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Niara Offline OP
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I've seen a number of people talking about how great all the meaningful-feeling dialogue choices and ability checks are, and how Larian's promise to make failure feel good, and like just a different way of progressing is great, etc., etc.,...



So...


I have to ask...

What game are those people playing and where are all of those things?

Can I have some examples? Just to reassure me as I move forward in search of them?

Because right now, I'm doing testing of dialogue and choice, and of ability checks in combat. Part of that testing this involves reloading conversations and looking at the different ways that things can play out, with different character, different backgrounds and different choices, and with successes and failures in checks, etc.... and so far (working my way through the druid grove and surrounding area still, now that I'm doing this thoroughly), I'm mostly just feeling like I was lied to.

Far, far too often, I've tracked dialogues where what you say, and what you do, ultimately doesn't matter AT ALL.

What's worse are the ability checks set up to make it look like you can affect or influence things when in reality you can't - that's not fun.

If there is no chance of success or no chance of failure, we should not be rolling dice: ability checks are called for when there exists a chance of a variable outcome, and at times where that is not the case, it's just dialogue and roleplay, no dice involved.

When I'm offered an ability check that I physically cannot fail because the DC is 1 (four or five instances so far), I'm annoyed by the arbitrary waste of time with being made to roll.

When I'm offered a variety of checks and options to try different things, but, no matter what I try and no matter whether I fail or succeed at those checks, the actual NPC doesn't budge and the outcome is the same (Give me the antidote!)... That's infuriating, because it's functionally the game mocking the player by pretending that we have a choice or an influence, only to scrub our face in the truth that we don't. Who in their right mind thought that THAT would be a fun thing?

When I have to attempt a check in conversation, and fail OR succeed, it just leads, one sentence on, to the exact same result (He's injured, I can help!), I'm left asking, again, why did you bother making me roll for something? What was the point? Character roleplay, some might say, but no - the important thing is that I tried to do it, that's the character decision and roleplay point. The fact that how well I do is irrelevant means that it should be handled as dialogue alone, not passed to some arbitrary false ability check that changes nothing, and then passed back again to the same result. That's poor design, and frustrating design, and it's not enjoyable.

When I have a variety of options to try to achieve a single goal, and each of them leads to a check, the failure of which just deposits me back at the same dialogue menu with that option removed, that's not failure feeling like another form of progression. Far too many times in this thorough comb through, failure in checks has just basically been a dead end, a termination, a "sum result as if you'd picked the non-ability-check dialogue" or a "well, that means you miss out" situation. I've not really encountered any failure check so far that has actually felt meaningfully like its creating change that is now a new way for things to develop.

There are, assuredly, lots of things we can do that will dramatically change the progression and outcomes of events as we move forward... but surprisingly few of them have anything to do with ability checks we make in dialogue.

So... what are some examples of meaningful ability check failures, that are not:

a) return to last menu sans that choice
b) result as though you'd picked the non-ability-check option
or
c) dead end/termination/'guess you just miss out', and then carry on.

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I agree with to you a large extent.

I played through full EA twice as good and neutral (surface + underdark) and as evil once (surface only). I feel like the game is very inconsistent with what it offers you in terms of branching dialogues and possible outcomes. But there are also plenty of times where the different outcomes are so well hidden that 8/10 roads lead to the same end result.

The current state of the game makes me undecided about this for two reasons.
- The first one is the number of bugs and faulty flags tied to dialogue and quests.
- The second on is the amount of story we have been presented with. We may or may not see future encounters that are very much dependent on the dialogue you chose that, at the moment, didn't seem to affect anything.

My reply is not really what you asked for, but I did change my view of this to a more positive one the more I played the game. Maybe you will have a similar experience, and hopefully new players will not be left with the same impression on full release.

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Well, for me the "miss out" option can be meaningful, it depends where the failure leads you to. My gith wizardess fumbled every roll with Shadowheart and couldn't get her to join the party. Later on

a befuddled Shadowheart joins you at the camp, implying that the githyanki artifact she is carrying is influencing her, because it wants to be 'near' the main character. I found this reveal to be quite interesting.


But I agree that the dialogue needs bug hunting and tweaking.

