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Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by Alexandrite
[I am now] looking forward to being able to play as one of them and see their perspective on things. I feel that will make for a richer game experience as you can "get into their heads" and figure them out more.

Will you, though? Remember, when you play AS one of these characters, you lose a lot of their voice lines, you lose all of their personal exposition, and on top of that, you are playing as them so the game will either A) give you fewer choices and take those choices out of your hands, because the origin character is their own person and would act a certain way, on B) leave you making the decision, in the full knowledge that there is a "right" choice - a choice that they would make without you behind their eyes, and that you are spending most of your time acting out-of-character for the character that you're playing... or a possible C) They'll let you make decisions, but will force you to pass high dice checks every time you act 'out of character', almost like a punishment... and we've seen some evidence of this happening already. So, are you *really* going to enjoy playing as one of your favourite companions, being heavily pressured to stick to their scripts, punished for going off it, and all the while missing out on a lot of the interaction that made you like them in the first place? Because, that is what it was very strongly like in D:OS2, and there is already strong evidence to show us that it's looking very much the same way here.

Hmm, food for thought!
But yes I am still looking forward to playing as the characters.
We may lose some of their voice lines where they explain themselves, but I'm sure we will gain others. Also, they may regain those explanatory voice lines when speaking with the other characters? Plus now having an idea of who they are, from my PC's perspective, I will have fun roleplaying the characters' choices rather than playing as how I normally would. I don't really see that as a limitation.
So yes, I think I will enjoy it. smile

Last edited by Alexandrite; 16/05/21 12:55 AM.
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[quote=Alexandrite]"

I personally have enjoyed playing my own characters, getting to know the existing Companions, and am now looking forward to being able to play as one of them and see their perspective on things. I feel that will make for a richer game experience as you can "get into their heads" and figure them out more. I particularly look forward to playing as Astarion and Lae'zel - who are both my favourite companions./quote]

I'd hesitate at saying you get to see the perspective of the Origins companions because technically speaking by playing as an Origins character you would be in control of them; my point being that you could play as Lae'zel and I assume, turn her into a 'Lawful Good' character through your actions (it would be strange if you could only pursue only 'evil' resolutions to any given situation with her), which some would argue would go against what we know of her character traits so far. The same could be said for Astarion.

It could be argued that you already see their perspectives very clearly by nature of them being companions and being quite forthright in their opinions and personalities.

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I lean towards origin character narratives currently because from what we get in the EA is seems clear that playing a custom character, or a squad of Tavs, feels like choosing to paint without the color red, the origin characters are going to be more realized people, they'll have motivations and history. The argument for a complete blank slate to roleplay onto never really sways me because unlike in a game with real intelligent rule masters, these games are only ever going to be so reactive to your decisions. This has been the direction crpgs have been going since Mass Effect(?), and I can't really complain too much about it, it can create moments of dissonance between your intention and your avatars actions but that comes more down to how well the game is creating scenarios for you to work in.

If more was put into the development of an MC's background to make them effective stand-ins to the Origin characters, then my opinion would change but that still doesn't seem like what the origin skeptics are really after.

I think a large part of what makes a video game RPG more interesting than linear narratives and even table top games is that ability to replay it, changing variables and seeing how well the world has been written to react to those changes. I'm looking forward to replaying BG:III as different origin characters and seeing what impact that can have on each distinct playthrough.

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Well, if you listen to some of the datamined voice lines, some of them are the characters narrating their own feelings/responses or how they see a situation. I've played through the game twice (well, two and a half times, the half-playthrough encountered bugs with Gale's romance which I didn't finish). So while I know the situations, I am looking forward to the characters' thoughts on them. Yes the characters are forthright in their opinions, but not ALWAYS, there is always something more under the surface of what they say vs how they feel, and it's this difference in perspectives that I look forward to. smile

That said, it's probably best to play as your own character first, and as the origin characters second, so this aspect does become enjoyable rather than stifling one's gameplay.

For example, if you watch Astarion's illithid dream scene - which is incomplete/unreleased/glitchy, but someone has datamined it on Youtube -
he dreams of Cazador and his commandments, gets told by the vision that he is worthless, then when he shakes the dream off, he wants to see HOW much control Cazador still has over him, and is curious what would happen if he bites one of the other companions. He does this not out of hunger but in defiance of Cazador, to see if he even can break the rules, to test whether the leash is still there so to speak.

