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Abits Offline OP
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Super Duper TL:DR - The dialouge and story are broken simply because Larian seems to put them in a lower priority than the gameplay, and not necessarily because of bad writing or EA bugs. If you want to read more but not everything, I would recommend part 2. If you want address the gameplay Vs story argument, please read appendices number 2.

Original Thread
TL:DR for the original post: just the broad strokes, for more detail, read through the original post:
Disclaimers- I love Bg3 and aware of the fact it is just an EA. but based on how DOS2 turned to be, I think the Issue I'm Addressing will not be taken care of unless we demand it to be.
The gameplay is more important argument - while some of you might think so, I disagree and have reasons to believe most BG and even most DND players think like me. For more details about that, please refer to appendices number 2.

Short Intro and TL:DR

After my initial post on the matter, I slowly came to understand my problem with the storytelling of DOS2 and (seemingly) BG3. As I gained more understanding, I think it's important to define the problem as articularly and accurately as possible, to improve the discussion, and to be able to ask Larian for specific and practical solutions. I thank everyone who took part in the previous discussion and hope this one would be a productive discussion as well. after the first discussion I realized I tend to ramble too much, so this time I will try to keep things short and to the point. if you are feeling tired of my rambling, you can skip to part 2.
TLDR: part 1 is a general example and a presentation of the problem
part 2: the problem defined as best as I could
part 3: why I don't think it's a bug
Epilogue - how to move foreward


Part One - Are the story and characters really the problem?

One of the more common examples people use when arguing that the companions in this game suck comes from the first encounter with Astarion. During this encounter, Astarion tries to threaten your MC with a knife, and depending on your dialogue choices he could do so quite violently. The problem is that during this encounter most players have at least one companion in their party if not more, and all the companions just stand silently and watch. This led many to the (rather sensible) conclusion your companions are a bunch of psychotic dicks. I, however, think it is a problem with the game. The game simply doesn't acknowledge the fact you have companions with you, and ignores them completely, like they are not there. In other words, there seems to be a problem with the way the game handles Event flags.



Part Two - The Problem In a Nutshell

So whether you survived all the previous raving or you came here just to hear the gist, here it is - Larian doesn't seem to care about the story, or at least doesn't seem to care about the story enough for a game at this scale. I don't think it's (necessarily) bad writing, I don't think it's a bug issue (more on that later), I think that Larian simply prefers to give us as many RP choices as possible no matter how much harm it (potentially) creates for the story's cohesiveness and immersion.

I mentioned flag event earlier and now I'm gonna talk about why it's important here, why it is nearly impossible to make it work here, and most importantly, why I don't think Larian is even interested in making it work, or at the very least puts it in a very low priority.

In a well-designed RPG, the way the world reacts to you depends on many event flags. Some of them are things you set in character creation like race class and stats, but the important ones for our discussion are your choices. And the more choices a game provides you, the harder it is for the designers to account for all of them. At this point, I'll recommend you read the appendices for some examples of bad flag event settings, but simply put if Larian wanted to account for all the possible choices the player makes and have them being reflected by the story, they don't seem to want to do it.

This creates hilarious (or horrifying, depends on who you ask) situations where characters acting strangely and don't react to things you did even they supposed to directly affect them. The opposite is also true, and sometimes characters would treat you like you did something you didn't do, maybe because what you did do is not an option the developers have predicted. This leaves you with a lot of NPC's that live in their own "private quest bubble", and only react to very specific things you do, and ignore the others as if they didn't happen.

The discussion about whether the story and characters of bg3 are any good is important but is not the issue here. If the event flag work is that sloppy, even a bg2 wouldn't be allowed to flourish if on every encounter you have with an NPC the story forgets where are we in the story, or doesn't even react to it.


Part Three - A Bug or Design Philosophy?- about the question of whether this would be fixed in the main release


the gist of this chapter in a short exgange I had in this forum:
Quote
Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by Abits
It is a big problem I made it my main goal to get Larian to fix. In short, I feel like Larian gives you choices but don't care about making them work

Sounds just like a fairly typical scripting bug, actually.

It is a bug only if there is a conversation that is not triggered. I doubt such a conversation exists.


The short answer for this chapter's title is probably not. The little less short answer is that I don't know for sure, but based on several factors I don't believe it is.
The reason I don't think it's a bug issue is based on my experience with dos2, the comparison between ea dos2 and the full game, and Larian's comments about the ea so far.

