin char.

On the other hand, it is even more unbelievable to me that ANY kind of the origin chars would be accepted as the leader either. Why would Lazeal follow Wyll? Or Gale follow Asterion? And all of the chars are so arrogant, it is impossible to imagine them giving a crap about the other companions to bother talking to them in camp all that much. (Another reason I would not enjoy playing as any if them).

None of these people would ever follow each other around. Their personalities are too strong. If the tadpole brings them together, and the leader has a super tadpole or whatever…it needs to be explicitly defined (beyond dreams one may or may not get). But even then…they would def have more to say during dialogues where u take the lead (although to be fair they do interject quite a bit already).

I don't have much interest in playing an origin char either. I like building my own character. I think there are plenty of ways they could establish the player as the leader, regardless of which character they play though. There are also plenty of ways to make the game interesting and enjoyable without the player always having to be the unilateral final say in every situation. It just doesn't feel like there was any effort to address any power dynamics within the group at all.
Posted By: JiruoVX Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 19/05/21 06:42 PM
I agree with some of the points discussed. They created the companions with very strong goals and motives which completely conflict with each other. And these personalities wouldn't take a back seat to the direct of your character based on current information.

I doubt Larian would go through rewriting all these characters. So the easiest solutions is build up Tav in somewhat to compel others to follow.

The game needs more party dynamics. You should talk with NPC as a party not as Tav. This would provide more feelings and thoughts from the other party members.

Forced or triggered events would be nice too. Such as Gale getting a cut séance when you find a magic item. Or Lae'zel gets cut seance pushing you towards here direction and even leaves.

Problem is Larian doesn't want to take the only Fighter from player. They want you to have all the choices. But in doing so they make all the choices the same.
Posted By: zamo Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 19/05/21 08:30 PM
Can anyone tell me how this situation handled was in DOS2?
Posted By: JiruoVX Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 19/05/21 08:58 PM
Originally Posted by zamo
Can anyone tell me how this situation handled was in DOS2?

The larger story goal was very grounding for DOS2.The characters personal quests were still important but solvable along the way. The characters learn more about their "special" existence overtime allow them to grow into the main story role. While seeing those pushing them power fade give them little reason to follow their advice. The need for someone or someones with this special status to take action is made more important as the story progresses. This gives story reasons for the group standing together after other events might allow them to drift apart. So there is more room from characters to work together or against each other in DOS2 through out.

The starter story in BG3 comes to some resolution during act 1. And the many paths for attempting to solve it cause your companions to pull in different directions with little reason for following their unpreferred path or reach for their personal quests. So holding the whole party together should be very difficult in BG3 but Larian is set on you building a camp of all the people and do not want to take them away from you.

If they include enough companion options, they could have companion not compatible with some story approaches. So this could get resolved with time. But that is being hopeful.

The current story narrative and Tav are key issues with holding the party together. I don't think making the other companions less dynamitic or interesting is a good answer to the problem. The Main Story or Tav need something to put good rails on the game.
Posted By: EvilVik Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 20/05/21 05:50 AM
It's been clearly hinted that you need to make some real impactful choices by the end of chapter 1 in regards to followers.
We just haven't seen it yet
Posted By: CJMPinger Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 20/05/21 05:54 AM
Originally Posted by EvilVik
It's been clearly hinted that you need to make some real impactful choices by the end of chapter 1 in regards to followers.
We just haven't seen it yet

Supposedly it will be the same as DOS2 where the ones not in your active party will be eliminated, which I HATE. I'm fine with them dying based on our decisions, but a blanket wipe of those that we don't at that moment have active is definitely not fitting for BG3 or even an RPG based around a party.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 20/05/21 08:40 AM
Originally Posted by JiruoVX
I agree with some of the points discussed. They created the companions with very strong goals and motives which completely conflict with each other. And these personalities wouldn't take a back seat to the direct of your character based on current information.

I doubt Larian would go through rewriting all these characters. So the easiest solutions is build up Tav in somewhat to compel others to follow.

Except that you can play as all the origin characters. So if they want the player to be the leader all the time (which wouldn't be my first preference) they need to address leadership in the game with a scene in which the player can be established as the leader, regardless of which character they are playing. There could be a scene where they all vote on a leader. There could be a scene where one of them tries to leave the group, but immediately becomes sick when they do. The player could dominate all the companions into submission with their Illithid powers.

There are plenty of directions they could go to establish leadership and to justify keeping the group together without rewriting any characters if they want.

Right now it feels like there just wasn't any thought put into group politics or character motivations, or creating an immersive adventuring party full of characters that the player would actually care about.

Which is strange because it must have taken so much work to build cinematic animations for every dialogue sequence. You would think with all that work put into the visuals of the dialogue, and with all the beautiful visual storytelling in the opening cinematic, that characters and dialogue and story would be a priority for them.

Originally Posted by JiruoVX
The game needs more party dynamics. You should talk with NPC as a party not as Tav. This would provide more feelings and thoughts from the other party members.

Forced or triggered events would be nice too. Such as Gale getting a cut séance when you find a magic item. Or Lae'zel gets cut seance pushing you towards here direction and even leaves.

Problem is Larian doesn't want to take the only Fighter from player. They want you to have all the choices. But in doing so they make all the choices the same.

This is truth. 100%
Posted By: JiruoVX Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 20/05/21 03:30 PM
B
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by JiruoVX
I agree with some of the points discussed. They created the companions with very strong goals and motives which completely conflict with each other. And these personalities wouldn't take a back seat to the direct of your character based on current information.

I doubt Larian would go through rewriting all these characters. So the easiest solutions is build up Tav in somewhat to compel others to follow.

Except that you can play as all the origin characters. So if they want the player to be the leader all the time (which wouldn't be my first preference) they need to address leadership in the game with a scene in which the player can be established as the leader, regardless of which character they are playing. There could be a scene where they all vote on a leader. There could be a scene where one of them tries to leave the group, but immediately becomes sick when they do. The player could dominate all the companions into submission with their Illithid powers.

There are plenty of directions they could go to establish leadership and to justify keeping the group together without rewriting any characters if they want.

Right now it feels like there just wasn't any thought put into group politics or character motivations, or creating an immersive adventuring party full of characters that the player would actually care about.

Which is strange because it must have taken so much work to build cinematic animations for every dialogue sequence. You would think with all that work put into the visuals of the dialogue, and with all the beautiful visual storytelling in the opening cinematic, that characters and dialogue and story would be a priority for them.

Agreed, did forget to consider the alterative playing as the origin characters. Good Catch!

Yeah, they need something building the group dynamics that is on-going. They could add checkpoints where you get a major camp cutseane where character discuss their relationship with the group or even leave. Hmm

I do hope Larian does something to cover this.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 28/05/21 05:40 AM
Originally Posted by JiruoVX
B
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by JiruoVX
I agree with some of the points discussed. They created the companions with very strong goals and motives which completely conflict with each other. And these personalities wouldn't take a back seat to the direct of your character based on current information.