In contrast, in my playthrough as my own character, I got the bite scene immediately after his Stargazing scene, which I thought fit together very well. BUT. My perspective on the bite, and my understanding of his spoken explanation "I feel weak, but with your blood I will be able to fight better" vs Astarion's perspective "let's test this theory, is he still in control of me? Can I really drink the blood of thinking creatures - and what happens if I do?"
is exactly the change in perspective that I enjoy finding out more about. This is what I hope there will be more of when we are able to play as the characters.

I don't see it as limiting my play style (I have my own player character for that!), personally I see it as an opportunity to explore the existing characters deeper, and to step out of my comfort zone when playing.
I stepped out of my comfort zone already doing the Evil playthrough (right after doing a Neutral-Good Tiefling Druid playthrough, aaaaagh) - and while it made me feel awful to be slaughtering the NPCs my other character had worked so hard to save, it was still interesting to experience the different view and different feeling I got from this path. It wasn't a GOOD feeling, but it was different, and I don't want to play the same game the same way all the time.

Also, the characters' reactions DO change with you already whether you choose the Good or Evil path.

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Originally Posted by Alexandrite
Anyway, this game allows you to ignore the origin characters if you want, and have your own custom party. You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head - or with your friends on Discord while playing together in multiplayer. That is fine.
This is NOT fine. Not even in the slightest.

You can flippantly say "You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head" but this is absolutely unacceptable to me. Not having those interactions and conversations between my PC and my companions and among my companions means the game is not a Baldur's Gate game.

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Originally Posted by Sozz
The argument for a complete blank slate to roleplay onto never really sways me because unlike in a game with real intelligent rule masters, these games are only ever going to be so reactive to your decisions. This has been the direction crpgs have been going since Mass Effect(?), and I can't really complain too much about it, it can create moments of dissonance between your intention and your avatars actions but that comes more down to how well the game is creating scenarios for you to work in.
Yes, an ongoing trend in RPGs was becoming less of an RPG and more of a linear action games, with some light RPG appeals. Definitely I wouldn't accuse Larian games so far of going full-Bioware, though, but that's an odd comparison to make.

It might be a preference, but I feel RPGs work better if we actively, and constantly make decisions about our approach and roleplaying choices. That is why Bioware morality and "choice" was, in my opinion, never compelling. If we get to do only one decision (I am good or I am evil, I am paragon or renegade) then the majority of the game is mostly passive when it comes to roleplaying. Even game with wider spectrum be dull if choices follow clear archetypes - I found Kingmaker incredibely dull as rarely I was challenged to think what my character would do in that situation - just pick line corresponding to my alignment of choice without a worry. Tyranny is another example - great first act, and after it's mostly following the path set out by out initial actions. At least we can go full chaos if we get bored.

So yeah, having my character defined the moment I start the game just isn't very interesting. Having unique alterations on subsequen playthroughts because our race/class/background is great, but not as a main characterisation. Those characters won't be as strong as Geralt or Shepard - on a simple basis of not having the entire game build around them.

Origins will be like BG3 cinematics. Yes, Mass Effect1&2 and Witchers storytelling was enhanced through use of directed cutscenes for conversations, but just slapping camera closer doesn't automatically achieve the same effect. It would take incredible amount of work to create a game with that many well-written and characterised defined PCs.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by Alexandrite
Anyway, this game allows you to ignore the origin characters if you want, and have your own custom party. You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head - or with your friends on Discord while playing together in multiplayer. That is fine.
This is NOT fine. Not even in the slightest.

You can flippantly say "You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head" but this is absolutely unacceptable to me. Not having those interactions and conversations between my PC and my companions and among my companions means the game is not a Baldur's Gate game.

I only said that in the context of not using the NPC companions if you didn't want them, and making up your own custom party of your own characters, for example to play with friends.

Of course a Baldur's Gate game is going to involve a varied cast of companions - it already has several wonderfully voiced, well written characters, with more coming.

