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Astarion is a feminine...eh?

Asterion is a rouge who survives by being sneaky and cunning. He has an aristocratic background, so joshing around with you over a few brewskies is not his style. Sorry. Dude has been tortured for 200 years and might be a bit emo for it. So he does not flash his hairy chest and beat the ground while grunting to appear masculine enough. He also digs killing and drinks the blood of his enemies. But yes...total wussy man. I recommend Captain Chronos Vampire Hunter for a great old movie about a total badarse who is not a beefcake near bursting out of his shirt when flexing. Or any number of "manly" characters who are total monsters when handling a sword with finesse, yet can also solve problems with their guile rather than headbutting them like a rabid elk in heat.

Gale is a classic academic, and I assume from the lore that is what wizards are. Studious, cocky, and well-spoken. The reason Gale can string more than three words together when forming sentences is because he spent his life studying to be the greatest wizard in the world. He also doesn't need to hide his intelligence behind grunts and over-oiled biceps because if you frack with him, he will electrocute you until your skin melts off while still reading his book. No, he is not Wolverine or the Hulk. He doesn't have to be.

Wyll is about as "bro" as you can get. He likes to talk about battles and being a hero and banging a hawt demon. He has all the the smarm you could want, and even refers to himself int he 3rd person (uggg). He has a neck tho, so maybe he is not masculine enough either. Welp ---there is always WWE 2K22.

Yes --- they all hit on you at the tiefling bonfire and it is creepy. I agree 100%. But it is the easiest way asset-wise to assure that the player can romance whoever the hell they want in the game. Blame Larian for being cheap about it, sure. Blame them for not spending more time developing actual connections between you and the companions, sure. But claiming the game is"woke"? It is such a nothing word at this point.

Last edited by timebean; 05/06/21 12:45 PM.
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Originally Posted by timebean
But claiming the game is"woke"? It is such a nothing word at this point.

There have been so many people trying to ask this person repeatedly to explain his stance, and getting only more buzzwords about "woke" this and "politics" that in return. The fact that several people are still searching for signs of intelligent life here restores my faith in humanity... Mostly.

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Not to be that guy, but what is an example of a fantasy RPG, cRPGs especially, that doesn't have some politics or political stuff in it WHILE having a story and characters...? It is kinda a thing that is hard to avoid with writing longer stories, and even if something is not intended one can often read into subtext and find something political with anything?

Also this is extremely off topic.

Last edited by CJMPinger; 05/06/21 01:27 PM.
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Originally Posted by timebean
Astarion is a feminine...eh?

Asterion is a rouge who survives by being sneaky and cunning. He has an aristocratic background, so joshing around with you over a few brewskies is not his style. Sorry. Dude has been tortured for 200 years and might be a bit emo for it. So he does not flash his hairy chest and beat the ground while grunting to appear masculine enough. He also digs killing and drinks the blood of his enemies. But yes...total wussy man. I recommend Captain Chronos Vampire Hunter for a great old movie about a total badarse who is not a beefcake near bursting out of his shirt when flexing. Or any number of "manly" characters who are total monsters when handling a sword with finesse, yet can also solve problems with their guile rather than headbutting them like a rabid elk in heat.

Gale is a classic academic, and I assume from the lore that is what wizards are. Studious, cocky, and well-spoken. The reason Gale can string more than three words together when forming sentences is because he spent his life studying to be the greatest wizard in the world. He also doesn't need to hide his intelligence behind grunts and over-oiled biceps because if you frack with him, he will electrocute you until your skin melts off while still reading his book. No, he is not Wolverine or the Hulk. He doesn't have to be.

Wyll is about as "bro" as you can get. He likes to talk about battles and being a hero and banging a hawt demon. He has all the the smarm you could want, and even refers to himself int he 3rd person (uggg). He has a neck tho, so maybe he is not masculine enough either. Welp ---there is always WWE 2K22.

