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Originally Posted by Wyrmblade
Just give all the charakters preferences its very strange thet all the companions wanna bang you no matter wich race or sex you have. It makes it so shallow. No work just fun.

Must everyone be a special snowflake?
cmon give us atleast on homo and and hetro.
give some depht to the charakters.
Maybe a dwarf who only dates other dwarfs? Or a drow who hates elves. you know like some good old charakter building instead of everyone is the same.
I hate hate hate the whole set sexuality tbh. In almost EVERY single game with romance and set sexuality, it is always at the gay options expense. Bioware games, Fire Emblem, Viking, Pathfinder. The straight options don't tend to suffer since it's catered to them but the standard is 1 straight and 1 bi, so the straight people don't tend to suffer. It sounds a lot more constrived to fill a certain quota or more snowflakes as you would call it. Throw in some bi and say we have diversity, yay characterization. In the end, it doesn't matter. I have read people said Ifan doesn't sound like he should be gay, and that's usually the perception. Their personality shouldn't affect what their sexuality is but perception wise, especially for straight developers, that's the pitfall they tend to fall into. That character doesn't sound gay, so we tend to end up with depraved bisexuals or characters who romance anything that move as the gay option. The Beamdog guy specifically put in a character like that in Baldur's gate because of that trope. Set sexuality at the end of the day is not about representation, it's about filling quota. It does not enhance the experience that much, it's just that oh, that character can be romanced only this group, cool. It doesn't greatly enhance the gameplay but greatly reduce the enjoyment of other players. Cyberpunk has set sexuality, but it doesn't really change anything. The character's personality is what they are, and strangely enough, bi-erasure Kerry who's a bisexual leaning toward women and making him gay. These artificial gatings don't enhance the game, and it tends to be affected by writers' perception and gating what a gay character should even be. For a game like Baldur's Gate, each game is essentially like a D&D board game, and the player makes their rules. I would rather there be freedom to shape the world however than making these artificial gating that ended up getting removed anyway with mods. The cast is not big enough to do it in a meaningful way. If the attention is focused too much on it, especially trying to give equal representation each game, then the developers would be consumed by it and be obligated to include certain numbers of characters for them to be this sexuality or that sexuality, then it goes into transexual, asexual, how romance is stereotypical, how this group is shafted. The same pitfall Bioware puts themselves into. DoS2 game has everyone be available, and I greatly love the option I have. It's a single player game, I care about what enjoyment I get out of it. I don't care about identity politic or realism.

If anything, I do want a bro route where you could initate it or have it be friendship since the way the camp work make it sound romantic out of a sudden sometimes. That's the way it is with DoS on the boat scene, you could just have a normal conversation or initiate the romance.

Last edited by Hilarian; 07/01/21 07:57 PM.
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Originally Posted by Hilarian
I hate hate hate the whole set sexuality tbh. In almost EVERY single game with romance and set sexuality, it is always at the gay options expense.


100%, the thing is though I still kinda think this is at the gay options expense in some ways. You're right that having set sexuality would probably lead to bad options for people who aren't heterosexual men, but for me the ideal would still be having set sexuality where the developers actually work with people of different orientations to create believable characters rather than just doing their best on their own and making tokens to fill a box. I don't think it'd even have to be forced if this were like the older baldur's gate games just because there were SO MANY characters it actually felt off how many of the romance options were women targeted at men. This game is different though and yeah, doesn't seem like they're planning on a big enough cast for checking every identity box to not feel out of place.

Originally Posted by Hilarian
If anything, I do want a bro route where you could initate it or have it be friendship since the way the camp work make it sound romantic out of a sudden sometimes. That's the way it is with DoS on the boat scene, you could just have a normal conversation or initiate the romance.

But yeah, wishful thinking aside, this is ultimately what I want. Also even without having gendered preferences (which I agree would likely lead to bad unless they really went the extra mile) I think it would feel better if characters had some kind of preferences. I know that technically exists with the approval system, but as it stands it really doesn't feel like they're actually interested in your character but instead are just scripted to want you whoever you are once you hit a certain point. The biggest thing I have an issue with here is how intimacy between characters (or just being nice to a character) inevitably leads to getting propositioned, which to me feels like we're seeing a lot of the grosser elements of dating sims that kinda encourage things like the "nice guy" reality in the real world.