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Originally Posted by Alexandrite
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by Alexandrite
Anyway, this game allows you to ignore the origin characters if you want, and have your own custom party. You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head - or with your friends on Discord while playing together in multiplayer. That is fine.
This is NOT fine. Not even in the slightest.

You can flippantly say "You just miss out on the character interactions/conversations, and have to have them all in your head" but this is absolutely unacceptable to me. Not having those interactions and conversations between my PC and my companions and among my companions means the game is not a Baldur's Gate game.

I only said that in the context of not using the NPC companions if you didn't want them, and making up your own custom party of your own characters, for example to play with friends.

Of course a Baldur's Gate game is going to involve a varied cast of companions - it already has several wonderfully voiced, well written characters, with more coming.
I'm not talking about the companions or the party. I would never play with custom companions when NPC companions are available. I'm talking about my PC. My custom PC in my non-custom party, where my custom PC is going to feel completely pointless and irrelevant compared with my party companions.

But also, on a secondary related note, I profoundly disagree that we currently have a varied cast of well written companions. There is no variation at all in good versus evil. As someone who would want only a strictly "good" aligned party, I have no choices at all (No, Wyll and Gale are not good-aligned; at best they're neutral). And worse, all the current crop of companions are utterly distasteful and annoying, and I would not care to go adventuring with them as my companions. I would want a full party of all good-aligned companions who are also"nice and friendly and a pleasure to hang out with. But I am also not going to be willing to accept empty-suit custom companions. So then there is no way (at least at present) for me to play the game.

Last edited by kanisatha; 17/05/21 03:30 PM.
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Originally Posted by kanisatha
I'm not talking about the companions or the party. I would never play with custom companions when NPC companions are available. I'm talking about my PC. My custom PC in my non-custom party, where my custom PC is going to feel completely pointless and irrelevant compared with my party companions.

But also, on a secondary related note, I profoundly disagree that we currently have a varied cast of well written companions. There is no variation at all in good versus evil. As someone who would want only a strictly "good" aligned party, I have no choices at all (No, Wyll and Gale are not good-aligned; at best they're neutral). And worse, all the current crop of companions are utterly distasteful and annoying, and I would not care to go adventuring with them as my companions. I would want a full party of all good-aligned companions who are also"nice and friendly and a pleasure to hang out with. But I am also not going to be willing to accept empty-suit custom companions. So then there is no way (at least at present) for me to play the game.

Yes, maybe because all our companions are now evil or neutral? Larian has already been told there are no good companions in EA, so yes Wyll and Gale are not good. They are neutral. Wait when Larian add good companions. If you specifically don't like evil characters, it doesn't mean that they are poorly written or not interesting. I'm happy there are no good characters in my party, I'm tired of them, in every game you have good characters and a maximum neutral ones. But the evil? Almost never. We also can't fully judge how well/bad they are written, because we don't know anything about them at all, except for their partial worldview.

So yes, I think we have most interesting companions. Because you will hardly find many games with evil or selfish companions, which will also be equally with the good ones. This is rare.


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Originally Posted by kanisatha
I profoundly disagree that we currently have a varied cast of well written companions. There is no variation at all in good versus evil. As someone who would want only a strictly "good" aligned party, I have no choices at all (No, Wyll and Gale are not good-aligned; at best they're neutral). And worse, all the current crop of companions are utterly distasteful and annoying, and I would not care to go adventuring with them as my companions. I would want a full party of all good-aligned companions who are also"nice and friendly and a pleasure to hang out with. But I am also not going to be willing to accept empty-suit custom companions. So then there is no way (at least at present) for me to play the game.

You do have choices - you are just limiting yourself, because it sounds like you've decided how you want to play the game and don't want to even try deviating from that path. Fair enough if that's how you prefer to play, but this is your loss, and a very subjective criticism of the game as it currently stands (EA, incomplete).

Let's agree to disagree?

I personally LOVE the fact that we do have Evil/Neutral companions right now, because the world is complex and even the Good-seeming guys (Gale, Wyll) have issues and skeletons/demons in their closets. It makes for a good story, and I'm certainly enjoying it so far. Ordinarily I might not have tried them either had the Good companions been available - but now that I have, I absolutely love them.

