Larian Banner
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Joined: Jun 2020
Niara Offline OP
veteran
OP Offline
veteran
Joined: Jun 2020
Hey folks, it's another Panel From Hell.

This synopsis will be story element and content element Spoiler FREE; the panel itself was not, but this write up will strive to be so for those who wish to get the contents of the panel without any location or story game-play spoilers.

As usual, I won't refrain from giving my own opinion on various matters, but where I do I'll be very clear about what parts are this viewer's opinion only.

We open the show with 1:30 of very nice fan arts. It's nice to see, but it's a fairly short fan art roll, all considered, would have loved to have seen more... I know there are legions of folks making fantastic art for this game.

Once the intro is done, the scene opens with Swen in his armour welcoming us to the show, and letting us know that the new patch will be releasing directly after the stream IF they are successful in their goal today.

This viewer feels that there's no positive spin on a comment like that – Either it's disingenuous, because the patch is releasing when it is releasing regardless of what happens (the likely case), or they're actually planning on withholding a patch for longer than they need to based one whether stream activities go well, which makes them look like arseholes. Showmanship is one thing, but please stop doing that kind of thing, guys – it's not funny or suspenseful, and it's not a good look.

Swen tells us that this patch, patch 6, is a massive patch, with lots of stuff in it, but that there are four major points worth remembering:

1) Release of the Sorcerer class

They're going to be looking at it today in a multi-player segment where they will abuse it to achieve game-play challenges that should be unachievable. So, Swen's idea of fun in gameplay remains true to form, in that it's focused on cheating and breaking the game in cheesy and unimersive ways. This viewer is not really surprised by this point, so she can't muster the willpower to hold it against him too hard. It was expected, more or less.

2) Weapon abilities

As well as the basic weapon skills that each weapon offers, Swen mentions that now you'll have access to several more, as long as you're proficient with the weapon. (We see later that the original basic weapon skills that we've had up until now have been reworked as well)

3) More graphics update

The screenshots and clips that display while Swen talks here seem to show a world with more visual atmosphere – more attention to lighting and weather, among other things. The previews look pretty nice. We also, just at the end, get a little clip that shows that some of our cutscene objects (such as the Gith creche compass) that were previously ridiculously static have weight and gravity now, so that's also good to see.

4) A new area

Grymforge, in the underdark, will have a new space to explore, new quests and characters, etc. We knew this ahead of time, but Swen again mentions his plans to try to get there and explore it with Nick in the game-play section of the stream. This viewer is, ah, a little concerned about them spoiling the new content in its own announcement stream... that doesn't seem like a good idea... I'd personally rather avoid major spoilers while doing a panel show synopsis, but I guess we'll see. He DOES take a moment to forewarn that there will, indeed, be spoilers... but that's not much reassurance when I'm here with a job to do. Oh well. Regardless of the spoiler content that shows up in the panel itself, I'll keep anything related to new locations, quests or story elements out of this synopsis.

With that, about four minutes into the start of the stream, Swen announces that they're now going to jump into the multi-player section of the stream, where they'll play the new content and look at the new things. This viewer would personally have preferred it if the panel was actually a panel, that talked about and discussed the content of the patch, how they did various thing and why they made the choices they did... but as long as they do some of that during the game-play, it probably counts.

We're treated to a very fancy 1:30 promo video about the new area with some fairly direct hints about what it's all about and what me might be doing there, before we cut back to Swen and Nick on a heavily decorated set, full of ancient stonework and choking vines, and they're ready to get into the action.

(This view would like to take a moment to note that, whereas in previous panels Swen was given a huge splash overlay with his name and position, and no-one else even got so much as an introduction, this time around, the introductions were even and fair – Nick is introduced as the lead systems designer for Larian, for example. I appreciated this change.)

They chat briefly, and then take us to character creation in order to make the sorcerers they intend to be playing for their demo (they actually don't do this – they have a prepared save file they jump into, and don't make characters here at all), and to show us the new things present in the creation menu now. In passing, Swen also mentions that there are a variety of new Githyanki animations... It's unclear exactly why Githyanki, specifically, would be needing new animations that other races won't have. He doesn't elaborate, unfortunately, and they say they won't show those off here. Most curious.

