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Since in games, especially CRPGs, writing isn't just text but also actual gameplay this will deal with the gameplay narrative as experienced by a player and several smaller insufficiently designed events, characters behaviors, some dialogues and situations in the game beginning. Im not going to suggest completely changing any of it into something else. I know this specific start of the game was chosen to provide the players with a taste of the high fantasy epic adventure they will be dealing with and to get media coverage. I would do the start differently because such a start unavoidably creates some issues, but that's irrelevant since this specific start cannot be completely changed anymore.
But it can be made better while remaining the same and i will explain exactly how and why.

Due to the fact all characters are voiced and lip-synced and animated it is difficult to change these features (usually impossible in other companies) but its still very early EA and Larian has shown before they have the resources and the will to apply extra effort to make their games better in this regard.

All of the changes i will suggest require relatively minimal adjustments for this specific reason.
And i trust that such adjustments are planned and in the process anyway, to some extent, because its all still very far from release.



The very start

Lets start with the intro cinematic. Its fine, the visuals are top notch, im sure it was very expensive. As far as Ive seen it paid off and succeeded in its purpose of attracting media coverage – which surely influenced the good sales of the EA version. That's all fine. Gaming business is ruthless and many good companies don't exist anymore because they didn't succeed in that angle.

(I have to just shortly note that the intro music is not even close to BG2 main theme. AAAAAA ...EEEEE... whatever. And the song in the character creation screen is annoying to listen to for long because it doesn't fit there. The singer has a really nice voice but... its more or less a pop song which doesnt fit the setting exactly. And since the character creation is interesting it tends to repeat a lot. Maybe after it played once we can just get some nature sounds from the game?)


The issue with the beginning:

When it comes to how players experience this specific beginning, the way it is all designed, written and presented clashes with and is completely opposite to the actual gameplay experience throughout the start of the game in several ways.
Something so high level epic and bombastic obviously clashes with the very prologue gameplay that is basically a tutorial – which is extremely easy. There is no danger to the player, there are no difficult moments experienced while we are flying through Hell attacked by Dragons and Demons, while trying to do survive being kidnapped and implanted by Mindflayers which, In the same way and for those same reasons, are not experienced as any kind of real danger or anything especially troublesome for the players. All that "danger", all the epic stuff and bombastic moments are just superficial. They do not actually happen to the player or affect the player in any serious way. Its all just a show on a screen, something removed, distant with no real impact on the players and their characters. At the same time players know nothing bad can happen because its just a start. So there is no stakes, no investment, no impact such a high level section would have in the actual game.

Because its a tutorial-start of the game, there cannot be any difficult moments or real danger to the player still new to the game and its rules and the whole situation. This is a very first inconsistency players must suppress in their minds to continue playing.
So – the only thing that can be done here is to convince the players about the "danger" in slightly different and better ways. The main story, the very way the cinematic intro is written and presented gives a perfect tool to do so. The Mindflayers and the tadpoles themselves. I'm going to use those and their established powers to adjust and correct a few badly done moments or situations in the prologue that clash with the main plot story and specifics of characters.

First of all, the whole prologue should work to establish the sense of a group of adventurers.
And it cannot do that if we meet and play with only one. The biggest motivator for forming a party is a disaster or a danger everyone finds themselves in. The bigger the disaster and the danger the bigger motivation to band together to survive – even if the characters would not get along in ordinary circumstances. This is the bread and butter of every disaster movie every made – and it is the crucial ingredient of the Baldurs Gate games. Yes I know the originals didnt have you start with a full party immediately. Is there any reason to copy that approach to a party based game again when this game does not start in the same way as those old ones did? Its similar to BG2 but you had three people at the start there.

The intro of BG3 presents a Very Big Reason why any different types of characters would cooperate and work together, even if some would be complete opposites. That initial cooperation would then serve as fuel for any future type of "getting along". Shared experiences of that kind form bonds that are stronger then usual everyday rivalries. Not necessarily bonds that would become friendships and agreements but a clear undeniable proof that cooperating is possible with all differences included – if the situation is dire enough - and this one is presented as such. That was missing in the original games where only specifically aligned parties could work together which was really cheap and felt forced for no good reason and only solvable with mods.
The BG3 already presents a different take on that kind of approach, and DnD also moved away from such hard artificial limits of Moral Alignment so that feature should be enhanced and supported even more. The option of having a quarrelsome, disagreeable party that will work together despite all of that must be allowed. It is in many ways even more fun then singular aligned parties.

