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#786437 11/08/21 04:07 AM
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First off, let me say that I'm absolutely in love with the writing in the romance routes so far. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm part of the player demographic who was drawn in specifically by the idea of companion romance, and I'm very excited to see where future content takes us.

That said, I was a bit surprised that companion approval and companion romance are so heavily tied together. From my understanding- and correct me if I'm wrong, I'm working from observation here- the player's ability to romance an NPC depends on their ability to get the approval counter past a certain threshold. This makes sense from a purely pragmatic standpoint, but given how much freedom exists in the combat mechanics, it feels like a missed opportunity that the social mechanics aren't quite so advanced.

What I'm interested in seeing is a romance system a bit more divorced from approval. What happens when Tav and an NPC disagree fundamentally on the choices Tav has made, yet still feel an undeniable attraction to each other? What happens when approval dips down, but the romantic connection is still there? I feel like this could provide another layer of depth to these romance narratives, as well as increase replay value.

Of course, I could totally be looking a gift horse in the mouth here. What do others think? Did anybody else feel similarly?

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If you lose approval, then you will not have any romantic connection. I'll tell you more, if the approval drops too low, then your companion will leave you, at best, at worst, he will try to kill you. I believe Astarion and Lae are capable of this.

The system is not new, as far as I know, an approval system is also used in games like Dragon Age.

Personally, I am completely satisfied with this system. For example, Lae approves of cruel actions, if you are a soft-hearted and kind paladin, then I strongly doubt this will attract her to you. It's not even about a romance, but about respect, about friendship etc. It is quite natural that companions are annoyed by actions that they themselves consider stupid.

I know there is a way to avoid this, if you choose this "stupid act" when talking to an npc for another character (companion), then you will not get "disapproval", but there will be no "approval" either.

I am sure at a neutral approval it will be possible to build a weak romantic relationship. For example, you can sleep with Astarion or Lae having a rather low approval rating, but I am sure in the future it will show itself in a bad way.

There is also Gale, who can be bribed...


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Originally Posted by Nyloth
The system is not new, as far as I know, an approval system is also used in games like Dragon Age.
In Dragon Age 2 it was not just approval system and it worked with both: companions would leave you at certain moments and you could romance them while practically never being agree with each other. Larian would need to create "flirt" level in addition to approval level to implement that.

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Originally Posted by Zellin
Originally Posted by Nyloth
The system is not new, as far as I know, an approval system is also used in games like Dragon Age.
In Dragon Age 2 it was not just approval system and it worked with both: companions would leave you at certain moments and you could romance them while practically never being agree with each other. Larian would need to create "flirt" level in addition to approval level to implement that.

I don't like it. They returned the usual approval system to DAI, because there was more logic in it.

PoE2 have a "reputation", but as far as I know, it is more difficult to understand what companions approve, but still, you must act in a certain way to please them. Conditionally, there is an approval system in many games with romance. The most fun approval system in Tyranny, there are no romance, you can become good friends, but if this does not happen, then you inspire fear for them.
The approval system is good because you understand how you need to act. Although sometimes it's not enough to get a happy ending (damn you Aloth!)

edit: I also want to add something. In DA2, you really need a approval, it just works BAD. I know this because I thought that everything depends on flirting and personal quests, and with this I did not get a Fenris romance. Because my approval was average. In DA2, you must either have an 80+ disapproval or an 80+approval. It's called a love or hate romance, but you still need to play a certain way. It's just that you are also given the opportunity to build a romance by playing against a character, but not alternating your options.

Last edited by Nyloth; 11/08/21 11:42 AM.

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Originally Posted by manyfacedhorse
What I'm interested in seeing is a romance system a bit more divorced from approval.
I strongly disagree, but then again I am not a big fan of having a dating sim in my RPGs.

As to actual defence of the system: I really dislike it when all companions want to sleep with PC at once - it's just a barrier from making them feel like individuals, rather then "pick your sex cutscene". Therefore, if every/most companions are romancable, I believe there needs to be some system that limits what companions are available for romance in each playthrough, based on the character you play or your actions. Different games have different system - in PoE2 for example, companions seemed to respond to their reputations with you but also [I think] to your dispositions (aka honest, benevolent, cruel, etc). Though that system didn't quite work as intended in more ways then one... At the very least in 2.0 it spread companions hitting at PC around - so the best fitting choices would initiate romances early on, while others in mid-late game.

