No, no, that's not hyperbole. Admins, please pass this on to the Devs, if you would be so kind-
It's hard to understand this even if you know someone in this situation. I will try to get the point across, but first, background-
I'm 52 & have been playing video games since 1976, at the age of 5, when my Parents got my older brother & I our first Atari PONG system. We were part of every console generation, until the mid 1990's, when I switched over to PC's, both as a hobby & a career. As far as Pen & Paper RPG's, I've been playing them since the age of 11 & Gamemastering since 1986. My greatest achievement in that regard was GM'ing (and completing) a Campaign that lasted for 16 years (1996-2011). Herding 6-8 Cats through all the twists & turns of life for all that time is not an easy task, let me tell you.
So I have a huge amount of experience with both Video Games & RPG's. I have a fairly decent understanding of what is good & what isn't, what works & what doesn't.
Bear with me for a seeming Tangent-
In 1993, while walking through my Parent's living room, I bent over at the waist to look at something & suddenly it felt like I was struck by Lightning. I fell to my knees & greyed out for a bit. When I stood back up, I was now experiencing a sharp & obnoxious pain in my lower guts. After a few days, I wondered if this was going to last. It did. I was young & in great shape, but after Two Years, I finally admitted this probably wasn't going away. I went to my Doctor & he sent me to a half-dozen specialists, none of who could find the cause of this Chronic Pain.
I could write a Novella about the next 28 years. For now, I'll just say that this condition has inexorably & mercilessly ground my life down to nearly nothing. In 2013, after seeing many more doctors with no result, I finally went to see my Wife's Chiropractor. He found my problem in less than 20 minutes. Sadly, with all that observational skill, he could do nothing to help me.
I have what is called Spondylolisthesis, which is where one or more of your Vertebrae breaks loose from the Spinal Column, 'Crimping' the Spinal Cord & causing the pain. It should have been found back in 1995, but for whatever reason, was not. After living with it for 20 years, surgery was no longer an option. Now that my condition was known though, I could at least seek a Pain Management Doctor. Unfortunately, due to the severity of my condition, every Doctor I saw eventually let me go, referring me to someone else. So it wasn't until early 2015 when I finally found one that was willing to take me on without reservations. So for a time, I received adequate care & my life improved somewhat. In early 2017 though, that came to a screeching halt. I won't get into all the details, except to say that the Opiate meds I was on suddenly became... well, let's just say 'Politically Untenable', so my Doctor cut my dosage down to 30% of what I was on, to save his Practice. Patients like myself and their Doctors were being treated like Criminals and still are to this day.
Even when adequately medicated though, people in my situation are *always* looking for alternatives. We don't take those drugs to get 'High', we take them to get a bit closer to normal. For many of us, few things work as well, but there are other things that do provide some added relief.
Which brings me back to Video Games. In 1984, I came across an 'Electronic Games' Cover Article about a Dentist who had hooked up a Colecovision in his Operating Room. He found that when his patients were absorbed in playing the game, the vast majority handled the experience better and many did not require nearly the same amount of pain-dampening drugs. At the time, that was just an interesting curiosity. After 1993, my interest in this phenomenon became more... personal.
There have been a number of studies done over the last 30 years that make it fairly clear- If a person with CP is playing a game that interests them, they can experience a noticeable reduction in felt pain. This phenomenon exceeds the distraction provided by a good book or film, or music. The critical factor is the active participation that makes video games unique.
With the advent of Virtual Reality, there have been many, including myself, wondering if the increased immersion would yield a greater effect. It does. Companies like 'Applied VR' have shown that the degree of improvement can be quite significant.https://www.appliedvr.io/
I can't afford a VR system. I haven't been able to work since 2009 & my career is destroyed. Still, I have a decent enough PC & from time to time, I will come across a Video Game that has the power to lessen the nightmare my life has become.
I am, of course, referring to your 'Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2' series. I didn't play them until early 2021, so I was late to the game. ^_~ But better late than never. There are not many so-called RPG's these days that really even *try* to bring across the flexibility, the immersion, the critical PLAYER AGENCY that separates a Role-Playing Game from all other Games. Even fewer do so while in addition, putting effort into the Cooperative play aspect that is also a cornerstone of the RPG experience. Both of these games do, however, and they do it quite well. Of course, no cRPG can truly embody the open freedom inherent in a PnP RPG. When you have a GM who understands that they are not there to have their players sit listening with stunned awe to the brilliant story they have created, they are there to allow the Players to tell *Their* own stories through
the medium of the GM's tale. When that happens, magic is created. Understanding that is one of the reasons I had a Campaign last for 16 years, through all the many life-changes that amount of time entails.
Yet if a game developer does not even try to shoot for that 'unattainable' goal, then they certainly aren't going to get even close! Yet you guys did, and you did it well.
I know I said much more about my woes than praise your games, but if you don't understand what I have to deal with, then you won't understand how much it means to me that for times, for periods, for moments
your creations took me to a place where my body wasn't on fire & my mind not being ground into mush. That your creation was able to achieve this, I can't thank you enough for. That your games made my life a bit easier, is the highest praise I can give.