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Originally Posted by Uncle Lester
Originally Posted by guy
I actually liked that alot, minsc and aerie.

But aerie still wasn't dynaheir... Weird cleric mage build...
That is beside the point


Yeah, I liked that too. I actually had both on my recent run, despite not liking Aerie (she was still the best fit for my neutral/good run lacking another mage). And she's actually a pretty solid caster, with Vecna's and some trinkets she's a spellslinging beast. Admittedly suffers a bit from slower spell progress.

(Sorry for continuing off-topic. :P )

Back to something more on topic, these are the kinds of relationships I'd love to see more of. Minsc being protective over his new witch, Jan and Mazzy's conversations that start with her losing her poise in annoyance and end with her being surprised at Jan's surprisingly thoughtful point to his story, a humourous one of Mazzy making Valygar her "squire", Jaheira and Mazzy "mothering" Aerie... and those are just the positive interactions (and not all of them).



Exactly.
Story and plot like that, and all those companion features that were more than just sex and player love - that is what made BG so great. All the attention to the details

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The fact that this post packed with bigotry and homophobia has seen involvement a few times from one community manager and from one official moderator and still isn't locked is pretty gross.
OP needs some time off of the internet.


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every time I read a thread like this I remember that video games were a mistake

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Originally Posted by alice_ashpool
every time I read a thread like this I remember that video games were a mistake

I hated Pong. It really sucked. I'm not sure how video games ever became a thing after so many TV sets were burnt out.

Also less of the personal/edgy comments for those feeling the temptation to be personal and/or edgy.


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Look I understand the whole "companions are too horny" I agree! I feel like there should be more interaction or whatever!

But let's not forget that during the tiefling party from what I perceived the romance was just a mere hook up! And whether you continue to pursue a relationship with that companion is entirely up to you, or if you move on to someone else or not! Since again it was a party with alcohol and different people in that environment react in different ways!

Take lazel (I forgot her name spelling)
her and wyll at the party was definitely nothing
but one night of sleeping together, she expressed that as well



I kind of hope thats what it was! otherwise yeah please change the interactions!

Another thing I want to add to this is, I like the idea of not being restricted by race or gender! Why should it be? Theres enough restrictions in life as it is, why should there be in a simple video game? If you dont want your halfling to get funky with Gale because it wouldn't suit his preference then dont. This is dnd and everyone plays differently!

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Originally Posted by vometia
Originally Posted by alice_ashpool
every time I read a thread like this I remember that video games were a mistake

I hated Pong. It really sucked. I'm not sure how video games ever became a thing after so many TV sets were burnt out.

Also less of the personal/edgy comments for those feeling the temptation to be personal and/or edgy.


Of course Pong sucked. You couldn't romance the right paddle.

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Originally Posted by A Clown
Look I understand the whole "companions are too horny" I agree! I feel like there should be more interaction or whatever!

But let's not forget that during the tiefling party from what I perceived the romance was just a mere hook up! And whether you continue to pursue a relationship with that companion is entirely up to you, or if you move on to someone else or not! Since again it was a party with alcohol and different people in that environment react in different ways!


I think a lot of folks are calling what we have 'romance' because Larian are calling it romance... if it were distinctly not so (as the Fane hook-up at the beginning of D:OS2 was not), then I'd hope they wouldn't be calling it romance... but they are, so it seems that it's what we're working with, like it or not.

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Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by A Clown
Look I understand the whole "companions are too horny" I agree! I feel like there should be more interaction or whatever!

But let's not forget that during the tiefling party from what I perceived the romance was just a mere hook up! And whether you continue to pursue a relationship with that companion is entirely up to you, or if you move on to someone else or not! Since again it was a party with alcohol and different people in that environment react in different ways!


I think a lot of folks are calling what we have 'romance' because Larian are calling it romance... if it were distinctly not so (as the Fane hook-up at the beginning of D:OS2 was not), then I'd hope they wouldn't be calling it romance... but they are, so it seems that it's what we're working with, like it or not.



Lae talks to you about entrails, but someone think this is the beginning of a "romance", okay. By the way, it was the same with Fane, only difference is that romantic pressure was exerted by player, not by Fane who did this more like interest's.


