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About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? #653416
28/06/19 04:50 AM
28/06/19 04:50 AM
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Try2Handing Offline OP
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Alright, here we go again: Companions. Your followers. The characters that can be recruited into your party.

I believe I don't need to stress on how companions are a big part of the life and the soul of the game. Or perhaps not "part of". They are the life and the soul of the game.

Things like flawed combat mechanics, poor balancing, bugs, etc., they can all be fixed by a mod, and in most cases, easily. It's much harder to fix a "bad" character, however. Imagine you want to make a character "better". You basically have to "rewrite" them. How confident are you that you can write a good character? And if you write new dialogue lines for a character, there will be the issue of voice acting.

If you are a fan of the original BG games, simply think, what do you like about the companions in both games?

The first BG is fairly primitive, compared to standards set by BG2, then other games like the DA games. Yet it has things such as:

* Death reaction: a companion may say something when another companion dies. Some companions have a unique line reserved for a specific companion.

* Reaction to area type and time of day: when in forest, when in dungeon, during nighttime, Viconia's "The light! It burns!" during daytime, etc.

* Reaction to reputation: I still chuckle when Imoen says "Mutton mongerin riff raff", when your reputation is below 9. What they say depends on their level of annoyance - I must say, this is a very nice touch.

* When companions are too annoyed with your reputation, they leave you for good.

* A companion may throw a compliment or a jab at another companion, depending on whether they like or dislike each other.

* Two companions who really hate each other's guts have a chance to start fighting each other and you can't control them until their differences are settled.

* And quite a few other quotes triggered by conditions such as very low health, morale failure, fatigue, getting bored (when you leave the game unpaused for a few minutes). There are also "rare selection sounds" that are only triggered if you right-click a character quickly a dozen times or so.

You can easily tell, a lot of thoughts were put into this.

In BG2 companions also remark on certain events throughout the game, expressing their thoughts. Certain extremely evil acts will also make some good characters turn on you.

As a big fan of the original games, all these little things make the characters very endearing to me. The things that they say, the pop culture references, can be hilarious.

As for BG2, even after 5 or 6 playthroughs, I could still discover new dialogue interjections from companions that require you to talk to certain NPC's. For example, they may say different things when you give a beggar some gold, or refuse to give him gold. I know of at least one interjection which requires two specific companions in the party, and you need to talk to a beggar. I'd rather not say anything more specific than this, just so I won't spoil anyone (much).

All these short dialogue lines make the companions feel alive and enhance their personality. In BG2, there are some deeper interactions between various NPC's, more than just simple bantering. Again, I'd rather not say anything too specific. Anyone who has played the game knows what I'm talking about.

My point is, there is a reason why the companions in the original BG games feel alive, real, and relatable, without needing a substantial amount of personal quests and overly complicated personal life events. They can react either favorably or unfavorably to the things that you do. You love to travel with certain characters, while you may hate some others.

Some players may find that it is too punishing that companions have the right to leave you permanently, or to turn on you. They may find it an inconvenience that two companions can suddenly become uncontrollable and start fighting each other to the death. But then, we're playing an RPG. We make our choices and we reap the consequences. It's part of the game that we have to put thoughts into whom we want to keep in our company, and make decisions that are.... smart.

To me, these things about "companions" are part of what makes the BG games Baldur's Gate games. I'm sure it's the same for many other players. To be honest, I will be very disappointed if BG3 doesn't have things like these, at least to some extend. I will probably still enjoy the combat, and the story, and other things, but it would be a huge bummer for me.

I hope the group who are in charge of the "companions department" in BG3 have at least played the original BG games. Much better if they have played the DA games too. So hopefully they'll know exactly what would make companions great. As flawed as DA2 and DAI are, they still got the companions right.

Last edited by Try2Handing; 28/06/19 05:59 AM.

"We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653417
28/06/19 05:37 AM
28/06/19 05:37 AM
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Stahl33 Offline
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Yarp... and I don't think BG3 will disappoint on this area I wouldn't think.

Party "Barks" are great, and I think you can really define multiple places or circumstances where "Barks" can trigger.
Not to mention player character barks at certain points as well.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653419
28/06/19 05:54 AM
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Also related to the topic of Companions, a question I've been having is, so how many companions do I want? Or I should say, hope that BG3 will have?