So far BG3 seems to be doing a good job - in my playthroughs I seem to get friendly with one or two companions depending on my choices. And so far it makes sense.

The only I could do without, is companions letting me know during the party that they would totally sleep with me, if I did more things they like. That just feels weird.

Last edited by Wormerine; 11/08/21 11:18 AM.
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That is what I've been saying also since my first playthrough. Party night, everybody SUDDENLY wants your body. It's dumb... well... if you gained enough approval.

You have to have some way to gauge romance/ relationship, so an approval score is fine with me. However, I think there should be more of it with varying degrees of score.

Example, you send you MC over to Shadowheart who is dying because the spider queen jist took her down. You heal her or help her, risking your own life in the process. Gain 2 relationship points with her.

You ignore her and she dies, lose 5 points.

Then hide whether we gain or lose points. However, tell players in general how to gain or lose points. So tell us if you let a character die you lose 5 points, but help them and gain 2. Thus makes it so players have to get to know the characters to learn what they like or dislike without the game just telling you.

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Originally Posted by GM4Him
Example, you send you MC over to Shadowheart who is dying because the spider queen jist took her down. You heal her or help her, risking your own life in the process. Gain 2 relationship points with her.

You ignore her and she dies, lose 5 points.

Then hide whether we gain or lose points. However, tell players in general how to gain or lose points. So tell us if you let a character die you lose 5 points, but help them and gain 2. Thus makes it so players have to get to know the characters to learn what they like or dislike without the game just telling you.
UIuuuuu bad BAAAD idea. What that means in practice is players farming positive points and making the whole system pointless (like gifts in DA:Origins). Hiding things can also easily backfire - in your example imagine a player doing all right by Shadowheart in a playthough, and yet having her hate her, because she happened to die too many times. Also if we play multiplayer vs whom those systemic situation would count towards?

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Originally Posted by Wormerine
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Example, you send you MC over to Shadowheart who is dying because the spider queen jist took her down. You heal her or help her, risking your own life in the process. Gain 2 relationship points with her.

You ignore her and she dies, lose 5 points.

Then hide whether we gain or lose points. However, tell players in general how to gain or lose points. So tell us if you let a character die you lose 5 points, but help them and gain 2. Thus makes it so players have to get to know the characters to learn what they like or dislike without the game just telling you.
UIuuuuu bad BAAAD idea. What that means in practice is players farming positive points and making the whole system pointless (like gifts in DA:Origins). Hiding things can also easily backfire - in your example imagine a player doing all right by Shadowheart in a playthough, and yet having her hate her, because she happened to die too many times. Also if we play multiplayer vs whom those systemic situation would count towards?

I agree with you, it will be very convenient to use such a system to simply "score points". Imagine the opposite situation, that you do everything that Shadow hates, but she forgives you everything because you saved her a couple of times (before this, by deliberately setting her up). The current approval system helps you understand the characters and their worldview. You see how someone approves of a cruel act and you understand "ah, that's what kind of person you are".

Right now, the only problem for me is Gale, but with the latest updates, the situation with him has improved. Now, even if you give him a lot of items and have a high approval, he still reacts negatively to betrayal Tieflings. And this once again proves that the system works. In the end, even if you have a high approval, you can do something that will destroy any relationship between you and another character.


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Originally Posted by Nyloth
If you lose approval, then you will not have any romantic connection.

at worst, he will try to kill you. I believe Astarion and Lae are capable of this.

Lae ... ... ... the Gith?

I mean, i am aware ... ... ... we have a few Edgelords in the Group. With Shadowheart and Lae'zel(?) even Edge-Ladies to be precise,
but why always the Murderhobo Scenario in which People (and i mean the Characters ^^ not the Player ^^) want to see Blood only because Someone doesn't turn out exactly how they would love them to be? hahaha

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Originally Posted by VarneyTheReaper
Originally Posted by Nyloth
If you lose approval, then you will not have any romantic connection.

at worst, he will try to kill you. I believe Astarion and Lae are capable of this.

Lae ... ... ... the Gith?

