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Falcus Offline OP
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Love this game 10/10 gameplay-wise but I honestly have to say the writing is a weak point.

- Companions
Madora is a simpleton, muh evil magic, it's all evil, hurr durr! It gets some minimal depth during her quest but still.
Johan is blatantly borrowed from the typical "magical negro" American movie stock character under all aspects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro.
They are walking stereotypes, why not put something interesting to them?

- Dialogues
Honestly dialogues seem to be oriented to an underage audience; concepts are simplified or dumbed down to a fairy tale level, there isn't much of a grey area in most characters.
The way they are exposed also doesn't catch up; I found myself forcing my eyes through the text.

I don't know, it almost feels like who wrote the dialogues thought we couldn't handle mature writing so purposely dumbed down the whole to a lower level, where even a 8 years old kid can understand everything.

If that is not the case I suggest: try borrowing from the Fallout and Planescape writing.
Humor, moral ambiguity, memorable lines and characters.
Simple-minded generic stuff is really a mud stain on this great game.

PS: Before you call me on it, I know a lot of this is parody/ironic, but we can't have the entire writing of the game based on parody.
The Fabulous Five MLM parody was good but everything else should be either mature or humor, parody isn't fun beyond limited use.

Last edited by Falcus; 04/07/14 12:59 PM.
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I think we'll see more of this with mods. Writing dialogue for a commercial game is tricky, as it is very subjective. What some perceive as snarky, others perceive as biting or cruel. On the flip side, what other's perceive as g-rated, disney-esque, others perceive as old-school, classic storytelling.

Very few developers have gone the Black Isle/Obsidian mature route, as it can be difficult riding that line between salty and salacious. There's also the matter of writing for a multiplayer experience. There will be a lot of people who play this in co-op (husband/wife, father/son, etc.) and getting into more adult subject matter is not always the best approach in those cases.

I'm enjoying the game but agree the writing style is pretty straight-down-the-middle at times, but the rest of the game is far from typical which is making it very enjoyable. I look forward to more mature, "edgy" mods from the community.

Last edited by Falchor; 04/07/14 01:09 PM.
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I think your definition of "underage" is basically wrong. What you mean is light-hearted or just simple-minded or whatever. Let's take for example Nintendo games. They are not meant to be for children. They are meant to be for everyone. You don't have to make a deep, grim or complex game to offer entertainment for all kinds of people and ages. D:OS is definitely not writte especially for teens or kids, not at all. But of course it's not as "deep" as old Infinity Engine games. But let's be honest: few people would read that much again while playing games anymore. Playing BG2 is like reading a book and playing a game at the same time. Great experience at its time and an all time classic, but not every game has to be like that.

I agree on the cliché issue. But then again D:OS is playing with clichés and often there is a humorous twist to them. wink


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Originally Posted by LordCrash

I agree on the cliché issue. But then again D:OS is playing with clichés and often there is a humorous twist to them. wink


Yes, they are including rpg cliches but then making fun of them at the same time. In other words, the developers were enjoying themselves and that enthusiasm is infectious.

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I don't know, I find in most games you only have two poles to choose from, righteous saintly mother Theresa or flaming eyed baby eating Hitler.

Anyways I don't think any changes are going to happen to the game dialogue now. Maybe you can create a user campaign yourself and borrow from said games and show Larian how real game writing is done.

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I believe that writing was done on purpose to be "lighter" to avoid making this game too hardcore and gloomy, especialy because it's text based. If you had overly complex dialogs, all in text, i believe that more people would avoid it.

The game already has some CRPG hardcore things, it doesn't need more and larian thought that dialog could be lighter and more accessible to be one less obstacle to newer players. This is ofc just my feelings.

Don't get me wrong, i do like the dialog because of that. I believe that if dialog was overly complex and much more elaborate the game would start to go over to the boring/heavy side.

I believe that D:OS has a near perfect balance between complex mechanics (no quest markers, Turn-based combat, the need to explore and discover) and accessible gameplay (fun-witty dialogs instead of serious/gloomy ones, colorful color-pallete graphics), and anything that we might think it could be changed could unbalance this ratio and make it a worse game for a lot of people.

When we review a game we need sometimes to think outside our feelings and try to understand things that we might not like but do make sense in the context of the full package.

As it's impossible to please everyone, the developers need to make balance choices to apease to a broader audience, and i have a gut feeling the dialog was in that direction because the game didn't realy need more complexity points.

The proof that they were right (imho) is that even if dialog is somewhat "ligher", the OP kept his 10/10 score smile

The trick is in the balance between simple and complex to make a whole package that a lot of people will enjoy.

Last edited by KnightPT; 04/07/14 01:42 PM.
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Honestly I find most of the writing to be stereotypical/cliché, it's one of the reasons I am looking forward to the mods.

