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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
As for characters... I have to agree, with the exception of Varric. Varric is possibly my favourite character from the series. I won't forgive DA2 for what it did to Anders though. I liked him in Awakening and then... yeah. Aveline was ok if bland and Merrill was tolerable if stupid.

I used to say exactly the same thing about Anders until I replayed Awakening earlier in the year and found I didn't like him nearly as much as I remembered. Maybe it's because that depiction of him in DA2 had contaminated his character forever, but it felt more a case of "yeah, now I know what you're about". I now feel that they didn't change his personality, they just expanded on what was already there.

I liked most of the other characters in DA2; perhaps Merrill more than most in that I understood that general vibe of being good at something but lacking the common sense and general life experience to know whether or not it's worth pursuing and alienating everyone in the process. ahem. The one who irritated me the most was Isabela who seemed to be both pointlessly and implausibly flaky.


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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
When I'm talking to NPCs in Baldur's Gate 3, I often get these strong Dragon Age: Origins vibes. I love it.


If only we could have Shale back devil

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Originally Posted by Verte
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
When I'm talking to NPCs in Baldur's Gate 3, I often get these strong Dragon Age: Origins vibes. I love it.


If only we could have Shale back devil


Oh, man, I loved Shale!

Know what would be cool? In FR canon, Minsc was petrified for a bunch of years, and that's why he's still alive now. And many people think he's gonna be a companion in BG3. I kinda wish we could get Minsc AS A STATUE in this game. Animated, of course. It would be like Minsc-Shale.

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Originally Posted by vometia
Originally Posted by Sordak
And then in the actual game it was ye olde england all over again.

It was pretty much entirely described as such though. Feudal, wet and smells of dog. They even got in a dig at our food. Sigh.

Don't forget the cooking: "put everything into a pot, cook until a uniform grey" smile
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
As for characters... I have to agree, with the exception of Varric. Varric is possibly my favourite character from the series. I won't forgive DA2 for what it did to Anders though. I liked him in Awakening and then... yeah. Aveline was ok if bland and Merrill was tolerable if stupid.

Originally Posted by Dexai
...Every character is an unsympathetic cardboard cut-outs. Companions are blatantly designed for the sake of shippers and fetishists. But most importantly: Nothing you do in the game matters. Not only is the game 100% on rails, you're not even the conductor. Your character drives not a single moment of the plot. Nothing important happens because you choose to do something. You're only ever responding two what the real players of the story do....

The characters in DAII were the best written in the series to me, better on average than in Mass Effect I'd go so far as to say, they all have a 'fatal flaw' that undoes them but which they strive to overcome, very Romantic, and unlike in most wish fulfillment rpg stories, not all of them succeed. I wish more games had the guts to do that to you.

I also think that a character like Anders has become much more interesting in our current culture, considering we're all having a national dialogue on the nature of Justice.
Originally Posted by vometia
Originally Posted by vyvexthorne
I replay DA:O quite a lot. I often just play through each of the origin stories instead of completing the full game. Mini origin runs.
I've now played through DA:I two times. There is a lot of tedium but it's tedium I don't mind. I get the exact same feeling from Mass Effect: Andromeda. It's not great but it keeps me occupied and I can find some enjoyment in it.

Inquisition I liked but it did suffer from the same thing as ME did from ME2 onwards, it was a bit too actiony and having to go through the various boss' shields and biotics and what-not was a tedious grind. Andromeda was okay, it just lacked some polish and it was obvious it'd been abandoned before it'd even launched.

Andromeda and Inquisition both feel like first drafts to me, Andromeda much more so, but in both they seem to have taken the first idea and because of time constraints just run with it without refining it, or linking it thematically with everyone's story.

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Originally Posted by vometia
I used to say exactly the same thing about Anders until I replayed Awakening earlier in the year and found I didn't like him nearly as much as I remembered. Maybe it's because that depiction of him in DA2 had contaminated his character forever, but it felt more a case of "yeah, now I know what you're about". I now feel that they didn't change his personality, they just expanded on what was already there.


