Larian Banner: Baldur's Gate Patch 9
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 11 of 11 1 2 9 10 11
Joined: Feb 2024
Location: United Kingdom
apprentice
Offline
apprentice
Joined: Feb 2024
Location: United Kingdom
Just want to say I agree with everything you wrote, SerTomato.

Viconia's personality still lingers in my head almost 20 years after playing the original games, and it's just unfortunate to see another popular character being ruined in order to prop up new one. The voiced model and art assets in the game calling itself Viconia DeVir could easily be replaced with any original character.

The less said about Sarevok's ridiculous inclusion the better.

And Shadowheart, "no-one will remember you" ... the former child of Bhaal never forgot his dark maiden.

Joined: Mar 2024
K
stranger
Offline
stranger
K
Joined: Mar 2024
Okay, so after a while of just reading your post and the replies I agree with you wholeheartedly. It baffles me that so many people have either misinterpret you or don't engage with what you said. You are correct that Viconia and Sarevok have been fundamental changed from who they were in BG1 and 2. Their is no debate around that. Yet somehow people just don't understand. Why are they doing this? I have no idea.

Regardless I enjoyed your post very much. I just don't understand why Larian decided to put them in and then do them poorly. It would have been way easier and better if they just left legacy characters alone. They don't serve effective nostalgia bait or are good for the new story. I just don't get it.

Joined: Oct 2021
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Oct 2021
Originally Posted by SerTomato
Now, let’s take a look at BG3’s Viconia.

“You became my mission. To take a child of Selune's, and turn her over to Lady Shar. To show all light fades, and darkness will prevail in the end.” —BG3 Viconia

Turns out Viconia was the sole reason for Shadowheart’s broken family and decades of suffering. Such wow. Remember how she refused to sacrifice a child to Lolth, bearing the exile and the pain her action caused? Forget it, now she’s a professional child kidnapper, she abducted many children, abused and brainwashed them, she even had a 24/7 torture room, full of bones, blood, and gore. Remember how she resented Lolth for what she did to her brother, how she couldn’t help but missed and felt guilty for him? Great, now she also imprisoned children’s parents and relatives, tortured them, made them suffer the eternal torment her brother suffered, she would even let kids do her job sometimes. Why did she do all these, you ask? Remember even when she was dragged to the sacrifice altar, in fear and about to be killed, she still chose to defy and curse Lolth’s name?

“Lady Shar commanded me. And I obeyed. I do not question - I merely act as she wills me to.” —BG3 Viconia

The writer even had the audacity to retcon one of Viconia’s endings, saying how she wiped out the Shar cult was not a rebellious act, but a super smart big brain move to prove she’s the bestest cruelest Shar cultist of all time. I can’t even describe the disgusted feeling after I completed Shadowheart’s storyline. This “Viconia” shares no common point with any version of true Viconia, I even suspected she was one of Orin’s changelings when I met her. A once complex character, who was flawed but had many heroine’s, even motherly qualities, now was reduced to an almost laughable villain of the week, with a vile mustache and no depth.

The writer who wrote this part, were you on drugs? Were you fucking high? I was even impressed because even if you threw your ink bottle on your drafts, the character won’t be this completely 180.

Someone may say, oh but she was indeed Evil, so it’s natural for her to take this path, right? Stop, just stop. Not all evil characters are the same character, and not all evil characters are fanatic villains of the week. Except for those who have real brain damage, every evil character still has their inner logic, their malice needs a direction, and the direction is decided by their motives and life stories. Even an evil version of Viconia would never be a brainless fanatic who abused children, her experiences decide her malice will always be towards gods/oppressors. An evil version of her could be a woman who’s drawn to blood and vengeance, who’s eager to slaughter all the abusers, not to join the oppressors, become a braindead tool of them, and make more outcasts. (And I don’t understand, why the writer had to make her evil?)