A great way to do this is to have more characters come together inside the Nautiloid and band together to survive.

- I think that a party of five characters would be the optimal size and a great compromise between too restricting four party size and maybe too large six party size of the originals. I think a party of five would play great in the system, mechanics and encounter designs we can already explore in EA. And i would ask you Larian to seriously consider this adjustment. Make an effort to move away from the DoS quartet. It will pay off in many ways. -


But regardless, (the mods will fix it even if you wont) at least three or four character should get to play together in the Nautiloid to establish the first foundations of a group coming together in a very extreme situation. One thing that would be cool to add here is to be able to choose who you will release from the pods based on the skills character has, not just player choices – which will then have some relatively moderate but solvable consequences when you find the characters you could not or chose not to release, later on.

Or if that's too problematic just make it so that when the player character releases another two and the rest become unavailable ... the system freezes or the pods get moved away or something.
In the full game some good aligned companions should be an option there so... there should be some extra option or two.
I mean this in addition to any other companions we will find later on in the world.
You can leave those where they are, no need to have the full roster in the Nautiloid. Just more then one. (I would do the whole five and have extras found later)

The rest of the companions on the ship that you dont get to release simply get thrown out in the crash and they survive it in the same way any of the characters in EA survive it (with the help of that glowing light slowing them down or otherwise protecting from certain death). And then we can find them somewhere along the way as we do now in EA.




A few crucial adjustments to Laezel writing


Because she is the one we see first in the cinematic intro where she doesn't look evil or stupid and the one we meet first.

She suddenly jumps out in front of us, apparently thinking we are another Thrall – and then she pauses and announces her intentions to kill us?? What the F for?
Who the F ever stops in an ambush and announces their intentions – before attacking?
And this is not just anyone, this is a Githyanaki – who thinks my character is a Thrall of the Mindflayers. An abomination of her eternal absolute enemies.
Not only its complete nonsense from that basic and quite a fundamental lore angle, but if i was a thrall ... what would be the point of announcing her intent to me?

Suggestion: If you really want to keep that introduction just as it is (and it can be done much better) instead of her announcing her intentions to give the player excuse for dialogue, have her:

1. Start the combat and attack the player character immediately while shouting about abominations but after the first hit the tadpoles stop her and you get the mind-melding animation – cut-scene as it is right now. (this way those healing pods would have some more serious value)

2. Have the tadpoles interject immediately and play the mind-melding animation cut-scene, followed by the dialogue.


Second, i don't think she should know about the "helm" or how it works at all. Nautiloids and knowledge about them were lost even to the Mindlfayers themselves and this is an extraordinary event, to be on a real working one.

Suggestion:
Instead, have the urge to get to the "helm" communicated by the tadpoles themselves. And the little sidekick brain as it is in the current version, depending if the player got it or not. If the player didn't get the little brain sidekick, then the tadpoles can cover that info dump about a goal to get to.



Third;
Then we get to a scene where a Dragon lands in front of both of you (or the actual group in my much better version) but then nothing really happens although it sees another Githyanaki right there. And presumably there is a Gith rider on it in that moment. (not shown to avoid the awkward situation, eh?) Through the cinematic intro and the tutorial we don't get a chance to see if the Dragons and riders recognize Laezel or what they think about her being there. Or if they are directly connected in any way. So this would be a perfect opportunity to have such a moment.

Suggestion:
When the Dragon lands on the ship have Laezel shout to them for help – but the rider responds that they need proof she is not a mind controlled Mindflayer slave and demands she must destroy the Mindflayers and the ship from the inside to prove she is still a Githyanaki – and then maybe they will help her. If she survives. If not well then that's the Githyanaki way of glorious death for the cause.



Then we get to the “helm” and an even bigger fundamental problem about the Githyanaki – Mindflayer relations is created. Because in the current scenario we get to see a Githyanaki... telling the player to do what the Mindflayer tells them (Tells them? Why is that Mindflayer speaking?)... or even worse, she does what the Mindflayer tells her to do.To a Githyanaki that whole situation would not present anything else but a chance to destroy more Mindflayers and their whole new Nautiloid ship. To Laezel, the demons attacking the Mindflayer would be momentary natural allies – someone she can use to achieve her goals. To her the possibility of making the whole Nautiloid crash into Hell and killing everyone inside including herself would be a great achievement. Because that's how Githyanaki behave and that's how they think. (which is later only confirmed several times in dialogues with Laezel)

Actually there is a simple way how to correct this fundamental mistake and to establish in much more concrete ways why exactly these tentacle monsters are really, really dangerous – with a single adjustment of the scene.