Oh no... I do intend to replay DA:O (though not very soon, I have a massive backlog). I wonder if I'll have the same impression.

In general, I liked the whole story with Justice and Anders saving a spirit friend... I'd also be ok with his character struggle being the Vengeance thing. Just not... most of what DA2 did to his character. Edgy terrorist, basically.

Originally Posted by vometia
I liked most of the other characters in DA2; perhaps Merrill more than most in that I understood that general vibe of being good at something but lacking the common sense and general life experience to know whether or not it's worth pursuing and alienating everyone in the process. ahem. The one who irritated me the most was Isabela who seemed to be both pointlessly and implausibly flaky.


I liked how Varric cared for Merrill and arranged for her to not be mugged, haha. It was a nice bit.

Isabela was the only companion in DA2 I didn't have good relation with (almost no interaction). Which bit me in the end, because having high friendship with her (and doing her companion quest?) allowed Hawke to sell her out... I was so salty I coudn't do it.

Originally Posted by Sozz
The characters in DAII were the best written in the series to me, better on average than in Mass Effect I'd go so far as to say, they all have a 'fatal flaw' that undoes them but which they strive to overcome, very Romantic, and unlike in most wish fulfillment rpg stories, not all of them succeed. I wish more games had the guts to do that to you.


Maybe I'm a pragmatist, but I'm of the unpopular opinion that obligatory "character flaw" is very overrated. I'm not advocating for Mary Sues, of course, but not every character needs internal struggles, dark past, a crippling flaw, psychological trauma, emotional drama etc. etc. I personally like strong (psychologically) characters that aren't prone to brooding and drama. Or just... fun characters.

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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
Originally Posted by Verte
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
When I'm talking to NPCs in Baldur's Gate 3, I often get these strong Dragon Age: Origins vibes. I love it.


If only we could have Shale back devil


Oh, man, I loved Shale!

Know what would be cool? In FR canon, Minsc was petrified for a bunch of years, and that's why he's still alive now. And many people think he's gonna be a companion in BG3. I kinda wish we could get Minsc AS A STATUE in this game. Animated, of course. It would be like Minsc-Shale.


Squeak! Her sarcasm doesn't match Minsc tho :P

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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Originally Posted by Sozz
The characters in DAII were the best written in the series to me, better on average than in Mass Effect I'd go so far as to say, they all have a 'fatal flaw' that undoes them but which they strive to overcome, very Romantic, and unlike in most wish fulfillment rpg stories, not all of them succeed. I wish more games had the guts to do that to you.
Maybe I'm a pragmatist, but I'm of the unpopular opinion that obligatory "character flaw" is very overrated. I'm not advocating for Mary Sues, of course, but not every character needs internal struggles, dark past, a crippling flaw, psychological trauma, emotional drama etc. etc. I personally like strong (psychologically) characters that aren't prone to brooding and drama. Or just... fun characters.


There's nothing necessarily pragmatic about being a well adjusted individual :p, But I agree with you for the most part, as a fan of comics the grimdark 90s which was so 'hardcore' was insufferable to go through, but I think a distinction should be made between stories involving trauma and stories that wallow in it, all stories are about travelling from point A to point B in order to complete a quest. If your character arcs don't feed into the overall narrative then it's as you say, a sort of writerly onanism, but if everything is thematically linked around these motifs then it should enrich it.

Related to this was the personality system that Hawke had, which depending on your responses to situations, would set Hawke's personallity from serious, aggressive, or flippant. I personally thought this was a good compromise in the era of voiced protagonist and wish it was expanded upon instead of paired down. You could make a Hawke who didn't have time for this emo shit or avoided it with humor, and for the most part they didn't shower you with numbers and confetti to let you know what sort of person on the Renegade/Paragon binary you were working towards like ME and KotOR did, making you more liable to actually 'roleplay' instead of gamifying morality.