Yes --- they all hit on you at the tiefling bonfire and it is creepy. I agree 100%. But it is the easiest way asset-wise to assure that the player can romance whoever the hell they want in the game. Blame Larian for being cheap about it, sure. Blame them for not spending more time developing actual connections between you and the companions, sure. But claiming the game is"woke"? It is such a nothing word at this point.
not the fact that Astarion was tortured for 200 years. perhaps torture was used as punishment for serious misconduct. but that all 200 years he worked as a seducer, yes.
what I love about romance with Gale is that he won't bother without the player's initiative. it must be achieved. unlike Will, who talks about his connection with Mizzora, and at a party he suddenly calls to bed. even if the tav is a man. this is strange and not pleasant (sorry)
and yes. I think Liz is too aggressive and assertive. I ceased to be afraid of her, only on the 4th passage of the game. but usually she doesn't want my tavs xD

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Originally Posted by middle tab
I think Liz is too aggressive and assertive. I ceased to be afraid of her, only on the 4th passage of the game. but usually she doesn't want my tavs xD


Oh, it goes a bit beyond just assertiveness with her. Ok I am just going to say it -
Lae'zel needs to be on a sex-offender registry. She admits to being a rapist.

But it is a spoiler so...


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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Originally Posted by middle tab
I think Liz is too aggressive and assertive. I ceased to be afraid of her, only on the 4th passage of the game. but usually she doesn't want my tavs xD


Oh, it goes a bit beyond just assertiveness with her. Ok I am just going to say it -
Lae'zel needs to be on a sex-offender registry. She admits to being a rapist.

But it is a spoiler so...
how "lovely"
my priestess gith once opened an affair with Liz. I'll be honest ... I'd rather give my tav to Astarion

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Originally Posted by CJMPinger
Not to be that guy, but what is an example of a fantasy RPG, cRPGs especially, that doesn't have some politics or political stuff in it WHILE having a story and characters...? It is kinda a thing that is hard to avoid with writing longer stories, and even if something is not intended one can often read into subtext and find something political with anything?

Also this is extremely off topic.

There is a difference between game politics and real politics. (moderators will make a "bonk" for this theme Q_Q)

There are a lot of good games with politics, but it's a custom-made politics for this universe that has nothing to do with real world politics. And I don't like when these two things are mixed up, and when the real world is trying to be embedded in a fictional world, or when people are trying to see the real world in a fictional one.

One day I saw a discussion about slavery in Dragon Age, because it's bad "for the real world". I'm begging you... This is stupid.

In most games, of course, there will be political elements. Because in a well-designed universe, it should be, for a better understanding of how it works. But writers don't necessarily have to make this "politics" as in our world. When people complain about politics in games, they complain about the representation of REAL politics in a FICTIONAL world.

Sometimes it really is, and sometimes they just see what they want to see.


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Spoiler tagging this response because, at this point, it has deviated along way from the core topic of the thread.

Originally Posted by teclis23
For example Astarion is just an in your face overly feminine man, Astarions content that is being written for him is just so woke it isn't funny. I mean why do this?

Okay, so... First question, honest answer please: What is it about Astarion that you find to be 'feminine'? Personally, I don't find him to be effeminate; perhaps you could explain it to me a little more?

Astarion's content is:

- Was a slave, who lived under complete domination of will for a master who tortured him, sexually abused him, and also forced him to seduce in predatory fashion other victims.
- Find that domination over his will broken suddenly, after 200 years... but only as a result of the trauma of further alien bodily violation, with the threat of turning into said alien creature and losing his sense of self utterly in the process. (though we all share this element)
- Wars with the trained need to hide his undead nature, versus wanting to exercise his newfound freedom.
- Discovers that his former master hasn't' given him up and intends to bring him in; this terrifies him, and he'd rather die, sell what is left of his soul, or take his chances with the parasite, than go back to that.
- Exults in brutality and violence that he is able to choose to enact of his own free will, by his own hand, rather than at the compulsion of another.
- Exults in the opportunity to pursue carnal activity of his own choosing, rather than under mind-dominated orders.
- Finds himself deeply unwilling to talk honestly about his past traumas and details, but can be convinced to if he feels he has a like-minded enough individual to share with.

So, could you explain to me how this, or other details that I've missed, falls into what you are personally categorising as 'woke'?

Could you then explain to me, without using the word 'woke' at all, what it is that you don't like about this, or that agitates you.

Feel free to treat me as though I am very stupid; pretend I've never been on the internet before, and use simple and clear words, if you want. I want to understand you.

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Also why have cut-scenes that when you camp at night your male npcs want to sleep with you if you are a male PC? This kind of stuff is also being overly represented.

Counter-question: Why shouldn't there be?

How much is 'appropriate' representation, in your mind? It sounds as though you are upset at being faced with the concept of a man who likes another man; that any representation of this concept, at all, is making you uncomfortable and unhappy. Have I misread you?