Suggestion;
Just have the Mindflayer take over the Laezel and the player character and control them directly to do what he wants. You can hardly imagine any more effective way to influence the players experience then to take the control of their own characters away from them – for a short time. (ordinary Harpies can do it … mkay?)

Lets say the Demons are also there and the Mindflayer just barely manages to hold them paralyzed telepathically – but he cannot move either, since its an extreme effort even for a Mindflayer. Maybe they are all in a clinch and battle of wills, right? Whoever blinks first gets destroyed completely kind of stand off – while the Dragons and the other Gith are attacking and destroying the ship. So with the last extra effort he takes control of two lowly level 1 characters to order them to reach the "Helm" and do exactly what only Illithid knows how to do.

There's a lot of tentacles there. Even if Laezel had any knowledge about it, it would be very basic. She or the player character would have no idea what to do and which tentacles to connect for what effect. But the Mindflayer would know exactly. And if not the Mindflayer, then the tadpoles could serve to take control of the player character and Laezel and initiate the "gtfo procedure” at the helm.


This would at the same time:
1. Remove the "Githyanaki takes orders from a Mindflayer and helps it survive" moment.
2. Physically establish why exactly are these creatures dangerous to the players.
3. Increase the sense of the overall real dangerous situation we should escape asap.
4. Serve as a warning for the scene with mind-controlled fishermen later in the crash site.
5. Establish Mindflayers can control your whole party not just the player character.
6. Provide an excuse why the Nautiloid appeared and crashed near a location full of tadpoles and cult of the Absolute.

Additionally, if the Laezel is the one that reaches the helm (while being mind controlled) it wouldn't be strange to see a Dragon not giving a damn and having no problems of burning her too along with everything else. And all that would give the player a "hint" she may not be automatically considered a friend if you meet Githyanaki again.

To Demons you are all meat for skewering so no adjustments needed there.
But there is a funny moments in the scene after activating the transponder helm. The Nautiloid lurches and our character goes flying down into a wall, but if any Demons are still there they keep standing as before as our characters flies past them. Correct that so they go flying off the ship too, through some holes or whatever. Because it looks ridiculous as it is now.




Then we get to the start of the actual game in the crash site



And several more really hamfisted and very unsatisfactory moments.

The first is finding Shadowheart at that door. Why is she standing there? Whats the point? She cant open to doors so why continue standing there? How long has she been there? Is she ever going to move without me? Is she stupid or something?
Even if you put her there just so the player can find the door... you don't really need her for that.
I can see the goddamn door. Its huge. Its very difficult to miss even if i wanted to. And completely useless to anyone except a rogue. If we start as a group of some kind the other characters can even say "Hey would ya look at those huge doors right there, eh. Eh? Lets check them out! Maybe there's food there!" (would be good if we start injured so we have to eat something to restore HP)

Or just have some footprints going there, like I dunno ...Footprints of a vampire rogue trying to escape the Sun?


The next up is the scene with the mind-controlled fishermen.
Yes, yes we can shoot and kill the Mindflayer to let them go BUT... in the current version things up to that point aren't really clear on whether the Illithids are actually just two dimensional villains or is there something more there. The cinematic intro presents the Illithid there as some kind of creature that could be somewhat sympathetic, not just outright muahaha evil.

So most players, old or new, will have an initial urge to investigate, and even to contact the Illithid telepathically to see if there is more to it then just villainy. To check how this tadpole thing works.

If we players fail the intelligence checks (very funny Larian haha) we get a scene where our other party members just dumbly watch as the player kneels down and gives his head to a Mindflayer to munch away. Which just looks stupid. Sorry, but it does.
It directly contradicts the core party gameplay of BG games and is just ridiculous in every other way.

BUT if you adjust the Nautiloid intro as i suggested:

1. Players would be more apprehensive about Mindflayers and their powers.
2. You would already establish one can control more characters at once.
3. You can just apply the glowing telepathic effect around the heads of other party members to show why they are not reacting at all to one of them kneeling down and allowing his skull to be gnawed and his brain eaten.