Playing through Fort Joy (the first act of Divinity: Original SIn 2)is a very telling experience for anyone trying to predict how the final BG3 product will look like. for starters, you have an option to just teleport away by doing a rather simple quest, thus skipping all the important story bits of the fort. In a game that cares about its own story, I would think skipping such a huge chunk of the plot would have dire consequences, but nada, the story moves on. and even in the Fort itself, nothing seems to blend together into a comprehensive and cohesive narrative, and you are left with a giant mass. Even some supposedly easy to fix story bits can't seem to work unless you do them in a very particular way. The best example is Sebile, the red prince and the dreamer. In order to advance their plot, you need to first talk to the dreamer, then recruit Sebile, and then talk to him again so she can kill him. If you try to bring both party members to the dreamer, one of them randomly step up and talk to him, while the other stares at the ceiling. it's particularly jarring in case Seblie is the one who goes to talk to him, and then murders him while the prince just stands like a doofus and only make a short comment after the fact. If Bioware was directing the scene, you can bet your ass that all the possibilities were accounted for, and each one of them had other interesting dynamics. Sebile's quest line in this game is also responsible to Shehila, a character that is a walking talking plot hole, and no matter what you do, she always shows up out of nowhere. Shehila is such a good example since she embodies everything that is wrong with Larian's style of story telling - in each act you encounter her in a different place, where she acts and does the exect same things no matter what you did in previous acts.

There are many more examples, but in order to find them, I have to play DOS2 again. Unfortunately, once I realized most of my choices has little effect on the story if at all, and even the illusion of choice doesn't exist since sometimes the game outright disregards my choices, I found that it's much harder to complete this game, and his replay value dropped substantially. The important part is the comparison between the game in EA and the full experience. I wondered how is it possible that a game with a very successful ea comes out, and still have so many of these bugs? I went and checked, and based on this Reddit article I found out that the only major change they did from a story perspective apparently was to change The Red Prince's personality. Yay.

Again, the problem is not necessarily incompetence on Larian's part (although it's surely part of it), the problem seem to be that Larian doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with the situation as it is now. Sure, the Astarion bit I mentioned in chapter 1 will probably be addressed because of the huge backlash it got, but personally I think the backlash is not big enough and a bit misplaced. all the examples in the appendices are treated as a separate scripting problem, but I think they are just a symptom of the main issue I described so far. Larian might fix some of them, but fixing each one of them demands a lot of work, not only in scripting and flag eventing, but also writing and line recording, which If I'm right and it's not a scripting bug but a lack of script, it doesn't seem like something Larian cares about too much.


Epilogue - Moving Foreward
There are three main ways I see us move forward. I'll list them here by order of probability, from the most probable to the least one.
1. nothing new under the son - The game's story and events will remain largely the same. Larian will add some dialogue line here and there, probably to account for the issues that are reported the most. I think I'll delve more deeply into the "story vs gameplay" argument in the appendices, but here I'll just say that at least for me, If this is the case it's hard for me to see this game becomes anything more than what it is in its current state - harmless fun. perhaps the only difference is the status shift - instead of "harmless fun with potential for more" just "harmless fun". Nothing wrong with it, but I'll always see it as a missed opportunity in that case.
2. damage control - Maybe Larian will get their shit together, realize that the Story is important too, and will do more extensive work on the script (writing) and scripting (coding). It is the best outcome, and might make this game the legend it has to be. it is also the most costly and hard option. it means that larian would have to really test the game, see and try to address the choices players make, and make these choices worthwhile narratively. after that, they will have to write and record the relevant dialogue and insert it to the game. it's hard, but I do believe that in this case it is merely a question of motivation. If the people in Larian will want to do it, they could.
3. Restrict the raging player - too much choice that doesn't mean anything is not worth it. the most coherent part of the game from a narrative point of view is the tutorial area, where you can only move forward. I'm not saying make the game linear, but either address the fact the player is doing things out of order, or don't let him do it. Even Baldur's Gate 1, which was anything but linear, had certain places blocked for you until you reached a certain stage in the game (like the city itself for instance). the situation in BG is built like you have access to chapter 3 of BG1 before you arrived Neeshkal. How can you build a narrative around the goblin threat if you can go to their fort and kill all of them before reaching the druid grove? again, you could try to address it (option 2 in this part), but as long as you have so much freedom to do whatever you want, it is very hard to create a story that is not all over the place.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.


Appendices


1. bad flag event examples
Quote
the first one might be a bug but it fits the MO- during my fourth or fifth playthrough (I love the character creator sue me) I failed (again) in the persuasion check when trying to convince Khaga not to kill the tiefling girl. This time I decided in a kind of psychotic fit to kill Khaga on the spot. As I expected, all the druids in the room turned hostile, and I killed them all. But surprisingly, everyone else wasn't hostile. Not only. The rest of the camp and the druids outside were not hostile, even Nettie who was in a nearby room talked to me as if nothing wrong. Same is true for everyone at camp. I had to look very hard for someone to acknowledge what I did and in the end I talked to Zavlor and found out that if you push him hard enough ( be aggressive in your dialogue choices) he will ask you to kill Khaga. Of course the problem was that she was already dead.


Quote
Example two, which is much worse - this time I didn't want to take shadowheart with me through the whole game, so shortly after recruiting Layzel I asked shadowheart to go back to camp. She was still a bit pissed I recruited Layzel and threatened me she won't wait in camp. To my surprise, when I went to camp she was indeed missing. I later encountered her in the druid grove. The problem is that during our conversation in the grove, half of the time she acted like she is still mad at me and in the other half she acted like we never met. This example is worse because there is nothing game breaking I did here, but still the game didn't acknowledged my choices even though it offered them to me. If I never played dos2 I would think this is simply a bug or unrefined dialogue, but now it's seems to like Larian just doesn't care for these things.