I'm not hearing you complaining about female characters propositioning other female characters; is that also problematic for you? It is just as equally represented as the former, after all, and both are just as equally represented as male to female inclinations are. The companions are player-sexual; absolutely speaking, they are neither gay, nor bisexual, nor heterosexual - they are whichever of those ends up ultimately fitting the specific story that you run with your own character.

It's largely agreed by many people that the camp scene is ham-fisted, forced and over done - some feel so more than others, of course. It makes sense for some characters (Lae'zel and Astarion make the most believable sense), and could even make sense for each of them individually, but it comes off poorly when they all act at once, at the same time. This is a bad situation regardless of any one individual character's sexuality - indeed, as mentioned, the PC's sex or sexuality is completely irrelevant.

Quote
Also the writing absolutely needs to be darker. Dont try and pander to all age groups and gender and racial groups just write what you want!!!!!! leave politics out of the game!!

Larian have made it abundantly clear that they are absolutely going to write the story that they want to write, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it, or whether it fits the tone of the IP they're working within. They've made no bones about that. This is, it would seem, the story that they want to tell. They ARE writing what they want; why do you think they aren't?


Originally Posted by Nyloth
I believe that only Astarion and Lae are aggressive with regard to "sex", and this is in their personality. I have never seen a girl write here that Lae is too aggressive and persistent.

I have said elsewhere that Lae'zel's aggression, and her back-handed, desperately trying to rub it in your face if you rebuff her, as well as her determined-to-push-it-on-you-anyway comments if she's not interested, are all a bit much and quite unpleasant to deal with... It's not out of character for her, not at all, and githyanki are pretty free about their physical recreation in the manner that she acts, but I do indeed find her to be too aggressive and too persistent in that scene for my personal tastes, and I avoid speaking to her at the party, unless I'm playing a character that intends to pursue her.

It's just another layer on the problems with the writing of the party sequence in general though... I'm not about to call it a result of some sort of political over-representation though...that would be pretty silly ^.^


On the core topic, I do have be honest in saying that it seriously amazes and astounds me that folk like Nyloth (sincerely no offence intended by this) are pleased with the cutscenes and think they're good... Aside from the exquisitely detailed face scans (which ultimately only serve to highlight the plastic nature of their animation range), the actual cutscenes themselves are very weak, both in choreography and in animation. Talking to Shadowheart at the ruins door is like talking to a marionette puppet, with her wooden movements and janky twitching - and it doesn't get any better, except in a few very specific places. They look and feel (again, apart from the highly detailed face scans), like a game that's at least five or six years old, or worse... definitely NOT what one would expect from a game being made today.

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Originally Posted by Niara
Spoiler tagging this response because, at this point, it has deviated along way from the core topic of the thread.


Ironically (again) the Core topic of this thread was started by teclis23 - where he felt that the cutscenes were too political. It is everything else that is the deviation where you guy's started a separate topic on the quality of the cutscenes and whether they added anything to the game.

Some of us have been trying to better understand what he meant by that.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 05/06/21 04:13 PM.

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Originally Posted by CJMPinger
Not to be that guy, but what is an example of a fantasy RPG, cRPGs especially, that doesn't have some politics or political stuff in it WHILE having a story and characters...? It is kinda a thing that is hard to avoid with writing longer stories, and even if something is not intended one can often read into subtext and find something political with anything?

Also this is extremely off topic.

There is a difference between game politics and real politics. (moderators will make a "bonk" for this theme Q_Q)

There are a lot of good games with politics, but it's a custom-made politics for this universe that has nothing to do with real world politics. And I don't like when these two things are mixed up, and when the real world is trying to be embedded in a fictional world, or when people are trying to see the real world in a fictional one.

One day I saw a discussion about slavery in Dragon Age, because it's bad "for the real world". I'm begging you... This is stupid.

In most games, of course, there will be political elements. Because in a well-designed universe, it should be, for a better understanding of how it works. But writers don't necessarily have to make this "politics" as in our world. When people complain about politics in games, they complain about the representation of REAL politics in a FICTIONAL world.

Sometimes it really is, and sometimes they just see what they want to see.

Eh, for me I am genuinely fine with them getting mixed up, even when I vehemently disagree with the politics shown. Also I find it hard to find a separation cause most often there is an overlap between game and real politics, cause most fictional stuff are not made in a vacuum. Thinking to Dragon Age, a lot of its stuff derives from real world issues or conflicts and people. I don't want to go into details of what real world issues, but a lot of things in Dragon Age are actually still relevant in parts of the world or are issues that are still in the cultural memory, and to me that actually grounds the world and makes it feel more real and engrossing. And often times, I actually disagree with some things in the game, but that actually means I am engaging with it more and making my own decisions and interpretations.