I doubt Larian would go through rewriting all these characters. So the easiest solutions is build up Tav in somewhat to compel others to follow.

Except that you can play as all the origin characters. So if they want the player to be the leader all the time (which wouldn't be my first preference) they need to address leadership in the game with a scene in which the player can be established as the leader, regardless of which character they are playing. There could be a scene where they all vote on a leader. There could be a scene where one of them tries to leave the group, but immediately becomes sick when they do. The player could dominate all the companions into submission with their Illithid powers.

There are plenty of directions they could go to establish leadership and to justify keeping the group together without rewriting any characters if they want.

Right now it feels like there just wasn't any thought put into group politics or character motivations, or creating an immersive adventuring party full of characters that the player would actually care about.

Which is strange because it must have taken so much work to build cinematic animations for every dialogue sequence. You would think with all that work put into the visuals of the dialogue, and with all the beautiful visual storytelling in the opening cinematic, that characters and dialogue and story would be a priority for them.

Agreed, did forget to consider the alterative playing as the origin characters. Good Catch!

Yeah, they need something building the group dynamics that is on-going. They could add checkpoints where you get a major camp cutseane where character discuss their relationship with the group or even leave. Hmm

I do hope Larian does something to cover this.

I hope so too. I could honestly forgive pretty much anything else. If they never did anything about barrelmancy, bonus action shove-fests, free disengage, or anything combat-related at all, it would still be a great game if it just delivered on the storytelling.
Posted By: Ikke Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 11:24 AM
Tav is able to establish a brain bond with other party members, right? Has anyone ever noticed such a thing happening without Tav, e.g. Wyll and Gale having a brain bond? If Tav´s tadpole is the only one that is able to do that, wouldn´t that make Tav´s tadpole the alpha tadpole? It would be the easiest solution to the leadership problem, as it is applicable to any protagonist you happen to play. Yup, it´s the old Chosen One scheme.

Only a slight tweak to the opening scenes is needed: obviously the prime tadpole needs to taken from a special, gold rimmed goldfish bowl by mr/mrs/ms squidface before it is brought to creep in your eye socket.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 07:13 PM
Originally Posted by Ikke
Tav is able to establish a brain bond with other party members, right? Has anyone ever noticed such a thing happening without Tav, e.g. Wyll and Gale having a brain bond?

I'm not even sure Wyll and Gale know each other exist. My theory is that Gale is a hallucination, like Charles in A Beautiful Mind.
Posted By: CJMPinger Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 08:18 PM
Originally Posted by Droata
Originally Posted by Ikke
Tav is able to establish a brain bond with other party members, right? Has anyone ever noticed such a thing happening without Tav, e.g. Wyll and Gale having a brain bond?

I'm not even sure Wyll and Gale know each other exist. My theory is that Gale is a hallucination, like Charles in A Beautiful Mind.

I think they have some "banter" but otherwise don't really interact at all iirc. Gale, Shadowheart, and Astarion all seem to be fairly active with each other, and Laezel and Shadowheart are super active with each other for obvious reasons.
Posted By: Rhobar121 Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 09:08 PM
Honestly, it rarely makes sense.
How do you look at it what was the point of everyone following charname in the first BG? We came across much more experienced travelers pretty quickly (at least on paper).
Aside from a few characters, most characters really have no reason to listen to the player.
The same can be said for Hawke.
Why also are we in charge of the DAO when Alistair is a more experienced warden? The game is trying to explain it, but it's pretty cheap.
I could still try to cite the first act of DAI (I know there are no acts, but not important) why is Cassandra allowing us to command?
Posted By: Ikke Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 09:26 PM
Let's not be defeatist. Just because some or most historic RPGs do not take the trouble of establishing credible leadership is no reason not to signal this as an important omission in BG3 EA. One that is quite detrimental to immersion (which is a key component of role playing). Let there be progress!
Posted By: vometia Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 09:32 PM
Originally Posted by Rhobar121
Why also are we in charge of the DAO when Alistair is a more experienced warden? The game is trying to explain it, but it's pretty cheap.
I could still try to cite the first act of DAI (I know there are no acts, but not important) why is Cassandra allowing us to command?

Alistair was a pretty accomplished dodger of responsibility and when you first meet him he immediately steps back using the excuse that he's really just there as an observer. And then fills in with other excuses as the story progresses, and you find out his entire history is much the same, and his future will be too unless you play it very carefully. I kinda liked him but he was a pain in the arse a lot of the time.

Er anyway, in spite of that, I agree with the general complaint and I hate the way my character is suddenly considered to be some sort of leadership material because... well I dunno, for no reason at all, usually. Not least as I prefer to RP as just some rando who got swept along by circumstances and most certainly not some sort of heroic saviour of the universe.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 30/05/21 09:34 PM
Originally Posted by <Redacted>
<Redacted>

I disagree completely. Why characters choose to follow other characters, why characters seek power over other characters, how leaders are born or made, why characters grow to accept their birthright as the Heir of Gondor, and how disagreements over leadership are resolved are all vital parts of individual character arcs as well as vital to the overall plot of a good story. I don't think glossing over power dynamics is a common storytelling practice at all.
Originally Posted by Rhobar121
Honestly, it rarely makes sense.
How do you look at it what was the point of everyone following charname in the first BG? We came across much more experienced travelers pretty quickly (at least on paper).
Aside from a few characters, most characters really have no reason to listen to the player.
The same can be said for Hawke.
Why also are we in charge of the DAO when Alistair is a more experienced warden? The game is trying to explain it, but it's pretty cheap.
I could still try to cite the first act of DAI (I know there are no acts, but not important) why is Cassandra allowing us to command?

This isn't really as good of an argument as you think.

Alistair defers leadership to you quickly because he flat out tells you that he's not the leading type. Not to mention that personality-wise, his interactions with the rest of the party quickly reveals that he's really not cut out to be a leader.

Hawke is a special case. The party in that game is sort of structured as a loose collective of friends and family held together by a mutual agreement and respect for each other. It's not so much that Hawke is strictly the leader of the group in the traditional sense, more than it is everyone else deciding to help Hawke when he calls upon them for assistance with certain matters during the actual gameplay sequences, as the game takes place over the span of several years. After all, Hawke does help everyone else with their own matters upon first meeting them. When the other party members are not in the party, it is made abundantly clear that they are still handling their own affairs elsewhere in the city, like Aveline being a city guard, Isabelle doing drunken pirate things, Varric writing novels, and so on. This is one of the things I really appreciate DA2 for, and I hoped that more RPGs would try to adopt this narrative style.