Originally Posted by A Clown

Another thing I want to add to this is, I like the idea of not being restricted by race or gender! Why should it be?



Because Astarion has a xenaphobic phrase about gnomes, and I honestly don't think his perception of dwarves or halflings is any different. "we will not offend anyone" attitude is not always good. But like you, I am against gender lock, because there are no phrases in the game that any of the companions would love only a certain gender. It will also create a lot of restrictions, too many.


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Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Look noone should be locked out of content they want to experience based upon something like the race or gender of their chosen character. If someone is willing to associate with you and work along side you, chances are there are conditions under which they would consider sleeping with you. Not always, but often, that is why workplace romance and infidelity is so fucking common. Raise your hand if you have ever fucked around with a coworker without having planned it or intended to. That is reality.

I would love to see asexual characters who aren't interested in a relationship, with anyone, under any circumstances, but if a character is romanceable they should be romanceable for everyone. That is also life. Ever found yourself dating someone who wasn't on your radar?

The easiest way to fix what is really wrong with relationships in the game as they are now is to simply make them earned. Flings are easy, relationships take work. It would be great if the game had sufficient depth and nuance that you can fuck up what you have going with another character by moving too fast or too callously, and end up alienating or even losing them. it would also be great if they made pursuing a character you were really interested in taking effort, understanding, insight, and gestures of genuine devotion. Passing up the chance to fuck them in order to build meaningful trust, respect, and appreciation. I have made a few life long friendships with women simply because I didn't take advantage of what they offered when they were feeling vulnerable or very willing but also very wasted.

I know some of you are pretty young, and there are probably even a couple of you on this board who aren't dudes, but as a guy who spent their twenties in the service and pursuing meaningful weekend relationships in every port we hit all over south east Asia, the hunt is always better than the kill. Sex is great, but its that evening of seeing a girl who seizes your interest, impressing her and gaining her confidence, having some exciting moments, then sharing something afterward which heightens the experience and makes it memorable -well, in the short term anyway. Eventually it will all kind of blur together and fade into vague impressions but that isn't the point. My point is, sex is always good but when its great its mostly because of everything that leads up to it not simply the thing itself.

And lets face it, that Teifling party isn't. It isn't great. It isn't even a party. I mean, its tantamount to fucking middle school "parties" chaperoned by parents with Lays and Pepsi in the school gym. Nothing about it feels exciting or jubilant. That entire bit is tone deaf and utterly unconvincing, from beginning to end, every detail. The devs seriously need to get out more. Hit Ibiza, Rio, the Hope opener or one of the Jupiter Island after parties at Sint Maartin or hell even Burning Man, Coachella, and Mardi Gras which are all pretty trashy and terribly overrated. These are people who just came out the other side of certain death hanging around making small talk like they are at a corporate bbq on a mandatory fun day.


This is one of the few posts in this thread that didn't make me throw up a little in my mouth or just scratch my head in perplexity, so thanks for being sensible and decent.


Quote
it would also be great if they made pursuing a character you were really interested in taking effort, understanding, insight, and gestures of genuine devotion. Passing up the chance to fuck them in order to build meaningful trust, respect, and appreciation. I have made a few life long friendships with women simply because I didn't take advantage of what they offered when they were feeling vulnerable or very willing but also very wasted.

This especially gets my two thumbs up.


Quote
My point is, sex is always good but when its great its mostly because of everything that leads up to it not simply the thing itself.

And also this.


As for making the party seem bangin', I'm not sure how possible that even is with the tools they have. Those real parties you talk about are only fun because of physical intoxication, loud kinetic music, liberating bodily movement, and sexual energy palpable in the air. I don't know that you can really simulate any of those feelings with a cutscene. Even if they tried to show characters wildly dancing or the like, it would just look comical. A stone-cold sober person sitting still in a chair looking at pixels on a screen is never going to evoke the kind of exhilaration response of a real party. I don't remember ever seeing an exciting party in any video game. It's always just gonna be NPCs standing around waiting to deliver some unconvincing dialogue about how much fun they're having, isn't it?

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Originally Posted by Niara
Player-sexuality is not to be confused with "Everyone is bi"; that's not what it is. It's a statement that IF a player finds that their personal character is attracted to and wants to pursue a particular NPC that they have grown to like and would like to feel a rapport with, then that desire will be able to be met, and the game will define itself to accommodate that.

