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The way romance is handled right now feels kind of awkward, and as much as the game seems dedicated to giving everyone choices about romance despite their identity, the way it's implemented now seems to actually be counter to player choice. I want to be able to have a character that's best buds with Wyll or Lae'zel without them suddenly awkwardly asking to sleep with me with no lead up. The conversation with Wyll is handled a lot better than the others (he's really sweet about being turned down and it actually doesn't feel like it would make the friendship too awkward), but I still think it'd be more in character for him to try for an awkward handhold or kiss rather than immediately move to asking you to sleep with him. At the moment the characters feel like they all lose their personality when it comes to the romance section, because they all immediately decide they want to sleep with you if you're beyond a certain friendship threshold. To help this, I have some suggestions:

Make the player make the first move: A simple fix for a lot of characters would be for them to only start coming onto you after you shoot them some flirty dialogue, express care for them that goes beyond friendship, something more than just having a high enough approval rating. You could even use the "who are you drawn to" section at the beginning to maybe get a feel for which characters a player is interested in.

Make the characters varied: The fact that every companion has some variation on "wanna fuck" on the same night is awkward as hell and makes them not really feel like independent characters. The way things are right now it just feels forced. Wyll in particular is smooth and I could see him pulling that, but not right after the "I really care about you" convo. I think he'd take it slower if he were actually trying to be romantic. The weird meld of the two just feels awkward and out of place.

Let us turn romance/sex off: Some people have trauma, some people really don't want to be come onto in certain ways out of nowhere. In older RPGs this style could be fine because it was mostly text based, but now that we have beautiful cutscenes a lot of this stuff can be kind of triggering, especially in the state things are now where characters (looking at you, Lae'zel and Astarion) can be really pushy in an uninvited way. Personally I'm cool with that as party interactions so long as I can deck Astarion (see below), but there should be something in the options menu just to turn these advances off regardless of approval. Or to turn off the more passionate romance scenes. Giving players of any identity their choice of how they want to experience romance should also involve the choice to have fun in a fantasy world without being sexually pressured out of nowhere.

Leave Astarion mostly unchanged: So I know I was complaining about the immediate "wanna fuck" for other characters, but I think it makes sense that Astarion is a hoe. I just want to be able to hit him. I could see playing a character that's into it, but my first character was killed by his drain and would have wanted to deck him the moment he made an advance. That would've been a good party interaction though. Please let us punch Astarion after he kills us (or kill him, I could see playing a character that dumps him in a ditch after being revivified), and after he comes on to us, and after he blows past a "no". There are a lot of moments where he deserves to be punched (well beyond the moments we're allowed to hit him), but I quite like his character and that's all fine for his personality. On a similar note, if you do sleep with Astarion, I want to be able to punch Gale. His "nice guy" jealous lines are kinda controlling and creepy and I want similar options to put him in his place. More options for punching my companions when they're being dicks would be really nice, generally.

I don't know if this was the intent but it does kind of feel like if you're into men you have two different controlling men and Wyll, who is obviously the best in every way. I kind of like that, since both Astarion and Gale are both likeable and kind of toxic in ways that are very believable, and the actual good man is has a rapey demon patron which makes things kinda... awkward. There's a good core here but I'm a little worried the final game will miss out on what was good about this in favor of apologizing for characters who kinda deserved to be decked a few times.

So yeah, curious what other people think can be done about this, but I really think the romance needs to be drastically changed because as it's implemented now it makes your relationships with all your companions (or at least the companions you're closest to) really weird.

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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
I think it makes sense that Astarion is a hoe.

I see we share the same tastes friend. I also sometimes want to punch Astarion is his stupid gremlin face.

But also i agree with your observation that some of the intimate scenes really seem to come out of nowhere, like I was just being nice to this person because I was hoping to learn more about them and suddenly I'm being propositioned? It makes sense with Astarion, because he's just Like That, and to a certain extent it kind of makes sense with Lae'zel, because Githyanki don't have the same taboos and customs regarding sexual intimacy that many of the other humanoid races have.

