I only found this thread now, after I have already given a lot of feedback and talked about how dissapointed I am with the evil playthrough. I wrote feedback via the launcher, aswell as on reddit and in my own thread.
However, I hope that if I also post here, there will be a bigger chance for the devs to read it and incorporate my feedback.
Tl;Dr: Upfront: There is not enough incentive for an evil playthrough. The Questlog reads "Removing the parasite" for the whole EA. Even though it was already revealed that not all characters would want to get rid of the tadpole since it has positive effects. So why does the game already push you into that direction?
Instead something like "Learn about the Parasite" would fit much more. Change the quest from removing it, to first learning about it and then give players time to form a decision.
The rewards for an evil playthrough are terrible. The powerful magic items are in the hands of goblin leaders and mintharra. You end up killing a bunch of poor refugees who mostly carry junk items. On the other hand, the rewards from the dream scenes with your lover (Illithid powers) are the best surprise in all of EA. I was expecting rewards of similar quality and power in an evil playthrough. There are many ways to play evil. Its not always about mindlessly killing everyone. You can be evil and keep the tadpole, or decide to find a healer. But the goblin path doesn't help you with your tadpole problem other than Priestress gut hoping that you turn into a mindflayer.
Siding with the goblins doesn't make sense from a story point of view because they never offer you any help in your problem. Now I know the Priestress is unaware of her Tadpole if you mention it to her. However, she is clearly very powerful because of it, just like you. So the goblin route should focus on the powers of the tadpole. Giving you options to maybe enhance it, or other quirks. Just something meaningful as a reward!
Playing evil should be about power and authority. Just like the text says. But it doesn't offer this at all. You get no authority. You get no slaves or servants for your camp. You end up with a bunch of dead bodies and you end up getting betrayed. You end up with that Altar of the absolute (or so I think?) in your camp but cannot interact with it.
The part about the Brand of the absolute is not explained at all. Apparently it means you can use items of the absolute? This must be explained. There needs to be an option to have your companions be branded aswell force them via Illithid powers if they refuse. And there needs to be a tag in the character screen about the fact that this character has the brand of the absolute, since this is obviously important for dialogue and items.
[EVIL PLAYTHROUGH FEEDBACK, from me and other players]
Feedback after raiding the grove. First of all, there need to be a couple hints as to who should be killed. The tieflings at the gate, the ones in the hollow. The player needs to Enter the room with Zevlor and the Druid cove. This should be market on the minimap since many players have struggled with finishing this quest, myself included.
The rewards for doing this are laughable and not worth it at all, compared to the items and artifacts you obtain by killing the Goblin leaders. You only kill a few refugees, but whats worse is you all of the traders you previously had access to. And if you simply kill the goblin leaders, you gain very powerful items and keep the traders alive. This Questline needs to reward the player with powerful items aswell. Mintharra for example wears a necklace which allows you to use misty step. This is incredibly powerful. But you do not get this item by siding with the goblins.
I suggest the following: The goblin leaders will hand you their powerful artifacts, the same as you would obtain by killing them, as a reward after raiding the grove. Mintharra gives you her magic items.
The camp with goblins and dead villager was a nice addition. It felt very appropriate. However, then comes the scene where Mintharra turns against you and threatens to kill you. With some clever dialogue choices while sleepin with her, you can prevent this and she will point you to moonrise towers, even point you to a creature which will lead you there. This is clever and I like it a lot.
But a big problem remains. The rewards for doing an evil playthroughs and siding with the goblins are really, really bad. Now Mintharra warns you, that the goblins will be enemies to the player now, so I think you can simply go back to the goblin camp and kill their leaders to get their powerful magic items. But that takes very long and is quite tedious. And if you just kill the goblins for their good items, you might aswell have sided with refugees and the druids and killed the goblins. This saves a lot of time and Wyll doesn't quit your party.
I fear that most players, after deciding to raid the goblin cove, will fight against Mintharra in camp and kill her. And then the Goblins are also an enemy against you. So in the end, you have to fight the refugees AND the goblins. This makes the evil playthrough feel really bad. I asked myself "Why did I even do this?" I should have just defended the grove, killed the goblins, gotten a lot of nice items from them, not have Wyll leave my party and not have my companions dissaprove of me for siding with the Absolute. And I would have gotten much better rewards and not felt like an idiot. Just a day before, goblins were covering in fear. This makes no sense to me.
Part of serving the absolute and helping the goblins is power and authority. And now the game takes authority away from the player again. And every time you say "I side with the absolute" almost everyone in your party will dissaprove of you. It just does not feel rewarding! Larian, you told us that 25% players chose to side with the goblins. If the goblin path had actually good rewards, I am sure there would be many more players siding withthem. Because there is not enough incentive to do so. They do not help you solve the Tadpole situation, they should atleast tell you how to expand your Tadpole powers (the true souls that is).