Some others may say, oh maybe she’s brainwashed too, you see, her memory was in Mirror of Loss. Stop again. That explanation is not nearly enough. Imagine all your past adventures and memories were thrown into the garbage can by one line. No, we need a longer, more detailed, and more believable explanation. If it was Viconia who chose to look into Mirror of Loss, why? If she was forced to, by whom? Most importantly, players need a way to change her back. Using Mirror of Loss as an excuse is like saying Karlach becomes a demon boss in BG4, who slaughters and tortures people for fun, and the reason is simply her head was hit by a wagon after BG3.

And no, old characters’ words—Jaheira will talk about Viconia is not as bad as she appears (Minsc’s comments on her though, is just like how the writer wrote her in BG3, full of unreasonable spite, make no sense)—can’t save the narrative, either. Actually, they make things worse, because they imply that players’ past adventures and memories with Viconia do exist, but none of them count now, and Viconia was murdered by players’ own hands. And you’re telling me, Jaheira and Minsc, these two who have accompanied Viconia to the Throne of Bhaal, experienced countless things with her, good or bad, have that little to say when they met?

There’s a rumor that it was WotC’s decision to write the characters this way, despite I didn’t find any evidence (all writers of BG3 on imdb are not from WotC), I think it’s possible. WotC has the copyrights, after all, and they’re well-known clowns (their official Baldur’s Gate novels were so bad that they were mocked by everyone for years). But what I don’t understand is, as far as I know, Jaheira and Minsc in BG3 all differ significantly from themselves in WotC canon (Minsc even poked fun at his hair in WotC canon in his dialogue), so why do Viconia and Sarevok have to be this out of character? Maybe the writer thought letting them be evil could make players from old games easier to kill them, no, this is pure delusion, what becomes easier to kill is the desire to continue playing the game.

So, how to improve Viconia in BG3? Here are some suggestions from an amateur: Delete Shadowheart’s parents, replace them with Viconia. I think Shadowheart’s parents are currently in an awkward position, they don’t have good character arcs or interesting characteristics, and don’t even provide new information or context. Players don’t know them, and to be honest, Shadowheart doesn’t know them either, not really. They’re just tools the writer uses to give players an illusion of weight. I found it difficult to care for two strangers that suddenly appeared in front of me. I could only try to comprehend the writer’s intentions rationally, but couldn’t really empathize with Shadowheart. Why not use Viconia then?

Hear this: Shadowheart and her parents were still former Selune followers, except Shadowheart was a real orphan this time, who was adopted by Viconia after her parents’ passing. Viconia saw her past self in Shadowheart, she raised her with strict but loving guidance, teaching her everything she knew. Slowly, a bond was formed between them. Shar was pleased as well, she saw huge potential in this Selune’s child and wanted to make her a Dark Justiciar. However Viconia, because of her own experiences and bias, disagreed, she didn’t want Shadowheart to lose herself and all the memories, only to become a tool of goddess.

Wouldn’t this be more intriguing? Now there are two conflicts the writer can explore, one is the dynamic between Shadowheart and Viconia, how would Shadowheart see her dear mother, when she believed in the goddess that killed her parents? The second is the growing tension between Viconia and Shar.

One day, Shar decided to skip Viconia and “adjust” Shadowheart by herself, which of course, was defied by Viccy. The beauty of this is she now became just like Valas, her brother, who defended his family from another goddess. And just like her brother, Viconia was captured and tortured by Shar, and Shadowheart was forced to look into Mirror of Loss, then was given the mission to find the artefact. When the player meets her, she only has faith in Shar, besides some vague memories for Mother Superior, which sometimes leaves her sad and confused during the adventure.

At the end, the choice Shadowheart needs to make is:
1. Defy Shar, endure the pain for the rest of her life, but save her mother.
2. Embrace darkness, kill her mother, become a true Dark Justiciar and the new Mother Superior.
3. Allow the hate and anger—that her parents were killed by Shar followers—to consume her. Defy Shar and also kill her mother, cut ties with darkness and “return to the light”, but become a worse person. (This moment should not happen in Act II, in front of Nightsong, an npc she knew nothing about, it’s too soon and lacks weight.)