Yes; characters in games like kingmaker have that slightly more intricate definition, because those details are defined and become a part of who they are... however, it also causes problems; suppose you are a male-preferring male, in Kingmaker, for example.... What are your options? Who can you pursue attraction to? One character, and one character *Only*, and *only* if you're okay with breaking him up with his current partner first.... Is that satisfying? No, it's not. It's not feasible to cater to all player preferences as well as character type attractions, with hard-defined characters: you'd need a homosexual male academic scholar type, a homosexual female academic scholar type, a heterosexual male academic scholar type, a heterosexual female academic scholar type, a homosexual male roguish fortune-player... etc., etc.,... it's not feasible.

Making romanaceable characters player-sexual doesn't mean they don't *Have* that same definition that can be a part of who they are - it just means that it's not determined until *you* determine what it needs to be - it is and becomes a tangible truth, as needed. Those exact same characters can still have a 'default' written preference to follow if they aren't pursued by the player, but the player's needs, for the characters they feel that they want to pursue, need to override that. That may sound crass to some, but we have to remember that it's a fictional story being built with fictional characters; no-one's personal will or freedom is being taken away or denied by doing this.

Ultimately, it's about asking who the game is for: is it for the players, or is it for the world-authors? As a DM, your game world should be for your players - not the other way around. In tabletop, even if you hard define a character's preferences as part of your world, it's softer, since you can still supply alternatives and other options for your players... in a video game, that isn't as feasible at all; we have a limited selection of options, and that's all we have. They *Must* be able to be what players need them to be, because they are our only options. That means that, in a social romance setting, players need to be able to create the character they want, and then, to pursue the *type* of character personality they want to pursue, and know that they stand a chance of being reciprocated; anything less is shutting players down to a greater extent and loss of satisfaction than you could ever hope to gain by hard defining those specific details of the character. This doesn't mean that those NPCs can't have individual quirks or preferences alongside this - they most certainly can, and it can make for cute or amusing discussions! But overall, the player has to come first, and they need to know that, overarching whatever individual quirks or eccentricities an NPC has, inside the bedroom or out of it, that their efforts stand a chance of being reciprocated when they direct them towards the character they want to share that relationship with.

If a character's personal sexuality makes up such a large part of their personality and character depiction that it cannot change on different play-throughs as needed, then you have a bigger problem by far already. It shouldn't have much of an impact on the presentation of the character and development of their personality - it can afford to be what each individual player feels they want it to be, without detracting from the character, the world, or each person's individual experience of it.



Yes, all of this. Well-said, Niara. As you know, I don't always agree with your every opinion, but I do always appreciate how much thought you put into them, and how articulately you express them. In this case, though, I do definitely agree with you.

(Well, sliiiiiight issue with "As a DM, your game world should be for your players - not the other way around" but not gonna get into that. The core of your point there is still good.)

A video game, certainly, is for the players. Giving them more options is always good. Avoiding scenarios where someone feels left out of what they want is always good. I will always remember how sad it made one of my gay male friends that he couldn't romance Alistair in DA:O. It ruined the game for him. Some people may find that silly, but his feelings were valid, and not unique to him.

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Originally Posted by Tzelanit
The fact that this post packed with bigotry and homophobia has seen involvement a few times from one community manage and from one official moderator and still isn't locked is pretty gross.
OP needs some time off of the internet.



+999999999999999999

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Originally Posted by alice_ashpool
every time I read a thread like this I remember that video games were a mistake



As always, hitting the nail on the head.

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I agree that player-sexual companions need to be undone. I have never (and will never) subscribed to the belief that the artist's job is to "please the fans." Here is my case for why it is bad that companions are player sexual.