Last edited by Alexandrite; 17/05/21 10:18 PM.
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Originally Posted by Alexandrite
I personally LOVE the fact that we do have Evil/Neutral companions right now, because the world is complex and even the Good-seeming guys (Gale, Wyll) have issues and skeletons/demons in their closets.
Complex, really?

Though, I am glad you are enjoying thier company.

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I highly dislike pre-generated characters/origins and will never use one. I prefer creating a character that is uniquely my own. I don't mind the origin concept in itself, as I enjoyed Dragon Age: Origin's take on a character's origins.

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Honestly, I am fine with eh Origin system if enough attention is given to custom PCs as well. In DOS2 it kinda bugged me cause Custom PCs had nearly no attention. I basically played Red Prince exclusively because of that.

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Unfortunately, we have to remember that the very concept that players might want to create their own personal characters is actually a fundamentally alien concept to the people at Larian; they've had to learn that that's a thing, and it's not an idea that came to them naturally in design. D:OS2 added support for a custom player character LATER; it was not an original part of their game, and it wasn't really very well supported then - you just got the basic skeleton game with none of the variable content, and you ended up by the end with a lot of things that didn't make sense or didn't tie up, because you just hadn't been presented with the content that would help it fit together.

As a more tactile example: you have a cake to make and eat, but at the start of the bake, you are asked to chose a type of cake to make, out of five different flavours, which will substantially alter and affect the cake that you experience. Then, later on, they shrug and say "Yes, well, I guess you could choose no flavour, if you really want... Okay", and then you can choose that, and be delivered a bland, flat cake with no flavour at all because it is literally just the bare bones of what is needed to make something that can be called cake, but that leaves the strong feeling that something important is missing... and the defenders response is to say "yes, well, you did choose to have that, so you can't complain at us!"

That is what D:OS2 ended up being like... and this game design is going exactly the same way, despite promises from Larian to the contrary.

This is one of the major red flags of concern for this studio taking on a D&D game, where a monumental part of the type of game is precisely predicated on your freedom to create your own character, and chart your own, meaningful, journey... so if they do the same thing here, then as a D&D game, which it's being advertised as, it will almost certainly fail.

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Originally Posted by Niara
Unfortunately, we have to remember that the very concept that players might want to create their own personal characters is actually a fundamentally alien concept to the people at Larian; they've had to learn that that's a thing, and it's not an idea that came to them naturally in design. D:OS2 added support for a custom player character LATER; it was not an original part of their game, and it wasn't really very well supported then - you just got the basic skeleton game with none of the variable content, and you ended up by the end with a lot of things that didn't make sense or didn't tie up, because you just hadn't been presented with the content that would help it fit together.

As a more tactile example: you have a cake to make and eat, but at the start of the bake, you are asked to chose a type of cake to make, out of five different flavours, which will substantially alter and affect the cake that you experience. Then, later on, they shrug and say "Yes, well, I guess you could choose no flavour, if you really want... Okay", and then you can choose that, and be delivered a bland, flat cake with no flavour at all because it is literally just the bare bones of what is needed to make something that can be called cake, but that leaves the strong feeling that something important is missing... and the defenders response is to say "yes, well, you did choose to have that, so you can't complain at us!"

That is what D:OS2 ended up being like... and this game design is going exactly the same way, despite promises from Larian to the contrary.

This is one of the major red flags of concern for this studio taking on a D&D game, where a monumental part of the type of game is precisely predicated on your freedom to create your own character, and chart your own, meaningful, journey... so if they do the same thing here, then as a D&D game, which it's being advertised as, it will almost certainly fail.


I am not in agreement and I feel this kind of feedback is overly hyperbolic. None of the Origin characters matter...at all. You are welcome to slaughter the lot of them and just play with 4 friends, and I expect you will eventually be able to just create 4 characters yourself and use them instead. Will there still be traces of the Origin characters and their story? Sure, but they don't matter unless you choose to explore that.

To compare running the game without the Origin character info pre-setup as "bland, and flat" is to willfully ignore how much depth is built into this cake. I am at 700 hours and still have not seen everything. My most fun and memorable experiences have been with 4 other knuckheads just kind of creating our own story and making a mess of things.

