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This is something I noticed on later play through's, but honestly the Druid Grove has too many things going on all at once.

I don't mind the things that's going on, most of it is interesting, but on your 10th "first time" visit to the place you start feeling most of it are chores.

When you play a game like this, at least when I play a game like this, I want to go exploring and discover adventure. Talking to a bunch of people for very little pay off, but you sort of feel you have to do it, get's tedious.
It doesn't help that everything in the grove is so far apart, making doing it all a literal foot slog.

In later playthoughs I sort of skip over most of the Grove, just picking up the important parts of it.

I think this is more of an observation, and a general issue I'd call "cRPG town syndrom". In contrast most "town visits" in a tabletop RPG is handled somewhat differently, only really focusing on the important things.


PS: One thing I try to always get around to doing is helping the Bard. Man I love her song!

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It's the quest hub design from MMOs. Not sure that's a good thing. Another issue with the Grove is there a few stories there that would be better if the were pulled out of the grove. Yes, the Grove could use some streamlining to focus on the important story beats.

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If there was a waypoint inside the grove, it would feel a bit less like a chore. It's bit of a walk from the outside waypoint to the first chamber where Kagha is.

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Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
It's the quest hub design from MMOs. Not sure that's a good thing. Another issue with the Grove is there a few stories there that would be better if the were pulled out of the grove. Yes, the Grove could use some streamlining to focus on the important story beats.

I'm sorry, but no? MMOs took the "quest hub" format from other games, and that would include table top. This is the closest thing to an actual town we have in Act I that isn't "Blighted" or just burnt down. The OP's issue is typically called "burn out", and it's why I'm not spending a lot of time going for 100 hours in EA, although I imagine I'll make that, and some. I'm testing things, trying out different approaches to the same things, and looking at other options and for things that may be broken, such as what happens if you're doing a playthrough as Astarion, and have to go to the swamp? Lots of running water, and it's not much of an issue now, since he can be left in the camp, but if he's the main character, you can't leave him in the camp for that quest.

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Not sure what you mean about too much happening? You stumble across a group of refugees in a druid camp and the druids want them out because they are attracting goblins and danger to the grove.

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Originally Posted by FreshRevenge
Not sure what you mean about too much happening? You stumble across a group of refugees in a druid camp and the druids want them out because they are attracting goblins and danger to the grove.



He means, we have Richard Scarry's Busy Busy Faerun where you have numerous NPCs all in animation loops eagerly awaiting player intercession. As noted above, in an MMO where immersion is linked to experience this is acceptable because people are more interested in the game play than the story, but RPGs it needs to be done more tastefully as much hinges upon how authentic characters and environments feel and will directly influence how the player responds to them. You never want quest opportunities to feel like those assholes on the Vegas strip handing out escort adverts.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by FreshRevenge
Not sure what you mean about too much happening? You stumble across a group of refugees in a druid camp and the druids want them out because they are attracting goblins and danger to the grove.



He means, we have Richard Scarry's Busy Busy Faerun where you have numerous NPCs all in animation loops eagerly awaiting player intercession. As noted above, in an MMO where immersion is linked to experience this is acceptable because people are more interested in the game play than the story, but RPGs it needs to be done more tastefully as much hinges upon how authentic characters and environments feel and will directly influence how the player responds to them. You never want quest opportunities to feel like those assholes on the Vegas strip handing out escort adverts.


They all should be happy to see me, I am the star of the game lol!

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Sure. Fine. I mean it wouldn't be much of a game if 80% of interactions were people telling you to piss off,but the way it is implemented now is obvious and what is obvious is never good. The quests should be varied and involved enough that you should grow unaware of the mechanics and lose yourself in the game. In an MMO the game itself is your source of pleasure, in an RPG it is what the game allows you to do. These are not as similar as they sound but neither are they mutually exclusive, however, the latter does require a little more sophistication.

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Especially in environments with many quests in one area, it'd be nice to provide bonuses and penalties to skill check rolls based on decisions made in nearby quests.

Disco Elysium does this very well, and it makes revisiting the same area multiple times an engaging activity rather than a chore.

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Those "encounters" are all over the map(s), it's not just a grove thing.

Most of them have preset if you don't get involved in them that will happen after certain quest or long rest counter too.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by FreshRevenge
Not sure what you mean about too much happening? You stumble across a group of refugees in a druid camp and the druids want them out because they are attracting goblins and danger to the grove.



He means, we have Richard Scarry's Busy Busy Faerun where you have numerous NPCs all in animation loops eagerly awaiting player intercession. As noted above, in an MMO where immersion is linked to experience this is acceptable because people are more interested in the game play than the story, but RPGs it needs to be done more tastefully as much hinges upon how authentic characters and environments feel and will directly influence how the player responds to them. You never want quest opportunities to feel like those assholes on the Vegas strip handing out escort adverts.