Cassandra allows you to command because you have a magical glowing hand that's critical to ending the world destroying threat, and no one would accept anyone else as the leader in that kind of context. She also explains to you that she has tried to find others to lead before, and originally wanted to seek out and recruit Hawke for that exact reason, but then everything happened and you came along by sheer chance. And it's not like you're making all the decisions alone too, the rest of the Inquisition handles a lot off-screen while you and the rest of the party are out doing the dirty work.

(On a side note, if I had to describe WotR's party dynamic, it's probably an interesting mix of DA2 and DAI in execution. You have companions that are there because they're leading a faction of their own people or wield political influence that can contribute to the crusade effort such as Seelah's group of paladins, Lann's mongrelmen, and Regill's hellknights, but there are also people that are with you for their own personal reasons such as the witch Ember and druid Camellia, to name a few companions. But they all also benefit from the main character's powers, which is like the DAI anchor in terms of being a plot device.)
Posted By: timebean Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 01:47 AM
Each and every char explains fully why they follow the warden in DAO when you meet them. They all have a major stake in following the last warden, including Alistair who is grieving over Duncan and totally lost and rather immature.

Agree with post above about Hawke.

Also, in DAI, you are the Herald of Andraste after Haven. You are basically the messiah and a figurehead upon which the Inquisition builds legitimacy.

Shepherd in the ME series is also fully fleshed out as the leader.

One can say many harsh things about Bioware…but they knew how to create believable companion chars and party dynamics that made internal sense.

Also…consider the intros to all of those companions and how you went about recruiting them. Hell, you had to clear out a whole mage tower to get Wynne in DAO. The only interesting intro in this game was LaZael. Everyone else you just stumble upon near the ship. Karlach was ok tho…excited to meet back up with her in Baldurs Gate.
DAI was not believable at all. The gameplay was build around the main character leading a small party and running around the countryside doing various tasks. Which would have been fine if they were an inquisition agent or soldier. But why would the inquisition send out their leader and saviour to do menial tasks like gather X stones or Y herbs? They die and the inquisition loses the one with the magic hand... It was really disappointing, because BG1 & 2 are among my favourite games, but after trying DAI (apart from the story it was the awful dialogue system) I kind of gave up on Bioware games.

BG3 is a hit & miss, but it is still a better premise than DAI. Though I wonder whether some things are just not implemented yet. Shadowheart, who has the most content, will refuse to join you (unless you roll a persuasion check) if you play a githyanki. If she doesn't join your party, she later comes at you with a knife and it's implied it's because of that box. What is creepy is that this box tracks the main character; I've tried losing it, yet it always ends up in the inventory.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 08:33 AM
I think it's a problem with most crpgs I played. I've seen much worse cases (the persona series for example) and some better cases (I think most of bg2 but even there you have characters like Anoman who defers to you for no good reason other than you are the PC)
Btw Baldur's gate 1 is also a big offender in this case.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 08:49 AM
Originally Posted by Abits
I think it's a problem with most crpgs I played. I've seen much worse cases (the persona series for example) and some better cases (I think most of bg2 but even there you have characters like Anoman who defers to you for no good reason other than you are the PC)
Btw Baldur's gate 1 is also a big offender in this case.
I’d argue that since our mainchar is a point of attraction. The overall plot is designed around him/her. So there’s no real need to explain why anybody joined him, he’s just a main protagonist. The thing is you can describe yourself why they joined you, e.g. you are overly charismatic, agile, strong or maybe you’re super kind and those people feel safe with you.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 08:53 AM
I don't understand your argument. Because if it is a head canon it is a true argument regardless of which game we are talking about.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 09:35 AM
This argument is only true if the game provides a rich background for your main character, which BG1 & 2 had no lack of.

I personally never had such question, because everything revolved around my charname. Hell even Elminster guided me on my path. So for me it are the power and leadership charname possesses, as well as his will and determination. I mean it’s totally up to you to decide, given the sufficient background is provided.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 09:37 AM
Originally Posted by VenusP
Originally Posted by Abits
I think it's a problem with most crpgs I played. I've seen much worse cases (the persona series for example) and some better cases (I think most of bg2 but even there you have characters like Anoman who defers to you for no good reason other than you are the PC)
Btw Baldur's gate 1 is also a big offender in this case.
I’d argue that since our mainchar is a point of attraction. The overall plot is designed around him/her. So there’s no real need to explain why anybody joined him, he’s just a main protagonist. The thing is you can describe yourself why they joined you, e.g. you are overly charismatic, agile, strong or maybe you’re super kind and those people feel safe with you.

There is also no real need to explain why he is fighting goblins, or where is he going, or who his companions are. You could just make up your own reasons for killing goblins and make up your own destination, and make up your own names for your companions and make up your own character traits and motivations for them. And there is no need for them to build actual environmental assets. You can imagine your own tree over there, and your own rope bridge here, etc. If you are going to be supplying all the content anyway, save yourself some money and just sit and imagine playing a game.

In any storytelling medium, any character who does anything ever absolutely must be given some kind of motivation for doing so. The essential drive of a character to follow another character is not something that should be left to fan theories and headcanon.
Posted By: timebean Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 12:47 PM
Originally Posted by ash elemental
DAI was not believable at all. The gameplay was build around the main character leading a small party and running around the countryside doing various tasks. Which would have been fine if they were an inquisition agent or soldier. But why would the inquisition send out their leader and saviour to do menial tasks like gather X stones or Y herbs? They die and the inquisition loses the one with the magic hand... It was really disappointing, because BG1 & 2 are among my favourite games, but after trying DAI (apart from the story it was the awful dialogue system) I kind of gave up on Bioware games.

BG3 is a hit & miss, but it is still a better premise than DAI. Though I wonder whether some things are just not implemented yet. Shadowheart, who has the most content, will refuse to join you (unless you roll a persuasion check) if you play a githyanki. If she doesn't join your party, she later comes at you with a knife and it's implied it's because of that box. What is creepy is that this box tracks the main character; I've tried losing it, yet it always ends up in the inventory.

Yeah --- I feel you regarding Bioware (MEA was the nail in the coffin for me). DAI was ok, but suffered from bad combat mechanics (that overhead camera thing was a joke) and pissing all over the dark lore of previous games.

However, I still maintain that the "deference to the player char" in DAI was well implemented. I mean, for each place you visit you get 1) a war table summary of why you are needed there, 2) a run down by your three advisors, and 3) the dwarf scout who meets you at each place to let you know the score. Sure, one could argue that the Herald should not be doing every little task they are asked to do, and some of the area missions were kinda stupid, but the point is that there was a very clear system in place that explained why people followed and why you were going to one area to meet with whoever you were meeting, etc. In fact, I think it was one of the deeper mechanics I have ever seen in an rpg that attempted to justify why you were doing anything. Add to that the war table missions where you were the deciding vote after reading the input from your three advisors, as well as the seat-o-judgement rulings, and boom ---- there is a logical (sort of) in-game reason why folks follow you around.