Last edited by ash elemental; 05/11/20 01:38 PM. Reason: Spoiler
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Yeah, it seems pretty standard right now. Cool stuff is not happening because we failed. Sadly, most games are not Disco Elysium.

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Originally Posted by ash elemental
Well, for me the "miss out" option can be meaningful, it depends where the failure leads you to. My gith wizardess fumbled every roll with Shadowheart and couldn't get her to join the party. Later on

a befuddled Shadowheart joins you at the camp, implying that the githyanki artifact she is carrying is influencing her, because it wants to be 'near' the main character. I found this reveal to be quite interesting.


But I agree that the dialogue needs bug hunting and tweaking.


I've missed that one in particular, but that's pretty much consistent with my experiences. Sometimes it's working in an amazing way but sometimes it feels very restricting (so far). I feel like you sometimes get penty of dialogue option but no consequence, and sometimes you don't get enough options (even if they'd lead to the same option). Influencing the world is of course of utmost importance, but being able to role-play is too. Hard to know in the game's current state to know if they will reach a good balance.

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Just to add my 2 cents to this, one more thing Disco does really well and i think this adds to roleplay factor a LOT, and also makes the dice rolling game more rewarding in general, is that talking to relevant people or bringing up relevant topics while doing that, accepting advices from companions or another npcs, and discovering clues (letters, books etc) matter a LOT as these all can better your odds of succeeding a check and you dont only gain bonus from proficiency and class, you actually move things forward as you play the game and explore. I think this should be managable to add to the game at this point (at least easier than trying to make failures for all cases meaningful) and i think it would make the dialogue rolls more exciting. If this is already the case it should be really rare as I did not experience this (i did one and a half walkthrough of the EA so far) or maybe when this happens is just not visible in the dice roll UI so im not aware i moved things into the right direction while doing certain things.

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I agree with you. Failure is not very interesting at the moment.
To be honest, I only wanted to fail my roll twice :

1) When meeting Astarion for the first time. I found the scene more interesting and tense this way.
2) At Sunlit Wetlands with Aunt Ethel. Since there was no roll the first time I met her, I assumed she was so good at deceiving my cleric that I voluntarily failed the check with Mayrina's brothers and when trying to find if something was suspicious. I thought it would be funnier to play it this way (this and appreciate the beautiful illusion landscape).

In other words, I like when failure is funny or change the mood.

Last edited by Asaliah; 07/11/20 01:13 PM.
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Originally Posted by Mat22
Just to add my 2 cents to this, one more thing Disco does really well and i think this adds to roleplay factor a LOT, and also makes the dice rolling game more rewarding in general, is that talking to relevant people or bringing up relevant topics while doing that, accepting advices from companions or another npcs, and discovering clues (letters, books etc) matter a LOT as these all can better your odds of succeeding a check and you dont only gain bonus from proficiency and class, you actually move things forward as you play the game and explore. I think this should be managable to add to the game at this point (at least easier than trying to make failures for all cases meaningful) and i think it would make the dialogue rolls more exciting. If this is already the case it should be really rare as I did not experience this (i did one and a half walkthrough of the EA so far) or maybe when this happens is just not visible in the dice roll UI so im not aware i moved things into the right direction while doing certain things.



This is really good in Disco Elysium, yes! Basically every RPG should emulate this from now on.

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1) Somtimes choosing different dialog options has no effect.
Of course. BUT they allow you to better roll play your character. If I am playing an a-hole and have 4 dialog choices that all have the same result, that's fine because I get to RP/choose the A-hole option.

2) You think you are given a false choice. "Give me the antidote!" Well in that set of dialogs you are able to use multiple skills depending on what your character is better in (Persuasion, intimidation, deception) and there is a path that leasd to her giving you the cure without having to kill her. So it's not a false choice.

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Not every dialogue chain leads to interesting results all the time, though I did have a pretty fun surprise when I failed to escape Priestess Gut due to a hilariously bad string of rolls.

That is one quite good example of failure making things more interesting.

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Failure almost never does anything interesting in this game so far, sadly.

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This post hit the nail on the God damn head my boy! This is the kind of feedback I come here for. I will be looking into some of these as well. Thanks for being a part of the team!