Nick talks to us briefly about the different types of sorcerer they're adding to the game with this patch; Wild Magic sorcerers, who tap the naturally chaotic and unpredictable surges and fluctuations of the weave; as he describes this, we learn that there are, at present 10 entries on the wild magic table for BG3 – this feels like a very small table, considering the original table has 50 entries; this viewer was really expecting Larian to pull out all the stops for this, since it seems like just their flavour of weird and silly. Perhaps more surge possibilities will be added later.

Over the course of the stream, we see a few surges, and others are mentioned. This means our list of known surges (including those seen in promo gifs and images etc.) includes:

1) Your spells of 1st level or higher heal all creatures in a 10ft radius for 1d4 per spell level (duration unclear)
2) Until the end of your next turn, you can use a bonus action to teleport up to 30ft.
3) You create a dense cloud of fog, centred on yourself (as per fog cloud)
4) Every Creature within 30ft becomes blurred (As per the spell, presumably, but without concentration)
5) Cast Fireball centred on yourself (Reported as not working yet, due to fireball not being in game yet)

Five others remain a mystery, for now – to be found out about ourselves.

Nick takes an extra moment to mention that, naturally, Sorcerer is coming with a selection of new spells being added to the game, one of which will be the curiously absent Chromatic Orb. There's no mention of whether these new spells will be sorcerer specific in BG3, or whether they'll also disseminate out to the other caster lists that one would expect to find them on. Only testing will show, for now.

While this spell was being shown, we can see that the level one subclass features are both listed – Wild Magic and Tides of Chaos, however we don't manage to get a hover-over of Tides just yet, so we can't see quite how they've decided to implement it yet.

They move on, and Nick talks about Draconic Ancestry. We can see that as part of selecting a draconic bloodline, your character gets some visual dragon-marking on the face, and can choose from a variety of patterns.

It looks neat enough, and very nice for what it is, but this viewer is getting tired of the entire rest of our bodies functionally not existing for things like this. Face-only options for things like tattoos and patterns feels incredibly limiting; I don't want to put tattoos on my face; I'd like my dragon marks to be over my shoulders, or down my arms; having these little things be all on the face and only on the face is just starting to feel very grating.

We can also see, briefly, the tooltip for your bloodline: It tells us that, at 6th level, spells of your heritage element will be 'more powerful', but doesn't actually say what that means, as well as saying that you 'can become' resistant to damage of that element, without explaining when or how that works either. It's not a very helpful tooltip, honestly. It's also the same tooltip for EVERY heritage, with just the element word changed... so this could and should really have been a single text description on the feature itself, under the title and above where you make your selection.

We also see that Larian have decided to give the subclass an additional perk: you get an extra free known spell dependant on your ancestry. Given that, without an extended spell list as the newest subtypes have, sorcerer really hurts for known spell and is heavily stymied by it, this viewer has no objection to this extra perk – but feels that she'd MUCH prefer it if all subclasses got an extended spell list instead (like clockwork etc.) Nick mentions this trend... but not why they didn't decide to go ahead and give each subclass a full spell list extension like the latest ones. Exactly how Copper dragons tie in with having Hideous Laughter as their ancestry spell I'm not sure.

We can also see that Draconic bloodline sorcerers do get the extra hit points and an AC benefit, but Nick didn't hover over those features at any point, so we couldn't see exactly how these have been implemented yet.

With that, they cut across to the actual game view and show us a party of four customs characters for multiplayer – we have one of each sorcerer in the group, so hopefully they'll give us a good chance to show off the features.

The party decide to go hunting hook-horrors, with the goal of 'recruiting' them; During this we get to see that another of the new spells is the hitherto notably absent Enlarge/Reduce, now added in. Unfortunately, Swen and Nick's face cam screens blocked the view of the tooltip, making it difficult to actually read... But it does lead to a quick look at the other important sorcerer feature, Meta-Magic.

What we see is that, so far, Meta-magic is something that you are required to select first, before selecting your spell or the targets of it. This will be acceptable for some meta-magic (twin, distant, subtle), but will be a heavy nerf for others (empower), and make other impossible to implement (Seeking) at all.