Last edited by 7TeenWriters; 07/01/21 08:16 PM.
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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Originally Posted by Hilarian
I hate hate hate the whole set sexuality tbh. In almost EVERY single game with romance and set sexuality, it is always at the gay options expense.


100%, the thing is though I still kinda think this is at the gay options expense in some ways. You're right that having set sexuality would probably lead to bad options for people who aren't heterosexual men, but for me the ideal would still be having set sexuality where the developers actually work with people of different orientations to create believable characters rather than just doing their best on their own and making tokens to fill a box. I don't think it'd even have to be forced if this were like the older baldur's gate games just because there were SO MANY characters it actually felt off how many of the romance options were women targeted at men. This game is different though and yeah, doesn't seem like they're planning on a big enough cast for checking every identity box to not feel out of place.

Originally Posted by Hilarian
If anything, I do want a bro route where you could initate it or have it be friendship since the way the camp work make it sound romantic out of a sudden sometimes. That's the way it is with DoS on the boat scene, you could just have a normal conversation or initiate the romance.

But yeah, wishful thinking aside, this is ultimately what I want. Also even without having gendered preferences (which I agree would likely lead to bad unless they really went the extra mile) I think it would feel better if characters had some kind of preferences. I know that technically exists with the approval system, but as it stands it really doesn't feel like they're actually interested in your character but instead are just scripted to want you whoever you are once you hit a certain point. The biggest thing I have an issue with here is how intimacy between characters (or just being nice to a character) inevitably leads to getting propositioned, which to me feels like we're seeing a lot of the grosser elements of dating sims that kinda encourage things like the "nice guy" reality in the real world.
As a fan of game with romance, it is not that I am opposed to it, I just haven't seen anyone does it well. I would say Fire Emblem romance system is more playersexual than anything, everyone is into the player but then they throw in 1 bi option and say that it's representation. It's not really an effort in their part and their inclusion is mainly just to appease the fans. That's not realism or genuine. When you look at the bisexual options in these games, they tend to be the sexually depraved or sex obsessed and they would do it with anyone like Zevran or Niles. Let's imagine if this game has sexuality, who would jump into your mind as the bisexual option? Astarion, from what people already said about him. One of the Beamdog's characters is bisexual because they figure he would just be up for anything. Another thing I already said is that these options tend to heavily favor straight players, which like I said, Fire Emblem, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Kingmaker. As the majority, it makes economical sense, and I understand that, but that just sucks being treated as second class citizen, and I would rather not to deal with that crap and just have everyone available. I'm not faulting the developers for that, but the more set sexuality is implemented, the more I feel how difference I am being treated. When people say that the realism aspect may reduce enjoyment, does it ruin the entire game for them like for other people? Especially if the romance is initiated by the player and you don't know if you could romance them unless you specifically flirting with that person? If you look at Dragon Age Inquisition, they removed Cullen's bisexual option from time constraint. It's a very low priority for developers, which as I said, understandable. They also removed Solas' bisexual option because of the depraved bisexual, thus removing an option for other players just because of stereotype. This is the part where I said you pigeonhole yourself into a corner while trying to avoid stereotype while writing set sexuality. You have to think about if this is politically correct or if this or that would offend people. Damn if you do and damn if you don't. When Mass Effect Andromeda first released, gay guys got 2 NPCs without any unique faces and sideline from the story then the one gay option is about having a surrogate baby in just a few weeks. That's just a very unnatural progression. They give the gay people the least contents as well as making it revolved around their sexuality. Let's not forget about the transexual character they wrote who tell us that they're transgender and tell us their birthname. This is not what people do in real life, as that part of a transgender person's life is over, and they wouldn't want to be reminded of it. Overall, gay options have always been an afterthought, and their characterization tends to be about gay gay gay. Characters could just be gay without reasons, but subconsciously, developers may not know how to write for a gay character and tend to rely on what they think a gay character could be.

I just wanna explain further my position and how I feel whenever I encounter these things in the game. It has never done well in a single game I have played. As you also said, Baldur's gate has mostly all the females fanning over the main protagonist. It's a wish fulfillment, and it's no more unrealistic than some male characters who could be interested to be honest. I would be opened to set sexuality if they have done well, but the cast tends to be pretty small in modern games due to the cost of voice acting and bigger budget, it is tough to do in a realistic fashion.