Other examples, some of the things I found, other from users around the web:

Me not trying to break the game but breaking it anyway:
Quote
More on the druid grove another choice that seems to be something the game might expect you to do - as I entered the grove the guard tries to stop me. I ignore them and then choose the attack option. This creates a lot of chaos. Initially, I thought I had to fight only several guards but then I noticed many of the NPC's are leaving the grove area towards the camp (among them, khaga, Nettie, the tiefling bard and others). After I finished off the guards I went to the tiefling camp to see what's going on. There was a big battle between the tieflings and the remaining druids, all the tieflings were at my side against the druids. For reasons unknown Rath, the druid fought at my side against the others. After the battle was over I went to Zavlor to try to figure out what the hell happened. Now this is the important part - Zevlor wasn't very clear, only said it had to be done and steered the conversation to the goblin threat. I went back to the grove to try to understand why Rath, with which I never talked before fought with me in the battle. Rath was standing and blocking the entrance to the grove. He also didn't have any explanations but curiously he said: "we won". How did you win if all the druids but you are dead? Wtf.
Then I came back to my camp and gale is complaining to me about something that happened with the druids.
Now, what the hell happened here other than standard Larian's mess? I think at some stage, I don't if it happened when I chose to attack in the dialogue or at a later stage, the quest to kill Khaga triggered. But no context, no proper resolution, no nothing. And it all started from me choosing a dialogue line, so again, I didn't even try to break the game but it broke so easily.


Wyll's drive to hunt the goblins -
Quote
When you meet Wyll he is In the middle of a quest to hunt the goblins. there is a particular goblin he is looking for that can be found in the windmill. but if you remove him from the party after he tells you about it and before you meet said goblin, suddenly he doesn't care about him anymore.


A comment by the Reddit user Plumppotato (link)-
Quote
Anyone else think the first interaction with Astarion feels, off? I think it's because by the time I meet him, I've usually already recruited Shadowheart and on my second playthrough, Gale. Which means they're both standing there while I rassle him on the ground with a knife to my neck, doing nothing. This could be fixed with either a simple move or a line of dialogue. Maybe having him be the first possible companion you meet, just after waking up on the beach, even sooner than Shadowheart. That way you're alone when he attempts to attack you. Or, by including a line where he says something along the lines of "stay back or I'll slit his/her/their throat!" If the game detects party members with you.

Comment by Larian user cgexile titled "Karlach quest line":
Quote
So I said I'd help her. I went to the group on the hill and they told me that she did all these horrible things. I went back to her and there is no option to basically have her explain her side of the story after what they told me. I only have the option to basically kill her or go back and kill them.

Feels weird like she needs to explain wtf they are talking about because their story was pretty wild and she said nothing about her mass murdering ways.

Edit: also I don't exactly want to wipe them out since they have a Trader there and I'd like to keep her around.


Something that happened to me recently-

Quote
in my who knows which playthrough of the game (I had many) I went for a crazy mage build with 8 int when my goal was to get the circlet that gives you 18 int as soon as possible. I tried to avoid the grove gate fight and head straight to the ogres but couldn't avoid the fight. After the fight, instead of going into the grove I moved on to fight the ogres and came back afterwards. But sadly it seems I successfully broke the game (again). When I entered the grove Zavlor was standing in the entrance alone and there was no way to interact with him.



2. Gameplay or story? Which is more important?

The short answer is gameplay. After all, this is a video game, and although I strongly disagree with the notion that video games can't be a fertile ground for superb stories, this is an interactive medium, and as such, gameplay has a huge impact on the quality of the game. There are some things that one must keep in mind when having this discussion:

1. Gameplay is not just combat - people seem to forget it, but gameplay is not just combat mechanics, and in fact, every interactive aspect of the game is qualified as gameplay. That includes multiple choices in dialogue, things like the new dice mechanics in bg3 like perception checks and map design. Most of the best games I ever played had a strong connection between gameplay and story, and they were not two separate parts. It's not a must for a video game, and specifically I think of Japanese video games (Devil may cry, many jrpgs) that keep the story and gameplay Nas two separate entities. It could be beneficial for both players who care about the the story and those who don't, since players who care can view it and those who don't do not. But Bg3 is not one of those games.

2. Why people play Baldur's Gate - I talked about it at length in my previous post, but people play Baldur's Gate for many reasons. That's why people keep complaining BG3 doesn't "feel" like Baldur's Gate but when asked for specific reason why, has no conclusive answer (I've seen many different answers, from things like day/night circle, fun characters, RTwP, and more). For me, the main reason to play Baldur's Gate is the attention to details in the storytelling. It's hard to think of other things Bioware games had in common other than that. But since Knights of the old Republic until mass effect 3, there are not many other things Bioware games had in common. And I feel this is important.