During the fight, Swen wants to show off Chromatic orb, and tells us he's going to use “the incredibly overpowered Thunder version of the spell” which he seems to think deals 4d8 thunder damage because it's better than the other options... and not because he's using a 2nd level spell slot... But it does provide the opportunity for him to demonstrate Tides of Chaos.

It shows up as a button near the reaction buttons, and seems as though you have to toggle it in advance to give your next attack roll, ability check or saving throw advantage. So... basically, what that means, is that you will never ACTUALLY be able to choose to use your Tides of Chaos on a saving throw... especially since you can't select it outside of your turn. We later see that it is present for dialogue checks if it's available, which is good to see.

What is less clear is how it actually affects your surging chances, or, more importantly, whether surging recharges the ability; Swen talks at several points as though it doesn't, which would be a concern.

When Nick tries a Chromatic orb, we learn another small detail: The spell tooltip says that you deal 3d8 damage of an element of your choice... however, Chromatic Orb Fire does not – it deals 2d8, and creates a fire surface instead; the same is true of Chromatic Orb Cold. Levelled spells creating surfaces is something that can be okay, but having a deliberately inaccurate tooltip is not something that should really be made a selling point, I wouldn't think.

We see, in this moment as well, that High Ground advantage/disadvantage has now been changed into a +2/-2 modifier for having high/low ground. Thank you, Larian. Considering that this is a change against their original desires, in response to massively overwhelming player feedback, I really feel they should be making a big mention of this; it would be good PR, but so far it hasn't been brought up. This viewer would still strongly prefer actual cover rules to this, but it's still a much needed improvement.

As expected – the creation of surfaces still leads to instant guaranteed damage, even when an attack roll spell, designed to be an all-or-nothing such as chromatic orb, misses. *sigh*

When the battle inevitably goes badly, they fall back onto the old exploit of using out of combat characters while the enemies are frozen in initiative by the in-combat characters. This viewer is just increasingly agitated and aggravated that the very designers of the game are treating abusing this immersion-shattering, stupid exploit of game system design to break or abuse encounters as not only something to retain and keep doing, but as something to champion and advertise in their streams. Words escape me to articulate how badly this detracts from any positive feelings that their showcase generates, for this viewer at lest.

We get to see that the issue with the end turn button sometimes skipping linked characters entirely is, indeed, still an issue that's alive and kicking. Swen ad Nick don't appear to notice.

As they play through a little bit more, Swen and Nick do some shopping, and highlight some of the new weapon skills. We get to see, first and foremost, that hand-crossbows are making their long awaited return to the game, hopefully without causing terminal crashes any more.

It still doesn't look as though you'll be able to wield them in tandem with a melee weapon, or with a shield... which are kind of the main versatility points of hand-crossbows in a video game (where their other utility, such as ease of hiding, won't come into it most likely).

The hand-crossbow has two weapon skills that they show us: Gaping Wounds, which the tooltip oh-so-informatively tells us is a shot which deals normal damage and can possibly inflict gaping wounds. Helpful. If I were going on the visual information alone, I'd have ZERO idea what this actually does, at all.

Nick tells us that it can do a shot which causes the enemy to take additional damage each time it is attacked.... So... Basically a free, non concentration, non-spell-slot, hunter's mark that anyone with a hand-crossbow can inflict. Great.

It also has Mobile Shot, which the tooltip describes as “shoot while moving”. It's prerequisites down below say that it takes a bonus action to use, and that you must have Dashed or Disengaged already on that turn, so I can see what they're aiming for, kind of. This one would be neat, if it wasn't stepping on the toes of the abilities and features of some classes.

We also learn that Pin Down, on bows, has become Hamstring shot, which now Halves movement, rather than simply reducing it by 10 feet... This is a massive debuff, considering that spell casters need to expend a third level spell slot to inflict that effect, and lower level spells reduce by 10 feet at the most.

They take a moment to show force-kiting half a camp of creatures, sentient and otherwise, with cat's meows which force everything that hears them to follow like brainless idiots without any checks or saves or any possibility of failure, and allow their friend to steal everything else from the shop. Quality gaming here. They also steal the boots off an npc that's too weak to protect or defend herself. GG guys, great PR. Swen spends some time patting himself on the back for how clever he is with meta-gaming his foreknowledge. Strangely, the stream chat does as well?