#1. People in the real world have preferences. In some cases these preferences are very strong, in others, less so. If it was "just so easy for everyone to change sexuality" then downright unethical practices such as conversion therapy would have worked and been considered a success. Newsflash - they were not and I think almost everyone can agree they were a monumental failure.
#2. Creating a world in which all of the companions are player sexual undermines this. It reduces the depth of characters, in order to potentially not upset the group of people who want to romance that character who would otherwise be locked out of it.
#3. By making it, "easy" for everyone to get along/romance each other, its not only not realistic, it is actually in some ways an insult to those who have had to struggle through those kinds of situations. Overcoming a personal prejudice is not easy and it does take time. Making it easy takes away from that.
#4. By giving characters defined preferences it adds that extra layer of depth to companions and makes them more "real." Viconia in BG 2 for example not being romanceable by an Elf made perfect sense in the context of her story. She has deep, racial prejudices against elves. Likewise, Shadowheart should feel the same way towards a Githyanki PC. Likewise, there should be strictly gay companions, as well as strictly straight companions.
#5. The purpose of people within the world is not to please you. If you go about in the real world and expect everyone to like you, or expect everyone to want to sleep with you, well, I think you will get a wake up call very quickly. I do not see why this expectation should suddenly exist within a fantasy world. The purposes of the characters within the game should not be to please you, they should be there to tell their own story. A well written, convincing companion is one who would seem to be their own character and not seem to be defined according to what you have done. They would have some prejudices that you would be unable to change. Its perfectly fine for the canonical ending for a game or a character to be one you do not like, because its not your story.

I do not believe that all the characters need to be gay, nor all the characters straight, nor all the characters bisexual, but if a character behaves in all of their dialogue to NPCs as if they have a certain orientation, that should not magically change when talking to the player. Asterion very much comes across as straight for example. He spends a lot of time hitting on female characters, but he does not provide the same attention to male characters. If Asterion is not straight, he needs a pretty damn convincing reason as to why he behaves differently to the PC in contrast to how he reacts to the rest of the world.

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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

As for making the party seem bangin', I'm not sure how possible that even is with the tools they have. Those real parties you talk about are only fun because of physical intoxication, loud kinetic music, liberating bodily movement, and sexual energy palpable in the air. I don't know that you can really simulate any of those feelings with a cutscene. Even if they tried to show characters wildly dancing or the like, it would just look comical. A stone-cold sober person sitting still in a chair looking at pixels on a screen is never going to evoke the kind of exhilaration response of a real party. I don't remember ever seeing an exciting party in any video game. It's always just gonna be NPCs standing around waiting to deliver some unconvincing dialogue about how much fun they're having, isn't it?



I have to admit that is where I run up against my own limitations. The difficulty with video games is that while they are not as passive as traditional mediums such as film and literature they are still incredibly static. Everything is hovering in an animation loop awaiting player interaction. I don't have even the beginning of a solution to this. I am simply hopeful that my limitations are personal and that someone more clever than I can discover a solution to that which I can only see the deficiencies.

That is why I entrusted you my proxy plus one Snake Lady. You are far more clever than me though we share similar passions and perspectives. I haven't bothered to keep track of the times I have framed a response only to find you beat me to it. Hopefully someone out there will surprise us both

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Originally Posted by Sharp
I agree that player-sexual companions need to be undone. I have never (and will never) subscribed to the belief that the artist's job is to "please the fans." Here is my case for why it is bad that companions are player sexual.

#1. People in the real world have preferences. In some cases these preferences are very strong, in others, less so. If it was "just so easy for everyone to change sexuality" then downright unethical practices such as conversion therapy would have worked and been considered a success. Newsflash - they were not and I think almost everyone can agree they were a monumental failure.
#2. Creating a world in which all of the companions are player sexual undermines this. It reduces the depth of characters, in order to potentially not upset the group of people who want to romance that character who would otherwise be locked out of it.
#3. By making it, "easy" for everyone to get along/romance each other, its not only not realistic, it is actually in some ways an insult to those who have had to struggle through those kinds of situations. Overcoming a personal prejudice is not easy and it does take time. Making it easy takes away from that.
#4. By giving characters defined preferences it adds that extra layer of depth to companions and makes them more "real." Viconia in BG 2 for example not being romanceable by an Elf made perfect sense in the context of her story. She has deep, racial prejudices against elves. Likewise, Shadowheart should feel the same way towards a Githyanki PC. Likewise, there should be strictly gay companions, as well as strictly straight companions.
#5. The purpose of people within the world is not to please you. If you go about in the real world and expect everyone to like you, or expect everyone to want to sleep with you, well, I think you will get a wake up call very quickly. I do not see why this expectation should suddenly exist within a fantasy world. The purposes of the characters within the game should not be to please you, they should be there to tell their own story. A well written, convincing companion is one who would seem to be their own character and not seem to be defined according to what you have done. They would have some prejudices that you would be unable to change. Its perfectly fine for the canonical ending for a game or a character to be one you do not like, because its not your story.