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Originally Posted by Sozz
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Originally Posted by Sozz
The characters in DAII were the best written in the series to me, better on average than in Mass Effect I'd go so far as to say, they all have a 'fatal flaw' that undoes them but which they strive to overcome, very Romantic, and unlike in most wish fulfillment rpg stories, not all of them succeed. I wish more games had the guts to do that to you.
Maybe I'm a pragmatist, but I'm of the unpopular opinion that obligatory "character flaw" is very overrated. I'm not advocating for Mary Sues, of course, but not every character needs internal struggles, dark past, a crippling flaw, psychological trauma, emotional drama etc. etc. I personally like strong (psychologically) characters that aren't prone to brooding and drama. Or just... fun characters.


There's nothing necessarily pragmatic about being a well adjusted individual :p, But I agree with you for the most part, as a fan of comics the grimdark 90s which was so 'hardcore' was insufferable to go through, but I think a distinction should be made between stories involving trauma and stories that wallow in it, all stories are about travelling from point A to point B in order to complete a quest. If your character arcs don't feed into the overall narrative then it's as you say, a sort of writerly onanism, but if everything is thematically linked around these motifs then it should enrich it.

Related to this was the personality system that Hawke had, which depending on your responses to situations, would set Hawke's personallity from serious, aggressive, or flippant. I personally thought this was a good compromise in the era of voiced protagonist and wish it was expanded upon instead of paired down. You could make a Hawke who didn't have time for this emo shit or avoided it with humor, and for the most part they didn't shower you with numbers and confetti to let you know what sort of person on the Renegade/Paragon binary you were working towards like ME and KotOR did, making you more liable to actually 'roleplay' instead of gamifying morality.


Oh, I'm not saying no stories should even involve any kind of drama - but rather that writers shouldn't see it as a "necessary for good writing" checkbox. Same with character development - it's widely believed that if "a character is the same as it was in the beginning of the story, it's bad writing". With which I completely disagree. (Of course, there's also the matter of the definition of "character development". I'm not saying characters should learn absolutely nothing from their experiences - but some great shift in personality/views should be reserved for the stories where it actually has merit.)

I do like stories which have subtle thematic connections between the main characters. Though it's hit or miss for me when it comes to the execution - as much as I love Brandon Sanderson's work and The Stormlight Archive in general - I can't stand the ridiculous amounts of emotional drama and trauma all the protagonists go through. It's very clearly the theme of the series (when it comes to main characters), but it's something I suffer through while rolling my eyes every time a character has a mental breakdown (read: often). Especially disappointing that the author had previously written about how it's not fun to read such stuff. (To paraphrase in short.)

I did have my Hawke sarcastic. But the dialogue wheel was a huge step back, along with voiced protagonist. It kind of worked for Hawke since it was "half-origin" (so to speak), but I still found most of the "nice" and "aggresive" options quite caricatural. Of course, it's still better than to only have "good" and "evil" choices...

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Originally Posted by Sozz
Originally Posted by Warlocke
Originally Posted by Rhobar121
The problem for me with DA2 is how much hp the mobs have in relation to the damage the team is doing.
The fights aren't even tough, I'd say most of the deaths in DA2 were caused by friendly fire.


I think that along with the waves mechanic was honestly just an attempt to pad out the game time. DAO is a loooong game. DA2 is less so, which is understandable considering the truncated production. DA2 was only about 70 hours for me as opposed to the well over 100 hours for a DAO playthrough, but I would have been more than okay with a 40 to 50 hour game with better designed encounters. I imagine BioWare / EA thought many of their fans might feel cheated, though.


This I think speaks a lot to the MMO-ification of CRPGs these days, just inflate your characters stats and then make the mob's hp goes up to match it, while the mechanics never really change. This was all I could think about with DA:Inquisition which was just "watching cooldowns the game".

DA:2 clearly was rushed out the door, (in traditional black isle fashion) but they still prioritized the story which is also what I prioritize in these games so I wasn't too bothered by lack luster combat or the reused dungeon assets.