I actually think it might be an slight issue with rpgs, but specifically dnd rpgs, because I had the exact same thing happen in other dnd rpgs, most memorably in the neverwinter nights 2 main campaign, when my evil leaning warlock was propositioned by the goodly paladin where he harped on about my goodness and virtue, but also clearly wanted to get into my pants. I had spent the game basically rep farming my whole party with outrageous CHA checks (beguiling influence carried me through a surprising amount of the game), and somehow he both missed all the evil shit I had been doing, and mistook my friendly conversations for flirting. The fact that your character is supposed to canonically be 17-18, and him in his 30's was also a hard no from me.

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Originally Posted by Piff
it kind of makes sense with Lae'zel, because Githyanki don't have the same taboos and customs regarding sexual intimacy that many of the other humanoid races have.

I didn't actually know this. It would be honestly really neat if that could become a conversation if you turn her down where you can learn/teach about how boundaries are different between those two cultures.

Originally Posted by Piff
I actually think it might be an slight issue with rpgs

Yeah, I agree with this, most RPGs don't handle this the best. I think Larian is trying really hard to move us into another era with this though with Divinity 2 and on trying to make everyone bi and providing options for people. I think there have been some sort of missteps here though that are starker in BG3 than divinity just because you get awkward cut scenes as opposed to vague text that you read. I'm hoping by the end of BG3 dev though this game ends up being a step forward for tastefully implementing romance in rpgs, because we definitely do not have a great history of that in games and it would be nice to see a new standard really being set.

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This is just early access, but I'm guessing that there will be romance specific dialogue to show that we're interested in the person. It would allow you to be bro without it being romantic with everyone.

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I support slapping and punching companions. I also support killing them.

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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Make the player make the first move

No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.

Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
The fact that every companion has some variation on "wanna fuck"

No??? Because you can't please everyone. Shadow, Gale, and Wyll won't offer you this unless you get a sufficient level of approval. In addition, the scene with Shadow is very innocent, and Gale even at a high level of approval can offer you friendship. And it depends on your choices! Right now only Astarion and Lae offer themselves to you without the necessary approval. To be honest, I still think Astarion has a bug. It activates the romance scene even at a deadly low approval.

Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Let us turn romance/sex off

CAN YOU SKIP CUTSCENES??? I hasten to disappoint you, apparently sex is important for Astarion as a character, for his personality, because he is obsessed with "pleasure" (maybe this will change in the future, but not now). No matter how you deny it. Gale is jealous, that's part of his personality, too. This is normal. You dont like it? Things happen. Characters are not your comfort zone, stop smoothing out all the " corners " just because you have "triggers". If everyone writes about their triggers, then there will be nothing left of the characters.

Honestly, I adore Astarion and Gale! Gale is an excellent manipulator, and the way he tries to win me over admires me. Astarion is just an asshole, but he's a hot asshole, which is a very good combination. No game has ever provided me with such a beautiful set of male characters for romance! Well, if forget about Wyll, of course... This one very bored.

Always kind, modest, ridiculous or boring male characters. The only departure from this stereotypical model I saw in Dragon Age 2, where Anders showed interest in you, and Fenris could be jealous in 1 scene with Zev. And I didn't think it was creepy, it was cute.

edit: And the biggest joke for me in all these posts, is that people always mention Astarion for non-sex scenes. Have you even tried to experience a vampire who has freed himself from the influence of his master after 200 years? You already have scenes without sex, Shadow and Gale, but no, you want to cram in a character who just isn't up to it.

Last edited by Nyloth; 07/01/21 05:19 AM.

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
No??? Because you can't please everyone. Shadow, Gale, and Wyll won't offer you this unless you get a sufficient level of approval.

Or Laezel. She always turns me down. So all of them.

Any time I read one of these posts (and this one seem super baity) I wonder what peoples experiences are like. For me, this just seems natural. You hang out with someone, you decide you are interested, you get signs they are interested and you make a pass. Right? Like real life?

And if they turn you down you just claim you were asking for a friend and hope they don't ask which one.

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.