To summarize, I'm sure there are BG players who skip all the dialogue and only play the game to create awesome builds and try to find new ways to solo the game. But even in this group, I don't think there are many people who don't care about the characters and stories at all. The only proof I have for it is a very limited comparison I did between how popular Baldur's Gate is and how popular is a game like Icwind Dale. Both have pretty much the exact combat mechanics, but one is regarded as the best RPG series of all times, and the other is a niche game that failed to compete Diablo 2.

In short, the story matters. Especially in a western RPG, where it is connected so tightly to gameplay. But that's just a kinda subjective opinion. If you disagree, more power to you, and you'll probably appreciate and enjoy BG3 much more than me.


3. My review of Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access


Time played: 93 hours.

If you read through this whole post, you probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of story driven RPGs. Ever since I first played Knights of the old Republic, this genre has become the main genre of video games I played. I delved into Jrpgs, and I'm a huge fan of the devil may cry series, but that's about it. Ever since Kotor I've been following Bioware and like the rest of the western RPG community I'm very sad at this company's current state.

Fortunately for us, we seem to live in a new crpg golden age, with a lot of indie companies trying their luck and two former small companies who became a huge success and are on the way to replace Bioware as the RPG king.

These two companies are of course CD Project Red and Larian. Both full of Bioware fans and both has games that at least parts of their mechanics are rooted in Bioware "mythology".

After the crazy (and we'll deserved) success of The Witcher 3, CD Project put their full weight behind their Cyberpunk project, which is great news for gamers and RPG fans alike, but less for me, since the one genre I absolutely loathe is first person shooters. My dislike of this genre is twofold - If I spend 40 minutes in the character creator, I want to be able to see my character in game. The more crucial reason is that I simply hate the first person perspective and find it extremely uncomfortable. But I really digress.

I'm here to talk about the alternative, Larian studios. I'm not sure if it's factually true, but to me it feels like Larian has been around for a long time. They made many games, and played around with different genres for quite some time now. I admit I didn't play many of their games, but of those I did play, you can certainly get the Larian feel. You don't get it from their stories or characters, but from their (sometimes) crazy game mechanics ( and I mean it in the best possible way). I always play around with the idea of an imagined Larian's stuff meeting where they pich a game : "hey you know what would be cool? A main character that can turn into a dragon!". In that regard they remind me of another company that dabbled in RPGs but mostly tried to innovate the medium - Lionhead.

Since Larian's last game (divinity Original Sin 2) was a relatively successful game (for good reason), wizards of the coast decided they deserve a shot at creating a successor to one of the best video game series ever made.

Until I first picked up the game I thought this is a perfect choice. I enjoyed Dos2 despite it's shortcomings, and I liked everything I saw from bg3. Even after picking the game the first few hours were great, the characters creator is awesome, the combat is a lot of fun, and the story is interesting, despite being a little basic at this point of early access.

I discussed my main issue with the game at length, but here are more general comments I have:

- the companions seem great. I don't understand the criticism against them, and think most of it is kinda unfair. So far the companions set great expectations.

- origin characters as companions is a bad idea - origin characters is a great idea that worked before. Companions are great. Mixing the two is not.

-technical praise - although it is an early access I still want to praise Larian on that aspect. People don't talk enough about the fact that aside from loading a save, there no loading screens at all in the EA. It was amazing in DOS2 and it's amazing here. The game performance are super uneven for me at least, but if dos2 is any indication, I'm sure the situation would be much better at release.

Graphics, animations, and bugs - all to be expected. I heard Larian hired people from Telltale for this aspect of the game, and if it's true, I trust them to give us great animations eventually, even if right now things are a bit clunky. The weirdest is actually Shadowheart. I'm not sure why shadowheart specifically has such a jarring animations, but if I had to guess I would say it's because she was featured in the demo we saw prior to the release, and they over animated her a little to show the engine's potential. Other than that, the character models are gorgeous and a huge step forward from dos2 cartoonish people.

-We need more choices - I replay dragon age origins again now and I'm astonished by the amount of dialogue options you get in any meaningful encounter. I feel like right now bg3 is seriously lacking at this front, and relies too much on persuasion choices. I could complete Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 with 3 charisma points and never feel like I'm missing out on something. Persuasion should be an optional choice in a game of this kind, not a requirement.

-Failing is not fun - the promotion of this game was terrible with spoilers and bad game demonstrations (I'm much more salty about the spoilers though). One of Larian's taglines was "we want to make failing fun. Well at least for now they failed miserably. It is related to my previous point, but the game is way too binary about its option for it to be fun to fail. Most times, failing leads to something bad like battle or a trap triggering and very rarely has an interesting outcome. This kind of game design practically promotes save scamming and cheats, since there are no actual benefits of falling, and what's worse is that is so much randomness involved.

To summarize, I think right now this game is harmless fun with enormous potential. Only true change in the way Larian does things would help to raise it into something more, perhaps a new legend.