As for running into things that "don't tie up" - I mean have you played this game fully? This is a world that has tons of stuff that you only see a fragment of the story. Example: The Harpy nest, there is a note that references someone running off to join a mercenary company to pay off debts. There are tons of things that reference other people's stories that you only get a little part of the whole. There is Numenera everywhere. Example: There is an entire tower in the Underdark with an absent landlord that you only see the pieces of what they were doing there and his dangerous infernal machines left running an empty tower. I thought I had discovered everything in that tower but apparently I missed like 5 things!

Damn I love this game.


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I still don't quite understand what the issue is, here.
And before anyone throws smelly boots and rotten eggs at me and calls me a "Larian fangirl", I'm not - this is the first of their games I've ever played... I just happen to love this particular game the way it is shaping up, is all. I've never played the original BG games (well, BG1 a little, and this year not 20 years ago) and I've never played the Divinity series.

Originally Posted by Niara
That is what D:OS2 ended up being like... and this game design is going exactly the same way, despite promises from Larian to the contrary.

I didn't know that. But in THIS game, it's reversed, and we are starting off being encouraged to play our own player-created character. The other Origin characters aren't playable yet. Where is the issue?

You CAN play your own custom character with or without the NPC companions.
You CAN choose to play as one of the origin characters. Probably more characters will be coming.
You CAN choose to play either custom characters or Origin pre-made characters with friends, or for example 2 custom characters and 2 pre-made characters, etc.
You can do literally whatever you want. I don't understand how having all these options is a problem?

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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
There is an entire tower in the Underdark with an absent landlord that you only see the pieces of what they were doing there and his dangerous infernal machines left running an empty tower. I thought I had discovered everything in that tower but apparently I missed like 5 things!

I friggin love that tower! So cool. I also really enjoy finding interesting places like this, and bits of lore in the game. There's so much, and so much more being hinted at that we haven't seen yet. It is far, far too early to pass judgment or to limit ourselves in play style. Just try EVERYTHING!

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The origin-custom character debate is an interesting one. I was working on an RPG where it was a mix. It was a headache to design it because i did not want to make compromises between the two system but wanted to make it as logical as possible. How it worked is you had to create a party of 5 custom characters, defining their race, stats, proficiencies (system was classless) and even their personality and interests using a similar Tag-system what Larian used in DOS2 and then the game offered logical origin stories and motivations/goals for your character (based on choices you made earlier). It also allowed to pick non-so-logical goals/origins as well, only exclude motivations which would not make sense for your char at all (as an example origin stories were usually not tied to birth location, skills or race, only in some rare cases where an origin story made sense only at a certain location in the world or by being a certain race or having a certain skill). These specific Origins & Goals/Motivations eventually would have led to personal quests and conflicts with each other's journey potentially, but the good thing was they were tied to custom choices as minimal as possible and they only opened optional dialogue/quest choices. There was a amnesiac origin story for characters who did not want to pick any origins/goals for their character - to balance that with XP they had a "need to find out how i am" questline where eventually the player was able to define who their character was before (and get the same amount of XP they would get with specific origin quests). Also, to make the game accessable there was a separate generate button where the game automatically applied a logical backstory from the list to my char created, so it gave the player preset characters basically.

Dialogue choices I designed like in Kingmaker, all kind of choices to be available and based on what you pick your initial personality (tags) either got stronger or shifted during the story. The party members also reacted to the things you said. They had an initial attitude towards you based on your race/skills/origin/equipment but that you were able to shift by picking certain dialogue choices affecting their attitude towards you the good way.

Though the project died I was quite happy with the character creator, it even generated a short texted Backstory to your journal, trying to tie the choices you picked during char creation in a logical way (similar to how Realms Beyond tied the distribution of your attribute points to your backstory) and i managed to make the initial party conversations to feel personal and sound logical despite this sandbox system.