So my girlfriend has sexual trauma and was really uncomfortable with how these scenes came up. Yeah, you can skip cutscenes, but it's too late for the ick, generally. She's been a fan of these games since BG1 as a kid, and is here for the rpg. The romance in the older games didn't feel like aggressive flirtation was shove down her throat without warning, and if it was it didn't feel as real because it was closer to reading a book. Lae'zel's come on in particular, and response to rejection turned out to be a pretty serious trigger and it felt out of nowhere since she hadn't flirted with the character at all.

Originally Posted by Nyloth
Characters are not your comfort zone, stop smoothing out all the " corners " just because you have "triggers". If everyone writes about their triggers, then there will be nothing left of the characters.

You realize that nothing I'm advocating here is actually changing the characters. Like you said, based on approval characters come on to you or not. I'm only advocating we change how that triggers so that people who will feel uncomfortable with it don't have to experience it.

Originally Posted by Nyloth
Honestly, I adore Astarion and Gale!

I like them quite a bit too, and I think the toxic ways they pursue you feel very realistic. Not everyone is perfect and this is genuinely fine. I like them quite a lot as characters and while I personally find their behavior gross at times this is not what I'm actually asking to be changed. Again, personally I wanted to be able to rebuff them a little more forcefully for RP reasons, but that was not my big complaint.

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
You hang out with someone, you decide you are interested, you get signs they are interested and you make a pass. Right? Like real life?

See how this feels off from real life is that it feels like everyone has who they're going to sleep with immediately on they're mind. If Shadowheart doesn't want to sleep with you, she comments on the fact that she doesn't on the night she would in the middle of an otherwise normal dialog. It feels like everyone has this horndog element kinda shoved in when for the most part they have more important things to worry about. This isn't bait, just coming from the perspective of someone who is more interested in party dynamics and characters outside of a potential romantic context. In the old BG games it never felt like romance was on the table at all times with every single character, which is how it feels at this stage.

It's not like this is meant to be some takedown of the game either, I realize this is early access and I'm sure it'll feel less awkward with time, just making a recommendation for where it could develop based on the issues there are now... you know, like what early access is supposed to be for.

Again, not here to put y'all in horny jail, there should just be a horny opt out for fans less interested in that element of the game.

Last edited by 7TeenWriters; 07/01/21 07:27 AM.
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I was very surprised my first run through when Astorian and gale propositioned me so suddenly. It felt off contextually, especially since I had barely interacted with either.

Gale hadn't even told me anything about his background. Astorian didn't surprise me as much because as you said, it fits his character.

Some build up would be nice, and maybe the option to turn people down a bit earlier would be good. (As in offer flirty dialog and have option to shut it down.)

Hopefully there will be more camp interactions after early release, because right now that seems lacking as I ran out of stuff about halfway through this run-through.

I also agree, it would be nice for some people to be able to toggle off certain aspects of the romance.

In my second run through I saved the Grove way early on (first round I had the big battle at the Grove and I was dying to see how I could save the Grove differently.

At that point even Astorian didn't want me. Lae'zel was the only one who propositioned me, and she scares me so I am good. I like the idea of adding some cultural tie ins for her.

BUT after that as Shadowheart began to think more highly of me she started to get flirty in the dialog. Seemed like a better build up potentially for full game romance. Said that I was twice as cute as a puppy at one point and not sarcastically.

However- My favorite RPG romance will always be in Skyrim because you can marry that cool orc Ghorza and she just kind of cracks me up she's so mean.

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My entire relationship with Astarion is just based off my character punching him in some way!

(When you first meet him you get to head butt him and when he first sneaks up on you to drain you, you can elbow him)

And I want more. Only because hes a little gremlin.

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
You hang out with someone, you decide you are interested, you get signs they are interested and you make a pass. Right? Like real life?

The problem seems to be companions skipping the "you get signs they are interested" bit; that's why players are asking for flirtier options before the party, so they can flag their interest or lack of it before the wave of propositioning starts. The devs tried to do this with Gale, but unfortunately he always sounds like he's coming on to you at the party, even if you're actually in his friendzone.