As they play forward, we get to see another weapon skill – Flourish. This one inflicts 'Off Balance', and the tooltip helpfully describes this new Larian status invention “Feint an attack to possibly throw your target Off Balance”. Informative.

Nick supplies that it gives a target disadvantage on strength checks. He thinks. He's not sure.

Swen does save the day, by pointing out that we can pull a third layer of tool-tips out by highlighting the (visually indistinct) words of Off Balance. We learn from this final nesting of tips that it actually gives the target disadvantage on both Strength and Dexterity checks, AND grants advantage to the next attack against it, and it lasts until the target actually gets hit, or someone uses the help action on them. As we still can't use the help action on ourselves, this means that an Off Balance character literally cannot regain their balance without someone else helping them – at least for two more rounds, since, despite what the tooltips say, the tiny number on the icon implies that it lasts for two rounds, not indefinitely. There's a lot of conflicting information floating around still, it seems. Presumably, the other new status conditions inflicted by other weapon skills can also be pulled out this way and their actual meaning uncovered more precisely, but I can't report on them, as we didn't see any except this particular case.

Still, it's nice to know that everyone who knows how to use a weapon is now a battlemaster fighter, I guess? I'm sure that won't impact on actual battlemasters at all.

They press on towards the boats while having a chuckle about how if they show certain things on stream then they'll have to nerf them, because it's too unbalanced.

As we go, we can see that the cutscenes, and the model animations in general still have a decent amount of stutter and stick to them – jerkiness, or heads and faces snapping into new positions between lines where the pose and animations don't sync up – but overall the visuals themselves are looking fairly swish.

They continue on, demonstrating their ability to meta-game with foreknowledge and use cutscene action exploits to undermine encounters, while explaining/spoiling the content and mechanics that they're cheating as they go while they do this, however, we catch a glimpse of one of the new meta-magics that we haven't seen yet:

At this point we know that we have Twin Spell, which reads that spells which target one creature can target an additional creature, and seems to be more or less in line with the 5e description, even if the description is lacking important language (we don't know, for example, if you can twin Self ranged spells onto a second person in BG3 – the language is missing form the description).

We have Quicken Spell, which functions more or less as it does in 5e, though again with lazy language that may cause implementation problems later.

We can now add Distant Spell to this: the tooltip for distant spell, however, reads that it increases the range of spells by 50%, which is a substantial nerf on 5e's Distant Spell (which doubles the range). In a game where ranges have already been crushed to the extent that no-one is ever not able to close to melee range with a caster in a single turn, this is another unfortunate decision.

We also catch sight of the description for Cloud of Daggers, which reads as one would expect it to, as well as the Tadpole sorcerer ability – Horrific Visage. It offers a saving throw, but lets you pull two sorcery points out of a target. It's basically Source(ry) Vampirism. It's also, in terms of mechanical function, an only slightly reduced strength version of the 20th level sorcerer ability. (Though this viewer admits, that's more a statement of how underwhelming the 20th level sorc ability is...)

A moment later, we get to see the first Wild Magic surge of the stream. The visual effect is a nice little pulse shock-wave, and when it goes off, the effect that actually occurs pops up in a clear little pop-up on screen. Nice. This viewer seems to recall that Larian had said they were strongly against screen pop-ups in combat, but hopes they can see that it's really not bad at all. The surge itself replicates one from the original table – fog cloud on self.

While they banter and fight zombie duergar, we get a brief view at the in-game description of Sorcery Points, which they haven't actually discussed or shown us yet (nor the other two icons on their sorceress' action bars, which are the blue of class abilities, and appear to be our Font of Magic abilities).

The description for Sorcery points tells us that these are an important facet of being a sorcerer. It says they can be spent to augment spells (meta magic), or 'to access higher level spell slots'... which is an odd description, considering that's not ever been any part of their function. They haven't shown this off yet – we couldn't see font of Magic at character creation, since it comes in at level 2 and character creation still doesn't appear to give any “at higher levels” information, at least not reliably, and throughout the stream, the party do not, at any point, use either of those two class feature buttons, since they just rest constantly to recharge anyway. It's telling.