Okay, enough fanfiction. But isn’t this better than what we got? By doing this, the writer pays respect to the old character, in the meantime they make players from old games care about Shadowheart more. It’s the daughter of Viconia for god sake, who could leave her in the camp?

I also want to talk a bit about Shadowheart. Her quest is called “Daughter of Darkness”, but she is not dark, not at all, I think “Daughter of Darkness except the writer kinda forgot about the Dark part” suits her better. The writer took almost every opportunity to move Shadowheart away from dark, even in Act I, there were too many hints that she was misled, brainwashed, deceived...she was the victim who always wanted light. Which is related to how gods are portrayed in BG3. I think BG3’s gods, or in fact, goddesses, are all poorly written. For example, Selune and Shar, Shar is the big baddie, she cursed people and lands, her followers are all lunatics who like murder, torture, and brainwashing, she’s also very petty, oh boy you better hope you never meet her; Selune is the big goodie, she protects people and has a gentle heart, her followers are all cool, pretty and handsome, she is the walking epitome of blessing.

This oversimplified black-and-white writing in my opinion is not only boring, but also hurts the narrative. It makes Shadowheart’s choice about whether to turn to darkness actually become no choice at all, she has no reason to, and the player can’t find any believable motives for her either. The choice becomes nothing more than an option only for players’ curiosity: oh I want to see what an evil Shadowheart looks like.

But Shar and Selune are two sides of the same coin. Yes, Shar is indeed the goddess of darkness and loss, but darkness has a gentle side as well. For the outcasts who are abandoned by the world, darkness is the only place that allows them to stay (this is the reason why Viconia served Shar in the first place). Why not make Shar a stubborn but honest goddess, who truly believes that darkness and loss are blessings she could give to humans, instead of the petty cartoon villain we got. And Selune has a ruthless, unforgiving side (like how Aylin beat the old man into a pulp) . Won’t this be more interesting? Do you know for how many people in dnd background, the ability to forget is a real blessing? Put some important npcs like that in the game, show us how they’re truly helped by Shar, won’t that make Shadowheart’s choice at the end have more weight? Don’t just place some hollows in front of the house and call it a day, where am I, Northern Undead Asylum?

What I want to see at the end of Shadowheart's storyline is a conversation about faith between her and Viconia, two real "Daughters of Darkness," with the player or even with Shar. Viconia can tell Shadowheart the disagreements between her and Shar, what kind of a jerk Shar is, but she did accept her when no one else would, saved her and brought her peace in the past. Shar can explain to Shadowheart what love and acceptance mean in her eyes. Not the “light is good, dark is bad, I spit on your face, goodbye” we got right now. The philosophical discussions about Dark and Light Shadowheart could offer would also be very interesting because of her identity. But we got none of those in the game. So many missed opportunities, even Divinity Original Sin 2 did a much better job in this aspect.

(Although to be honest, this is not all Larian’s fault. At this point, badly written evil gods is already a kind of tradition of dnd.)

Last but no least, make Viconia recruitable. Please, many players have waited for this for 20 years.


I really liked your ideas for SH and Viconia.

Last edited by Ranxerox; 23/03/24 10:17 PM.
Joined: Feb 2024
T
Banned
Offline
Banned
T
Joined: Feb 2024
Viconia and Saverok are reduced to shallow, idiotic, unimportant villains whom Larian's white characters disparage for one reason only.

It's because, unlike Jaheira and Minsc, they're not white.

And in Larian's neo-Nazi sandbox, all non-white people are innately evil and deserve death.

Last edited by Thelxiope; 26/03/24 06:24 AM.
Joined: Feb 2024
A
stranger
Offline
stranger
A
Joined: Feb 2024
100% agree with OP. I can see MAYBE Sarevok after being tormented for 100 years in hell with daddy-dearest. They could have stressed that if that was the case, though. But Viconioa? Never. They just should have used a no-name cleric because they wrecked her beyond my ability to suspend disbelief.