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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
Make the player make the first move
No. Never. Stop. In every game, we take the "first step", I don't like to take the first step and constantly "roll up" to the characters. I just want the characters to show interest in the MC, and not vice versa, as is always the case in games. I'm tired of it.
Agree.

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Originally Posted by Tarlonniel
Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
You hang out with someone, you decide you are interested, you get signs they are interested and you make a pass. Right? Like real life?

The problem seems to be companions skipping the "you get signs they are interested" bit; that's why players are asking for flirtier options before the party, so they can flag their interest or lack of it before the wave of propositioning starts. The devs tried to do this with Gale, but unfortunately he always sounds like he's coming on to you at the party, even if you're actually in his friendzone.

Astarion has a dialogue about the stars, where he is clearly interested in your company. It's funny, but you can also flirt with him in this dialogue, but I don't think it affects. The problem is that this dialog is easy to miss, and yet it is there. I don't think such a dialogue would be appropriate for Lae, she is very different.

I think the big problem is that people think it's "the beginning romance" To be honest, I think in the case of Astarion and Lae, it's not really about that at all. I mean thats just... Thats not... You know yea? They just... horny...


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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
So my girlfriend has sexual trauma and was really uncomfortable with how these scenes came up. Yeah, you can skip cutscenes, but it's too late for the ick, generally. She's been a fan of these games since BG1 as a kid, and is here for the rpg. The romance in the older games didn't feel like aggressive flirtation was shove down her throat without warning, and if it was it didn't feel as real because it was closer to reading a book. Lae'zel's come on in particular, and response to rejection turned out to be a pretty serious trigger and it felt out of nowhere since she hadn't flirted with the character at all.


It will soothe you to know that I also have a sexual trauma, the trauma is however, that I simply cannot get enough sex, so seeing my trusted travel companions ask to deepen their bond with me was a very healing experience for me. It is very interesting how we can have these very different experiences, so I also advocate for a "sex off" button for the other people to press so they can never have sex in their game, while I can.


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Originally Posted by Nyloth
Astarion has a dialogue about the stars.

So maybe this will be stuff that feels better when the dialog is more implemented, because for both Astarion and Gale what we've witnessed is the "come sleep with me" dialog coming after no flirty lead up. From my character's perspective Astarion drained him to death despite his protests. When my character approached him about it he shot a flirty line about wanting more and my character threatened him (this was one of the places where I wished there was an option for physical violence, dude literally kills you on accident and instead of an apology he's like "wanna go again hot stuff?"). Literally the next interaction after that for my character was the time he tried to sleep with me. Again, don't mind it from a character perspective, but if this continues to be a way he pursues people throughout the game I want the option for a punch to be my hard no.

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Just give all the charakters preferences its very strange thet all the companions wanna bang you no matter wich race or sex you have. It makes it so shallow. No work just fun.

Must everyone be a special snowflake?
cmon give us atleast on homo and and hetro.
give some depht to the charakters.
Maybe a dwarf who only dates other dwarfs? Or a drow who hates elves. you know like some good old charakter building instead of everyone is the same.


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Originally Posted by Wyrmblade
Just give all the charakters preferences its very strange thet all the companions wanna bang you no matter wich race or sex you have. It makes it so shallow. No work just fun.

I've been thinking this too. I worry they're already in too deep with the way they're going for it since it seems like they're planning on a smaller cast than older BG games. The older BG games felt a lot more real on that front, but I get the criticism that there weren't a ton of great options if you weren't a hetero dude. It seems like this is an attempt to make sure everyone has a chance to feel included, which is a good thing, but unfortunately it makes it feel like a lot of the characters sort of exist for you to romance them. Even if they stick with removing gender preferences, I really want them to have more preferences generally. It feels weird as hell that someone you've never talked to might want to bang you because you basically agree with them on the issues. Giving us ways to flirt and fail, or the characters more specific prerequisites and preferences (even if those aren't gender preferences) would make these characters feel a lot more alive.

