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I saw on kickstarter that D:OS2 has passed 1.5 mio $. This means we get the hall of echoes. I know many examples for bad strongholds. Do you have any suggestions to make a good one?

- The hall of echoes is the land of the dead. I guess normal people cannot enter or leave it at will. How about this: At some point you meet a powerful enemy. He does not only try to kill you but to destroy your very existence. You have no chance against him and end up in the hall of echoes. Somebody there tells you that you are special and you are able to leave because you still have something to do in this world. He gives you an item that allows you to get back to the hall of echoes, but it can only be used at places related to death (like graveyards).
This tells nothing about how the hall of echoes looks like and what can be done there.

some thoughts:
- An evil force does not only want to end all life, it wants to end the existence of everything. You have to protect the world of the living and the world of the dead from its minions (and finally itself).
- The stronghold of Pillars of eternity was the worst part of the game. You spend money for an upgrade and than you wait until it is finished or a random event happens. This was boring and uninteresting.
- NWN2 had one of the better strongholds and I liked the battle where you have to defend it. Somebody else said that the stronghold of Divinity2 was good (I did not play it.) However those are places in the normal world (like PoE). I do not know how much of this can be transferred to the land of the dead.


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shape shifting well sounds promising !!
I am not sure my hall of echoes will be a really friendly place then h馼


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It sounds like they're putting a lot of thought into it, moreso than the D:OS1 homestead (which was still decent, but not amazing). To me, a good stronghold evolves over the game, has a few cool events like enemy assaults and some kind of destructive event maybe, and a few quests. Maybe minigame or challenge sort of things, too, like how in Transistor, there were lots of challenges to complete in your little stronghold. They also had a music player, which would be cool in D:OS 2 (maybe as part of the shapeshifting room?) and a great tribute to Kirill. Maybe you could even meet him there, if that can be done tastefully.


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I'm interested in this!


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The stronghold in nwn2 worked because you weren't the only one there. It was also a very active part of the game if you wanted it to be. You went all over the map trying to gather supporters, builders, merchants, lieutenants etc. You also had choices on what you want built. It also had very active events (wandering adventuring group) which gave you unique items. Most of the things you did gave you unique items. The more you upgraded your troops and buildings the easier the fight to defend it was (duh). I don't think this level of interactivity can be achieved if it's only a stretch goal and is not planned from the start. If it can be then great. There is also a very interesting story regarding the stronghold in Pillars of Eternity. Josh Sawyer has said that their experience from the nwn2 stronghold cited that the majority (or at least a very noticeable subset) of players don't actually like strongholds and they made the one in PoE as unobtrusive and pointless as possible on purpose. I can't seem the find the exact quote, but that's pretty much what he said. That was quite an eye opener. Strongholds do tend to grind the game's pace to a halt and I can see where they are coming from. The best and hardest thing to do is to make it so it fits the context of the game. Having it randomly just to have a stronghold doesn't work.

EDIT: I found the quote -
"There are a non-trivial number of players that absolutely loathe strongholds as a concept and never want to interact with stronghold mechanics. It's difficult to make something feel robust and rewarding but also completely optional."

"And if we gated a bunch of quests through the stronghold, there would be complaints about that. It's not really an "everyone wins" decision since some people hate stronghold-gated content. That said, if we had spare area and narrative design resources during development, sure we'd make some stronghold specific content. That was never the case and it still wasn't the case on the expansion. Whatever work is done on gated content is work not being done on content available to everyone."


Someone else:
You "gated" a lot of good content, including a character quest, behind the Endless Paths, though, and that was optional as well.

Stronghold content is available to everyone, though, it's just that, much like the endless paths, it's optional.

Josh:
"You're downplaying the aversion that people have to strongholds, specifically. If there's a "I hate big dungeons" bloc of significant size, I'm unaware of them. Stronghold aversion seems more comparable to romance aversion."


Someone else:
I would expect something with parity with the games this was inspired by. So, when I think of what my expectations are for a stronghold in PoE were, I thought maybe a total number of quests (with similar depth) to the multitude of Strongholds in BG2.

Josh:
"Do you want us to cut six quests and ~20 characters/dialogues from the expansion areas for the stronghold?"

Last edited by Lacrymas; 18/09/15 07:54 PM.
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Wait a sec.
Josh said that he wanted to make a part of the game as pointless as possible because many people do not like strongholds ouch (what, no facepalm smily?)

Then why did he create this stretch goal?