Last edited by Abits; 24/10/20 11:16 AM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
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Originally Posted by Abits
Larian doesn't seem to care about the story, or at least doesn't seem to care about the story enough for a game at this scale.

The argument you present (i.e flags) in defense of this statement does not stand. Some oddities here and there does not override everything else about the story, nor show that they don't care.

As for the flags themselves, there are certainly some odd things afoot at time, but it is EA. So, at the very least, this argument is premature.

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This EA haves many problems, but lack of possibilities and outcomes isn't one of them. Not to mentioned when compared it to most of other RPG games or even recent titles.
Most arguments raised from "players" here are either players complains about not having whole backstory for the quest (like with 'Devil Hunt" and paladins or Rath) when no effort to do so was made and others are just obvious bugs and scripts not working which needs fixing.

Same goes for solutions were most of them sooner or later contradict themselves too limit player options and wanting more player options, so it ends up as personal opinion and not so much solution at all. Like companions when at the moment in EA(and it was mentioned few times by both Larian and Swen) we have like 3 Neutral (Gale, Shadowheart and Wyll) and 2 "Evil" (Astarion and Lae'zel) as theirs staring (key word here) characteristic and players are angry that there aren't and "good guys" and they treat player badly. Maybe it isn't emphasis enough in the tutorial, but theirs attitude matches beginning of this story. Where it isn't standard/normally established party with common enemy or higher moral goal, but just bunch of random people joined together by force- so using other to survive makes sense.

Even whole Astarion meeting right now isn't that bad. In coop it's just right at the moment even, your friend pretty much can just wait and see what happens or just shoot/backstab him when he holds dagger on you. In single player it's bit worse, but still you have attack option in most of dialogues and same goes for this one. Would adding some extra line make it better? Yes. Would it be game changer and have huge impact on narration, story and enjoyment of the game? Definitely no.


When your points aren't inherently wrong and some are valid they just seem premature (like companions and some quests) or lacking somewhat understanding how video games work. I encourage you here to pretty much go over other overall claimed as good story games or just your personal nostalgic ones. Then you will see how much games are behind compared to other media like books or movies and still require years of improvements in aspects like this.

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I have another example that really drives me nuts;

As Astarion or any Rogue character you can offer the goblin lady holding Volo hostage a "bag of fake gold" which convinces her she is now rich enough to buy ten Volo's, so she lets him go.

???? You just carry around fake gold all the time and never use it? ????

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Valdez - I don't know where the "fake gold" comes from, it could be something you found on the spot. It is similar to the problem I'm raising, but I think this is merely a case of bad writing.

Emrikoi and DZs7 - both of you claim my argument is not convincing enough, which is fine, but I would be glad if you actually address any of the points I raised to support the argument and explain why they aren't convincing you, otherwise it's very hard for me to respond your criticism. Specifically part 3 of my post.

I could go through a whole playthrough of dos2 and bring you more examples, but i have 2 concerns:
1. I really don't want to play this game again
2. I wonder whether this would even help to convince you.
Since we are at least a year away from full release, our only indication is what Larian has done in the past, especially with dos2, the only other game Larian developed and had EA for it.

You are right, we can't know for sure Bg3 will be the same. The thing is, if I'm wrong, no harm caused. If I'm right, by the time we'll know it for sure it will be too late to change things. My criticism of dos2 is not of the ea of dos2, but if the full game. And even if it is really only a scripting bug, if it's something that Larian does in all of its games, if we don't raise awareness for it, even if every wrong dialogue in the ea will be fixed nothing stops the rest of the game from being plagued by this issue ( this is the case with dos2 of course. I could also claim in dos2 it's worse since both the ea area and the rest of the game has the same problem).

About solutions - I agree none of my solutions are perfect, but I'm not a Larian employee and it's not on me to figure it out. If I was a Larian designer, I would first acknowledge there is a problem and only then I could figure out how to solve it

Last edited by Abits; 22/10/20 04:03 PM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
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You bring up some interesting points. What I see as the issue is that either:
1. These are "bugs" in the form of missing connections / flags that can be added.
2. These haven't been planned for, and thus even if the connections were created, there wouldn't be any voice acting to go along with it.

Probably some combination, but more of the latter is much more work to turn around. It's very easy to see where the complexity of choice makes all possible player choices very difficult to cover.
Keep fighting your fight, hopefully we'll see these improve over the next year.

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Originally Posted by Nezix
You bring up some interesting points. What I see as the issue is that either:
1. These are "bugs" in the form of missing connections / flags that can be added.
2. These haven't been planned for, and thus even if the connections were created, there wouldn't be any voice acting to go along with it.

Probably some combination, but more of the latter is much more work to turn around. It's very easy to see where the complexity of choice makes all possible player choices very difficult to cover.
Keep fighting your fight, hopefully we'll see these improve over the next year.

Hopefully. You summarised what I wrote well.