The two buttons (caught in brief accidental mouse-overs) read more or less as we might expect: “Create Sorcery Points” [Spend Spell slots to create sorcery points], and “Create Spell Slot” [Spend Sorcery Points to unlock a spell slot]. There isn't much detail in the tooltips alone, however, so it's hard to tell exactly how this has been implemented for now.

While handing in some quests before they pushing towards the new content, Swen and Nick discuss the new dirt and grime system that's coming in the patch – called the splatter system by Swen. Characters accrue dirt and grime the longer they go without resting, and scuffs and bruises the more they get, or are, hurt. Reportedly, this will even play into the local atmosphere, for features such as sweating in humid and hot places. This is pretty interesting, and fairly neat... though right now the dirt and bruises look a bit tacky and out of place with our otherwise immaculate clothing and armour.

The bruising and dirt on the faces is particularly pronounced, and this viewer feels that what we see takes it a bit too far for it not to be an optional effect. After one fight where the character died and was raised, they have a face full of fairly dark, blotting bruises, and it doesn't look great at the moment, especially in cutscenes. Now sure, it's not meant to... but there are degrees to stuff like this, and if it detracts from the experience, it's too much. No mention was being made of it being an optional toggle; I sincerely hope that it is.

Just before they can jump on the boat and start exploring the new content; the party spend a few more minutes dealing with the 'Party member randomly starts doing impact damage to everyone they touch' bug, nearly causing multiple deaths. It's a thing, and after being unable to stop it they try to load a save before it occurred, but when they don't have a quick save near enough, they opt instead to leave the culprit behind.

Nick insists that the bug is fixed in patch six, actually, so this game that they're playing now to show off all of the new content in patch six must not be it. It seems odd that they'd be playing on a dev built that was further behind than the actual patch that was ready to release...?

This is the point where they venture into the new area and the new content properly; they've played for about an hour, getting to this point, and have about an hour of stream time left at this stage.

In between the game throwing about some unnecessarily foul language (this viewer's opinion only, of course, but there's just no need for it, and falling back on it to that extent is just a failure of writing and conveyance), we learn that there's an entirely new orchestral score coming with the new content, as well as new language (text and subtitle, not vocal) localisation for Turkish. That's pretty neat.

There is little patch-related or mechanical talk from here. Over the course of the next hour, we see one more weapon skill – Braced Shot. This one lets you give up your movement for the turn in order to... 'gain advantage' on your damage roll if you hit. That's generally not how that works, but, in terms of formal language, and there's a good reason for it. Advantage has a very specific meaning, and it doesn't apply to damage dice... but the gist of what they want to say seems to be letting you redo your whole damage roll all together (rather than rerolling or upgrading 1s and/or 2s, which is the norm), and choosing the higher total, which is a very strong ability to be giving away for free to anyone who is proficient with the weapon.

Other than that, we don't see too much in terms of new mechanics or updates that aren't directly tied to new spoiler content, however, this viewer does feel the need to mention her utter disgust and despair at the revelation that Larian are writing game design around the presumption of players performing the same ridiculously gamey exploits they've been chortling about for the past few panel streams: abusing out of universe video game mechanics is one thing... but then designing and making the game, in universe, respond to you doing so; this is the death of even the faintest skerrick of immersion in your world. Designing for this, and treating this as an in-universe valid solution to an in-universe situation is the most abominably bad choice you could ever make for anyone who wishes to be invested in the space you're building or the story you're telling.

Seeing this, and this alone, and to see how excited about it Swen and co. were, and the build up to it that they hyped for during the stream, and the big deal they then made about it, completely negates all the good will I felt about various other elements of this update; this is just so completely upsetting. As always, my opinion only on this score, but strongly felt.

They never do get around to mentioning or showing off the implementation of Font of Magic, and due to their frequent resting, we never saw either sorceress in the party use it at any point, which was a bit unfortunate, since the spell slot flexibility is easily as important and defining a feature of the sorcerer as their meta magic is. Still, we can see that it's there in some form, and the patch is out now, so many of you will have tested it already I'm sure.

The last five or six minutes of the game time get a bit bogged down while Swen wants to do everything himself, but there's nothing unusual or surprising about this, really. We cut away from the game for their last wrap-ups and thanks and further notes on patch availability and times.