DAO = you were the last Warden who held the treaties and won over companions as you quested
DA2 - you had friends and family that had your back as you improved your lot in life
DAI - you were the Herald and were trying to build infrastructure and legitimacy

Idk --- I had no issue in those games with *overall* internal consistency. Here, in BG3, it is much more nebulous. You are all looking for a healer and somehow, you take the lead to decide where to go next. And I think it will only get worse if one plays as an origin char. I simply cannot see why any of my companions would follow any of the others around.

Of course, perhaps Larian will have solid writing that explains it upon full release. You may indeed have the alpha tadpole. Or, perhaps there will be some scenes with arguments at camp between party members that ultimately come down to you being the deciding vote. Or any other number of ways to establish your role and the party's reason(s) for following you.

I am hopeful!
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 12:57 PM
Originally Posted by VenusP
This argument is only true if the game provides a rich background for your main character, which BG1 & 2 had no lack of.
I specifically said bg1 since in the majority of bg1 your background is completely unknown. By the time your character discover its backstory you already have a party of faithful companions who follow you for no good reason other than you are the PC.



Originally Posted by Droata
There is also no real need to explain why he is fighting goblins, or where is he going, or who his companions are. You could just make up your own reasons for killing goblins and make up your own destination, and make up your own names for your companions and make up your own character traits and motivations for them. And there is no need for them to build actual environmental assets. You can imagine your own tree over there, and your own rope bridge here, etc. If you are going to be supplying all the content anyway, save yourself some money and just sit and imagine playing a game.

In any storytelling medium, any character who does anything ever absolutely must be given some kind of motivation for doing so. The essential drive of a character to follow another character is not something that should be left to fan theories and headcanon.
Totally agree. If you think it's important it's important.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 01:07 PM
In the case of BG1 the said background is what happens with the charname along with the mystery that surrounds him. It is particularly cool that you can experience all the story yourself both embracing his ancestry and writing your own story. No wonder for me why so many people being attracted to him. There’s no need to force any cause for their company, since the charname himself is a cause enough.

This is what BG3 lacks imo. Mainchar is bland and practically non existent. He resembles more of an observer, while the first roles belong to his companions.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 01:13 PM
Originally Posted by VenusP
In the case of BG1 the said background is what happens with the charname along with the mystery that surrounds him. It is particularly cool that you can experience all the story yourself both embracing his ancestry and writing your own story. No wonder for me why so many people being attracted to him. There’s no need to force any cause for their company, since the charname himself is a cause enough.

This is what BG3 lacks imo. Mainchar is bland and practically non existent. He resembles more of an observer, while the first roles belong to his companions.
You can criticize the BG3 MC if you want, but that's not what this topic is about. This topic is about the relationship between the MC and the companions. the OP claimed that the way the MC is built makes it hard to believe people will follow him.

I think it is a very common problem to crpgs, and was present in bg1 as well, regardless of how good the backstory is (and at least on the case of bg1, it's really good)
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
You can criticize the BG3 MC if you want, but that's not what this topic is about. This topic is about the relationship between the MC and the companions. the OP claimed that the way the MC is built makes it hard to believe people will follow him.
How is that you can’t see these two problems are closely related? Well in fact it’s the same problem: MC is strictly nobody hence doesn’t have any ground to claim leadership.
On the other hand we had the BGs 1 & 2 MC who had ALL the background to be a leader.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by VenusP
Originally Posted by Abits
You can criticize the BG3 MC if you want, but that's not what this topic is about. This topic is about the relationship between the MC and the companions. the OP claimed that the way the MC is built makes it hard to believe people will follow him.
How is that you can’t see these two problems are closely related? Well in fact it’s the same problem: MC is strictly nobody hence doesn’t have any ground to claim leadership.
On the other hand we had the BGs 1 & 2 MC who had ALL the background to be a leader.
It is clearly related, sure, but like I proved with bg1, great MC backstory and character doesn't necessarily solve the problem.
Originally Posted by VenusP
In the case of BG1 the said background is what happens with the charname along with the mystery that surrounds him. It is particularly cool that you can experience all the story yourself both embracing his ancestry and writing your own story. No wonder for me why so many people being attracted to him. There’s no need to force any cause for their company, since the charname himself is a cause enough.

This is what BG3 lacks imo. Mainchar is bland and practically non existent. He resembles more of an observer, while the first roles belong to his companions.
Companions in BG1 don't care about your character's mystery; you don't discuss the magical dreams or the random assassin attacks, or Gorion's letter with them. Even with those that should care, e.g. Dynaheir, since she is supposedly there to figure out the prophecy. You don't get to write your own story in BG1 either. The main plot follows the same route to arrive at the one possible ending (other being losing the game). Whether you played a hero or a villain, whether your character was wise and noble, or dumber than a rock and with the charisma of a slug, none of this matters. The story in BG1 doesn't care about the character you have created. There is very little character reactivity in BG2, and while the main plot has some branching, ultimately it doesn't impact the ending either. ToB is the first one in the series to give you a choice of the ending, but this yes/no question is available to all generalist charnames to complete the BG saga.

Compare that to a game that came out close to BG1 (if I remember things right): Planescape Torment. How the story unfolds and ends depends on the Nameless One you are playing. That is how writing your character's story in a game looks like.
Originally Posted by ash elemental
Originally Posted by VenusP
In the case of BG1 the said background is what happens with the charname along with the mystery that surrounds him. It is particularly cool that you can experience all the story yourself both embracing his ancestry and writing your own story. No wonder for me why so many people being attracted to him. There’s no need to force any cause for their company, since the charname himself is a cause enough.

This is what BG3 lacks imo. Mainchar is bland and practically non existent. He resembles more of an observer, while the first roles belong to his companions.
Companions in BG1 don't care about your character's mystery; you don't discuss the magical dreams or the random assassin attacks, or Gorion's letter with them. Even with those that should care, e.g. Dynaheir, since she is supposedly there to figure out the prophecy. You don't get to write your own story in BG1 either. The main plot follows the same route to arrive at the one possible ending (other being losing the game). Whether you played a hero or a villain, whether your character was wise and noble, or dumber than a rock and with the charisma of a slug, none of this matters. The story in BG1 doesn't care about the character you have created. There is very little character reactivity in BG2, and while the main plot has some branching, ultimately it doesn't impact the ending either. ToB is the first one in the series to give you a choice of the ending, but this yes/no question is available to all generalist charnames to complete the BG saga.

Compare that to a game that came out close to BG1 (if I remember things right): Planescape Torment. How the story unfolds and ends depends on the Nameless One you are playing. That is how writing your character's story in a game looks like.

I LOVE Planescape: Torment. One of the best games ever written and easily Chris Avellone's best work. It stands as the only game in history that has been elevated to the status of literature.