Well, I am not against stongholds in general, but I do not need them either. Many good games I know do not have them (like Planescape Torment or Gothic) or it was simply the place where my companions are waiting while I do something else (like Chrono Trigger or KotoR). I do not know a game (except NWN2 maybe) where the stronghold was so good that I would really miss it (including D:OS1).

In NWN2 it made sense because you earned it with lots of sweat and blood and you need it to fight the forces of darkness. You are a knight of Neverwinter when you get it.

In D:OS1 it made little sense because you were source hunters who travel the world to solve a murder and to investigate and stop the cult who is behind this (the immaculates). Why would you stay in one place when your job is to find somebody?

In D:OS2 it makes even less sense because you are an escaped prisoner. Why do you want to stay in one place for long until you have escaped the people who want to purge you?

Edit: @Lacrymas, I have written the things above before I saw your edit

Last edited by Madscientist; 18/09/15 08:15 PM.

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Originally Posted by Madscientist
Wait a sec.
Josh said that he wanted to make a part of the game as pointless as possible because many people do not like strongholds ouch (what, no facepalm smily?)

Then why did he create this stretch goal?



That's what everyone else is asking too. I don't think PoE turned out good at all, so the stronghold is small potatoes compared to that. The stronghold just needs context, logic and content, it's pointless otherwise.

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Ok, lets try to approach the thing from the other side.

Who are the people who want a stronghold and why do they want it?


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Originally Posted by Madscientist
Ok, lets try to approach the thing from the other side.

Who are the people who want a stronghold and why do they want it?


Why do they want it is actually a pretty good question that I'd like an answer to as well. The point that Sawyer brings up is quite relevant as well: Is it worth gating content behind the stronghold? For me it's only worth it if it makes sense and isn't thrown in there just to have a stronghold. D:OS' Homestead wasn't worth it and neither was PoE (though they didn't create any meaningful content for it on purpose). The only stronghold that ever worked well is, like I said, in NWN2. It wasn't just handed to you, you worked for it throughout the story. Peasant -> City Guard/Thief -> Squire (to one of 2 knights) -> Captain of Crossroad Keep -> Knight of the Nine. It worked great and it had logical, constant progression. In PoE it was Nobody -> Lord of Caed Nua, in DoS 1 it was Source Investigators -> Magical Overlords at the End of Time. You can see where it all falls down. Really, I could spend hours trying to describe what made the SH in NWN2 work, but I think you all know why by this point. It was packed with content and it was logical.

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You can't please everyone, so there's no sense in half-assing a stronghold to make sure there's no content in it, since that will please nobody. I don't particularly care for strongholds in general either, but I really don't see what's inherently wrong with them that people completely loathe them. The only thing that really makes a stronghold is the sense that you at least partly own or are in charge of a location. I mean, not sure if there's really a big difference between a player home and a stronghold, though the latter usually implies other people than the player live there too, and somewhat that it's a 'defensive location.'

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Originally Posted by Baardvark
You can't please everyone, so there's no sense in half-assing a stronghold to make sure there's no content in it, since that will please nobody. I don't particularly care for strongholds in general either, but I really don't see what's inherently wrong with them that people completely loathe them. The only thing that really makes a stronghold is the sense that you at least partly own or are in charge of a location. I mean, not sure if there's really a big difference between a player home and a stronghold, though the latter usually implies other people than the player live there too, and somewhat that it's a 'defensive location.'


The player home thing logically leads to the question: Why do we need a home? Aren't we on a grand adventure with lots of traveling and interesting locales? What are we using the home for? Going back there for cake once in a while? "Player homes" are even more nonsensical than a stronghold.

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Law of XXX: All big kickstarter RPGs need a stronghold as stretch goal.

Even Torment - Tides of Numenera had a stronghold as stretch goal. I am almost happy that they failed this goal, though I really want to play that game.

We need to find out who is XXX and hang him rpg003

Last edited by Madscientist; 18/09/15 09:25 PM.

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Well, even adventurers have to rest every once in a while. A prerequisite of adventuring isn't necessarily that you're hobo. And anyway, it's the hall of Echoes, which will be interesting in its own right, not some cottage. Somehow, as Sourcerers, you can access it before death. It's probably not a safe place to permanently hunker down with a crazed source hunter after you, but it's okay for a night here and there. I'm sure they'll provide plenty of reasons why you need to keep on adventuring on despite having a home. If you do nothing to stop Alexander the Innocent, he's going to take over the world.. Whether you want to stop that for your own safety, or to protect innocents, that's your roleplaying choice.