Last edited by Hilarian; 08/01/21 12:17 AM.
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I personally find the party scene very entertaining, and I assume it is currently written the way it is to let players know that "hey, all these characters are romanceable and this is the time to start it". I suppose how open the discussion is on who you bed and what everyone's opinion is on that is off-putting to people, but I speculate that there is an aspect of mindreading among the partymates that isn't as overt as writers intended. There is no privacy in the party because of the tadpoles, and so they make it their business. Additionally, it should affect other partymates if you favor one of them over the others - especially one who is on the opposite morality aligned to them. Tbf, I can't tell if some of the disembodied approvals/disapprovals are bugs or a feature.

I wouldn't mind the addition of more friendly dialogue options that can friendzone the relationship, but the option has to somehow be both natural and clearly marked so you don't lock yourself out unintentionally. Aside from two characters, offering an additional line of dialogue thanking a character for remaining in your party as opposed to saying "you don't like them like that" allows players to roleplay naturally as friends without attraction to each other. Unless of course the writers intend for certain characters to develop feelings for your character no matter what at certain approval levels. If they are written that way then they should feel spurned, though I assume they'll get over it.

As for Lae'zel and Astarion, because this moment in the game is the start or at least a taste of romances, and while it won't be as edgy or extreme as it could be, let's not kid ourselves about what "romance" means for these characters. These are characters who fall on part of the morality spectrum where trying to hug them is as bad as calling them worthless and being sympathetic to the downtrodden triggers them. You can only imagine what that means in the context of attaching to them. Their sexual hunger is psychological release and that's intimacy to them at this stage in the game. Romancing them most likely won't woobify them.
So, it makes sense for them to spring this stuff on you before you get the chance to properly turn them down. From what I read from others, its an important point in Astarion's narrative that he is the one who initiates, and is less interested when the player character does.

Aside from just not talking to either, one way to allow their scenes to stay true to character, but give players the chance to nip it in the bud is for their dialogue to be broken up. Perhaps this only applies to Lae'zel, but right at the start of her spiel (which gives enough to hint at what she's about to say), you could be given an option to "Let her keep talking" or nope out of there.

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@Hilarian Big agree to all of this, thanks for sharing your perspective.

I guess to elaborate more too on why I feel so strongly about doings something a little different than how it is now though: As much as I feel like older BG could be a little better than other games of its time, the wish fulfilment aspect still encourages a kind of toxic mentality about what flirting looks like. I blame games like Mass Effect more (which I also love, even as I'll critique it), but a lot of the wish fulfilment dating targeted at men I kind of blame for the specific breed of toxicity we can get in nerdy straight men these days. I've lost friends over people who would play out behaviors like this in real life because they got too sucked up in fantasy dating. Opening up that kind of fantasy to everyone is great, but the structure of that fantasy and the message it sends players should also be examined at the same time. One thing I liked about Mass Effect (though it definitely wasn't explored enough) was the fact that you could be too forward with Jack and actually completely fuck up that friendship by being too sexually forward with someone with trauma. Little lessons about how people have feelings and just being nice to them doesn't always get you into their pants would seriously be a positive if implemented more frequently in games like this.

Also on representation, a straight dude I can't really comment, just pass on, but one of my gay friends on FB was talking about how Astarion and Gale's romances still feel very targeted towards women even if you can technically experience them with a gay character. For all of these issues it would be really nice to have more diverse writing teams on games like this, because as you note the big issue with a lot of how token gay representation has been shoved in games is that it's still usually written from the perspective of heterosexual men (or occasionally heterosexual women).

@AvatarOfSHODAN

I don't know as much about Lae'zel but yeah, personally had zero complaints as a player about Astarion's method of approaching me. He felt believable, even if my character hates his guts at this point. The big thing is just giving players the option to skip it if they don't wanna deal. Again, if characters can just happen not to be into you based on approval, having some other hidden system or setting where you can set characters to not be into you would be cool.

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@Hilarian: You have some good points, but I think you're mistaken in thinking the gay romances that get implemented are actually catering to the gay fans -- in my experience, they tend to be much more angled towards the straight people who fetishise homosexuality rather than homosexuals themselves.


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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Astarion has a dialogue about the stars, where he is clearly interested in your company. It's funny, but you can also flirt with him in this dialogue, but I don't think it affects.