I mean, i am aware ... ... ... we have a few Edgelords in the Group. With Shadowheart and Lae'zel(?) even Edge-Ladies to be precise,
but why always the Murderhobo Scenario in which People (and i mean the Characters ^^ not the Player ^^) want to see Blood only because Someone doesn't turn out exactly how they would love them to be? hahaha

Disagreements create conflicts, I think that for some characters it is completely normal to solve conflicts by killing. But most likely it's not about Shadow. I said about Lae and Astarion, because these are two characters who have already tried to kill us. (yep Gith) Well I must say Astarion does it more gallantly, heh. ^^


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In general I find the approval mechanics annoying in games. Especially in romances, if it requires you to micromanage approval on minute details instead of heavily favoring some big choices, as it sort of goads you into playing as a "choose the right dialog option" -type of sycophant to your significant other, just in case lower levels of approval lead to some sort of shitty breakup & betrayal. Which partially accounts for the fact that I find the side-romances that have very little relationship bargaining in them more interesting. Also, I guess maxing approval can be enjoyable, if you like toadying in a romance, which is fine, but as a mechanic underlaying all romances, it's usually kind of constricting and boring.

Also, the approval systems in games basically nearly always necessitates you to choose the so-called monogamous relationship, where you have to choose early on The One, that excludes all others. Romancing multiple characters nearly always plays out as cheating, thus basically ending the romance or turning it into a abusive relationship, or something that leads to a disapproval laden jealous confrontation where you're required to choose a single romantic interest. BG3 seems fairly committed to this facet of the approval system, since the companions come off as rather jealous demanding types and the party scene seems to railroad you towards monogamy: they basically all proposition to you at the same time(if your approval is high enough) and most of them seem to disapprove if you leave them hanging. So basically even if you "let" Lae boing you, who explicitly states that she isn't into romance or monogamy, you're committing to monogamous relationship with her, since choosing her seemingly excludes all other companions by disappointing them.

Though, it might be that the companions aren't really that possessive. Shadowheart approves if you set up, what seems to be, a future date with Lakrissa. Who seems like a refreshingly carefree person with a sense of humor, and who isn't that concerned with being 100% on the same page with you. I mean, she even (nicely) calls the PC a dummie, if he expresses silly beefcake optimism in regards to their survival chances.

Hopefully they won't end up killing her off before you get to the city, which would be reminiscent of DOS2 plotline and a "neat" way to limit the branching thiefling content in later acts.


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Companions turning around and attacking you based on their approval of you was a thing in Baldur's Gate 1 and/or 2. Kikoskia's LP of BG1-2 he noted trying to maintain a low enough reputation that his evil party didn't turn on him while also maintaining the flavor of evil he wanted which was selfish and callous, but not outright cruel and who had a particular hatred for slavers.

Lae'zel I have no trouble imagining turning us because most of the characters are, by and large not Githyanki, and she's a fairly dyed-in-the-wool Githyanki who are rather well known for having low regard for anybody else.

There's been a discussion of what constitutes an "edgelord" on the City of Heroes: Homecoming forums and it's covered a wide range. Some people have dismissed it as a label for "people who RP in ways you don't like" and in my case I view it as a case when someone is taking on the aesthetics of a brooding or gloomy character without actually making the effort of follow through that makes a dark story-arc work well. I'm not sure any of the companions really fit my criteria. There seems to be an effort made in creating their stories. Laezel and Astarion annoy me but the stories are interesting. I quite like Shadowheart. Wyll... vacillates between being amusing and just really annoying me, but again, seems to have an interesting story to him. Gale, the Waterdhavian Wizard-itis is irritating, and his story involves a rather painful bit of mechanical sacrifice I'd rather not deal with.

There's a reason I'm hoping Karlach and Alfira will be available as companions as I know my party in that case.

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Originally Posted by Wormerine
As to actual defence of the system: I really dislike it when all companions want to sleep with PC at once - it's just a barrier from making them feel like individuals, rather then "pick your sex cutscene". Therefore, if every/most companions are romancable, I believe there needs to be some system that limits what companions are available for romance in each playthrough, based on the character you play or your actions. Different games have different system - in PoE2 for example, companions seemed to respond to their reputations with you but also [I think] to your dispositions (aka honest, benevolent, cruel, etc). Though that system didn't quite work as intended in more ways then one... At the very least in 2.0 it spread companions hitting at PC around - so the best fitting choices would initiate romances early on, while others in mid-late game.

So far BG3 seems to be doing a good job - in my playthroughs I seem to get friendly with one or two companions depending on my choices. And so far it makes sense.

The only I could do without, is companions letting me know during the party that they would totally sleep with me, if I did more things they like. That just feels weird.

Honestly it's exactly this scenario that makes me think that adding another layer of depth to the romance mechanics is necessary. All of the companions come on very strong during the party scene- which sure, as a romance-minded player, is very funny to me, but ultimately is a little tiring.