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Originally Posted by Baardvark
Well, even adventurers have to rest every once in a while. A prerequisite of adventuring isn't necessarily that you're hobo. And anyway, it's the hall of Echoes, which will be interesting in its own right, not some cottage. Somehow, as Sourcerers, you can access it before death. It's probably not a safe place to permanently hunker down with a crazed source hunter after you, but it's okay for a night here and there. I'm sure they'll provide plenty of reasons why you need to keep on adventuring on despite having a home. If you do nothing to stop Alexander the Innocent, he's going to take over the world.. Whether you want to stop that for your own safety, or to protect innocents, that's your roleplaying choice.


Sure, but how does that translate to gameplay? They can easily say "ah, btw we have a home that we rest in once in a while" and be done with it. Having this elaborate dwelling with dramatic proclamations and kickstarter stretch goals is taking it a bit too far for what we get.

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Originally Posted by Lacrymas

The player home thing logically leads to the question: Why do we need a home? Aren't we on a grand adventure with lots of traveling and interesting locales? What are we using the home for? Going back there for cake once in a while? "Player homes" are even more nonsensical than a stronghold.


The Elder Scrolls games tend to have quite a few different player homes. Roleplaying in the Elder Scrolls games comes pretty naturally to me, I make one character and put them into a fixed role, they only do a couple faction quests (unlike some other players who try to do all factions with one character).

But yet, I've never really been into building a home and making it all fancy, even though there are lots of people who love doing that in those games.

Player homes and strongholds for me, tend to just be a place to dump stuff off that I don't want to be carrying at that moment. If there are shops there I might buy things. But I never bother going overboard and trying to decorate things just so (so that whenever you enter the cell, all your carefully placed things go flying all over and you cry).

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Originally Posted by Stabbey


The Elder Scrolls games tend to have quite a few different player homes. Roleplaying in the Elder Scrolls games comes pretty naturally to me, I make one character and put them into a fixed role, they only do a couple faction quests (unlike some other players who try to do all factions with one character).

But yet, I've never really been into building a home and making it all fancy, even though there are lots of people who love doing that in those games.

Player homes and strongholds for me, tend to just be a place to dump stuff off that I don't want to be carrying at that moment. If there are shops there I might buy things. But I never bother going overboard and trying to decorate things just so (so that whenever you enter the cell, all your carefully placed things go flying all over and you cry).


My point is that it (player home) literally adds nothing of value or interest. TES has a tortured history and not in the good way. There are very few things we can learn from them past Morrowind and all the things we can are mistakes that we shouldn't repeat. If you want to build and decorate a home go play the Sims. I'm not riffing on the Sims, I actually love it and think it's a very unique experience. Strongholds at least can provide a way to simulate a large scale war from the point of view of a single character (yours).

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It's completely dependant on the story and narration, honestly. You may need or it may make sense to own a hideout, a house, a fort, a cave, a boat, or anything that could be considered a "home".
"home" or "headquarters" have been in game since.. forever, really. The new thing is being able to free-walk in it, look around, and to some extent interact with it.

In the Assassin's creed saga, the homestead is a rallying point, a resting place, and the headquarters from where you send people do tasks, manage trade routes, etc.
In Skyrim, it's a warehouse, holds a great RP meaning, and a resting place ( though you can rest anywhere really ).
In PoE, it is quite useless, true.
In DOS1, it was more of a thing tied to the story although it's true it wasn't that great.
In Divinity 2, it fit very well in the story and gave you lots of advantages for progressing through the game.

A home is the new incarnation of the "main hub". It's you default "go-to" location when you aren't sure what to do next or when you're thinking of ending your session. Arguably, it's the open-world / open-story equivalent of the headquarters from a thousand of other games, like Xcom or Darkest Dungeon. Arguably still, you will want to build your own house for obvious purposes in Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, Don't Starve, etc. And while some MMOs feature housing, it's quite useless except to chill when you're a little bored, like in Wildstar, or a feature you can't ignore because it regroups a lot of services like your ship in The Old Republic. WoW recently put the Garnison system in the game, and while it's a bit too important ( most people spend most of their time in the garnison rather than with other people doing things ), they put a lot of very useful and interesting features in it.

So, do we need a home? Not necessarily. Is it stupid to put a home? The game story will answer that. Does it add nothing of value ? No, it actually does, as long as people behind it thought it well.
There are no clear yes or no, one thing is sure : if it is well done, as well as making sense in the context, it is a very nice and interesting feature to have in a game.