Yeah, about that... he does seem interested in your company, and the MC clearly takes it that way and can flirt back, but the writers were going for... something else (I'm being vague here because datamined spoilers). Of course we, as players, can interpret that scene however we like; what the writers intended isn't the be-all-end-all of meaning (and maybe things had changed by the time they actually got around to recording the scene, I dunno).

That said, I don't have any problems with Astarion's "romance" at all. His advances definitely do not come out of thin air at the party - I'm more surprised he waited that long!

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I want the option of kicking Astarion in the nads - pretty please....

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Originally Posted by Anfindel
I want the option of kicking Astarion in the nads - pretty please....

They need to continue the trend of Astarion coming up on you unexpectedly and you being able to headbutt/elbow/punch him. It is hilarious to me.

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Astarion is undead....the thought of romancing him is kind of ...disturbing (so naturally I had to try) - he's a pretty zombie basically wink Unless the tadpole has turned him mortal again...sad thing he doesn't really seem to get many of the benefits of being undead (resistances like Necrotic; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks....) or draining bit - well not that I noticed. He's like a pseudo vampire spawn... a proto spawn?

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Make the player make the first move
No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.

Heh, I generally think the "flirt" interactions in BG3 felt forced and artificial, but this made me think of when I recently replayed DA2 and romanced Anders: every time you have to make the move, and it basically always takes the form of him going "I have such trauma and terrible things have happened to me" and then you respond "hawt rawr xD ", like some kind of extremely improper, completely unsociable sex obsessed near-sociopath. Every time I chose the romance option it had me wincing and wondering what kind of fucking arsehole would respond in such arsehole manner -- and of course because the romances in the games are build around this the writing made poor Anders actually go for that rather than react with scorn over what a fucking respectless creep you are being.

Now, I don't think "player driven first move" automatically have to be that bad, of course, it's just an example I thought of. So sure, "NPC driven first move" doesn't have to be awkward and harrassive either. But if they can't make the interest seem natural and well written... Maybe it's best to have neither player nor NPC make the first move wink


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Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by Nyloth
Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Make the player make the first move
No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.

Heh, I generally think the "flirt" interactions in BG3 felt forced and artificial, but this made me think of when I recently replayed DA2 and romanced Anders: every time you have to make the move, and it basically always takes the form of him going "I have such trauma and terrible things have happened to me" and then you respond "hawt rawr xD ", like some kind of extremely improper, completely unsociable sex obsessed near-sociopath. Every time I chose the romance option it had me wincing and wondering what kind of fucking arsehole would respond in such arsehole manner -- and of course because the romances in the games are build around this the writing made poor Anders actually go for that rather than react with scorn over what a fucking respectless creep you are being.

Now, I don't think "player driven first move" automatically have to be that bad, of course, it's just an example I thought of. So sure, "NPC driven first move" doesn't have to be awkward and harrassive either. But if they can't make the interest seem natural and well written... Maybe it's best to have neither player nor NPC make the first move wink
NPC driven is not too bad if it fits with the characters. If you read the banter, Lae makes the first move on Wyll just for sex, Gale said he's a forward guy when you ask about his boldness and at the same time said it to Shadowheart. Astarion is obviously hitting on everything that moves. These characters seem like they are very forward with what they want, but I also want bro route though where I could let them know I'm interested. Having everyone hitting on you just seem artificial, so if you have people like Wyll or Shadowheart who you need to initiate while having forward characters make the first move, it would give life, but I don't mind if we make the first move with a romance specific line like Bioware games.

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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
@Hilarian Big agree to all of this, thanks for sharing your perspective.

I guess to elaborate more too on why I feel so strongly about doings something a little different than how it is now though: As much as I feel like older BG could be a little better than other games of its time, the wish fulfilment aspect still encourages a kind of toxic mentality about what flirting looks like. I blame games like Mass Effect more (which I also love, even as I'll critique it), but a lot of the wish fulfilment dating targeted at men I kind of blame for the specific breed of toxicity we can get in nerdy straight men these days. I've lost friends over people who would play out behaviors like this in real life because they got too sucked up in fantasy dating. Opening up that kind of fantasy to everyone is great, but the structure of that fantasy and the message it sends players should also be examined at the same time. One thing I liked about Mass Effect (though it definitely wasn't explored enough) was the fact that you could be too forward with Jack and actually completely fuck up that friendship by being too sexually forward with someone with trauma. Little lessons about how people have feelings and just being nice to them doesn't always get you into their pants would seriously be a positive if implemented more frequently in games like this.