When political things become a problem is when they get too... ham fisted about it. When they try to treat the story like a moral and must teach people what is right, instead of letting it flow organically and letting the reader/player determine what is right or wrong. For me the presence is not the problem, just the handling. And even then, something hammy can work if it fits the scene or whatever.

But I think I'll stop here for now on this cause I do want to avoid getting into actual problematic territory.

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Originally Posted by Niara
On the core topic, I do have be honest in saying that it seriously amazes and astounds me that folk like Nyloth (sincerely no offence intended by this) are pleased with the cutscenes and think they're good... Aside from the exquisitely detailed face scans (which ultimately only serve to highlight the plastic nature of their animation range), the actual cutscenes themselves are very weak, both in choreography and in animation. Talking to Shadowheart at the ruins door is like talking to a marionette puppet, with her wooden movements and janky twitching - and it doesn't get any better, except in a few very specific places. They look and feel (again, apart from the highly detailed face scans), like a game that's at least five or six years old, or worse... definitely NOT what one would expect from a game being made today.

Well I mean it's not perfect... But I hope facial expressions will be fixed. I don't go with Shadowheart, but Astarion and Lae animations are quite good. Body language and on an emotional level.

What games can you give as an example? RPGs where you can play your own characters?
All I can think of is Dragon Age or Mass Effect. And to be honest, I think animations in these games are worse than in BG3. And there are no excuses for MEA. I think the technique of creating animation is different when you can create your own hero, so I don't take games like The Witcher, where you have a static hero.

Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not an expert in this field. But yes, for me these animations look good enough. Also don't forget that this is something new for Larian.


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[img]https://twitter.com/thedungeoncast/status/876608740841078784/photo/1[/img]

I guess one can always put points into strength to beef up the casters, if they feel they are too wimpy. lol

Also - in terms of politics in writing. I think it was Orwell who wrote a fantastic essay about why all writing/art is political. He makes strong arguments about it (been flipping thru my books here, but cannot find the essay I am looking for, so I may have the wrong author). On the flip side, I also remember and essay by Tolkien explaining why he despised allegorical writing, and embraced fantasy as one of the most potent ways to let the imagination run wild without invoking the problems of the real world. Nonetheless, when the LOTR movies came out, I remember my hairdresser regaling me for over an hour with her theory about how Gandalf is obviously an allegory for Jesus, while one of the other hairdressers claimed that the Orcs were a thinly veiled story about WW2. *sigh*

(sorry -- packing for vacation and have no time to rummage around for the sources for the Tolkien and Orwell arguments -- I know they are in this house of chaos somewhere! lol)

Regardless. It is always easy to see whatever politics you want in any medium depending on your own time and experience. Stories of slavery, sexuality, oppression, freedom, fighting those in power, religion, race, revenge, government, injustice .... these are themes found in most good fiction EVER written because they are human themes. I mean --- it is simply impossible to get around them. Unless you want to play...idk...Mario Cart or something.

Although if pressed, I am sure I could find political themes in that game too if I wanted to. wink

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not an expert in this field. But yes, for me these animations look good enough. Also don't forget that this is something new for Larian.
Agree!

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Also don't forget that this is something new for Larian.

I don't see the point in grading large companies like Larian on a curve like this. If it's a matter of inexperience then they've got the financial and name-recognition heft to throw around to hire some extremely experienced animators. I think it's fair to expect animations from a borderline-AAA studio to be near-immaculate. Maybe they'll become near-immaculate towards the end of EA but that's ultimately speculation. Though to be fair, that is all we have because of the oft-mentioned communication issues (another thing that I think we should be able to expect quite a lot of from a studio of Larian's size and prestige).

They did call this a AAA project, after all: https://gamingbolt.com/baldurs-gate-3-has-a-triple-a-budget-and-team-says-developer

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Originally Posted by qwerrecd42
I think it's fair to expect animations from a borderline-AAA studio to be near-immaculate.
I like cutscenes and cinematic dialogue. However, I am fine with AAA games not having cutting edge graphics if it means the game can have a customizable pc and be in 3rd person. Those two things are more important to me than having the best graphics. BG3's graphics look fine to me and did not stand out as being bad compared with other games I have played. This is taking into account BG3 is in EA and will have bugs fixed and polish added before launch.