I just want to stress that me writing "Larian doesn't care about the story" is a bit provocative way to frame it. If I were to write it in a more nuanced way, I would say that Larian's design philosophy emphasize experiment and exploration. They seem to put player freedom at the highest regard when designing a game, and are willing to "sacrifice" story integrity to do so. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, I'm sure a lot of players like this design philosophy. I do wonder though (and I hate being that This-isn't-Baldur's-Gate guy) whether most BG players played this game for the same reason. If so, BG is kinda restricted and not a very good choice for this game style.


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
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1. Yeah, I'm thinking that this is, at best, an EA issue. At worst, it's something you waffle on so badly later on that I'm not sure what you're trying to say, attempting to accommodate a lot of potential player choices, including playing as one of the characters that's supposed to react to what is going on, and doesn't. The in the middle is "if you're going to be the leader of this group of misfits, you'd best be able to handle this on your own". My biggest issue with this encounter is that I've only triggered it once, in 5 runs through that part, and I had to choose to do it. Either that, or I got really lucky on perception checks... I have yet to have a knife to my throat if I investigate what he's pointing at. I did get it when I chose to just tell him to handle it himself. The other problem I see is if I'm playing as Shadowheart, for example. Will I even have anyone else with me when I meet him, if I go straight there? There are a lot of things we don't know about how this is going to play out on release, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to condemn it, because maybe the scripts and flags that are supposed to be set are disabled, and perhaps there are reasons for that that we don't know.

2. "It's impossible, but they just don't want to do it"? First you say it's impossible for them to account for every possible choice, and then close out claiming they just don't want to. This is the waffling I referred to above. Either it's possible, and they just don't want to, or it's impossible, so they can't. It can't be both. So if you think it's just that they don't want to, support that.

3. Has no effect on the rest of the game? If you kill the dreamer, or allow Sebil to before the Red Prince talks to him, it breaks his storyline completely. This does affect the rest of the game, unless you choose to leave him behind. If you've managed to do both, and Sebil talks to the lich outside Fort Joy first, you break another storyline. This affects the game, especially if you're planning to use both Sebil and the Red Prince. You can miss a lot of stuff that way.

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Larian doesn't seem to care about the story


Frankly, the moment I see something like this, I just click boots and move on. That's just a bad faith take from the get go.

If you want to shit on the game, there is no need to veil it - just say "lulz Lairan ur st00pid and ur gaem bad" and that's about it - will save you and everyone a lot of time.


Larian cares about the story a lot, because they know very well the whole project will live or die by this - this is the game that will either make them a huge ass name in RPG genre or destroy them and it's Baldur's Gate 3, they know what's at stake. You can bet your ass, they will put insane amount of effort into everything to make this one of the best RPGs of a decade, just how they put insane amount of effort in facial animations. Saying they don't care after seeing those amazing conversation facial animations tuned so much is just ridiculous.

The many oddities, glitches and other things that spite the eye at the moment will be ironed out. You can bet they will make your party members focus on the whatever thing you interact with instead of staring into the horizon and they will introduce interruptions like in that knife bit too, because there is plenty of feedback about it and it only makes sense.


Maybe try to give feedback with a little more good faith next time, instead of coming off the way you do.

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Abits Offline OP
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Originally Posted by robertthebard
1. Yeah, I'm thinking that this is, at best, an EA issue. At worst, it's something you waffle on so badly later on that I'm not sure what you're trying to say, attempting to accommodate a lot of potential player choices, including playing as one of the characters that's supposed to react to what is going on, and doesn't. The in the middle is "if you're going to be the leader of this group of misfits, you'd best be able to handle this on your own". My biggest issue with this encounter is that I've only triggered it once, in 5 runs through that part, and I had to choose to do it. Either that, or I got really lucky on perception checks... I have yet to have a knife to my throat if I investigate what he's pointing at. I did get it when I chose to just tell him to handle it himself. The other problem I see is if I'm playing as Shadowheart, for example. Will I even have anyone else with me when I meet him, if I go straight there? There are a lot of things we don't know about how this is going to play out on release, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to condemn it, because maybe the scripts and flags that are supposed to be set are disabled, and perhaps there are reasons for that that we don't know.

2. "It's impossible, but they just don't want to do it"? First you say it's impossible for them to account for every possible choice, and then close out claiming they just don't want to. This is the waffling I referred to above. Either it's possible, and they just don't want to, or it's impossible, so they can't. It can't be both. So if you think it's just that they don't want to, support that.

3. Has no effect on the rest of the game? If you kill the dreamer, or allow Sebil to before the Red Prince talks to him, it breaks his storyline completely. This does affect the rest of the game, unless you choose to leave him behind. If you've managed to do both, and Sebil talks to the lich outside Fort Joy first, you break another storyline. This affects the game, especially if you're planning to use both Sebil and the Red Prince. You can miss a lot of stuff that way.

1.fair enough. Look at my comment to Emrikoi and DZs7 a little bit above yours though since I addressed the issue you raise here.