I wouldn't say MMOs did that. It was happening before 99.

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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Originally Posted by vometia
DA2 was much more tolerable by turning the difficulty down to easy: normal/hard just makes it more tedious


I think I did that with Inquisition; as much as I hated the transition to action in 2, it's Inquisition that made me truly frustrated. Especially that I heard they'd brought back "tactical" view... only for it to be possibly the poorest port from console I've ever seen, the controls dreadful and the combat MMO-like. I loved the combat in DA:O, it reminded me of BG2.


Origins was designed to be a spiritual successor to BG and BG2.

Inquisition was not. And it's tactical camera was shit. I really like the game, but by god porting FROM console to PC is the absolute best way to f up your combat system and camera controls. Oh and the UI. UI for console game is usually tripe.

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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Oh, I'm not saying no stories should even involve any kind of drama - but rather that writers shouldn't see it as a "necessary for good writing" checkbox. Same with character development - it's widely believed that if "a character is the same as it was in the beginning of the story, it's bad writing". With which I completely disagree. (Of course, there's also the matter of the definition of "character development". I'm not saying characters should learn absolutely nothing from their experiences - but some great shift in personality/views should be reserved for the stories where it actually has merit.)
So what you're saying is that well written characters are good and poorly written characters are bad, I can agree, if you're writing characters just as a flaw to artificially add drama to a story, that's a problem.
As a fan of Star Trek you'll find no argument from about 'character development' being necessary for a story, Star Trek is a show about ideas, it's about the interplay of philosophies and how men and women of reason deal with problems, that said if a character from Star Trek doesn't change after years on the frontier of space, that's development in itself, it takes a lot of effort not to change too. I'm also a fan of Star Wars, which is all about a fantasia and the heroes who hero in it, if the characters in Star Wars didn't grow and develop during the course of their quest, then the story being told is a big waste of time.

Dragon Age II has an A plot and B plot, 'A' plot is about the Hawke family's struggle to make it in Kirkwald, 'B' plot is about the growing tensions between first the City and the Qunari then the Templar's and the Mages. 'A' plot requires character development because it's story about characters, 'B' plot doesn't, because it's a story about conflicting ideas, how your MC interacts with B plot should, if written well, be informed by his 'A' plot development.
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
I do like stories which have subtle thematic connections between the main characters. Though it's hit or miss for me when it comes to the execution - as much as I love Brandon Sanderson's work and The Stormlight Archive in general - I can't stand the ridiculous amounts of emotional drama and trauma all the protagonists go through. It's very clearly the theme of the series (when it comes to main characters), but it's something I suffer through while rolling my eyes every time a character has a mental breakdown (read: often). Especially disappointing that the author had previously written about how it's not fun to read such stuff. (To paraphrase in short.)
I think we're talking about the difference between drama and melodrama, a melodrama is about empathetically connecting with a fatalistic narrative, drama is about a struggle against fate...I'm making that up, but it sounds good...right?
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
I did have my Hawke sarcastic. But the dialogue wheel was a huge step back, along with voiced protagonist. It kind of worked for Hawke since it was "half-origin" (so to speak), but I still found most of the "nice" and "aggresive" options quite caricatural. Of course, it's still better than to only have "good" and "evil" choices...
Don't get me wrong, I like the dialogue system in DA II more because I saw a germ of something that could make the railroaded nature of Bioware conversations more mutable. Old RPGs were about blank slates that you project you're own roleplaying onto, they're cyphers, that's their strength and their weakness because it also means the world has to treat them as everything, which ends up meaning they lack any real depth. The modern RPG takes a middle route between fixed MC and a Cypher MC by making your character a limited number of states, you don't get to make them whatever you want but you also get more interesting interactions with a world that can be written around them more, like a refugee from Ferelden or a commander in the Terran Space Navy. I could really go on about this because it's very interesting to me but it's a little off topic now.

