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Joined: Oct 2020
journeyman
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journeyman
Joined: Oct 2020
I joined this forum in Oct specifically to make this post . Others have posted similar improvement ideas since then and I think that is great. Maybe if enough people make similar or even the same suggestions, Larian will listen. smile

I thought I would make some updates to my primary post before moving on to Cyberpunk for a while.

Companions Help with traps/locks:

Originally I suggested after being stopped from setting off a trap, that "the most qualified" person should speak up. In retrospect, it is probably best to just hard-code checks for the presence of Astarion\Shadowheart. Then if the player accepts help with a trap or lock and they don't have the needed item, the NPC follows up by saying something like "Sorry, looks like I am out of lockpicks\disarm kits". Point is that qualification logic (like inventory scans) can be expensive, but checks for specific NPCs should be cheap. Also recording all the possible voices that may say something could get expensive. This was the performance/budget tradeoff FO4 made and if I added this feature with a mod, it would likely be the approach I would take.

Also, to expand a little, I wouldn't limit "Help" to traps and locks. For example, OneManArmy brought up the scenario of approaching someone who is injured. Have a check for Shadowheart (or future ranger companion) and have them pipe in and offer to help. But again, for budget and time reasons, I would simply check for specific origin NPCs... not traits or equipment that anyone could have.

Interjection Controls:

I would like to change this to Interjection/Reaction Controls. In BG3, you have both interjections that happen mid dialogue and reactions that happen afterwards. Reactions are when an exclamation point appears over someones head after you finish a conversation. Nettie is perhaps the best example of this. Almost every companion has a reaction to how things go down with her, but only 1 random companion gets an exclamation point. Many times these reactions offer opportunities to increase reputation with that person. I think explanation points should appear above all the heads of those present/within earshot if they have a reaction, chained or not. I personally wouldn't want companions back at camp to react, but this goes back to the Companion Dialogue options I mentioned earlier where you let the user control if 1 companion|all present|all companions react.

I know Larian is limiting things for replayability, but I will emphasize again: many, if not most people will only play the game start to finish maybe twice. Oh, they may start the game 20 times, but actually finish the game? I would guess 2 times for most users. Larian probably has statistics on this. So let users experience as much as possible on each of their play-throughs, especially if you take companions away at the end of Act 1. At least give them the options to allow a maximized experience.

Great work Larian. Keep it up!

Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
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enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
I've mentioned it elsewhere but this seems like the perfect thread. Dragons' Dogma has a really interesting system for their companions (pawns), with AI that improves over time. For instance, once you learn an enemy's weakness it will be remembered and your pawn will cast the relevant buffs on you to exploit that in future encounters.That may not be so useful here, as people seem to want to manage their companions to the nth degree, from what I've been reading on these forums – but what I really like is how in DD your pawns will do looting for you. Imagine not having to click on every plant you come across in the wilderness – let your druid harvest it for you. Maybe your barbarian likes smashing crates? Maybe your thief can check containers? I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, so needs to be a toggle... but it would really cut a lot of the repetition out of the game. You could even have your companion exclaim when they find something unusual etc to give them more personality, make the game feel more alive. Once you start thinking down this path it gets pretty exciting, and to me feels more like real D&D.

Joined: Dec 2020
apprentice
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apprentice
Joined: Dec 2020
honestly I like your suggestions but it seems to go against larian's design here, they're already hinting at the fact you probably have to drop companions until you reach a total of 4 max, it's what they did for DIV OS2 as well tho honestly having played it with a mod that removes that limit and having played through the game I really don't see why exactly narratively it was required when with a mod the game keeps on chugging A O K aside from 1 encounter where your old companions suddenly come up again as ghosts. It didn't add anything fighting 2 guys that fell of the boat into the underworld who I honestly have had 0 connection with cause they've missed out on 2 arcs worth of story and development.

Larian if you're reading this, your previous implementation of excluding party members from the total group in DIV OS2 added nothing narratively, it just locked players out of content that required replays and it felt like a really cheap method of getting replay value when I could've just experienced the whole story (as I did with the mod) in 1 playthrough, please don't repeat that in BG3, instead you can interweave it with the gameplay and have the player character have to balance the wishes of the party and approval ratings to keep the party whole and not falling apart and at each others throats considering shadow heart and lae'zel seem to hate each other on racial bias alone, I see a great amount of potential for char development towards either a lovely rivalry or perhaps a reconciliation as the 2 party up with the main character and through adventuring together start to tolerate each other.

Another note: character development should include the companions of the MC as well as the MC and not only the MC, as it stands now approval ratings only apply to the MC when honestly it seems that their approval of your other party members seems just as important, however there is a problem with ALIGNMENTS and this is something that's a big point of contention and debate amongst DMs as to what interpretation of alignment is best suited for what campaign with some DMs applying purely rules as written with many other DMs having homebrew rulings on alignment and its related mechanics as to allow more freedom of expression rather than forcing an evil rogue char to be a constant asshole the whole party.

Joined: Oct 2020
journeyman
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journeyman
Joined: Oct 2020
@LukasPrism: Cool Idea. I added auto-looting to one of my mods in the past, but it was hard. When game developers assume all items are picked up by a player controlled character, adding the feature can lead to unexpected bugs. For example, I had to identify items that might cause nearby NPCs to go hostile or kick off quests or cutscenes and make sure companions avoided them. So it is not something I would add with a mod (again) because it is just too hard to implement, but if Larian wanted to add it, more power to them. smile Implementation would be trivial if map was already laced with "auto-loot-friendly" ai-hint flags on containers.

@Ianthebea: From interviews, my understanding is that the main reason they want to remove all but 3 companions is that companion quest lines are often driven by story events where they need to be with you to unlock companion quest progress. Like picking up that journal when shadow heart is in the party. Or confronting that goblin at the windmill when Wyll is in your party. Or happening upon that blood drained boar or hunter when Astarion is in the party. Or confronting tht Gith patrol with Laz'el in your party. The fear is if all companions are not WITH you, then you will miss important moments that unlock dialogue trees needed for their progress. That is actually why I think a party size of 6 makes MORE sense and some of these suggestions like not limiting interjections and reactions to 1 companion would help avoid those concerns... even if they still have to eliminate all but 5 companions. Of coarse I hope they go with a BG1/BG2 approach where companions unlock quests but don't have to be with you the whole time... but we will see.

If by "go against larian's design", you mean it is not something DOS2 let you do, then you are correct. But the point of the thread is to help Larian understand ways they can improve their companion system based on features I have added to some of my more popular mods. BG1/BG2 set several new bars regarding companions in cRPGs when they came out. I'm trying to help Larian do the same. None of my suggestions become obsolete if Larian decides to remove the companion pool. Just means you wouldn't need to account for companions "back at camp".

Last edited by Dheuster; 09/12/20 02:56 PM.
Joined: Oct 2020
old hand
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old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by Dheuster
Almost every companion has a reaction to how things go down with her, but only 1 random companion gets an exclamation point. Many times these reactions offer opportunities to increase reputation with that person. I think explanation points should appear above all the heads of those present/within earshot if they have a reaction, chained or not.




Yes! I completely agree with this!

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