It such a great anti-hero adventure. And the ending - the really good ending - is so bittersweet.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 02:30 PM
I didn’t say that interaction between MC and party members is especially well done in BG1. It’s the BG2 which elevated this side on another level. My point was merely that I totally can see why people followed BG1 MC: even traveling with him for some limited time was obviously enough to get the idea that the dude at least is interesting to hang with (I personally don’t see a problem to switch on my imagination and imagine how say Branven hears him sleepwalking and speaking with his father while spending a night in the forest and on the next morning he is able to slow poison). Would have been silly to expect something like BG1 to provide all the context of the complex relationships existed in the party. But I really liked it this way. Broad field for imagination.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 02:35 PM
Originally Posted by VenusP
I didn’t say that interaction between MC and party members is especially well done in BG1. It’s the BG2 which elevated this side on another level. My point was merely that I totally can see why people followed BG1 MC: even traveling with him for some limited time was obviously enough to get the idea that the dude at least is interesting to hang with (I personally don’t see a problem to switch on my imagination and imagine how say Branven hears him sleepwalking and speaking with his father while spending a night in the forest and on the next morning he is able to slow poison). Would have been silly to expect something like BG1 to provide all the context of the complex relationships existed in the party. But I really liked it this way. Broad field for imagination.
But again, if your solution for Bg1 MC's lack of any defining personality boils down to headcanon, you can do the same for Bg3 (and some people do it). When you give one game a break and not the other, it just makes you look like you have double standards.

Why don't you imagine BG3's MC is this charismatic guy that everyone love? What's stopping you?
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 03:05 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
Originally Posted by VenusP
I didn’t say that interaction between MC and party members is especially well done in BG1. It’s the BG2 which elevated this side on another level. My point was merely that I totally can see why people followed BG1 MC: even traveling with him for some limited time was obviously enough to get the idea that the dude at least is interesting to hang with (I personally don’t see a problem to switch on my imagination and imagine how say Branven hears him sleepwalking and speaking with his father while spending a night in the forest and on the next morning he is able to slow poison). Would have been silly to expect something like BG1 to provide all the context of the complex relationships existed in the party. But I really liked it this way. Broad field for imagination.
But again, if your solution for Bg1 MC's lack of any defining personality boils down to headcanon, you can do the same for Bg3 (and some people do it). When you give one game a break and not the other, it just makes you look like you have double standards.

Why don't you imagine BG3's MC is this charismatic guy that everyone love? What's stopping you?
I’m starting to think we’re going in circles. Because BG1 MC is full of story, while BG3 MC is nothing. Well, yet. Hopefully this will change.
And of course I have double standards, let the one who doesn’t throw a stone at me.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 03:35 PM
Well at least in the case of Bg3 MC, you can't know for sure since you never played the full game. Who knows maybe by the end of the game you discover the MC has a crazy and amazing backstory that you only discover in the final hours of the game. Does that retroactively make him a good MC? Sure. Does that mean the companions deference to him throughout the game suddenly make sense? No.
Originally Posted by VenusP
I didn’t say that interaction between MC and party members is especially well done in BG1. It’s the BG2 which elevated this side on another level. My point was merely that I totally can see why people followed BG1 MC: even traveling with him for some limited time was obviously enough to get the idea that the dude at least is interesting to hang with (I personally don’t see a problem to switch on my imagination and imagine how say Branven hears him sleepwalking and speaking with his father while spending a night in the forest and on the next morning he is able to slow poison). Would have been silly to expect something like BG1 to provide all the context of the complex relationships existed in the party. But I really liked it this way. Broad field for imagination.
At which point you are using your imagination to make up for what is actually not in the game. BG1 does not have much reactivity towards the main character. This is not limited solely to charname - companion interactions, although sometimes the lack of that becomes very evident, e.g. if you let one of the "paired" companions die, leave their body lying somewhere and the other doesn't care. But it's also about the lack of alternative paths & endings, because as a result, it doesn't matter what character you create. No charname is ever too dumb or repulsive to lead the party to victory, because there is only one way to achieve victory in the game, and that is to kill the bad guy.

To be fair, I think this lack of character restrictions is another factor why the BG saga was so popular. I think the majority of players don't like the choices in games be too limiting, and prefer when their character can potentially achieve everything in the game. Even if they use charisma as a dump stat.

Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It such a great anti-hero adventure. And the ending - the really good ending - is so bittersweet.
My favourite ending isn't even the endgame, it is when you break the rules to break the eternal cycle; that is, goad the Lady to permanently kill TNO.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 04:22 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
Well at least in the case of Bg3 MC, you can't know for sure since you never played the full game. Who knows maybe by the end of the game you discover the MC has a crazy and amazing backstory that you only discover in the final hours of the game. Does that retroactively make him a good MC? Sure. Does that mean the companions deference to him throughout the game suddenly make sense? No.

I mostly agree with you except BG1’s MC was interesting from the start :b
Originally Posted by ash elemental
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It such a great anti-hero adventure. And the ending - the really good ending - is so bittersweet.
My favourite ending isn't even the endgame, it is when you break the rules to break the eternal cycle; that is, goad the Lady to permanently kill TNO.

It was a two strikes rule with her wasn't it? Or did you just have to worship her?
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It was a two strikes rule with her wasn't it? Or did you just have to worship her?
Two strikes, though there are few ways to anger her and worshipping is one of them.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 05:53 PM
Originally Posted by VenusP
Originally Posted by Abits
Well at least in the case of Bg3 MC, you can't know for sure since you never played the full game. Who knows maybe by the end of the game you discover the MC has a crazy and amazing backstory that you only discover in the final hours of the game. Does that retroactively make him a good MC? Sure. Does that mean the companions deference to him throughout the game suddenly make sense? No.

I mostly agree with you except BG1’s MC was interesting from the start :b
I never said something to contradict that. Again, not what we discuss about
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 06:23 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
Originally Posted by VenusP
In the case of BG1 the said background is what happens with the charname along with the mystery that surrounds him. It is particularly cool that you can experience all the story yourself both embracing his ancestry and writing your own story. No wonder for me why so many people being attracted to him. There’s no need to force any cause for their company, since the charname himself is a cause enough.

This is what BG3 lacks imo. Mainchar is bland and practically non existent. He resembles more of an observer, while the first roles belong to his companions.
You can criticize the BG3 MC if you want, but that's not what this topic is about. This topic is about the relationship between the MC and the companions. the OP claimed that the way the MC is built makes it hard to believe people will follow him.

I think it is a very common problem to crpgs, and was present in bg1 as well, regardless of how good the backstory is (and at least on the case of bg1, it's really good)

I have it on good authority that the OP wasn't talking about how the MC is built. Rather it's about how the companions are built. It isn't just that they didn't give the companions a compelling reason to obey the MC. Its more egregious than that. They went out of their way to give them reasons NOT to obey the MC and then just ignored all those reasons when making them obey the MC anyway, without explanation.