Also on representation, a straight dude I can't really comment, just pass on, but one of my gay friends on FB was talking about how Astarion and Gale's romances still feel very targeted towards women even if you can technically experience them with a gay character. For all of these issues it would be really nice to have more diverse writing teams on games like this, because as you note the big issue with a lot of how token gay representation has been shoved in games is that it's still usually written from the perspective of heterosexual men (or occasionally heterosexual women).

@AvatarOfSHODAN

I don't know as much about Lae'zel but yeah, personally had zero complaints as a player about Astarion's method of approaching me. He felt believable, even if my character hates his guts at this point. The big thing is just giving players the option to skip it if they don't wanna deal. Again, if characters can just happen not to be into you based on approval, having some other hidden system or setting where you can set characters to not be into you would be cool.

You know, Fane had a wife and daughter in DOS2, so you can say that based on his tastes, he was 100% heterosexual. And yet, I was playing a male character and I was having romance with him. I never once thought about him "not enough" gay or bi. Try to stick to same position.

Astarion and Gale are not gays, so they don't need to be represented as that...

They can discuss about women, fall in love with goddesses, and dream of virgins for this very reason (cuz bi). And honestly, I don't care which gay person gets hurt by that fact.


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I mean, having children is a pretty good reason to get married with a woman even if you're homosexual man in a non-homophobic society. Just lay back and think of Erland.


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Originally Posted by Dexai
I mean, having children is a pretty good reason to get married with a woman even if you're homosexual man in a non-homophobic society. Just lay back and think of Erland.


I don't want to spoil your high, but at the end of the game, he's still looking for his wife. This is the only thing that hurt me. But that would hurt me regardless of the character's gender. xD


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Originally Posted by Dexai
I mean, having children is a pretty good reason to get married with a woman even if you're homosexual man in a non-homophobic society. Just lay back and think of Erland.
Hey, if I have a nickel for everytime a married guy with wife lurking in a gay app.

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I just want somebody to notice the pun -- I hope that is a reasonable recognisable name in English xD


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I saw it, it's a popular saying, but the implication behind it is kinda unfortunate so I avoided it.

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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
The way romance is handled right now feels kind of awkward, and as much as the game seems dedicated to giving everyone choices about romance despite their identity, the way it's implemented now seems to actually be counter to player choice. I want to be able to have a character that's best buds with Wyll or Lae'zel without them suddenly awkwardly asking to sleep with me with no lead up. The conversation with Wyll is handled a lot better than the others (he's really sweet about being turned down and it actually doesn't feel like it would make the friendship too awkward), but I still think it'd be more in character for him to try for an awkward handhold or kiss rather than immediately move to asking you to sleep with him. At the moment the characters feel like they all lose their personality when it comes to the romance section, because they all immediately decide they want to sleep with you if you're beyond a certain friendship threshold. To help this, I have some suggestions:

Make the player make the first move: A simple fix for a lot of characters would be for them to only start coming onto you after you shoot them some flirty dialogue, express care for them that goes beyond friendship, something more than just having a high enough approval rating. You could even use the "who are you drawn to" section at the beginning to maybe get a feel for which characters a player is interested in.

Make the characters varied: The fact that every companion has some variation on "wanna fuck" on the same night is awkward as hell and makes them not really feel like independent characters. The way things are right now it just feels forced. Wyll in particular is smooth and I could see him pulling that, but not right after the "I really care about you" convo. I think he'd take it slower if he were actually trying to be romantic. The weird meld of the two just feels awkward and out of place.

Let us turn romance/sex off: Some people have trauma, some people really don't want to be come onto in certain ways out of nowhere. In older RPGs this style could be fine because it was mostly text based, but now that we have beautiful cutscenes a lot of this stuff can be kind of triggering, especially in the state things are now where characters (looking at you, Lae'zel and Astarion) can be really pushy in an uninvited way. Personally I'm cool with that as party interactions so long as I can deck Astarion (see below), but there should be something in the options menu just to turn these advances off regardless of approval. Or to turn off the more passionate romance scenes. Giving players of any identity their choice of how they want to experience romance should also involve the choice to have fun in a fantasy world without being sexually pressured out of nowhere.