The original BG has twenty five companions. The second game has 17, including ToB. Granted, in these games companions don't have campaign-length, multi-chapter personal quests. As far as I know, only Skyrim has more followers for you.

It's probably a bit much to hope that BG3 (or pretty much any RPG in this day and age) would have something like 15 companions. But I seriously hope it's at least 10 (I'd say 12, but that may already be too demanding). DAO has 10, but then that game has exactly 3 classes, and a party size of 4.

I'm assuming BG3 will have a pretty good number of subclasses. Combined with the number of races, the potential for "companion diversity" is high. Of course, the tricky part is the characters' character, not their class/race combination.

If I have to choose, I'd choose the BG2 way: lots of companions, simple personal quests, still plenty of character and personality. Rather than multi-chapter personal quests, but you get only 6 companions.

Most of us are probably assuming that the party size will be at least 5. Having fewer than 12 companions just wouldn't feel right.

Truth be told, worst case scenario, I wouldn't mind DLC companions, as long as they're solid. Chances are I'll replay the game at least once, so.

Last edited by Try2Handing; 28/06/19 10:05 AM.

"We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653420
28/06/19 08:32 AM
28/06/19 08:32 AM
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Having companions interact with each other and the world beyond their personal quest(s) is one of the easiest way to make them feel alive and as actual characters in the world. I was surprised to see how little interaction there's between the characters in Larian's most recent game, especially since it's actually a step down from the first Original Sin game which already had very sparse amounts of interactions between the companions. I'm guessing this is a by-product of Larian developing the different stories and characters with co-op gameplay in mind which is why whenever the party gets together to discuss a topic (most often related to the main story) each character just chimes in with one line and goes back to being a puppet. Furthermore, by letting people play as one of the important characters a lot of their personality, back story, thoughts etc. are left to the player rather than the game's canon.

At PAX East Swen admitted that the relationships between the characters [in Original Sin 2] weren't as evolved as they had wanted and that they would focus very heavily on that in the next game they were making. [LINK]This was a couple of months before BG3's official announcement, so we can assume he was talking about that game. It sounds like one of the other attendees misinterprets Swen's statement as him referring to the romance aspect of relationships which results in the already short conversation steering away from the initial topic.

Either way it appears that Swen/Larian were aware of the importance of character relationships in their upcoming title (which we now know to be BG3) and has been working on improving them.

On a different note, something else I like about the BG series' companion quests are that many of them can be resolved early on instead of all the companion quests leading to the same final area of the game where everything related to their personal quest 'coincidentally' is located. I feel this also helps set the scale of the world and adds an element of realism to the companions' respective stories.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653421
28/06/19 09:37 AM
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Artagel Offline
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Never used NPC party in IE games.

Always created my own. Way more fun that way.

IMO.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Artagel] #653423
28/06/19 10:38 AM
28/06/19 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bukke
[...] instead of all the companion quests leading to the same final area of the game where everything related to their personal quest 'coincidentally' is located. I feel this also helps set the scale of the world and adds an element of realism to the companions' respective stories.

Exactly this. The fact that you will inevitably run into (and even solve) a companion's personal quest simply by exploring the map and advancing main quest makes the whole thing feel forced. They can do something such as having at least one entire location on the world map dedicated to a companion's quest, and only revealed if you talk to them and accept to help them, and so on.

The DOS2 style in making companion quests is just another obstacle that makes it harder to create more companions. Sure, it's great if you can make epic companion quests that spread over several chapters, but if this prevents you from creating more companions, then... I'd choose the BG2 style.

Originally Posted by Artagel
Never used NPC party in IE games.
Always created my own. Way more fun that way.

IMO.

Oh, come on. You're missing out on a lot. Full custom party is only more "fun" combat-wise. You would be missing all the party interaction and personal stories and all that. You know, social stuff. Ironic, since I myself am just not a "social" person. Or maybe that is exactly why I like the feel of companionship in RPG's. While I enjoyed IWD well enough, the full custom party could feel a bit... dull.