I do not believe that all the characters need to be gay, nor all the characters straight, nor all the characters bisexual, but if a character behaves in all of their dialogue to NPCs as if they have a certain orientation, that should not magically change when talking to the player. Asterion very much comes across as straight for example. He spends a lot of time hitting on female characters, but he does not provide the same attention to male characters. If Asterion is not straight, he needs a pretty damn convincing reason as to why he behaves differently to the PC in contrast to how he reacts to the rest of the world.



I always like your posts, Sharp, even when I don't agree with them. You make good arguments and don't peddle in nonsense. (I do peddle in nonsense sometimes, but I still like people who don't.) You bring up lots of good points here, and I don't have much in the way of specific counters to what you've said. Yet I still don't agree with your conclusion (that playersexual companions need to be undone).

You talk a lot here about realism, it's kind of your central thesis as I can tell. But I don't know that we need realism in a fantasy video game. I mean, the word fantasy is right there. I dunno about you, but in my fantasies, everyone I'm attracted to is also attracted to me. I don't sit and fantasize about someone saying, "Sorry, I'm not into you." Also video game. Which is a form of entertainment, right? So when you say the purpose of "people" in the "world" is not to please you, I think maybe it kind of is? In a video game? Now of course different people will be "pleased" by different things, and it's impossible to please everyone. So I think they have to try to assess which option pleases more people. And I don't know which one it is. But it might be playersexual characters, mightn't it?

I don't find your statement about Astarion very convincing, either. So you have this group of six people, and Astarion doesn't show attraction to two of the men, but he can show attraction to the third man. You think he needs a "pretty damn convincing reason" for this? Couldn't he, like, just not be attracted to Gale and Wyll? Maybe he's attracted to the PC because you're the leader, because you're calling the shots and he thinks that's hot. Maybe he's actually just trying to manipulate the PC via sexuality, that would very much fit his personality and backstory, I think. Vampires gonna seduce, when there's a possible benefit in it for them.


But the main reason I'm responding to this is to ask you what you think about the idea that Niara talked about in her post. This one: https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=741951#Post741951 Did you read that one? I'd cheekily call it the Schrödinger's Sexuality concept. They are potentially both sexualities, but neither one for certain. The characters aren't necessarily bisexual, it's just that their sexuality is not known until the player makes their character. Like there are alternate realities for each playthrough, and in some of them, the characters are attracted to men, and in other ones, they are attracted to women.

Now I understand that, as you say, this makes the characters less deep, but I don't think it's significantly so. Unless they are going to make the character's sexuality a big plot point and have a bunch of conversation about it. But usually people don't like it when they do that, so I doubt they would, even if the characters did have fixed sexuality. So even if they, say, made Astarion purely heterosexual, how is that going to actually impact the story? Probably not much, I'd think.

So my conclusion is that the benefit you get from giving the characters fixed sexualities is smaller than the benefit you get from offering players more options. Your points are all very solid, but I think we just weigh the relative value of realism differently in the context of a fantasy video game. Which is cool. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on what Niara said, mostly.

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Dial up the romance.

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This is a complicated issue. On one hand it is true that people have fixed preferences. But in the other, when you do that youvend with 1 female straight, another bisexual, one male straight and another bixesual.

And then, people would create mods so you can get the romance anyway. Making the characters "playersexual" is just opening from the begining the option for people who doesn't want to bother with mods.

Now, what would make it more inmersive/create a clear sensation of the NPC's sexuality and preferences is banter and past history. We hear Astarion flirt with Gale and, apparently, Jaezel comment on Astarion being good at sex. That makes him bi or pansexual. He should hit on the MC before the party if he is going to offer them, but him flirting with everyone is who he is.

Wyll is clearly interested in Laezel. But that should block him from being with MC. On the other hand, we know nothing about Shadowheart excepto that she didn't liked Gale whrn they met. Gale seems straight, because Mystra and Shadowheart are both women. For him to be with a man, a conversation ir comment needs to happen, either acknowledging that MC is the first man he is attracted to or mentioning past lovers. The point is that you can make the full group bisexual or pansexual, but it works better if it is woven in the story

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Originally Posted by alice_ashpool
Dial up the romance.