There is also a moment at the end if you manage to disengage from the Mindflayer where you sense his thoughts as just menace and hostility towards you... but why? Don't you have a tadpole in your head? Why would that Illithid just hate you? Why would it try to kill you? Arent you his spawn now and in some ways, a sort of allies?



Astarion


Have any of you ever watched the basic graple-chocking from the back in any MMA fight or jiu-jitsu video? There is many, many, many on youtube. You do not grab someone then flop back to lie on the ground beside them as if you are lying on a bed next to someone. That looks so hilariously bad i cant even describe it properly. Is that why the camera zooms in into their faces? To hide how ridiculous that scene really looks?

If you don't have even a basic animation to do it right – just don't do it that way.
FFS, that's a Vampire, use that to show something better then that horrible, laughable "hey there is something in the bushes – back flop" ridiculous nonsense. Just take it out. Its a complete disgrace.
The whole scene is so glaringly unimaginative and poorly done it looks like some quick hack made just for the EA.

Have him standing somewhere in the shadows. He is still fearful about the light – would not yet be fully accustomed to it. He doesnt know if it will last or not. It would be much better and fitting in many ways that we find him in that temple on the beach, right? He would know how to lockpick those damn doors and would instinctively seek to hide from the light. He would leave footprints I the sand too. And it would be kinda cool to get sudden unexpected help in the temple in the middle of some fight there. A pale stranger mysteriously appears "out of thin air" in the dark crypt and backstabbs someone... yes? How appropriate for a rogue and a Vampire, right? Then you feel the tadpoles and talk to him. Might be cooler then a moron standing in the middle of the road doing laughably bad back flops... maybe?



Gale


A bit of a "wtf" and wonky intro, sure, but we've seen much, much worse... just before that.
He is one character i have nothing bad to say about in terms of writing and how we get introduced with his specific story and opinions about things. Except the name which i still consider ridiculous but the rest of the writing is very good.
In fact i would point out Gale as example of good writing in every way, especially in terms of following introduction of his ideas and thoughts about the whole issue. It all flows nicely, doesn't have any wtf and broken moments. And i thought his specific entry scene is suspicious in a way where it should be a hint there is more to all of that. Hope that pays off later, but if it doesn't – if its literally just another nonsense introduction of a companion with no other relevance at all – you need to fix that too. Because in that case it would be just stupid and cheap.

Ok so he needs to eat the Wave, fine. Its interesting. How about this unusual idea – how about if he could eat the quick travel points? He says they are delicious... For just a short relief from his issue. He would still need the artifacts but this could be kind of funny addition that would present a small manageable but real inconvenience for the players. An actual trade off too.



Then we get to Laezel again and more signs of bad writing pop up. For her and Shadowheart.


It isnt really impressive to find one of your companions who is supposed to be a fighter – in a cage, bested by two ordinary tieflings – with a camp full of them protesting they are not fighters and how they will all die in a fight and so on. Is there really no other option in that whole part of the game to meet Laezel in a situation that would enhance her value – instead of diminishing it?

Both of them have occasional moments where what they say doesn't align with their characters at all and instead of presenting them as harsh, single minded, haughty and driven and uncompromising – it just makes them look weird or as a stupid. I don't care how much or if they are evil at all. I don't care they are not supposed to like each other. That should not mean they are stupid.

First the Shadowheart reaction to Lazael in the cage is looks sudden in a weird way in that moment. It seems as if its a personal animosity but she sees Lazael for the first time. And if its animosity towards Githyanaki – because she met some as Swen revealed in the podcast interview- we never saw even a hint about it before and worse yet and most importantly we cannot talk about it with her at all. Although a question about her sudden extreme reaction is the most obvious followup.
She doesnt need to reveal all of it but we should be able to ask why she has such harsh extreme reaction, if maybe she knows more about Laezel personally or about her race or... what?
And her answer doesnt need to be anything more then just a short confirmation she had the displeasure of meeting some before. Without these further obvious dialogue options the reaction just seems weird and forced for no reason.
Although even so the whole situation isnt really good and it would be best if its completely changed.

Lazael on the other hand talks and behaves really stupidly for someone in the cage that needs my help, and she has an even worse moment later on when we find Zurro the tiefling. Is he supposed to know Gith in some “creshe” bow to one another? Is he a Gith? Why the Fing F is she saying such a stupid thing in that moment at all? To someone who just had his friend killed by Githyanaki. Why the F would anyone try to bully him about bowing which only concerns Githyanaki and he cant possibly know?
Is Lazael a stupid bully? Is that what I should understand about her character? No? Then don't write and give her such lines. Especially because there is plenty moments when she doesn't behave like that at all and these few lapses of writing stand out as ridiculous more for it.