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Originally Posted by Imora DalSyn
Originally Posted by Sozz

This I think speaks a lot to the MMO-ification of CRPGs these days, just inflate your characters stats and then make the mob's hp goes up to match it, while the mechanics never really change. This was all I could think about with DA:Inquisition which was just "watching cooldowns the game"...



I wouldn't say MMOs did that. It was happening before 99.

I'm sure HP bloat was a thing before MMOs as was the tank-damage-healer trinity, but MMOs started wagging the dog on this one I think, because they were so popular and because they're designed never to end meaning your characters are spending most of their lifetimes number chasing, so power creep becomes a feature instead of a bug.

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Originally Posted by Imora DalSyn

Origins was designed to be a spiritual successor to BG and BG2.

Inquisition was not. And it's tactical camera was shit. I really like the game, but by god porting FROM console to PC is the absolute best way to f up your combat system and camera controls. Oh and the UI. UI for console game is usually tripe.

I think I only ever used the tactical camera during the dragon fights in Inqusition. And that was mostly because they jumped and flew all over the place and it was easier to keep track of.

Inquisition is such a mess of a game, because I really like parts of it, but it always falls short. The gameplay looks and feels good for a while, until you realize how limited it is at higher levels. As an exclusively PC player, the consoleification of the UI makes me want to rip my eyes out. The levels are beautiful and feel fun to explore... for the first hour. Then you realize you have 15 more shards to look for and a bunch of quests that need to be finished at the war table. Waiting for hours of real life time to finish an annoying sidequest feels wrong on so many levels.

The main story is just one interesting hook that falls flat after another, and the final boss fight is honestly one of the worst boss fights I've ever sat through. Corypheus was such a disappointing villain. Say what you want about DA2, at least the final fight with Meredith looked cool. The Solas reveal was neat and all but then you had to pay for the DLC ending that actually set up the plot for the next game.
I like most of the characters, but then their personal quests never really feel rewarding, and most romances felt awkward too. The returning characters from previous games are completely botched (a redemption arc for Cullen but Leliana becomes bitter and cold? Really?) and worst of all, there's NO ZEVRAN CAMEO.

...I still played it for like 200 hours tho.

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To be honest i must agree with most people here ...
Dragon Age: Origins, and Baldur's Gate 3 cannot be compared for many, many reasons ...

But on the other hand, that game have its qualities ... and there is lot quality in it ... and i dont see any reason to not inspire a bit from sucessfull titles. smile

On the other hand, this adwice should be rather send toward BioWare. :-/
Cant say i didnt enjoy inquisition ... cant say i did enjoy Dragon Age 2 ... but they both dont even reach the ankles of DA:O. :-/


Short coment on my English. smile

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
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Originally Posted by Sozz
Dragon Age II has an A plot and B plot, 'A' plot is about the Hawke family's struggle to make it in Kirkwald, 'B' plot is about the growing tensions between first the City and the Qunari then the Templar's and the Mages. 'A' plot requires character development because it's story about characters, 'B' plot doesn't, because it's a story about conflicting ideas, how your MC interacts with B plot should, if written well, be informed by his 'A' plot development.


I wouldn't say a story about characters necessarily needs character development. Unless by "story about characters" one specifically means "a story about how a person changes/hero's journey". Otherwise? Imo it should be on case-on-case basis (this character is forever changed by certain events, the other has stable personality and remains mostly the same).

Originally Posted by Sozz
I think we're talking about the difference between drama and melodrama, a melodrama is about empathetically connecting with a fatalistic narrative, drama is about a struggle against fate...I'm making that up, but it sounds good...right?


Hmm... I don't know? :P I was just using a popular/everyday definition of "drama", not a "proper" one. As in "a dramatic situation" or something along the lines. For the characters it might make sense in the context of the story (they really have been through a lot of bad stuff), but for the reader it's still "incessant drama" (no matter whether the emotional outbursts are realistic and grounded in backstories, they're still annoying to read through... unless someone enjoys that, I suppose).