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Arguably, for cRPGs, the graphics are actually a lot. It is a rare for one to get this much attention to visuals. Same with animations, even games like ME and DA, which are praised for their cinematic stories, are super super stiff in conversation animations with characters typically doing like 1 of 2 arm and head movements. By comparison, Astarion emotes more than any NPC in those games outside of like preset one off cutscenes, and even then Astarion emotes a lot. For a dialogue heavy game, this is very very good, and allows them to do things like give characters tells for lying without having to always spell it out in the writing.

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The whole point of a "Triple-A budget" is that you aren't supposed to need to compromise on this or that to make your game. We're still grading Larian on a curve here and I just don't understand it. Exactly zero of my points have been addressed.

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Originally Posted by Niara
On the core topic, I do have be honest in saying that it seriously amazes and astounds me that folk like Nyloth (sincerely no offence intended by this) are pleased with the cutscenes and think they're good... Aside from the exquisitely detailed face scans (which ultimately only serve to highlight the plastic nature of their animation range), the actual cutscenes themselves are very weak, both in choreography and in animation. Talking to Shadowheart at the ruins door is like talking to a marionette puppet, with her wooden movements and janky twitching - and it doesn't get any better, except in a few very specific places. They look and feel (again, apart from the highly detailed face scans), like a game that's at least five or six years old, or worse... definitely NOT what one would expect from a game being made today.
Frankly here I think it's mostly just you having unreasonable expectations to what a game of this kind can afford to invest in the most minute details.

If you are expecting immaculate cinematography or a level of technical prowess and detail comparable to, say, The Last of Us 2, from a gargantuan CRPG which is supposed to animate HUNDREDS of distinct character (often with branching dialogues too) rather than a dozen in a handful of heavily scripted scenes you are setting a bar that is virtually impossible to clear.
That, regardless of the fact that a lot of these details will most likely improve marginally at each iteration and update.

And yes, I'm not blind nor oblivious to how actual humans behave, so I can spot the "marionette-like" movement of some characters as well.
How do I feel about it? I honestly don't give a shit. This is WAY more than good enough for what the genres made me used to since the late '80s when I started playing it.

But I guess your point in the end isn't even that this aspect should be better, as much that since we can spot the flaws it may as well be canned entirely. And why have voice acting at all? After all every few hours of decent-to-good performances we are bound to spot few poor deliveries in some lines.
Experience taught me that if we want to be genuine purists and certified grognards about this genre we are supposed to hate anything that is "production value", because it's shallow, for the masses, not for us intellectuals who PREFER TO READ (which is FASTER, too!) and want more substance.

But nah, seriously, fuck that.
I'll enjoy my eye candy. and I hope I'll be able to say the same about the combat and controls some day.

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Originally Posted by qwerrecd42
The whole point of a "Triple-A budget" is that you aren't supposed to need to compromise on this or that to make your game. We're still grading Larian on a curve here and I just don't understand it. Exactly zero of my points have been addressed.

Even a AAA budget needs to make compromises, in particular when they have to do this animation for hundreds of characters, voice act nearly everything and make sure everything emotes instead of being cardboard. We are not grading it on a curve, we are grading it by the standards of cRPGs. We are grading it but the test it is taking. A genre where the mindseye is often what is put forward, and text rules all because visually it isn't as cinematic. right now that budget is clearly being put to good use on the cinematics front (arguably not yet on mechanics but I digress) because by comparing it to the genre, they are clearly passing the test. They didn't come in to make a super realistic railroad story like the Last of Us, which I think is won of the more beautiful games, they came to make a cRPG. Honestly, and I don't mean this in a confrontational way because I think it is just a matter of taste, but to continue the grading/school analogy, it feels like you are yelling at the game for failing Biology, when its not in that class and instead is making models for a History course.

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"Keep in mind this is Larian's first time" is absolutely grading it on a curve. With a Triple-A budget, "lack of experience" is moot since you can throw around money like candy. But thank you for actually addressing my points.

To use your analogy, since we're grading it based on CRPGs, "animation for hundreds of characters, voice act nearly everything" is not generally considered part of a CRPG (at least none that I know of), but is usually part of "a super realistic railroad story like the Last of Us". This is like writing an English paper but spending half your time writing mathematical proofs in the body of the paper. If they're trying to attempt to be groundbreaking in the CRPG realm by adding this then okay, but I just don't think it's gonna work and it's not worth the budget or man-hours.

Ultimately I just don't think we've ever going to agree on "put to good use". I (and others in this thread) think it's not, while you (and others in this thread) think it is.

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