Of course my real preference would just be for a larger cast like the older games with the whole spectrum of straight gay bi and even just 'not into you', but more options targeted at people who aren't my identity. I just worry they're too far into doing it in this style for that to be actionable feedback.

Last edited by 7TeenWriters; 07/01/21 07:15 PM.
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Originally Posted by Tarlonniel
Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
You hang out with someone, you decide you are interested, you get signs they are interested and you make a pass. Right? Like real life?

The problem seems to be companions skipping the "you get signs they are interested" bit; that's why players are asking for flirtier options before the party, so they can flag their interest or lack of it before the wave of propositioning starts. The devs tried to do this with Gale, but unfortunately he always sounds like he's coming on to you at the party, even if you're actually in his friendzone.

Pretty sure it's because it's all written like a dating sim, rather than romance in a RPG. It does hurt the whole camaraderie aspect i've come to cherish in pary-based games, but i guess making people feel fuzzy inside was higher in the priority list.

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Originally Posted by 7TeenWriters
So my girlfriend has sexual trauma and was really uncomfortable with how these scenes came up. Yeah, you can skip cutscenes, but it's too late for the ick, generally. She's been a fan of these games since BG1 as a kid, and is here for the rpg. The romance in the older games didn't feel like aggressive flirtation was shove down her throat without warning, and if it was it didn't feel as real because it was closer to reading a book. Lae'zel's come on in particular, and response to rejection turned out to be a pretty serious trigger and it felt out of nowhere since she hadn't flirted with the character at all.

[On a personal side I was a victim of sexual abuse and subsequent trauma, still I completely disagree with the "flag" system, to have a world that is fille with allerts doesn't make anything more than weaken and nweaken and weaken us, it doesn't aid the healing proccess, it doesn't gave a hand in metabolizing the scars that remain, it makes us fragile, it feeds and allows to grow the fright of any unknown situation, feeds our paranoia, let the pain, the suffer, to plant their roots deeper and deeper in ourselves, in the end flags instead of helpinf or freeing just rend us completely subjugate to past traumas]


@Wyrmblade: we live in times where the idea of not being able to do whatever we want it's dreared and thought as something impossible and feel like an imposition that mutilates our freedom (specially since there's payment involved), and no matter how the herosexuality (specialy how it's based not on dialogue but on appreciation system) makes the companions seem like groupies, even if Larian adds characters with a firm and delined sexuality they should add all the sexualities (I already hear the rumbles of people complaining because there's not a bisexual companion or a pansexual or an asexual).

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Originally Posted by Bufotenina
On a personal side I was a victim of sexual abuse and subsequent trauma, still I completely disagree with the "flag" system

I didn't suggest a flag system, I suggested you just be able to turn it off. And no, that doesn't "make people weak", don't assume what another person is going through or what is best for them. Different types of trauma exist, and frankly exposure is quite often not the answer. If this is what you gotta do to cope, more power to you, but calling other people weak for needing something else is really gross. Trauma is complicated and different people process it differently. My girlfriend is exposed to crap like this constantly and it doesn't seem to make her any stronger, it just hurts. So asking for a game to be a little kinder to that fact shouldn't get this kind of response.

The romance is implemented this way so that anyone can have an escape. The design of the romance is coddling people who want dating to be easy. If you're not gonna give them the hard truth, maybe extend the same kindness to someone who wants an escape from forced sex/romance...

Originally Posted by Bufotenina
we live in times where the idea of not being able to do whatever we want it's dreared and thought as something impossible and feel like an imposition that mutilates our freedom (specially since there's payment involved), and no matter how the herosexuality (specialy how it's based not on dialogue but on appreciation system) makes the companions seem like groupies, even if Larian adds characters with a firm and delined sexuality they should add all the sexualities (I already hear the rumbles of people complaining because there's not a bisexual companion or a pansexual or an asexual).

So yeah the fact that a lot of the companions feel like groupies right now is in fact my complaint. And you're right that people would demand not heterosexual options, and they're well within their rights to. Most RPGs are targeted pretty exclusively towards heterosexual men, and it wouldn't hurt anyone to include some variety.

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