Also, I have to do mental gymnastics with Balduran since most of that time-line has major holes - not the least of which he was believed to have become a lycanthrope. Not even a mention of that whole boat trip and how he managed to escape it.

Other lore was mangled, too. Balduran did not found the city of Baldur's Gate. He built a wall to protect the part of the city the elites didn't bother with and the gate of it was named after him. People started calling the city after that gate.

After a while, you become numb to all the plot holes, dropped balls, and obvious errors since there are just so many.

Joined: Mar 2024
K
stranger
Offline
stranger
K
Joined: Mar 2024
Its surprising how many inconsistencies there are in BG3. Like when you actually get down to it the game doesn't have a great story but rather the feel and presentation of one. What makes me even more upset is people not recognizing these issues and just assuming the game has a amazing story. When in reality that just isn't the case. The game nails its core ideas which is a choices and consequences game but the story isn't one of them.

Joined: Jul 2023
member
Offline
member
Joined: Jul 2023
I see you were banned from Reddit and your post from the subreddit... Can't say I'm surprised. Goes to show how much of a cult now that place has become. At least you are here as well... as many times as this site is actually online.

EDIT: Damn... Refreshing this site when it goes offline like that does some WEIRD things. Sorry for that weird spam looking thing if anyone saw that.

Last edited by SoulfulAzrael; 29/03/24 04:19 PM.
Joined: Dec 2021
stranger
Offline
stranger
Joined: Dec 2021
I've never cared for Viconia or Sarevok much in the original games, but OP's analysis seems convincing to me. I never knew about Viconia's story in the original games. It brings a tear to my eye just reading about it here.

I always play goodie two-shoes characters, but I can still have some manner of respect even for the most ruthless villains, so long as they're written well. I'm not sure I'd consider any of the villains in BG3 to be written particularly well. Part of the problem may be that there are too many different villains, so we don't really get to know any of them too well. Part of it may be something else...

For me, the best example of an awesome villain in the series is Jon Irenicus. In a way, he's a ruthless lunatic. An existential threat who needs to be stopped at all cost and deserves NO mercy. In a word, contemptible. This sets the scene for an epic villain, but we're not quite there yet. The thing is, despite how despicable he is, you just have to marvel at him. The sheer power, ambition, pragmatism, charisma, and twisted sense of revenge against the whole world inspire fear and awe. He personally torments you and your loved ones to no end, makes you chase him through the entire game, and treats you as a mere tool and a nuisance the whole way through. (By the way, his voice acting was magnificent and is probably the main thing that made him so charismatic.) Hearing about how he tried to cling on to the last remaining memory of something beautiful, Ellesime's love, but had it slip away piece by piece, leaving nothing but a hate-filled maniac with a pitch-black soul... It almost makes me pity him, in spite of everything he did, and in spite of the fact that this is all caused by his own egomaniac nature and childish entitlement. That's just how much charisma he exudes. He's so utterly convinced in his own entitlement, that it almost convinces you as well.

In a way I'm sad there aren't more references to Irenicus in BG3, but maybe it's for the best, since the writing may have had gone wrong for him as well. Wouldn't want him to get the same treatment as Viconia.

The closest we got to a truly respectable villain in BG3 may be Ketheric Thorm. We get quite some exposition to his tragic family history and learn about his fall from grace. But his final moments still lacked a certain punch for me.

Maybe there was a general problem with the writing of evil characters in the game. Some of the good characters are truly awe-inspiring in how well they embody righteousness, chief among them Aylin, who may be my favorite BG3 character even though I'm more of a Neutral Good player and she's a Lawful Good paladin cliche. When it comes to the villains, I think my main issue is their lack of conviction and self-righteousness. I think this is an important aspect of a good villain. No matter how twisted they are, there has to be some deep conviction that they're rightful in doing what they do. Yet look at the big bad three. Orin is just a brainless sadistic maniac. Gortash is a tired stereotype of an evil scheming politician who literally knows that he's evil and doesn't care. Ketheric shows some self-awareness, but it feels like he's given up on the inside already when you corner him. You can pretty much convince him to give up right then and there (even if it still spawns the Apostle) which ultimately makes him come across as weak in personality.