2. Perhaps I should revise that part of the post. In short it is impossible or nearly impossible to have this much freedom big choice and have narrative cohesiveness at the same time. Larian could work harder and more seriously about it, but I just don't think it's a priority for them at the moment. And the closer we are to release the less likely at leas some of the issues would be addressed since it's involves writing directing and recording more scenes.

3. Proves my point. I'm not a professional writer and think I would be a terrible writer, but even I can think of more than one solution that would allow both Sebile's and the Red Prince's stories to continue. You might claim the game forces you to choose between them, but considering the amount not content you lose once you make a choice and the fact you can "cheat" the game into keeping them both with no narrative consequences, means that at best it's a bad writing, and at worst a deliberate attempt to increase the replay value of the game.


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I agree that the story need massive amount of work.

I disagree that they don't care just from some of the options that are worked in like Drow.

I think the issue is they have multiple people working on the story in parallel so seeing issues where stuff just not meshing up.

I have no idea if they have story directory that coordinating everything to keep the story on point. I get the feeling that it's story by committee. If they do have an overall story supervisor, they don't seem to be doing a good job at it.

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Originally Posted by Abits
Originally Posted by robertthebard
1. Yeah, I'm thinking that this is, at best, an EA issue. At worst, it's something you waffle on so badly later on that I'm not sure what you're trying to say, attempting to accommodate a lot of potential player choices, including playing as one of the characters that's supposed to react to what is going on, and doesn't. The in the middle is "if you're going to be the leader of this group of misfits, you'd best be able to handle this on your own". My biggest issue with this encounter is that I've only triggered it once, in 5 runs through that part, and I had to choose to do it. Either that, or I got really lucky on perception checks... I have yet to have a knife to my throat if I investigate what he's pointing at. I did get it when I chose to just tell him to handle it himself. The other problem I see is if I'm playing as Shadowheart, for example. Will I even have anyone else with me when I meet him, if I go straight there? There are a lot of things we don't know about how this is going to play out on release, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to condemn it, because maybe the scripts and flags that are supposed to be set are disabled, and perhaps there are reasons for that that we don't know.

2. "It's impossible, but they just don't want to do it"? First you say it's impossible for them to account for every possible choice, and then close out claiming they just don't want to. This is the waffling I referred to above. Either it's possible, and they just don't want to, or it's impossible, so they can't. It can't be both. So if you think it's just that they don't want to, support that.

3. Has no effect on the rest of the game? If you kill the dreamer, or allow Sebil to before the Red Prince talks to him, it breaks his storyline completely. This does affect the rest of the game, unless you choose to leave him behind. If you've managed to do both, and Sebil talks to the lich outside Fort Joy first, you break another storyline. This affects the game, especially if you're planning to use both Sebil and the Red Prince. You can miss a lot of stuff that way.

1.fair enough. Look at my comment to Emrikoi and DZs7 a little bit above yours though since I addressed the issue you raise here.

2. Perhaps I should revise that part of the post. In short it is impossible or nearly impossible to have this much freedom big choice and have narrative cohesiveness at the same time. Larian could work harder and more seriously about it, but I just don't think it's a priority for them at the moment. And the closer we are to release the less likely at leas some of the issues would be addressed since it's involves writing directing and recording more scenes.

3. Proves my point. I'm not a professional writer and think I would be a terrible writer, but even I can think of more than one solution that would allow both Sebile's and the Red Prince's stories to continue. You might claim the game forces you to choose between them, but considering the amount not content you lose once you make a choice and the fact you can "cheat" the game into keeping them both with no narrative consequences, means that at best it's a bad writing, and at worst a deliberate attempt to increase the replay value of the game.

I see no issue with increasing replay value. In fact, in a game with this kind of scope, I'd see an issue of not increasing replay value, which doesn't prove your point at all, but directly contradicts it. You can't "not care" about the story, in lieu of choices, ironic at best there, and still try to increase the replay value by thwarting getting all the possible permutations on a single playthrough. Yes, you can cheese the hell out of the prologue and the surrounding map, but once you get on the ship, and choose your party, you're looking at a new playthrough for the party members you didn't choose.

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Jezus fucking christ are you a novrlist by any chance? Hoe much writing did you put in that OP? O.0

To give you a short anwser: I dont think Larian doesrnt care. I think its just dialogue not coming up in order or otherwise missing.

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Okey guys, first some updates:
I added another part to the appendices, about story Vs gameplay argument. If you want to discuss it, I highly recommend reading it first.

I also revised my super duper TLDR, because although it's supposed to be a little provocative, I think you got the impression I just want to talk shit about Larian, which is not the case. I have a big disagreement with Larian's design philosophy, but I don't think they don't care about their own game or their fans if that's the impression you received.

Now I'll address your individual comments:
Gaidax - I addressed your concern above, I'll just say that I don't think it's reasonable to dedicate so much time for this post if my purpose was just to "shit on Larian". That's what the steam forums are for.