Last edited by Try2Handing; 28/06/19 10:45 AM.

"We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653426
28/06/19 11:51 AM
28/06/19 11:51 AM
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banther between characters is always apreciated.
not pop culture references tho, they age poorly.
Those should be , if anything, reserved for "rare" voice lines, which mostly are easter eggs.

as for how many, on one hand, less is more, on the other hand i want options.
I think Mask of the Betrayer had a nice sweetspot for companions.
If theres too many then they ofthen end up shallow. I dont realy care about companion quests, they ofthen feel forced and tacked on.
I do however want them to have a lot of dialogue and reactions to choices that you make.
As a rule of thumb, id say have as many companions so you could have two complete parties in total.

Beeing able to level up your party members yourself would also be a big one for me. Or more to the point, a major disappointment if it werent there

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653430
28/06/19 04:25 PM
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Having companions is a HUGE part of why I love and play cRPGs. Well-written companions with solid party interactions is a must. And party size should remain at six - yet another reason why the original BG games are awesome and the D:OS games suck.

But one thing I didn't like in BG was that so many of the companions were encountered late, and some even very late in the game. I tend to like to establish my party as soon as possible, and then after I have established my party I get very attached to those companions and don't like swapping them out for newly-met companions. As such, I end up not playing with the companions you get to meet later in the game even if they're possibly the "best" companions to have in your party.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653432
28/06/19 06:44 PM
28/06/19 06:44 PM
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_Vic_ Offline
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Years later you can ask about how you can kill wyverns for xp and heads and not much people know about what are you talking about, but if you say "Go for the eyes, boo, go for the eyes" or a joke about your "boot of justice" and everybody knows who you are talking about.
I think companions are a big part of the essence of the game. I hope they will keep it that way.

DOS companions are not that bad. I liked Sebille, Wolfgraff, Bairdotr and Ifan. Maybe not the same charisma level, but most of them have more dialog and character development than the BG characters in the unmodded game, to be honest.

Plenty of people play the IE games solo or with a party created by them, and it is nice that you have this option, but you miss a lot if you do not take a the bg companions at least once.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: kanisatha] #653433
28/06/19 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Having companions is a HUGE part of why I love and play cRPGs. Well-written companions with solid party interactions is a must. And party size should remain at six - yet another reason why the original BG games are awesome and the D:OS games suck.

But one thing I didn't like in BG was that so many of the companions were encountered late, and some even very late in the game. I tend to like to establish my party as soon as possible, and then after I have established my party I get very attached to those companions and don't like swapping them out for newly-met companions. As such, I end up not playing with the companions you get to meet later in the game even if they're possibly the "best" companions to have in your party.

I installed a mod to have a party of 6 in DOS2. . =))
You can take all companions in one playthrough that way, It is a tradition (also downloaded a mod to double the enemy numbers and it is still challenging).

Last edited by _Vic_; 28/06/19 06:46 PM.
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: kanisatha] #653436
28/06/19 07:37 PM
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I agree that the first NPC members you meet are the most important, because you want your character and theirs to grow together. Meeting a new joinable NPC at level 5 or 6 is pretty late in the game ... no thanks, Eldoth. But still, there are story elements that might require such things, and this is why I keep bringing up Narlen Darkwalk as an example. I love it when there are NPC's who don't become party members, but yet who will go on adventures with the PC. And sometimes they may go away for while and then come back, sort of like Saemon Haverian except that instead of just giving information, I would like to see some actual adventuring and some combat with an independent NPC at my side. If you roll up Narlen Darkwalk, Gorpel Hind, and Simon Haeverian into one NPC you would have a great story mechanism to work with.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653441
29/06/19 01:28 AM
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I appreciate the interaction and story of the NPC characters the game made. I realize that is how most like to play, and depending on whatever Larian is able to come up with, I may try a playthrough with them in BG3.