Are they? Are the druids performing the ritual really just waiting for you to interrupt them, or are they in the middle of casting a ritual? I'm getting this "in a SP game, the zones should be dead of anything not directly tied to a story" vibe, intended or not. "Feels like a chore" doesn't leave me feeling like there were too many NPCs in the zone, but more with the "I've done this so many times" vibe. I get that vibe a lot. I had that vibe a lot in Baldur's Gate, with over 110 completions, but there's that thing, I did it a lot of times, and introduced myself to burn out, to the point where BG 2 was less, although not a lot less... In Mass Effect, I'll get to certain points, 1, 2 or 3 where I'm like "dread, this again", and will save and log out and come back later. I get a lot of "I'm not ready to deal with this right now" moments, and none of them are the fault of game design, or being too busy, but simply because I burnt myself out.

The nice thing about my disability, if there really is one, is that after a few months, I'll forget all about what's coming, and can almost enjoy it like a new experience. Playing the Tomb Raider reboot games, I'd get to a point, and just stop progressing and do the little side missions, optional tombs, collections, etc. It doesn't have anything to do with "Busy Busy Faerun", not even in Faerun, just burnt out, or not wanting to deal with what's next. Nothing in the OP suggested anything like what you're saying here, and I get that from "after 10 times, it just feels like a chore".

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Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by FreshRevenge
Not sure what you mean about too much happening? You stumble across a group of refugees in a druid camp and the druids want them out because they are attracting goblins and danger to the grove.



He means, we have Richard Scarry's Busy Busy Faerun where you have numerous NPCs all in animation loops eagerly awaiting player intercession. As noted above, in an MMO where immersion is linked to experience this is acceptable because people are more interested in the game play than the story, but RPGs it needs to be done more tastefully as much hinges upon how authentic characters and environments feel and will directly influence how the player responds to them. You never want quest opportunities to feel like those assholes on the Vegas strip handing out escort adverts.

Are they? Are the druids performing the ritual really just waiting for you to interrupt them, or are they in the middle of casting a ritual? I'm getting this "in a SP game, the zones should be dead of anything not directly tied to a story" vibe, intended or not. "Feels like a chore" doesn't leave me feeling like there were too many NPCs in the zone, but more with the "I've done this so many times" vibe. I get that vibe a lot. I had that vibe a lot in Baldur's Gate, with over 110 completions, but there's that thing, I did it a lot of times, and introduced myself to burn out, to the point where BG 2 was less, although not a lot less... In Mass Effect, I'll get to certain points, 1, 2 or 3 where I'm like "dread, this again", and will save and log out and come back later. I get a lot of "I'm not ready to deal with this right now" moments, and none of them are the fault of game design, or being too busy, but simply because I burnt myself out.

The nice thing about my disability, if there really is one, is that after a few months, I'll forget all about what's coming, and can almost enjoy it like a new experience. Playing the Tomb Raider reboot games, I'd get to a point, and just stop progressing and do the little side missions, optional tombs, collections, etc. It doesn't have anything to do with "Busy Busy Faerun", not even in Faerun, just burnt out, or not wanting to deal with what's next. Nothing in the OP suggested anything like what you're saying here, and I get that from "after 10 times, it just feels like a chore".



That's great but not everything is about you.

The introduction to the Grove starts with an interrupted fracas. From there you will encounter a heated exchange with the survivors, someone who tells you everyone is being evicted because the Druids are going dark unless they are spoken to/someone is rescued. From there you meet an overly aggressive squirrel, intervene in an assassination, help someone compose a song, save a child from some harpies, teach another child how to be a better thief, motivate yet some other children who are learning how to fight, helping still more children steal a statue, rescuing yet another child who had attempted to steal said statue whilst dispersing a lynch mob, investigating strange brews and the bitch who peddles them, giving someone hope for their future, convincing three friends they should stick around and lend a hand if things should go south, investigating the ad hoc leader of the settlement, helping a rat who can't distinguish steel from food, saving a goblin POW. . .This is just what I recall off the top of my head, I am sure I did not nail them all. In a small city of a few hundred residents this would still seem a little overwrought, but this is a glorified commune where every knot of people you stumble into has a unique problem they want you to help them with.