Lae'zel is given strong motives to find her creche. Not only is it her duty to her Queen, but from her perspective, it is her only hope of getting the tadpole out and not turning into a mind flayer. And then a Tiefling tells her that Githyanki were spotted not a five-minute walk from where we are standing. She should be making a beeline for that bridge no matter what you say. But if Tav the Guild Artisan decides to just head into the Underdark and fight some minotaurs instead, she will abandon her duty to her Queen and accept the almost absolute certainty of turning into a mind flayer in order to follow Tav the Guild Artisan around like a lost puppy. And this very dramatic 180 for her character is never addressed.

Gale needs to eat magic items in order to survive. But his obedience to Tav the Guild Artisan is so extreme that he will beg for Tav to let him eat a magic staff that HE picked up and has in HIS inventory. Why in the world would he not just eat the staff that he picked up from Ethel's lair? Why is everything anyone finds on their journey automatically the property of Tav? If Tav's ownership of all the party's property is going to be a plot point, shouldn't there be some explanation of how that ownership was established? What compelling reason does Gale have that he would literally rather die than do something without Tav's permission?

Even other games that don't give particularly strong motives for characters to follow the MC at least don't give them the strongest possible reasons NOT to and then make them do it anyway. BG3 is hands down the worst culprit I've seen in this regard.
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 06:27 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
Originally Posted by VenusP
Originally Posted by Abits
Well at least in the case of Bg3 MC, you can't know for sure since you never played the full game. Who knows maybe by the end of the game you discover the MC has a crazy and amazing backstory that you only discover in the final hours of the game. Does that retroactively make him a good MC? Sure. Does that mean the companions deference to him throughout the game suddenly make sense? No.

I mostly agree with you except BG1’s MC was interesting from the start :b
I never said something to contradict that. Again, not what we discuss about
I understand it as the two questions cannot be reviewed separately. This is like my whole point.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 06:32 PM
Again, don't think the situation is much different than other games. The party has a good reason to stick together - they all have tadpoles that try to kill them and so they have a common goal. Why they specifically follow the MC? No good reason. I think there are two reasons for it -
1) like I said, it's a crpg trope, and it seems hard to construct a main character who is both a completely clean slate of sorts (in the DND sense that the MC could be a charismatic bard or a stupid barbarian) and a guy you have a good reason of following.
2) the origin system - the fact that anyone of the party is also the potential leader, depending on who you chose, makes it very hard to create one unified reason for the party to follow.
Originally Posted by Droata
Even other games that don't give particularly strong motives for characters to follow the MC at least don't give them the strongest possible reasons NOT to and then make them do it anyway. BG3 is hands down the worst culprit I've seen in this regard.
I can think of some. BG1 & the easy trick to get rid of one of the paired NPCs (by letting them be killed), which I think quite a few players have used over the years. BG2 also lets you do some funny things as an evil character with good NPCs, because most of the companion reactions are tied to reputation, and that can be bought at temples. Pathfinder Kingmaker, where no matter how badly you treat Linzi, she stays as the punching bag. Ironically, the same can be said for the player character, because even though the game gives you a very good reason to get rid of her (when she steals from you), even an evil character won't be able to execute or exile her. In general I've found that - except for Ekundayo and Tristan - the good characters in PK didn't care much what my evil baroness did. Quite funny, considering the evil kingdom looks like one of the dungeon levels from Diablo.
Posted By: Ikke Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 07:45 PM
Originally Posted by Abits
2) the origin system - the fact that anyone of the party is also the potential leader, depending on who you chose, makes it very hard to create one unified reason for the party to follow.
The Alpha Tadpole. It could be administered to anyone.
Posted By: Abits Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by Ikke
Originally Posted by Abits
2) the origin system - the fact that anyone of the party is also the potential leader, depending on who you chose, makes it very hard to create one unified reason for the party to follow.
The Alpha Tadpole. It could be administered to anyone.
Interesting idea. This could work actually
Posted By: VenusP Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 31/05/21 08:58 PM
I don’t think that dominating your companions is what makes a good adventuring party. Adding some personality to the MC and giving him enough dialog options will work better.
Originally Posted by ash elemental
DAI was not believable at all. The gameplay was build around the main character leading a small party and running around the countryside doing various tasks. Which would have been fine if they were an inquisition agent or soldier. But why would the inquisition send out their leader and saviour to do menial tasks like gather X stones or Y herbs? They die and the inquisition loses the one with the magic hand... It was really disappointing, because BG1 & 2 are among my favourite games, but after trying DAI (apart from the story it was the awful dialogue system) I kind of gave up on Bioware games.

BG3 is a hit & miss, but it is still a better premise than DAI. Though I wonder whether some things are just not implemented yet. Shadowheart, who has the most content, will refuse to join you (unless you roll a persuasion check) if you play a githyanki. If she doesn't join your party, she later comes at you with a knife and it's implied it's because of that box. What is creepy is that this box tracks the main character; I've tried losing it, yet it always ends up in the inventory.

Counterpoint: The main character still going around with a small party is still believable because they are still the only one capable of sealing the numerous rifts along the countryside. Plus they run into numerous enemies who get completely caught off guard by the Inquisitor's party banging on their front door. They're not doing that while holed up in Haven or Skyhold, and coming with an actual army would have basically just told all the enemy forces where the Inquisitor was (and where they WEREN'T), and what they were planning to do.

The menial tasks and stuff I agree with though. But that's really on Bioware for thinking Inquisition needed to play like a single player MMO more than anything else.

Still, Corypheus was an awful, awful villain. Accomplished jack shit after Haven, basically disappeared entirely up until the last two main quests, and you would think he'd have tried to attack Skyhold at some point. Though I also remember reading that the Fade sequence after that warden fortress was originally going to entail falling into the Deep Roads and meeting a certain sentient Darkspawn from DA:O Awakening, and it got replaced by a clearly rushed Fade sequence with a convenient amnesia subplot instead.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Counterpoint: The main character still going around with a small party is still believable because they are still the only one capable of sealing the numerous rifts along the countryside. Plus they run into numerous enemies who get completely caught off guard by the Inquisitor's party banging on their front door. They're not doing that while holed up in Haven or Skyhold, and coming with an actual army would have basically just told all the enemy forces where the Inquisitor was (and where they WEREN'T), and what they were planning to do.
The main character going around with the small party is the part that doesn't make sense. What you describe - a small force doing surprise missions - is the job you give your agents, scouts, spies or soldiers. It's not the job you give to the only character who is capable of closing the magical portal in the sky, because if they die, you lose. Yet no one cares if the inquisitor elects to go on a solo adventure travelling around the countryside.
Well, like I said, there are still tons of rifts along the countryside, and no regular small surprise force is going to be able to do anything about that. Hell, the game even flat out shows you that there are scouts assessing the situation in each area right before you arrive for the first time, meaning that steps have already been taken to minimize risk to the Inquisitor as much as possible. The Inquisitor is only brought in when the situation is severe enough to be brought to your attention and there's no other options.