Last edited by ancienthunter; 04/07/14 01:58 PM.
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With every RPG dev falling over each other to be "darker" and "edgier" and "more mature" (sorry, sex doesn't automatically makes mature)... this is defintively a refreshing change... aside from the many refreshing changes done to counter gameplay degredation those same 'edgy' developers use...

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Falcus Offline OP
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Uh, glad you guys agree I was prepared for some kind of rabid fanboy assault.

I also want to add that enemies are very stereotyped too.
We have a typical "cult" faction where magically everyone wants to end the world etc etc, come on.
I think the line between good and evil should be much thinnier and make you think before you pick decisions.

Next expansion (or mods) I hope to see more morally ambigue characters and storylines, where the line between good and evil is much thinner - if there is any at all.

It's that kind of thing that gives me immersion: text that makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you imagine, makes you question.

I'm ok with some light-hearted parts to unwind, but there should be something major happening.

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Originally Posted by Falcus
Uh, glad you guys agree I was prepared for some kind of rabid fanboy assault.

I also want to add that enemies are very stereotyped too.
We have a typical "cult" faction where magically everyone wants to end the world etc etc, come on.
I think the line between good and evil should be much thinnier and make you think before you pick decisions.

Next expansion (or mods) I hope to see more morally ambigue characters and storylines, where the line between good and evil is much thinner - if there is any at all.

It's that kind of thing that gives me immersion: text that makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you imagine, makes you question.

I'm ok with some light-hearted parts to unwind, but there should be something major happening.


Well, in all honesty, Divinity games were never about "realistic moral choices". In that terms Divinity is much different than to Witcher, Baldur's Gate of Mass Effect. Divinity is way less story (or "epicness") driven. The game is way more systems driven, based on tactical combat and interactivity.

I very much disagree with the notion that a game has to be like this or like that just because someone wants to put it into categories (like CRPG). That's imo a big trap many people are falling into. Divinity isn't meant as a direct successor to Baldur's Gate 2 for example, not at all.

Let's take for example XCOM Enemy Unknown/Within. This game is almost completely systems driven without any "deep" narrative aspect. Nevertheless the game is great fun, my personal GOTY 2013.

Story and dialogues in D:OS are there to carry you through the game, make you laugh here and there and just to be entertaining (think of comedy instead of drama). Also dialogues are written for easy digestion in co-op. Don't forget that the game is very much designed as a co-op experience. A good co-op experience is based on interaction between the players and less based on deep immersion. I think the game would be way less fun in co-op if players had to read tons of text in each dialogue. Also deep, moral decisions are much harder to implement in co-op with D:OS' dual-dialogue and RPS system. The light-hearted writing is perfect for this kind of experience imo. The story and dialogue fit the basic game design, I would say.

And for a complex and morally ambigious narrative in SP for the full narrative experience that stirs your mind there will hopefully be games like Pillars of Eterniy, Torment ToN and even Witcher 3 soon. No need for Divinity to be exactly like that. D:OS has other strenghts and another focus and the writing accounts for that. wink


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Originally Posted by Falcus

PS: Before you call me on it, I know a lot of this is parody/ironic, but we can't have the entire writing of the game based on parody.
The Fabulous Five MLM parody was good but everything else should be either mature or humor, parody isn't fun beyond limited use.


If parody isn't your thing that's fine, but parody/satire is a genre into itself and it's perfectly valid to have a work exist largely or purely as parody.

The writing, like D:DC, is highly stylized with a focus on wit and humor. That might not appeal to a lot of players, but it's less important for a style to be universally appealing than it is for a style to be consistent. And D:OS is consistent. That said, I do agree that certain important characters (companions included) could use a fair bit more roundness to them.

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Well looking at your description you really should be playing the Walking Dead game instead. There are tons of choices where you are challenged morally there.

Divinity is never going to be like that

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OP:

Dunno why you think Johan is a 'magical negro,' considering he's based more off of Arabian Nights style of storytelling. He's *not* just there to give sage advice to the protagonist. Most of the time he's just railing against demons, promoting animal safety and telling you that love is pointless and hurtful. That's almost 100% counter to the notion of the 'magical negro' trope.

And if you get to his actual storyline, it's pretty interesting. Didn't expect that much of a sudden burst of information which changed my view of him. Writin' was just dandy.



Also, if you think the game's just sunshine and rainbows without any mature grit, maybe you missed the part where a ghost admits to having sex with the corpses of children. I don't think you'd find that on Sesame Street.

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To save making a new thread, my only criticism would be corpses. It's great how interactive the world is, which is why this really stands out for me. Why cant I use my revive scrolls on them? It was the first thing I tried in the beta when I noticed the dead man, and the fact I had a scroll to revive people.

Aside from that, nothing really bothers me.


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