All in all, what im trying to say is that i think a hybrid system could work, you can design appealing origin stories first and take the choices led to that origin story apart and make them separate customizable choices as possible and then allow the player to customize them basically as they wish (to a certain extent) and the companions to react to these. This is not easy and the toughest part is to only enable logical connections between these, but I do believe it can be made if designed carefully if this is planned from the start. I secretly hope Larian thought about this when they started to design their origin chars and their story/dialogue design process (especially as they do cinematics which are harder to redesign once they are set in stone) and eventually we will be able to customize our characters around these backstories as much as possible and have the best of both worlds maybe?
Just my two cents.

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My take on the origin system:

Personally, I like the option!
In general because I like to enjoy and impact a great story.
I love experiencing the companion stories, and even more so when I can play as one of them.

I usually enjoy playing a wizard, but if I create my own custom wizard that makes Gale pretty useless as we're limited to a party of 4. So if I can play as Gale, it means I get to know his story as well as 3 other companion stories which will make my playthrough much more interesting.

For the same reason I read books and watch movies, I like to enjoy a good story. And I'm pretty sure Larian's stories are better than whatever I can make up, as my imagination is lacking.

Now I fully understand the appeal of a custom character, and do enjoy creating my own char and being the hero of my own story (especially in multiplayer), but being able to experience the origin stories first hand will definitely add replayability for me.

I think it's a great way of experiencing an NPC if you plan to play the same class, so I don't end up leaving them in camp (and yes, of course you can play with a full party of mages/priests/warriors/... but that takes away a lot of the fun of classes).

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Originally Posted by Alexandrite
You CAN play your own custom character with or without the NPC companions.
You CAN choose to play as one of the origin characters. Probably more characters will be coming.
You CAN choose to play either custom characters or Origin pre-made characters with friends, or for example 2 custom characters and 2 pre-made characters, etc.
You can do literally whatever you want. I don't understand how having all these options is a problem?

I'd like to play as a character who has ultimately more ties to the core plot of the game than her companion NPCs, and/or a legitimately sensible narrative for why all of these amazing, special individuals unanimously all agree that she should be the leader, despite her being functionally nobody with virtually no adventuring experience. Can I do that? Not currently.

I'd like to play a game where not having a particular companion doesn't end up either locking me out of an unacceptably large portion of the game, deny me legitimately reasonable options that are only available to the 'special' character, for no actual reason, or bring me to an important part of the game and act like I should know a lot more about things than I do, because I needed that character, arbitrarily, to access the information, with no other possible recourse. Can I do that? Not historically in Larian games, and they've made no sign that it won't be happening here as well - and there are signs, indeed, that they're already trundling away into the same old traps as before.

I'd like to be able to play a personal character of my own design, and not spend the entire game feeling like I'm functionally experiencing Less of the game than I would be if I'd agreed to give up my own character in favour of filling the role of one of Larian's special darlings. Not a big request, also not looking likely at this stage.

I'd like my character to feel like part of the party when we adventure, not some mute drive camera that is moving the others around so that they can chat with each other and ignore her. Can I do that?

I'd like to have party conversations where my character is one participant amongst several, and able to contribute meaningfully along with the others... Not being the stand-in fall person whose only job when talking to companions (or, indeed, most non-party NPCs) is to say stupid things, to be ignorant, or just plain to feed them the required line they need so that they can condescend to her and show off how special they are... In the data mining, of course, played-as origin characters all have lines that let them get the better of many inter-personal conversations, or to come out as the superior one... but the custom player character does not, in almost any circumstance. I'd like to play a custom character that actually is permitted to feel at least somewhat like an equal in the group that they are supposedly the leader of. Can I do that? Not currently, and things aren't looking good for this changing.

So many elements of this game have been designed in away that dismissed a custom player character, or were clearly implemented by people who were only thinking about playing one of the origins, and it shows.. and it continues to show, each update.... so yes, I'm feeling pretty jaded about it at this stage. There is a LOT to like about this game, and a great any things that can be enjoyed and things that look neat, or are done well, but there's an equal measure, and and overbalance besides of incredibly poor decisions and design choices that drown it all out.

I'm glad you're enjoying the game, and I'm glad the weight of poorly designed, badly implemented and ill-thought-out elements haven't gotten to you yet. As you say, some of us have more experience with Larian's games than you do, and many who do can already see the writing on the wall very clearly.... and are suitable concerned and worried by it, which is why many are being very vocal now, rather than waiting until release to complain.

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