Originally Posted by Sozz
Don't get me wrong, I like the dialogue system in DA II more because I saw a germ of something that could make the railroaded nature of Bioware conversations more mutable. Old RPGs were about blank slates that you project you're own roleplaying onto, they're cyphers, that's their strength and their weakness because it also means the world has to treat them as everything, which ends up meaning they lack any real depth. The modern RPG takes a middle route between fixed MC and a Cypher MC by making your character a limited number of states, you don't get to make them whatever you want but you also get more interesting interactions with a world that can be written around them more, like a refugee from Ferelden or a commander in the Terran Space Navy. I could really go on about this because it's very interesting to me but it's a little off topic now.


Yes, this is something I've thinking about a lot. The Protagonist Spectrum (as I call it). I'm actually planning a long post on it in the context of BG3, though it probably won't be soon, haha. (Procrastination...)

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I've always preferred a fully voiced hero. In games where every character except yours speaks, it feels like my character is severely handicapped. The best example is the metro series, especially the last part.

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Origins has the best camera and movement out of all CRPG's I've played.

The snappy responsive mouse wheel to quickly switch between an immersive OTS exploration view and a top down tactical combat view is perfect.

Moving just feels easy in DAO.

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Originally Posted by Sozz
...As a fan of Star Trek you'll find no argument from [me] about 'character development' being necessary for a story, Star Trek is a show about ideas, it's about the interplay of philosophies and how men and women of reason deal with problems, that said if a character from Star Trek doesn't change after years on the frontier of space, that's development in itself, it takes a lot of effort not to change too...
I had hoped to use this as an example of how character arcs are not the same as character development or how a character changing over the course of a story isn't the same as a character arc.
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
I wouldn't say a story about characters necessarily needs character development. Unless by "story about characters" one specifically means "a story about how a person changes/hero's journey". Otherwise? Imo it should be on case-on-case basis (this character is forever changed by certain events, the other has stable personality and remains mostly the same).
What you're describing is like a Jim Jarmusch film, or certain slice-of-life narratives. John McClane, James Bond, and Captain Kirk are (in most cases) characters whose stories are about overcoming challenges with their character unscathed, a perfectly valid character arc. I would also avoid equating emotional trauma with changes in character, that might be what turns you off but its hardly a big part of genre fiction, which I think it's safe to say most RPGs qualify as.
Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Yes, this is something I've thinking about a lot. The Protagonist Spectrum (as I call it). I'm actually planning a long post on it in the context of BG3, though it probably won't be soon, haha. (Procrastination...)
Look forward to it, this topic is very much what interests me about videogame storytelling. I was personally let down by the interesting direction Larian took wtih DOS:II with multiple characters with their own storylines and character traits, but none of them really went far enough to feel either like a character you seriously effected, or as a character with a compelling story you're 'diving' through.

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Originally Posted by Rhobar121
I've always preferred a fully voiced hero. In games where every character except yours speaks, it feels like my character is severely handicapped. The best example is the metro series, especially the last part.


It's gotten very annoying. The reason you have a silent protagonist is so you can get crazy dialogue trees, but if everyone else is voiced you're right back to the two or three variations so they can superficially respond then put you back on topic.
To be fair a lot of RPGs have done both, I'm thinking Deus Ex and KotOR, but between the new Fallout games, and late era Bioware, it's clearly no longer a priority.

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I've never been particularly bothered by the silent protagonist mechanic, and I realize it may be basically a necessity in any game where there are simply too many possible permutations for the "main character", but at the same time I've seen very few cases that manage to make it feel jarring as BG3 does currently... And I think after a while I even understood why.

It's mostly because of all the unnecessarily long and awkward shots at our main character:

- not saying a word for seconds
- being framed by the camera for way longer than he really needs to.
- being overly expressive and having way too pronounced body language, to the point of looking like a mime/parody.
- also, quite frankly, being a bit of a wimp. Constantly acting squeamish and/or scared like a kitten at any given chance.

Last edited by Tuco; 06/11/20 06:22 PM.

Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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