Leave Astarion mostly unchanged: So I know I was complaining about the immediate "wanna fuck" for other characters, but I think it makes sense that Astarion is a hoe. I just want to be able to hit him. I could see playing a character that's into it, but my first character was killed by his drain and would have wanted to deck him the moment he made an advance. That would've been a good party interaction though. Please let us punch Astarion after he kills us (or kill him, I could see playing a character that dumps him in a ditch after being revivified), and after he comes on to us, and after he blows past a "no". There are a lot of moments where he deserves to be punched (well beyond the moments we're allowed to hit him), but I quite like his character and that's all fine for his personality. On a similar note, if you do sleep with Astarion, I want to be able to punch Gale. His "nice guy" jealous lines are kinda controlling and creepy and I want similar options to put him in his place. More options for punching my companions when they're being dicks would be really nice, generally.

I don't know if this was the intent but it does kind of feel like if you're into men you have two different controlling men and Wyll, who is obviously the best in every way. I kind of like that, since both Astarion and Gale are both likeable and kind of toxic in ways that are very believable, and the actual good man is has a rapey demon patron which makes things kinda... awkward. There's a good core here but I'm a little worried the final game will miss out on what was good about this in favor of apologizing for characters who kinda deserved to be decked a few times.

So yeah, curious what other people think can be done about this, but I really think the romance needs to be drastically changed because as it's implemented now it makes your relationships with all your companions (or at least the companions you're closest to) really weird.
I LAUGHED WAY TOO HARD AT THIS
I don't actually want to have BDSM with Astarion but if that's your thing...... go ahead. I wouldn't mind being able to punch him xD

Besides that, I agree 100% with everything that you said. Romance needs to be polished in this game. Sometimes I just truly want to stay friends with a character.

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Astarion and Gale are not gays, so they don't need to be represented as that...

They can discuss about women, fall in love with goddesses, and dream of virgins for this very reason (cuz bi). And honestly, I don't care which gay person gets hurt by that fact.

Not a gay dude so this really isn't my battle, but to do my best to summarize my friend's complaint: Much like how straight men often fetishize lesbians, gay men sometimes get fetishized by straight women. This bleeds into how gay/lesbian characters are represented in media, as they are generally written by straight people and end up feeling more like a straight person's fantasy of a same-sex romance of the gender they're into rather than actual representation. Essentially, he feels like Gale/Astarion are endemic of this and that even playing a dude attempting to flirt with him, these romance options aren't for him (no, he doesn't need them to be gay, just in the romance with a man feel a bit more like how men flirt with men).

Again, not my argument to have and I doubt I'm doing it justice, just figured I'd share my understanding of it since it seems it wasn't clear from my initial note on that front.

Originally Posted by Hilarian
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by Nyloth
Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Make the player make the first move
No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.

Heh, I generally think the "flirt" interactions in BG3 felt forced and artificial, but this made me think of when I recently replayed DA2 and romanced Anders: every time you have to make the move, and it basically always takes the form of him going "I have such trauma and terrible things have happened to me" and then you respond "hawt rawr xD ", like some kind of extremely improper, completely unsociable sex obsessed near-sociopath. Every time I chose the romance option it had me wincing and wondering what kind of fucking arsehole would respond in such arsehole manner -- and of course because the romances in the games are build around this the writing made poor Anders actually go for that rather than react with scorn over what a fucking respectless creep you are being.

Now, I don't think "player driven first move" automatically have to be that bad, of course, it's just an example I thought of. So sure, "NPC driven first move" doesn't have to be awkward and harrassive either. But if they can't make the interest seem natural and well written... Maybe it's best to have neither player nor NPC make the first move wink
NPC driven is not too bad if it fits with the characters. If you read the banter, Lae makes the first move on Wyll just for sex, Gale said he's a forward guy when you ask about his boldness and at the same time said it to Shadowheart. Astarion is obviously hitting on everything that moves. These characters seem like they are very forward with what they want, but I also want bro route though where I could let them know I'm interested. Having everyone hitting on you just seem artificial, so if you have people like Wyll or Shadowheart who you need to initiate while having forward characters make the first move, it would give life, but I don't mind if we make the first move with a romance specific line like Bioware games.

Yeah outside of my complaints about how quickly things can ramp up for people who don't want to see it, for a lot of the characters I agree that the more aggressive flirting makes sense. It definitely felt off to me with Wyll though. I could see him going for a one night stand but the convo as it is is a weird mash up between that and an attempt at a genuine romantic connection that I think his character would pursue with a little more tact.

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