All of this leads into a general issue created by how the start of the game plays out and consequences of the main plot as players experience them.

We find companions one by one, after the initial danger has passed and we survived, but we don't get to have any meaningful interactions with them – because the plot is telling us we shouldn't rest and sleep often or at all, because of the tadpoles!!! - but all personal interactions with companions where we discover a bit more about them and their motivations and reasons are exclusively tied to sleeping in the camp.
So the story is telling us one thing at the very start, while a huge part of companions gameplay that is directly tied to the main plot depends on doing the exact opposite.

This too can easily be remedied – by giving the players a single hint or talk about tadpoles not behaving normally. Just like in the first talk you get with Gale.
Because you must sleep eventually. You cant just not sleep for days and hope to find a solution or help for the condition.
Have companions argue they must rest and recover at least once – have their skills and spells spent to enforce it, make all of them injured in some ways, have companions talk about how you all need to recover in order to be able to look for a solution – because you cant do it while refusing to sleep. Because you have no choice really, even in such a situation - you must rest at least once and risk it. Then tomorrow you all see,"Hey we didnt turn into Mindflayers... strange."

Instead of the story and several companions pushing for “dont sleep at all we must hurry!!” which is opposite to the companion gameplay demands and flow – which is very connected to the main plot.



Two more things and im done.



Outside of the druid grove you find two cultists and a dying True soul. They recognize you as one too. They dying man mind melds with you and tells them so. After that – regardless of what you say to them they should never attack a True Soul.

Instead, that situation should be written to expose how psychologically broken such cultists are. You can tell them to piss off, or to take you to their leader, or to go try to kill an Owlbear, you can potentially interrogate them for information, or fool them in any other way, maybe even have them attack each other – but they would never try to kill you, regardless if you are the True Soul from the crash or not. Because cultists of the Absolute do not go around killing True Souls, right? They were sent to find you, not to kill you, right?



And the last, the Druid judgment of the child thief.


I haven't seen such hamfisted, forced, false, badly written game scenario in a while. Out of the possible options such a situation should have there is only two, succeed all the checks and save the kid or she dies.

I thought if I stay silent and mind my business the kid will end up in a jail which is better then dead, and then hey, I can maybe take a look later on, sneak around a bit and spring her. Nope, she dies.

Then I thought, hey I have all these vivify scrolls with me. NOPE!

Talk to the dead necklace? Not allowed!

Why? You just cant because we need to forcibly suppress every option you have just so we can force this fake horrible situation - “Look the child got killed! Isnt it horrible player? Huh? Huuuuh?” And the companions just stand there and do nothing. Again.
Plus, as if that's not insulting enough even my dialogue options are cheap moral meta simplifications. “Oh, but she is a child!” Or “This isnt a balanced Druid way” or the hilariously bad after the fact “The snake must be held accountable” - like lol, wtf? Is there going to be a trial for the snake?

But I dont get to say, for example:

“The kid stole the idol because you want to throw her parents out and kill them all. She was obviously trying to save her parents life, not just stealing – because of your intentions Khaga.
What the f do you mean she should be punished? Are you chaotic evil - crazy?”

Or, “Well, the kid stole, she should be punished, throw her in jail for a while – but if you put her in a jail she will not leave and then her parents will refuse to leave.“

Or “Release the kid, she was only trying to save her parents, in return ill solve the problem for you”

Or, “If you create the ritual which will protect the grove wouldn't that also protect everyone inside? So... why do you want the refugees to go? Is that ritual a sufficient protection or not?”

Or, “Why do you think the attacks will stop if you expunge the refugees? Are you sure they are the only aim of your adversaries?” - Yes, no, how do you know? Want me to find out? Etc, etc.

Btw, why exactly do I have to go and tell her parents what happened? I just got there. Why is that forced on me and I cant say anything about it – except that its obviously forced for no reason except to force more of a “horrible situation!!” on me. After a situation where all common sense options are not given to me, only to force such an outcome. And the positive one is gated by three dice rolls which are practically out of players control.


My point is that there can be situations where things happen and the player cannot stop them or do anything about them, but this one is obviously not one of those.
If you really need to show how Khaga harsh measures can easily end badly and even kill a child, show it differently – not as something we can supposedly interact with only we are prevented from interacting with it in several obvious common sense ways.