That's it for another panel. This one wasn't wastefully over-produced and it did, indeed, cut to the meat of what was in the patch without too much smoke and mirrors, which was refreshing to see. There are some more very positive game improvements that we've seen here, and lots of interesting new things to check out. I wish I could be more positive overall about my feelings regarding this panel, but the truth is that my outlook has been so thoroughly soured by the strongly felt point above that I simply cannot bring myself to end on any kind of a positive note. I'm sorry folks, it's unprofessional of me, but if I wasn't already mute, that decision, the resultant effort and investment put into it, and the obvious philosophy behind it, would have just left me speechless. I've got nothing.

Joined: May 2019
veteran
Offline
veteran
Joined: May 2019
Awesome job OP!! smile

Joined: Sep 2020
veteran
Online Content
veteran
Joined: Sep 2020
Thanks as always Niara for your PFH summaries and color commentary. For those of us who cannot/don't want to watch these Larian streams, your summaries are very helpful.

Joined: Oct 2020
Location: Sweden
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Oct 2020
Location: Sweden
Originally Posted by Niara
Seeing this, and this alone, and to see how excited about it Swen and co. were, and the build up to it that they hyped for during the stream, and the big deal they then made about it, completely negates all the good will I felt about various other elements of this update; this is just so completely upsetting. As always, my opinion only on this score, but strongly felt.

I agree with you Niara. Every time it seems that Larian listens and understand and make a change towards giving us the D&D 5e game they announced, they put in 5 new things that differentiate it from the tabletop and make the game more similar to DOS. And for no good reason.

Joined: Jan 2021
journeyman
Offline
journeyman
Joined: Jan 2021
Appreciate the write-up. But this:

Quote
In between the game throwing about some unnecessarily foul language (this viewer's opinion only, of course, but there's just no need for it, and falling back on it to that extent is just a failure of writing and conveyance)

God, I hate this criticism with a burning passion. I'm convinced anyone who says this has never been to a sporting event, youth or pro, or even an ER. People are vulgar. And some of the most memorable writing moments in history from shows like The Wire or movies like Blue Velvet are elevated by the use of foul language. This argument needs to die a painful death because it's lazy, arbitrary bullshit.


“But his mind saw nothing of all this. His mind was engaged in a warfare of the gods. His mind paced outwards over no-man's-land, over the fields of the slain, paced to the rhythm of the blood's red bugles. To be alone and evil! To be a god at bay. What was more absolute?”
Joined: Jun 2020
Niara Offline OP
veteran
OP Offline
veteran
Joined: Jun 2020
Yes, intensives can be and are valuable tools. Some very memorable moments in writing history are made so by their use in the right way.

Tossing exceptionally crude language around just for the sake of being crude, in a distinctly non-central and non-climactic manner is not that.

I'll add that falling back onto continuous and excessive crude language as a standard will actively detract from the impact of its proper use at more important times... and that, I feel, is what this is doing, in this case.

I'll admit, my perspective is personal: even when I could talk, I never swore or cursed, and I'm even less inclined to it now that I speak with my hands - so my perspective is naturally coloured. I don't feel it's ever necessary to properly and movingly convey a character, setting or scene, and it rarely adds anything to doing so, unless it is made in contrast or at a striking moment. Littering the space with a background layer of extreme crude language in order to short-hand characterise a setting or group of people is lazy work, in my opinion - there are better, more compelling, and more effective ways of doing so, that leave space for harsh intensives to really have a strong impact later, when it matters.

((In direct particular, I'm also doubly not keen on vulgarities that use genitals as their mode of insult... so my response here was magnified somewhat))

Last edited by Niara; 16/10/21 12:48 AM.
Joined: Mar 2020
Location: Belfast
veteran
Offline
veteran
Joined: Mar 2020
Location: Belfast
Wow, so much snark.

Originally Posted by Niara
Nick insists that the bug is fixed in patch six, actually, so this game that they're playing now to show off all of the new content in patch six must not be it. It seems odd that they'd be playing on a dev built that was further behind than the actual patch that was ready to release...?
That's not unusual. You add new stuff to the game, you break old stuff (see ladder bug that didn't exist in previous EA releases). Why they used their own build, and not the one they are releasing - don't know. Maybe they have some dev cheats available that made preparing the run easier.