That said, I think that you and others bring up good points about how the specific layer I suggested has its own flaws. If you don't mind me asking, where do you feel PoE2's system failed? I think that a game like BG3 has an opportunity to make party romance just as multifaceted and interesting as its other functions, so I'd like to hear opinions about other games' attempts at similar mechanics as much as possible.

(Of course, don't feel obligated to respond.)

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I'd be leary of reading too much into the approval system at this stage, I've yet to have a playthrough where Astarion isn't willing to sleep with you based solely on dialogue choices. I'm also not sure how much of the flags and triggers aren't still placeholders for the purpose of testing in the EA area, can't be sure.

I've you haven't maybe check out some earlier threads that dealt with these topics (there are a bunch more I can't remember I'm sure) :
Dragon Age Origins - Next Age RPG c. page 3
Dragon Age Origins - Next Age RPG c. page 8
Character Acting, Demeanor, and Personality
Will there be a prologue
murderous horny companions
companions are amusement parks
adult content in BG3 locked
Herosexual NPCs locked

Does anyone like the Origin System? not really an old tread

Last edited by Sozz; 12/08/21 03:31 AM. Reason: fixed a link(amusement park)
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The systems I always liked were, Dragon Age 2 is by far the best romance system from any game with romances I've ever played. I loved being in a rival romance, because even with this name, most of the time it led to an even more healthy relationship.
DOS2 also had an amazing system, where sometimes a single gesture, like a hug, holding hands, or asking if they were fine would lead to a growing relationship. It felt natural, most of them anyway.

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Agreed, every interaction should deepen the relationship, not move it on a linear range between hate - stranger - love

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Originally Posted by Sozz
I've you haven't maybe check out some earlier threads that dealt with these topics (there are a bunch more I can't remember I'm sure) :

thank you so much! ive been looking for other threads on similar topics. much appreciated!

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Originally Posted by Sozz
I've you haven't maybe check out some earlier threads that dealt with these topics (there are a bunch more I can't remember I'm sure) :
Dragon Age Origins - Next Age RPG c. page 3
Character Acting, Demeanor, and Personality
Will there be a prologue
murderous horny companions
companions are amusement parks
adult content in BG3 locked
Herosexual NPCs locked

Does anyone like the Origin System? not really an old tread


So I skimmed around the old posts you linked for fun. The “murderous horny companions” one made me laugh so hard I almost made myself sick. That poor ugly little dorf and his adventures with knife wielding lunatics who want to sleep with him. Jaysus. Being a dwarf in Faurun sure is confusing…

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Ok. Ok. Perhaps that was a BAD example.

I just mean the relationship score needs more score opportunities. You should gain or lose points more frequently for more choices in the game. Little point gains and losses as opposed to fewer opportunities with bigger point gains or losses. Right now, I feel like there isn't enough.

And I agree. Relationships should build even if individuals aren't necessarily doing everything others approve of. It should not be Bad, Neutral, Good, High or whatever. It actually should be more like alignment. You know, there's Neutral, Good, Evil but then there's Chaotic and Lawful. Two tracks.

So relationships should have two tracks. Something like: Stranger, Acquaintance, Intimate (meaning you now know the person well whether friend or foe). but then have something measuring Enemy, Wary, Indifferent, Friend, Lover. The more you have a character in the party and interact with them, the more your linear meter goes up from Stranger to Intimate. However, the choices you make determine whether you go up or down the Enemy/Friend scale.

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I think the problem is that the camp night seems rushed. Honestly, I can think of only one scene and that's hidden in which Shadowheart shows interest in my character, all the other scenes with her were more she being snarky, evasive, infuriating if I hadn't discovered that scene I would never buy the whole camp scene with her. I think the others (male options) have more scenes that show their interest from both parts, but even then, it's weird how suddenly things turns up.

What I think would be needed is more interaction that would show that certain companions, preferable the ones you show interest also show the same for you. No need to be groundbreaking ones, just small hints, etc.

Just like DOS2 again as an example, in many different dialogues, interactions with the companions, and even when it was about other npcs, there were hints, small gestures, the way Lohse or Sebille would look at the MC sometimes, or need a hug. Or Ifan winking, or trying to show support when you had troubles, etc. In here the companions seem to be so much for themselves that in my solo play I didn't miss them or their scenes at all.
This is the first RPG game with romance where I love my MC more than any of the romance options, and I'm sure right she is way too good for any of them.

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