In an MMO, if Johnny Thundercock and little Sally Rottencrotch want you collect 10 lamb caecum, noone bats an eyelash so long as three lines of dialogue or less explain their motivation. Noone cares. They just want an excuse to run out into the pasture and mutilate some lambs. An RPG on the other hand should be about story, and little of this contributes anything meaningful. Despite much of it being thematically linked, it all feels like content for the sake of having content. It is busy work, the sort of shit a bad manager assigns to an employee who has handled their responsibilities but is still on the clock.

I am glad you are happy with the game as it is, most people will be. However good enough is never sufficient argument against pursuing excellence. Musical scores should be written so that the audience enjoys it, obviously, but there is no reason why they cannot also impress other musicians with interesting chord progressions, challenging time signature, or novel composition. This is true of any art form one might care to consider. If good enough really were we would still be playing fucking Dig Dug.


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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by robertthebard
[quote=DistantStranger]
Are they? Are the druids performing the ritual really just waiting for you to interrupt them, or are they in the middle of casting a ritual? I'm getting this "in a SP game, the zones should be dead of anything not directly tied to a story" vibe, intended or not. "Feels like a chore" doesn't leave me feeling like there were too many NPCs in the zone, but more with the "I've done this so many times" vibe. I get that vibe a lot. I had that vibe a lot in Baldur's Gate, with over 110 completions, but there's that thing, I did it a lot of times, and introduced myself to burn out, to the point where BG 2 was less, although not a lot less... In Mass Effect, I'll get to certain points, 1, 2 or 3 where I'm like "dread, this again", and will save and log out and come back later. I get a lot of "I'm not ready to deal with this right now" moments, and none of them are the fault of game design, or being too busy, but simply because I burnt myself out.

The nice thing about my disability, if there really is one, is that after a few months, I'll forget all about what's coming, and can almost enjoy it like a new experience. Playing the Tomb Raider reboot games, I'd get to a point, and just stop progressing and do the little side missions, optional tombs, collections, etc. It doesn't have anything to do with "Busy Busy Faerun", not even in Faerun, just burnt out, or not wanting to deal with what's next. Nothing in the OP suggested anything like what you're saying here, and I get that from "after 10 times, it just feels like a chore".



That's great but not everything is about you.

The introduction to the Grove starts with an interrupted fracas. From there you will encounter a heated exchange with the survivors, someone who tells you everyone is being evicted because the Druids are going dark unless they are spoken to/someone is rescued. From there you meet an overly aggressive squirrel, intervene in an assassination, help someone compose a song, save a child from some harpies, teach another child how to be a better thief, motivate yet some other children who are learning how to fight, helping still more children steal a statue, rescuing yet another child who had attempted to steal said statue whilst dispersing a lynch mob, investigating strange brews and the bitch who peddles them, giving someone hope for their future, convincing three friends they should stick around and lend a hand if things should go south, investigating the ad hoc leader of the settlement, helping a rat who can't distinguish steel from food, saving a goblin POW. . .This is just what I recall off the top of my head, I am sure I did not nail them all. In a small city of a few hundred residents this would still seem a little overwrought, but this is a glorified commune where every knot of people you stumble into has a unique problem they want you to help them with.

In an MMO, if Johnny Thundercock and little Sally Rottencrotch want you collect 10 lamb caecum, noone bats an eyelash so long as three lines of dialogue or less explain their motivation. Noone cares. They just want an excuse to run out into the pasture and mutilate some lambs. An RPG on the other hand should be about story, and little of this contributes anything meaningful. Despite much of it being thematically linked, it all feels like content for the sake of having content. It is busy work, the sort of shit a bad manager assigns to an employee who has handled their responsibilities but is still on the clock.

I am glad you are happy with the game as it is, most people will be. However good enough is never sufficient argument against pursuing excellence. Musical scores should be written so that the audience enjoys it, obviously, but there is no reason why they cannot also impress other musicians with interesting chord progressions, challenging time signature, or novel composition. This is true of any art form one might care to consider. If good enough really were we would still be playing fucking Dig Dug.


Gotta love it. You left out the most important variables to the OP while you preach away at how games should be made. What were those variables, you ask, and if you're not asking, you well should be, because they flew right over your head in your eagerness to display some kind of omniscient knowledge of both game design and player reactions, "After the 10th time" is the first clue, followed by "it felt like a chore". What does any of this have to do with MMOs? What does any of this have to do with anything you're throwing out there? Let me give you the short answer: Nothing. You got your name in print, I guess that's something, but as far as what the topic was about, you're about 6 galaxies away from relevant.