But I hope they also allow you the option to create your entire party if you want, in some way, as it's an important option for some.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653442
29/06/19 01:54 AM
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one think that larian need know that they do a horrible work in the companion. In Dos 2 you encouter all companions already in fort joy. I belive that larian want do a huge role in online partys to we make our team, this cant hapen. Let we play with other players in aurora engine , DM mode like nwn series. i want see npc like minsc, viconia and Okku.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Artagel] #653445
29/06/19 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Argyle
I agree that the first NPC members you meet are the most important, because you want your character and theirs to grow together. Meeting a new joinable NPC at level 5 or 6 is pretty late in the game ... no thanks, Eldoth. But still, there are story elements that might require such things, and this is why I keep bringing up Narlen Darkwalk as an example. I love it when there are NPC's who don't become party members, but yet who will go on adventures with the PC. And sometimes they may go away for while and then come back, sort of like Saemon Haverian except that instead of just giving information, I would like to see some actual adventuring and some combat with an independent NPC at my side. If you roll up Narlen Darkwalk, Gorpel Hind, and Simon Haeverian into one NPC you would have a great story mechanism to work with.

At one point I decided I had to mod all the companions in Baldur's Gate city so that they have a "level 7" version. If I meet them late enough, they can be at level 7, instead of 6.
Despite how old BG is, it managed to create some very interesting NPC's, including Narlen Darkwalk, Gorpel Hind, Husam, Brielbara, Firebead Elvenhair, Aldeth Sashenstar. Even Tranzig and Mulahey are memorable antagonists.

Originally Posted by Artagel
But I hope they also allow you the option to create your entire party if you want, in some way, as it's an important option for some.

That option would be nice, to play the game with a custom party. Hopefully they include this feature, seeing as they already included it in DOS2.

Last edited by Try2Handing; 29/06/19 06:06 AM.

"We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653451
29/06/19 10:21 AM
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Artagel Offline
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When I first brought BG home, me and my brother played it non-stop for the first few weeks. He was the one that showed me how to simply copy the files from the mp folder into the single player folder then start a new game so I could use my own PC's. I remember telling friends about it and they were stunned.

Then a year and a half later, Icewind Dale came out and you had to make your own party by default, and I remember feeling slightly vindicated. smile

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Artagel] #653485
01/07/19 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Artagel
I appreciate the interaction and story of the NPC characters the game made. I realize that is how most like to play, and depending on whatever Larian is able to come up with, I may try a playthrough with them in BG3.

But I hope they also allow you the option to create your entire party if you want, in some way, as it's an important option for some.

Yeah, I'm not really interested unless I can create my party

Last edited by vometia; 02/07/19 04:08 AM. Reason: formatting
Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653492
02/07/19 05:43 AM
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Seems that we are not the only ones that think that way. In his last Interview Sven of Larian stated:
https://www.rpgsite.net/interview/8...nd-partnership-with-wizards-of-the-coast

"We're evolving from Original Sin II. We're basing ourselves with a bigger focus on the party. You need to gather your party, right? At the relationship level, we probably could have done more in Original Sin II, and relationship between players and the actual party was a very big focus in Baldur's Gate".


Hope they go with that.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653501
02/07/19 09:29 AM
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To keep it short. I like companions. I like their company, their banters, their background and backstory, their side quests if any? But what I dislike the most is the reputation where they dislike what I do and my decisions. I also dislike if get can leave my party for disliking me enough or even leave the party because they hate the other party. It basically restricts me or even penalize me from mixing certain party compositions. Up to the point where people feels it's better that they can create their own created party that does exactly what were instructed by the players. Understand some people may like it but I really hate having to babysit and micromanaging them.

I wanted an adventure. Not a party SIM that gives me problems and I need to constantly interfering and be away of their emotions. But on the other hand I love romances.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653508
02/07/19 02:05 PM
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What?
Why would an NPC not leave if he disagrees with your actions? that makes them feel alive and having intentions of their own, rather than simply beeing combat pets that follow you around. To me, having opinions of their own is what differentiates Companions from Henchmen.

Re: About Companions - What's Great About Them Anyway? [Re: Try2Handing] #653690
06/07/19 07:04 PM
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I remember reading the CEO saying he'd love to have a companion for every race/class combo, but wasn't realistic. It does suggest that there will be at least 1 companion for every class and race in the game.

Still the really most important question is can we have sex with all of them (companions)?

And will there be low story mercanaries like Pathfinder: Kingmaker has?


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