If you want to create really well written memorable moments in the game this is not the way to achieve it.

Rewrite, adjust, nudge, enhance – do better.


Also, a party of five would work really well in many, many ways...



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After thinking a bit more about the situation with the fishermen at the start... the current scenario would mean the Mindflayer is trying to eat and kill the tadpole that he implanted in you.
Which doesnt make any sense at all. And it kills a "true soul" - and if it feeds and gets up it also attacks your companion-s, which also have tadpoles and its game over.

If it needs food to recover it already has those fishermen, and that would actually be a more logical problem the player would need to solve. After they manage to partially uncover the Mindflayer from debris it orders one of them to bend down so he can eat their brain - and the player then has to choose whether to let it happen, or not.

Im not sure what would happen after if the player chooses to allow that, but the writers should have more info about further planned details of the overall plot so they would be able to figure such consequences better.
I know we find that Mindflayer later on in the game in the current scenario, even if its dead. In my current playthrough i decided to avoid that encounter for a long time to see if anything will change, and it does. When i eventually returned there was no Mindflayer body or the fishermen there, just some Illithid blood, so...it managed to escape.


Also, why the Githyanaki patrol doesnt land near the crushed Nautiloid but instead way off? They are searching for an artifact that is supposedly on the ship. And they seem pretty unconcerned about being discovered by anyone.

- edit-

Oh yeah, i let Astarion drink all the blood he wants from my character until i blacked out. Then i woke up perfectly fine, full HP and found Shadowheart dead instead.
Resurrected her and she had no comment about it either. Didnt notice a thing.

Last edited by Surface R; 21/10/20 03:18 AM.
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Originally Posted by Surface R

Also, why the Githyanaki patrol doesnt land near the crushed Nautiloid but instead way off? They are searching for an artifact that is supposedly on the ship. And they seem pretty unconcerned about being discovered by anyone.


That’s a good point... come to think of it, you’re also on the ship with Lea’Zal before it attacks Baldurs Gate, and we see it warp in. They teleport us into the ship with our weapons and armor... seems like they could use some magic to remove that so that we don’t like... idk... break out and take over the ship.

You point out a lot of really good observations. I think, generally speaking, the storytelling is all over the place. Idk what the issue is but no one seems to be talking to each other. The art doesn’t support the themes, the gameplay doesn’t reinforce the narrative. The mercs outside of Druid Grove are the only characters I’ve encountered that are visually match their situation and identity.

I kind of suspect we’re not supposed to apply such a critical eye to it, just kind of an excuse to romp through some dungeons, maybe. I guess I’m ok with that since my moneys already gone.

You’re absolutely right, exposition shouldn’t be something you can interact with. Kagha should’ve killed the girl when we weren’t there. There should be wounded tieflings on the ground from previous goblin attacks. People shouldn’t have to say ‘we’re no fighters’ they should just not look like fighters.

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Oh and we all got the tadpole in the like 30 seconds before the dragons attack while they’re still grabbing people, or was that a different city?

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It was never Larian's strongest forte and still isn't. Thanks for taking the time to elaborate.

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These are all relatively simple things that can easily be improved. There is a lot i like about the game. I initially thought characters are very bland looking and lack any personality, except Laezel, based only on the visual design. But the voices, the quirky personal facial expressions and the thinking and dialogue each bring really enhanced their personalities and brings them to life. Thats why these few moments i mention at the very start of the game seem all the more negative and jarring.

If i didnt like what im seeing in general i wouldn't waste time here.


I would add that it seems best to me if Laezel just remains in the party since the get go, when we meet in the Nautiloid. Theres really no good reason why she must disappear so we find her again in the cage, which i commented on above.
With some improvements on how we meet and corrections to few other scenes in the intro i mentioned she can remain the "Who is this funky babe - damn she seems capable - hmm, hmm, looks the same as those Dragon riders, hmm, hmm..." companion.
Let her just wake up on the beach next to or near our character, and if we play with her as player character it will fit anyway.

Also, just to repeat once more, the situation in Nautiloid should be used more prominently to establish the starting adventuring group of strangers banding together to survive under "immensely dangerous conditions".
We should be able to form at least a three party group (or more) in the Nautiloid itself.

And i would add some simple tasks where we have to use several characters to open a path or circumvent some obstacle or a danger or a destroyed part of the ship - to present how cooperation is necessary.





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