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Originally Posted by RumRunner151
1) Somtimes choosing different dialog options has no effect.
Of course. BUT they allow you to better roll play your character. If I am playing an a-hole and have 4 dialog choices that all have the same result, that's fine because I get to RP/choose the A-hole option.


Yes, and as I suggested in the original post, when it is about role play characterisation, but ultimately leads to the same result one sentence on regardless, there should be no rolling or skill checks involved; there was no variable outcome. Too often, this is not the case, currently - you are asked to make skill checks which do not actually matter in the slightest, and that's poor design.

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2) You think you are given a false choice. "Give me the antidote!" Well in that set of dialogs you are able to use multiple skills depending on what your character is better in (Persuasion, intimidation, deception) and there is a path that leads to her giving you the cure without having to kill her. So it's not a false choice.


Ah, so, for the record, could you tell me exactly which series of choices and in which order do succeed in convincing her to hand it over and letting you walk out? Between several chsracters I've tried most of the permutations, with significant reloading to check the successes on the string of requested checks...

This is, also, an unfortunately repeated issue and another piece of terrible, unsatisfying design.

If I were a player, and asked my dungeon master to attempt something a reasonable player might attempt to do, and they nodded and asked me to make a skill check, that's fine. If I succeed their check, and their response is to narrate for one line and then ask for another check... and when I succeed that one, to narrate for another line and ask for another check... that's utterly shitty dm behaviour, and the worst kind of outcome railroading. It's the kind of behaviour that makes players pack up their dice, because what's the point of them? Progressive checks are a valid tool, but there's a key difference between progressive checks and what Larian are using here and in other places:

A single failure at any point, leads to the fail state, identical in every way no matter how far along the situation went before hand, as though the player had just selected the other option from the outside. That's terrible design. It's not satisfying for the player; rather the player is left feeling like their choice is more of a false one, because the dm super-really-actually needs you to choose the thing they want you to choose, and will keep making you check against it until you fail and they can feel justified in giving you what they wanted to happen. Why is the player even given a choice in that situation?

If it's feasible, let it be feasible with a check, and if they pass, they pass - make it a very hard check if it's supposed to be very hard. Don't just make them check again and again until they fail something and give you the *excuse* to return them to the desired course of action.

If you're aiming for a progressive check, make it a progressive check; the first check changes the situation, meaning that a failure at the second check either has a different outcome than not trying at all, or it degrades the situation but allows further attempts. Each check in a progressive check must actually tangibly change the situation. The string checks we have right now in several places do not do this.

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Originally Posted by Niara

Ah, so, for the record, could you tell me exactly which series of choices and in which order do succeed in convincing her to hand it over and letting you walk out? Between several chsracters I've tried most of the permutations, with significant reloading to check the successes on the string of requested checks...

For the record, I agree with what you are saying, I am just not convinced it's as widespread as you seem to imply. From my literally dozens of conversations with her, I don't think it matters which option you pick so long as you pass 3 successive ones which is lame. I know for a fact in my latest attempt to solo the game with no cheese that my 8 CHR cleric high-rolled all 3 as intimidation and she is still alive as is he.

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You may be right that it isn't quite as 'everywhere' as I feel like it is... but the truth is, as a person giving feedback, it's prevalent enough for me to feel like it is, and to end up saying this as a result; that in itself is a problem.

I'm quite sure I've had at least a couple of triple-success in that conversation, that have still ended with her telling me there's nothing I can say, and reducing my options to attacking her or leaving.

The most satisfying outcome I've managed so far is to accept that she is determined to stay her course, pickpocket the antidote from her and sneak out the back door to take it. Alternately, fighting her when she turns violent after you cure yourself, and knocking her out... and trusting that they'll improve the way knocked out npcs are handled in the future. One thing I've not tried yet are just accepting her choice, sneaking out the back, and then coming around and brewing the antidote myself, without stealing hers... so I don't know if she'll still go hostile if I do that, yet. Still: I'll accept that you're right about the antidote conversation, though that does just put it in the same category as the bad dm railroading (like squashing the tadpole, but worse) that I mentioned above.


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