Originally Posted by Niara
In between the game throwing about some unnecessarily foul language (this viewer's opinion only, of course, but there's just no need for it,
That really bothers me. As well as pornographic sex scenes. It just feels... off. I don't mind cursing - I love my Scorsese. It's just reminds me of a vulgar cartoon more, then anything else. Its not grounded, it's not believable, it's not effective.


Originally Posted by Niara
however, this viewer does feel the need to mention her utter disgust and despair at the revelation that Larian are writing game design around the presumption of players performing the same ridiculously gamey exploits they've been chortling about for the past few panel streams: abusing out of universe video game mechanics is one thing... but then designing and making the game, in universe, respond to you doing so; this is the death of even the faintest skerrick of immersion in your world. Designing for this, and treating this as an in-universe valid solution to an in-universe situation is the most abominably bad choice you could ever make for anyone who wishes to be invested in the space you're building or the story you're telling.
I think it's more that Larian likes it's systems, and then quests get broken, and devs spend time adding in reactions for those situations. And Sven for some reason is super in love with that stuff "Isn't it cool that our systems are fundamentally broken? And look we even add VO to it". And it is odd - on paper giving player objective and bunch of systemic ways of achieving it is a way to go - Fallouts, Deus Exs, Arcanes work that way. Those systems, however, work in a sensible way, and don't, willy nilly, break fundamental laws of the universe. Stop-time spell in BG2 was really cool. In BG3 you stop time by crouching when someone is in combat, and become invisible for people in conversations?

Last edited by Wormerine; 16/10/21 12:53 AM.
Joined: Apr 2020
Location: Boston , MA
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Apr 2020
Location: Boston , MA
I am really puzzled about this PFH.

What is the point of 5 min into the event you say "stop watch if you don't want any spoilers"?

It is not a Panel, just a regular playing streaming session. Completely useless.

Joined: Jan 2021
journeyman
Offline
journeyman
Joined: Jan 2021
My main point of disagreement is based in the idea that vulgarity is purely used as an intensifier. Many people speak very casually in a vulgar way, particularly if you’re working class (like me, hi, hello, the phrase swearing like a sailor exists for a reason). The whole point of McNulty’s famous f-bomb scene is him casually walking around saying only the f-bomb and expressing a wide range of emotions with it. Although I get feeling uncomfortable around explicit discussions of genitals.

Edit: I’ll also add that the way profanity is treated in media has much more to do with narrative connections established by the Hayes Code and the like, not because it ‘lessens the impact when used too often.’

That said, I’ll +1 the pornographic sex scenes as existing purely in service of titillation and objectification. But that’s not just a patch 6 issue although it may’ve amplified the problem, idk.

Last edited by MyriadHappenings; 16/10/21 04:37 AM.

“But his mind saw nothing of all this. His mind was engaged in a warfare of the gods. His mind paced outwards over no-man's-land, over the fields of the slain, paced to the rhythm of the blood's red bugles. To be alone and evil! To be a god at bay. What was more absolute?”
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: Italy
veteran
Online Content
veteran
Joined: Jul 2014
Location: Italy
Well, I was just wondering if you were going to keep this ongoing tradition.
I always enjoy reading these.

Originally Posted by Wormerine
Wow, so much snark.
I think it's more that Larian likes it's systems, and then quests get broken, and devs spend time adding in reactions for those situations. And Sven for some reason is super in love with that stuff "Isn't it cool that our systems are fundamentally broken? And look we even add VO to it". And it is odd - on paper giving player objective and bunch of systemic ways of achieving it is a way to go - Fallouts, Deus Exs, Arcanes work that way. Those systems, however, work in a sensible way, and don't, willy nilly, break fundamental laws of the universe. Stop-time spell in BG2 was really cool. In BG3 you stop time by crouching when someone is in combat, and become invisible for people in conversations?
I'm a big fan of "systemic design" in principle and I have no problems admitting that Larian's reactivity with some of this stuff is occasionally phenomenal (i.e. characters acknowledging in dialogue if you pick pocketed them out of some relevant item, etc).