Did you know that guitarists, to this day cite Smoke on the Water as one of the reasons they picked up a guitar? I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no, you had no idea". They impressed a lot of musicians, even potential musicians, with a really simple riff. Getting complicated is great. I love me some Yngwie, and Joe Satriani. Got some CDs by both staring at me right now. I love me some classical music too, "Fur Elise" is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I played the cello for about 8 years in school, before I gave it up, because I can't afford to buy one. But I enjoy that simple little riff just as much. I even had a simple little piece featured in a NWN module once. It was a little something I wrote for one of the players that passed from our little group, and the mod builder added to his module in a Tribute room. Things evolve, whether it's games or music. The issue the OP is addressing is different from what you think it is. For all the quests that are in the Druid Grove, there are just as many NPCs that are presented to add weight to whatever decisions you make regarding the fate of the Grove. With all this exposition, I thought for sure you would have picked up on that bit of subtext, but it seems you fell woefully short of your own standard here, yes?

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Side quests in the original Baldur's Gate titles were, more often than not, vignettes. Small self contained stories, some contingent upon greater themes but mostly isolated, usually involving several stages. Whether we are talking about correcting the unfortunate fate of an apprentice who has turned himself into a chicken from the first title or finding a skin-dancing serial killer in the second. Certainly the most interesting ones were but nothing felt like filler. These are more similar to MMO quests which revolve around single executions: Find the thing/fetch the thing/kill the thing/convince the thing and done. It isn't good. It isn't interesting. it isn't in line with the expectations set by predecessors in the series.


Think what you like, but objectively the OP is right. It may have taken them ten times to notice it, but for a few of us it was obvious after the first, and for others like yourself it may never be obvious.


Also, interesting and challenging have nothing to do with complexity. Interesting can be an exercise in experimentation or bring back old forms, just as challenge can be brought against expectation or convention. It would appear you rely upon many assumptions.

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Where does this misconception that any mechanics/quest types they don't care for came from MMOs? Cart before the horse there, these things predate MMOs by decades.

Edit for Context: North East corner of the Candlekeep map: "Have you seen my book, can you find it and bring it to me", paraphrased, probably badly, fetch quest. "East edge of the Candlekeep map: "Have you killed those rats yet?", fairly obvious. Which MMOs did BioWare steal these from?

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I don't know, I think that bugs/flagging issues aside, the grove is probably the best place in the game. Perhaps it doesn't make sense in universe for some obscure fr reason I'm not aware of, but clearly this supposed to be kind of a Baragoset place where you have a lot going on, but most of it is quite optional


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I am not concerned with mechanics, nor do I imagine many others sharing my objection are. My concern is substance because the majority of the quests in the grove are substantively lacking.

edit to edit: I never said all the quests were story just more than not, and if you have to resort to the tutorial missions to find obvious contradictions I think my point will stand.

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In what way? And are you sure you want to use the original Baldur's Gate as a reference for good side quests? Cause they were pretty lame


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Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
It's the quest hub design from MMOs. Not sure that's a good thing. Another issue with the Grove is there a few stories there that would be better if the were pulled out of the grove. Yes, the Grove could use some streamlining to focus on the important story beats.


They really shot themselves in the foot by destroying Waukeen's Rest and the Blighted Village, huh.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
I am not concerned with mechanics, nor do I imagine many others sharing my objection are. My concern is substance because the majority of the quests in the grove are substantively lacking.

Apparently you missed a lot. Probably down to "but it feels like an MMO" more than anything else, but, substance:

You have someone in the grove teaching children how to use swords. I guess it's pretty easy to miss, if you're just looking for things to say "see, MMO stuff"? I'd say that "children" counts twice, but that's just me.
Various vendors. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is our hub for this Act, so far anyway. These things are what are always in hubs, including all the way back to Baldur's Gate, with Candlekeep, just to stay in the starter zone. The Friendly Arm Inn map has a couple of vendors, and lots of people around too.
Beregost, also a lot of people, and vendors.

All predating MMOs, and based around concepts from Table Top gaming, that was a thing since the 70s. So far, you're missing the mark with anything like validity. You say they're "substantively lacking" but provide no supporting evidence. Allow me to counter:

If you succeed your dice roll, the thief lives, and you garner support from her parents, if you fail she dies, and they hate you. What's missing for "substance" here? There seems to be a lot of it. Maybe you think that's another MMO mechanic that SP games have been stealing since before MMOs existed? Did you redeem Kahga? I think it's possible, but I haven't done it yet. That seems pretty substantive. Did you kill her? Same thing. Did you save the boy from the harpies? Pretty substantive. So despite your argument, it's just not supported by what's actually there. There is some fluff, such as Alfira. But frankly that's some fun fluff. I actually want more of that. "Because I said so", the argument you're giving with a statement that is not supported by details, doesn't carry a lot of weight, certainly not as much as you seem to believe it should.

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