Anyhow, this is a lot of harsh critique for what's an amazing game overall. The main characters really carry it, I guess, so let's hope that WotC will treat them well. I'm sure there were a lot of zealous fans who took the criticism way too far and made it personal, which is sadly how these things often go, but I hope the writing team can still take away some constructive criticism from the issues raised by OP and others.

Joined: Oct 2021
addict
Offline
addict
Joined: Oct 2021
I thought Raphael was the best written and voice acted villain in the game. Plus he got his own song!

Joined: Jul 2023
member
Offline
member
Joined: Jul 2023
Originally Posted by Taylan
I've never cared for Viconia or Sarevok much in the original games, but OP's analysis seems convincing to me. I never knew about Viconia's story in the original games. It brings a tear to my eye just reading about it here.

I always play goodie two-shoes characters, but I can still have some manner of respect even for the most ruthless villains, so long as they're written well. I'm not sure I'd consider any of the villains in BG3 to be written particularly well. Part of the problem may be that there are too many different villains, so we don't really get to know any of them too well. Part of it may be something else...

For me, the best example of an awesome villain in the series is Jon Irenicus. In a way, he's a ruthless lunatic. An existential threat who needs to be stopped at all cost and deserves NO mercy. In a word, contemptible. This sets the scene for an epic villain, but we're not quite there yet. The thing is, despite how despicable he is, you just have to marvel at him. The sheer power, ambition, pragmatism, charisma, and twisted sense of revenge against the whole world inspire fear and awe. He personally torments you and your loved ones to no end, makes you chase him through the entire game, and treats you as a mere tool and a nuisance the whole way through. (By the way, his voice acting was magnificent and is probably the main thing that made him so charismatic.) Hearing about how he tried to cling on to the last remaining memory of something beautiful, Ellesime's love, but had it slip away piece by piece, leaving nothing but a hate-filled maniac with a pitch-black soul... It almost makes me pity him, in spite of everything he did, and in spite of the fact that this is all caused by his own egomaniac nature and childish entitlement. That's just how much charisma he exudes. He's so utterly convinced in his own entitlement, that it almost convinces you as well.

In a way I'm sad there aren't more references to Irenicus in BG3, but maybe it's for the best, since the writing may have had gone wrong for him as well. Wouldn't want him to get the same treatment as Viconia.

The closest we got to a truly respectable villain in BG3 may be Ketheric Thorm. We get quite some exposition to his tragic family history and learn about his fall from grace. But his final moments still lacked a certain punch for me.

Maybe there was a general problem with the writing of evil characters in the game. Some of the good characters are truly awe-inspiring in how well they embody righteousness, chief among them Aylin, who may be my favorite BG3 character even though I'm more of a Neutral Good player and she's a Lawful Good paladin cliche. When it comes to the villains, I think my main issue is their lack of conviction and self-righteousness. I think this is an important aspect of a good villain. No matter how twisted they are, there has to be some deep conviction that they're rightful in doing what they do. Yet look at the big bad three. Orin is just a brainless sadistic maniac. Gortash is a tired stereotype of an evil scheming politician who literally knows that he's evil and doesn't care. Ketheric shows some self-awareness, but it feels like he's given up on the inside already when you corner him. You can pretty much convince him to give up right then and there (even if it still spawns the Apostle) which ultimately makes him come across as weak in personality.

Anyhow, this is a lot of harsh critique for what's an amazing game overall. The main characters really carry it, I guess, so let's hope that WotC will treat them well. I'm sure there were a lot of zealous fans who took the criticism way too far and made it personal, which is sadly how these things often go, but I hope the writing team can still take away some constructive criticism from the issues raised by OP and others.

I just replayed BG Trilogy (1 to ToB) and yes. She is a VERY different character. To the point that this character that we see in this game has only name, race and God in common with OG Viconia.

Page 11 of 11 1 2 9 10 11

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5