That said, one thing about systemic design is that its open-ended nature almost implicitly calls for tight mechanics to work properly. Otherwise you open yourself to an ocean of potential exploits. And to be honest even the best designed one will show the cracks if put under enough stress.
Now, a problem with Larian is precisely that the studio recognizes the existence of a lot of these "loose ends", but they take the deliberate stance to NOT address the problems because they genuinely take pride in leaving to the player the possibility to exploit them.
In some cases the "fix" wouldn't even require any specific roadblock to the player's options, just some more sensible implementation (i.e. making enormously heavy items impossible to move and throw around would prevent the players from using them to one-shot bosses, having explosive barrels less abundant in number and heavier would limit their stocking and abuse, forcing hidden characters into the action queue (spotted or not) when extremely close to an ongoing combat would stop them from cheesing the initiative system, etc, etc).


P.S. Not touching the argument about foul language with a ten feet pole.


Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
Joined: Oct 2020
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
I don't think I've ever watched another panel after the first one, but I always read these synopses. Thanks for taking the time!


ps. I've had an impression for a while, that you sort of confirmed, regarding the cavalier and somewhat capricious attitude towards glitches or exploits, systems critiques and such, that go continually unaddressed by Larian's top brass. It's hard to discern sometimes, if Larian has done something specifically to get a rise out of us. If they are playing it disingenuous or sarcastic, almost like an inside joke at the EA participants' expense. Like "so you think it's too clean and bright? you want it dirty? Well then, we'll show you grime!" Maybe they laugh behind the scenes, cause they know its only a temporary extreme in the presentation. Lae'zel's demeanor or Shadowheart's being made less abrasive. Same deal with Minthara's appearance. As if they are poking fun for a whole patch, just because they know it will get a strong negative reaction, and then another more positive one after they course correct, like "this is where we were headed all along." It's a little exhausting though.

At this point I'm saying that all my feedback is directed towards the rank and file developers who are doing the real work on this thing. I worry that they are at pains to please their boss, instead of trying to please his boss, which is us - the end users. The ones who are actually bank rolling this effort and paying everyone's salaries. If Swen is happy that might be a relief in the office, but if we're not, then that's a bigger problem.

Also, just a quick aside, but I'm ready to dive in without the ten foot pole. Using language effectively, means appreciating who one is speaking with. If I'm down on the docks chilling with Myriad Happenings, then for sure, you can count on my ability to use expletives to great effect. I take a definite pride in it, getting colorful with the full box of crayons. I find that in many instances this will put people at ease, by suggesting a level of informality and comradery which many people respond quite well to. It can break down class barriers and make the other person feel comfortable and more willing to engage in a genuine way. However, if I'm uncertain of who I'm speaking with, then I will moderate this to a high degree. If it's a first meeting say, or in a professional setting, dealing with a client or someone in management, some other unknown, whathaveyou, then its better to refrain. Size em up first, cause it often only takes a few moments to get a read.

To be a good pontifex and bridge divides, its best to be adaptive and considerate. Sometimes language which might seem euphemistic and friendly, may upon further examination be even more hurtful. Just as an example, there is a pejorative for the word mute, that I probably picked up as a kid. And if I called Minsc 'dumber than a bag of hammers' somewhere (which I know I did, cause the phrase seemed funny at the time, and something my dad used to say a lot) now I would totally regret making use of that turn of phrase. Because I was speaking out of school and not thinking about who might be reading that. It was mindless and a mistake, but maybe not harmless, and so that sort of thing can happen quite often. Mea culpa.

The main point being that Larian likewise should probably try to be mindful where they can and get a better read on the player. Just because something is ubiquitous doesn't make it appropriate, and getting away with something in one context doesn't mean that's going to happen every time. There is a thesaurus for a reason. So one approach would be to include among the various settings, like difficulty or gore, one for language. I'm sure I'd select the hail satan version myself, but I can appreciate where that wouldn't fly for others. They don't have to self-censor their writing to be more accommodating, they can let the player do that for them, up front in the options, prior to launching the game. Create a job for somebody, or maybe a couple people. Editors are not the enemy, they're there to help the writer avoid embarrassment. Just something to think on there for the devs.

Best, Elk

Last edited by Black_Elk; 16/10/21 09:01 AM.
Joined: Oct 2020
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
Thank you, Niara!


Optimistically Apocalyptic
Joined: Oct 2020
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by Tuco
P.S. Not touching the argument about foul language with a ten feet pole.
laugh


Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5