Inquisiton had a lot of problems, but how it handled the main character was really not among them. Sure, you can go on solo adventures with the Inquisitor, but I chalk that up to gameplay oddity instead of an actual narrative fault, since you can do something equally dumb from a narrative standpoint in most other party-based games too.
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Counterpoint: The main character still going around with a small party is still believable because they are still the only one capable of sealing the numerous rifts along the countryside. Plus they run into numerous enemies who get completely caught off guard by the Inquisitor's party banging on their front door.

Yep, been re-playing this recently while waiting for Patch 5. (because I never finished it when it first came out - my bad, I know!) The question of "why am I running around doing all this when I have henchmen to do it for me" never entered my mind. You already send people to do plenty of politicial/menial tasks via the War Table, and you ARE the only one who can close the rifts - nobody else can do it for you. It is after all, a game - a single player adventure game, where you are having the adventures. It wouldn't be much fun if the whole game was you just directing other people via the War Table to have adventures for you.
Posted By: Arijharn Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 01/06/21 02:57 AM
Originally Posted by Abits
1) like I said, it's a crpg trope, and it seems hard to construct a main character who is both a completely clean slate of sorts (in the DND sense that the MC could be a charismatic bard or a stupid barbarian) and a guy you have a good reason of following.
2) the origin system - the fact that anyone of the party is also the potential leader, depending on who you chose, makes it very hard to create one unified reason for the party to follow.

Even if it is a trope, doesn't mean it's something that necessarily has to be followed. I think possibly the most elegant solution for the problem would be if the main character was the one who took 'ownership' and is the one that came up with a plan to save them; whether it's going to find a healer or whatever. Maybe when he wakes up on the shoreline the character see's evidence for a druid enclave nearby and knows the general location for where it could be found.

Droatia, in case you read this comment too, maybe Lae'zel stays with the MC simply because despite all of her (considerable) bluster, she isn't stupid enough to charge off into unknown territory with minimal armaments (and skill - as she's somehow only lvl1). There is (comparative) safety in numbers after all.
Posted By: CJMPinger Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 01/06/21 03:13 AM
There are signs that they mean to expand or modify the opening of the game, with having a key to shadowheart's pod. It is possible other Origin companions will be added and their deference comes from the player controlled character being the one who rescued everyone from the mindflayers and hell?
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Well, like I said, there are still tons of rifts along the countryside, and no regular small surprise force is going to be able to do anything about that. Hell, the game even flat out shows you that there are scouts assessing the situation in each area right before you arrive for the first time, meaning that steps have already been taken to minimize risk to the Inquisitor as much as possible. The Inquisitor is only brought in when the situation is severe enough to be brought to your attention and there's no other options.

Inquisiton had a lot of problems, but how it handled the main character was really not among them. Sure, you can go on solo adventures with the Inquisitor, but I chalk that up to gameplay oddity instead of an actual narrative fault, since you can do something equally dumb from a narrative standpoint in most other party-based games too.
I was not talking about sending small squads to close the rifts, but rather, that they should handle the other jobs. Because your inquisitor is not, in fact, only closing the rifts. I didn't have the impression inquisitor was "only brought in when the situation is severe enough" when playing DAI. The maps are full of inane quests, such as "bring back my lost cattle". But no one from your inner circle, or your companions, ever questions the stupidity of such quests, or the inquisitor risking themselves doing them. Even Cassandra, who went against the chantry to establish the inquisition, doesn't care if the inquisitor wastes time picking flowers or goes to solo fight a dragon. My impression was also that, ironically, there is no reactivity towards closing the rifts; you can leave them open, and still nothing happens and no one comments on that either.

It's not a matter of gameplay odditiies; the gameplay in DAI just doesn't support the narrative it is trying to build. Companion reactions (or rather lack of) included.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 01/06/21 08:15 AM
Originally Posted by Arijharn
Originally Posted by Abits
1) like I said, it's a crpg trope, and it seems hard to construct a main character who is both a completely clean slate of sorts (in the DND sense that the MC could be a charismatic bard or a stupid barbarian) and a guy you have a good reason of following.
2) the origin system - the fact that anyone of the party is also the potential leader, depending on who you chose, makes it very hard to create one unified reason for the party to follow.

Even if it is a trope, doesn't mean it's something that necessarily has to be followed. I think possibly the most elegant solution for the problem would be if the main character was the one who took 'ownership' and is the one that came up with a plan to save them; whether it's going to find a healer or whatever. Maybe when he wakes up on the shoreline the character see's evidence for a druid enclave nearby and knows the general location for where it could be found.

Droatia, in case you read this comment too, maybe Lae'zel stays with the MC simply because despite all of her (considerable) bluster, she isn't stupid enough to charge off into unknown territory with minimal armaments (and skill - as she's somehow only lvl1). There is (comparative) safety in numbers after all.

Sure. They could have told that story. But they didn't. Script it so that after the Tiefling reveals the location of the Githyanki, going any other direction will trigger a conversation where Lae'zel says something to the effect of:

"The Tiefling said they saw the Githyanki this way."

Follow this up with some dialogue where some companions want to go find the Githyanki and others think that Nettie is the best bet at getting the tadpole out without ending up as Githyanki slaves. The group is evenly split and the MC has to break the tie. If they don't choose to go stright to the Githyanki, we should see the indecision in Lae'zel's face, and the moment she reluctantly decides to stay with the group. If that was the story they were trying to tell, then this decision is the most pivotal moment in Lae'zel's arc thus far. It doesn't get a pursuasion roll, or a cutscene, or any acknowledgment of any kind.

And it's more than just Lae'zel. The legendary Blade of Frontiers has taken it upon himself to help the Tieflings in their hour of need, and enlists Tav to help him. But as soon as he joins the party, he is an obedient little sycophant, living in the shadow of Tav the Guild Artisan. He is literally so obedient that he won't settle a score with the goblin who took his eye unless he can get permission from Tav first.

Gale needs to eat magic items in order to survive. But his obedience to Tav the Guild Artisan is so extreme that he will beg for Tav to let him eat a magic staff that HE picked up and has in HIS inventory. Why in the world would he not just eat the staff that he picked up from Ethel's lair? Why is everything anyone finds on their journey automatically the property of Tav? If Tav's ownership of all the party's property is going to be a plot point, shouldn't there be some explanation of how that ownership was established? What compelling reason does Gale have that he would literally rather die than do something without Tav's permission?