We demand more sexy dials.

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Originally Posted by DistantStranger

Originally Posted by Firesnakearies

As for making the party seem bangin', I'm not sure how possible that even is with the tools they have. Those real parties you talk about are only fun because of physical intoxication, loud kinetic music, liberating bodily movement, and sexual energy palpable in the air. I don't know that you can really simulate any of those feelings with a cutscene. Even if they tried to show characters wildly dancing or the like, it would just look comical. A stone-cold sober person sitting still in a chair looking at pixels on a screen is never going to evoke the kind of exhilaration response of a real party. I don't remember ever seeing an exciting party in any video game. It's always just gonna be NPCs standing around waiting to deliver some unconvincing dialogue about how much fun they're having, isn't it?



I have to admit that is where I run up against my own limitations. The difficulty with video games is that while they are not as passive as traditional mediums such as film and literature they are still incredibly static. Everything is hovering in an animation loop awaiting player interaction. I don't have even the beginning of a solution to this. I am simply hopeful that my limitations are personal and that someone more clever than I can discover a solution to that which I can only see the deficiencies.

That is why I entrusted you my proxy plus one Snake Lady. You are far more clever than me though we share similar passions and perspectives. I haven't bothered to keep track of the times I have framed a response only to find you beat me to it. Hopefully someone out there will surprise us both



I appreciate the compliments, DS. You're in my top five around here. For some other good posts, check out Braxton, alice_ashpool, Sharp, and Niara. They're the rest of my favorites, along with you.

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Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
You talk a lot here about realism, it's kind of your central thesis as I can tell. But I don't know that we need realism in a fantasy video game. I mean, the word fantasy is right there. I dunno about you, but in my fantasies, everyone I'm attracted to is also attracted to me. I don't sit and fantasize about someone saying, "Sorry, I'm not into you." Also video game. Which is a form of entertainment, right? So when you say the purpose of "people" in the "world" is not to please you, I think maybe it kind of is? In a video game? Now of course different people will be "pleased" by different things, and it's impossible to please everyone. So I think they have to try to assess which option pleases more people. And I don't know which one it is. But it might be playersexual characters, mightn't it?


I'm sorry to cut this right out of its context but I really think this hits the heart of the argument: I don't play video games for erotic or fetish fantasies. I don't watch tv shows for fetish purposes either. I don't read books for it either. It's not the kind of entertainment I want. It's not the kind of "fantasy" I want.

Honestly, there is a big problem with how rpgs have come to be burdened with an expectation of appealing to fetishes with their "romances" these days. It's the video equivalent of blatant panty shots and ridiculous boobiting in anime. I think alice was right in invoking the Miyazaki meme but maybe not for the same reason as you. There's always been this weird, toxic fetish culture part of nerd culture but I certainly do not think it is what most people approach the media, whether anime or video game, for. It just gets a lot of attention because it's what people who spend an unhealthy amount of time on the internet obsessing about media clamour for.

I don't need a video game waifu. I don't need the game to fuel my fetishes. I don't need constant sexual fan service. I don't need characters to be defined by being vehicles for my sexual fantasies. I think media suffers and becomes less good from having these as pillars of their design philosophy.

I want strong characters. Strong characters does not mean characters with muscle mass or 12+ in their Strength attribute. Strong characters mean characters with a well defined, realistic characterisation, the more depth the better. I want characters that have their own goals and aims, and that don't just lull around behind the PC regardless of what you do. I don't want characters that bend around your character like spineless sea churning.

The main problem as I see it isn't that just that the characters are player-sexual. This would in itself be a weakness of characterisation, but can be overcome with good writing (something Larian lacks). The main problem is that they are hyper-player-sexual. They're throwing themselves at the player like cats in heat, like I was actually playing an hentai harem-collecting game instead a high fantasy adventure. It's not exciting, it's certainly not romantic, and it's not even enrousing. It's laughable. These aren't characters. These are vehicles. These are anime panty-shots. The only word that can describe it is cringeworthy.


Optimistically Apocalyptic
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