Merry Mayhem - I addressed your other concerns above, but regarding " a story by a committee" point - never thought about it like that, but it does make sense. Maybe a Kevin Feige kind of guy is needed to organise things.

robertthebard - one word I forgot to mention (which made my whole argument appear completely stupid now that I'm reading it again) is artificially. Of course I have no problem with replay value, the opposite is true. I love these games because of their replay value. But there is a good way to create replay values and there are. Stupid and artificial ways to do so.

The best and most extreme positive example is The Witcher 2. One of the choices you can make during this game can completely change the story, the location you'll explore and the characters you will interact with. And the game does it really well.

Bad examples you can find all over doa2 and based on some interviews with Larian BG3 is on the way to make the same mistakes. The official plan right now for companions in Baldur's Gate 3 is that somewhere between the end of act 1 and the beginning of act two you will have to "commit" to a party. Which means that you will have 3 party members with you for the rest of the game, while the other 2 ( and probably more) will be gone. This is artificially creating replay value. Of course, the same was true in dos2, and there it was even worse, since it actively sabotaged the story. I can talk about it more if you like.

Last edited by Abits; 23/10/20 09:58 AM.

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Originally Posted by Abits
Bad examples you can find all over doa2 and based on some interviews with Larian BG3 is on the way to make the same mistakes. The official plan right now for companions in Baldur's Gate 3 is that somewhere between the end of act 1 and the beginning of act two you will have to "commit" to a party. Which means that you will have 3 party members with you for the rest of the game, while the other 2 ( and probably more) will be gone. This is artificially creating replay value. Of course, the same was true in dos2, and there it was even worse, since it actively sabotaged the story. I can talk about it more if you like.


I remember my lone wolves run with a mate where we recruited nobody and had the entire character roster show up undead later just to scold us for "betraying" them. Good times. We fried them all.

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
Originally Posted by Abits
Bad examples you can find all over doa2 and based on some interviews with Larian BG3 is on the way to make the same mistakes. The official plan right now for companions in Baldur's Gate 3 is that somewhere between the end of act 1 and the beginning of act two you will have to "commit" to a party. Which means that you will have 3 party members with you for the rest of the game, while the other 2 ( and probably more) will be gone. This is artificially creating replay value. Of course, the same was true in dos2, and there it was even worse, since it actively sabotaged the story. I can talk about it more if you like.


I remember my lone wolves run with a mate where we recruited nobody and had the entire character roster show up undead later just to scold us for "betraying" them. Good times. We fried them all.

Don't remind me. Such a stupid story bit and a wastesd opportunity

Last edited by Abits; 23/10/20 10:01 AM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
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Originally Posted by Abits

Don't remind me. Such a stupid story bit and a wastesd opportunity



Honestly DOS2's saving grace was its co-op. Not giving a damn about the story and making up your own along the way (me and my friend blasting the universe in a mad quest for power) was a great experience despite the lack or outright absence of a narrative. I of course hope that Larian does not take this approach with BGIII, but we have no idea what the hook of the story is beyond Act 1. The only thing we need is a stretch goal like a quest to beat other True Souls to becoming the Absolute's champion.

Then again, the end of the current intro already totally ruins this by doing over DOS2's intro, lol. Saved by God because you are great, go you.

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
Originally Posted by Abits

Don't remind me. Such a stupid story bit and a wastesd opportunity



Honestly DOS2's saving grace was its co-op. Not giving a damn about the story and making up your own along the way (me and my friend blasting the universe in a mad quest for power) was a great experience despite the lack or outright absence of a narrative. I of course hope that Larian does not take this approach with BGIII, but we have no idea what the hook of the story is beyond Act 1. The only thing we need is a stretch goal like a quest to beat other True Souls to becoming the Absolute's champion.

Then again, the end of the current intro already totally ruins this by doing over DOS2's intro, lol. Saved by God because you are great, go you.

I agree completely and think this aspects are where Larian strengths as game studio shines the most. I just don't think this is the most important aspects of the Baldur's Gate series


Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
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Originally Posted by Abits

I agree completely and think this aspects are where Larian strengths as game studio shines the most. I just don't think this is the most important aspects of the Baldur's Gate series


If Larian takes the time and money (60 million euros beyond their projected budget because of EA sales) to overhaul the narrative for the whole story of BG3 in the 12-18 months they have set out for themselves I have no doubt that they will create something great. There is certainly no lack of examples; Tyranny, PoEII (for the choices, not the story) etc.

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Originally Posted by Vhaldez
Originally Posted by Abits

Don't remind me. Such a stupid story bit and a wastesd opportunity



Honestly DOS2's saving grace was its co-op. Not giving a damn about the story and making up your own along the way (me and my friend blasting the universe in a mad quest for power) was a great experience despite the lack or outright absence of a narrative. I of course hope that Larian does not take this approach with BGIII, but we have no idea what the hook of the story is beyond Act 1. The only thing we need is a stretch goal like a quest to beat other True Souls to becoming the Absolute's champion.

Then again, the end of the current intro already totally ruins this by doing over DOS2's intro, lol. Saved by God because you are great, go you.

Must have missed something? Where are you saved by a god in bg3?

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