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Originally Posted by Dr Koin
It's completely dependant on the story and narration, honestly. You may need or it may make sense to own a hideout, a house, a fort, a cave, a boat, or anything that could be considered a "home".
"home" or "headquarters" have been in game since.. forever, really. The new thing is being able to free-walk in it, look around, and to some extent interact with it.


Fair enough.

Quote

In the Assassin's creed saga, the homestead is a rallying point, a resting place, and the headquarters from where you send people do tasks, manage trade routes, etc.
In Skyrim, it's a warehouse, holds a great RP meaning, and a resting place ( though you can rest anywhere really ).
In PoE, it is quite useless, true.
In DOS1, it was more of a thing tied to the story although it's true it wasn't that great.
In Divinity 2, it fit very well in the story and gave you lots of advantages for progressing through the game.


The commonality between these examples (except Div 2 and arguably D:OS) is that they are spreadsheet simulators, especially in AssCreed and PoE. In Skyrim it's *literally* useless (except storage I suppose), going to it to rest just wastes time, but that can be said about many things in Skyrim. Only in Div 2 does it function somewhat well and is logical. None of these examples add interesting gameplay though, and that's the main issue. It's menu navigation in a pretty dress. (even in Div 2)

Quote

A home is the new incarnation of the "main hub". It's you default "go-to" location when you aren't sure what to do next or when you're thinking of ending your session. Arguably, it's the open-world / open-story equivalent of the headquarters from a thousand of other games, like Xcom or Darkest Dungeon. Arguably still, you will want to build your own house for obvious purposes in Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, Don't Starve, etc. And while some MMOs feature housing, it's quite useless except to chill when you're a little bored, like in Wildstar, or a feature you can't ignore because it regroups a lot of services like your ship in The Old Republic. WoW recently put the Garnison system in the game, and while it's a bit too important ( most people spend most of their time in the garnison rather than with other people doing things ), they put a lot of very useful and interesting features in it.


If it is a focal point in the story, a thing that is a repeated motif and a recurring element that binds the narrative elements together, sure. It defaulting to the main hub because the game gives you no hints how to continue is simply bad design. Just chilling there wastes time that I could spend doing something with my life :p

Quote

So, do we need a home? Not necessarily. Is it stupid to put a home? The game story will answer that. Does it add nothing of value ? No, it actually does, as long as people behind it thought it well.
There are no clear yes or no, one thing is sure : if it is well done, as well as making sense in the context, it is a very nice and interesting feature to have in a game.


Fair enough.

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I'd argue that having a home for the sole sake of RP is a nice thing to have too, as it contributes to the overall mood of the game. In Skyrim, sure there isn't a lot of things going on with the vanilla houses ( I'd like to point that I don't own the homestead or-what-its-name dlc ), but it's a place to call home, and I feel like this is an important thing in a very exploration / RP oriented game like the ES games. Some mods also bridge the gap between pure RP and utility, and enables the player to rule over a whole fort complete with NPCs and stuff. Also it's more pleasant to have a [functionnal] homestead in the AC gamesthan a litteral spreadsheet smile

But I get your point, actually.

I guess we'll have to hear more of it. The uber stretch goals, starting with the HoE, really divide the community. Best thing to avoid headaches is probably to just trust them to do the right thing. Swen probably heard the complaints, and got that people would like the HoE to come later in game and be at least as useful as the tower in Div2. Fortunately, that's what he will ask his crew to do smile


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Originally Posted by Dr Koin
I'd argue that having a home for the sole sake of RP is a nice thing to have too, as it contributes to the overall mood of the game. In Skyrim, sure there isn't a lot of things going on with the vanilla houses ( I'd like to point that I don't own the homestead or-what-its-name dlc ), but it's a place to call home, and I feel like this is an important thing in a very exploration / RP oriented game like the ES games. Some mods also bridge the gap between pure RP and utility, and enables the player to rule over a whole fort complete with NPCs and stuff. Also it's more pleasant to have a [functionnal] homestead in the AC gamesthan a litteral spreadsheet smile

But I get your point, actually.

I guess we'll have to hear more of it. The uber stretch goals, starting with the HoE, really divide the community. Best thing to avoid headaches is probably to just trust them to do the right thing. Swen probably heard the complaints, and got that people would like the HoE to come later in game and be at least as useful as the tower in Div2. Fortunately, that's what he will ask his crew to do smile


I actually don't have a preference. My only criteria is that it be done well, no matter what they choose to do. They've already chosen the SH option and that's fine. If it's pointless I'll lament the time they spent doing that when they could've been doing some other content that wouldn't be pointless etc. More NWN2, less everything else basically :p

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