I am not so much concerned whether anyone can come up with a fan theory or headcanon for any particular contradiction that will help them continue to enjoy the game. I am more concerned that fan theories and headcanon are necessary to justify really fundamental things about the characters. It does not give me any confidence that the people making the game care about who their own characters are and what drives them. Even worse, I feel like the people making the game have an attitude that telling a story that makes sense isn't important because "it's just a video game lol." I would love to be proven wrong about this.
Originally Posted by ash elemental
I was not talking about sending small squads to close the rifts, but rather, that they should handle the other jobs. Because your inquisitor is not, in fact, only closing the rifts. I didn't have the impression inquisitor was "only brought in when the situation is severe enough" when playing DAI. The maps are full of inane quests, such as "bring back my lost cattle". But no one from your inner circle, or your companions, ever questions the stupidity of such quests, or the inquisitor risking themselves doing them. Even Cassandra, who went against the chantry to establish the inquisition, doesn't care if the inquisitor wastes time picking flowers or goes to solo fight a dragon. My impression was also that, ironically, there is no reactivity towards closing the rifts; you can leave them open, and still nothing happens and no one comments on that either.

It's not a matter of gameplay odditiies; the gameplay in DAI just doesn't support the narrative it is trying to build. Companion reactions (or rather lack of) included.

Okay, yeah, I'll give you that. I just don't particularly recognize the more inane sidequests as canon, as they're obviously padding from the unfocused open world direction that DA:I took. I really hope DA:4 reins it in.

Come to think of it, Pathfinder Kingmaker had that problem too, it was just kind of less noticeable there due to the massive amount of downtime in between chapters just managing the kingdom masking it all. It must have been bad enough for the devs to take note, because I just looked at my quest log in WotR beta to compare and notice an overall distinct lack of sidequests that one would consider padding filler. Reading through it, It appears everything I've done so far has been relevant to the overall narrative or the party in some way...

Originally Posted by Droata
I am not so much concerned whether anyone can come up with a fan theory or headcanon for any particular contradiction that will help them continue to enjoy the game. I am more concerned that fan theories and headcanon are necessary to justify really fundamental things about the characters. It does not give me any confidence that the people making the game care about who their own characters are and what drives them. Even worse, I feel like the people making the game have an attitude that telling a story that makes sense isn't important because "it's just a video game lol." I would love to be proven wrong about this.

Hm. That is something to consider.

I've noticed lately that for some characters, a lot of the discussion in regards to their appeal revolves around what they MIGHT be in the future, not what they are as of now. Like a lot of the excitement for them, Gale especially, is based on fan theories more than anything else. This is pretty dangerous, because the expectations for them are going to go through the roof. If Larian fails to deliver, we're going to end up with a lot of upset people telling Larian how they should have handled them. Kind of like what happened with Dragon Age Inquisition and Pillars of Eternity 2 in regards to how they both handled the main quest (which was VERY poorly).
Posted By: vometia Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 01/06/21 02:13 PM
Originally Posted by ash elemental
I was not talking about sending small squads to close the rifts, but rather, that they should handle the other jobs. Because your inquisitor is not, in fact, only closing the rifts. I didn't have the impression inquisitor was "only brought in when the situation is severe enough" when playing DAI. The maps are full of inane quests, such as "bring back my lost cattle". But no one from your inner circle, or your companions, ever questions the stupidity of such quests, or the inquisitor risking themselves doing them. Even Cassandra, who went against the chantry to establish the inquisition, doesn't care if the inquisitor wastes time picking flowers or goes to solo fight a dragon. My impression was also that, ironically, there is no reactivity towards closing the rifts; you can leave them open, and still nothing happens and no one comments on that either.

It's not a matter of gameplay odditiies; the gameplay in DAI just doesn't support the narrative it is trying to build. Companion reactions (or rather lack of) included.

I was about to defend the various team-mates as being very well-written characters whose personalities develop in interesting ways (such as Cassandra being secretly fangirly about Varric's trash novels) but yeah, there does seem to be a general lack of authority and objection to aimless meandering about and timewasting. Having said that, aimless meandering about and timewasting is My Favourite Gaming Mechanic On The Citadel™ so I would just get annoyed if they were endlessly snarky about it.

Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
Okay, yeah, I'll give you that. I just don't particularly recognize the more inane sidequests as canon, as they're obviously padding from the unfocused open world direction that DA:I took. I really hope DA:4 reins it in.

I like inane side-quests! I will defend Oblivion's The Potato Snatcher 'til my dying breath and all that; even Morrowind's "go next door and buy me a plate, beeyatch" that I invariably complain about. But Inquisition somehow got it really badly wrong. I love open worlds (even if it's only open-ish) and the Hinterlands is somewhere I just enjoined being, but it's all just really unmemorable somehow. And I can't see exactly why. Maybe it is that lack of focus. I felt Andromeda had the same problem: Mass Effect with more space to play around in should've been awesome. Okay, I know there are other problems with Andromeda, which I variously agree with or not, but that failure to realise what should've been a memorable open world in much the same way that Inquisition failed to do seems like it could be indicative of a more fundamental problem. Which could just be that Bioware Doesn't Do Open Worlds, I suppose.
Posted By: Arijharn Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 02/06/21 09:56 AM
Originally Posted by Droata
Sure. They could have told that story. But they didn't.

In this case, it sorta becomes a weigh of the costs of doing so. Does it really build the story? I mean the time taken to script these is time not spent making something awesome like a falling through the sky and killing the big bad as he teleports through the planes etc, etc. Which comes full circle back to the trope angle Ash was talking about. Not that I don't disagree with you, but something has to give and take priority.

I assume that Act 1 is now basically done, barring cut scene fixing up etc, otherwise I don't think they would have been confident enough with it for Early Access? To be honest, this is the first time I've backed Larian, so I have no real idea about their workflow or policies etc.

My point being is that if Act 1 has been finalized to a high standard (say 90%+) then I don't think they will go about and redoing the character introductions. After all, it's not just scripting it, there's the actual writing and presumably voice work to be recorded as well. So it might just be snowball in Baator's chance of it happening.

I do think it would be an excellent sense of world building to have the companions realise that the MC is the best (Tiefling) for the job though.
Posted By: Droata Re: Deference to the Player Feels Unearned - 02/06/21 10:23 AM
Originally Posted by Arijharn
Originally Posted by Droata
Sure. They could have told that story. But they didn't.

In this case, it sorta becomes a weigh of the costs of doing so. Does it really build the story? I mean the time taken to script these is time not spent making something awesome like a falling through the sky and killing the big bad as he teleports through the planes etc, etc. Which comes full circle back to the trope angle Ash was talking about. Not that I don't disagree with you, but something has to give and take priority.

Having characters with motives and behavior that make sense would definitely build the story for me. I 1000% would rather have some well-thought-out characters that I actually care about than a falling through the sky and killing the big bad as he teleports through the planes. Ask just about anyone who watched Game of Thrones whether they would rather have the well-written dialogue of Season 2 bringing out the genius of Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance, or something awesome like big-budget dragons of Season 8 knocking over entire cities with their super-mega-powerful CGI fire breath, at the expense of good storytelling.

If something has to give, let it be falling through the sky and killing the big bad as he teleports through the planes that gives, and not the possibility of being invested in the characters that gives.
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