When I play evil, I expect it to be rewarding. I expect my character to become powerful, at any cost. I expect there to be slaves, servants and npcs who are afraid of me. I don't expect to just kill everyone. Playing evil is not about murdering everyone, there are many sides to it. For example, the player should be able to side with the Shadow Druids.
[What about the new powers by the Absolute?]
After successfully raiding the grove, the Quest log reads as follows:
"With the Tieflings dead, the Absolute granted us new powers. Tonight we celebrate at camp."
But what powers? I gained no new abilities, and I checked my inventory and saw nothing new. Since long rests are not limited at all, I used long rest everytime I wanted. So I already have access to the special abilities like "supernatural attraction" from my dream lover. Are these the abilities which we are supposed to get after raiding the camp? Otherwise, again, the path of siding with the goblins does not feel rewarding enough compared to siding with the refugees.
[Making the Evil path feel more rewarding, by reddit user u/Crashen17]
Yeah, the main issue with an evil run is motivation. There isn't really any reason to side with the goblins besides fucking Minthara. The goblins turn on you if you help them, if you go to Priestess Gut about your worm, she turns on you and tries to kill you. If you talk to Rogzlin and don't pass a pursuasion check the Ilithid outs you and turns against you.
In the end, if you want to be evil, you have to kill men women and children for no reason and for no special personal gain. The gobbos betraying you is both predictable and kind of nonsensical for this particular story. Regular goblins and drow? Yeah makes perfect sense. But goblins and drow united under the Absolute and taking orders from True Souls have no reason to turn on you (a True Soul) who actually butchered an entire druid grove to complete their mission.
A better narrative arc would be to have two true souls at the grove. Have the drow be in the cage alive, and the girl gobbo be a true soul, dead in halsin's lab. When you talk to the imprisoned drow, you connect and he introduces you to the concept of true souls. He promises to take you to the gobbos where they will help you control your powers and grow strong, if you help him escape.
From there you either kill him, leave him, or help him. He meets you outside the Blighted Village and joins the party as a pet (same way Halsin does) and will get you into the camp and past the goblins if you are terrible at social skills or don't want to use the tadpole for some reason. Otherwise things proceed normally and you meet the three leaders. With him returned, Minthara now knows where the druid grove is and sends you to kill Liam the prisoner.
Meanwhile, Priestess Gut wont try to poison you and imprison you. She will promise to help you "harness your True Soul" but only after the Druid Grove is dealt with. If you do, she basically takes the place of Halsin in the story, directing you towards Moonrise Towers.
Next, if you decide to take out the druid grove, you can either lead the goblins right to them and kill everyone, or you can find some way to sneak back to camp and warn the tieflings to leave, possibly extorting them somehow. The druids stay and have to die however. Maybe you can use Liam to send a message to Zevlor and help him escape.
Reasons for giving the tieflings a chance to escape are simple. Either your character doesn't really care about them and removing them from the picture will make razing the grove easier. Or your character wants the goblin's help in controlling the tadpole, but doesn't want to kill a bunch of innocent refugees to do it. The druids so far are pretty shitty so killing them isn't so bad, but the tieflings haven't really wronged you at all.
Or you can just kill everyone.
After the raid, things progress as normal. Priestess Gut inspects you and determines something is different about you (the Tadpole in her head is probably creating a mental blindspot preventing her from realizing you guys have brain worms). She determines that you need to go to Moonrise Towers to speak to so-and-so. Or to present yourself before the Absolute itself. Whatever Larian plans on having there.
She can warn you that because your True Soul is damaged somehow that the Shadow Cursed areas might have unpredictable affects on you, and tell you to ask Minthara how to get there. Minthara can then set you on a path to the Underdark. The goblins then leave, being directed somewhere else. Maybe Minthara joins your camp in place of Halsin, or maybe you just lose that whole narrative thread for being a dick.
Later on, if you gave the tieflings a chance to escape, maybe you find their caravan slaughtered by gnolls bearing the Absolute's mark. Or maybe they make it to Baldur's Gate and have mixed feelings towards you. Maybe only some of them make it to Baldur's Gate and tell you the rest were killed on the road by goblins or drow or gnolls or whatever.
Either way, you still get a good chunk of refugees killed, you just don't necessarily get your hands dirty.
[Another evil playthrough feedback]
It takes approximately two or three uses of the tadpole power before the player begins to "change" and the mysterious figure (likely Absolute) seems to stymie the transformation. Players may avoid long rests for perceived (or real) gameplay reasons and therefore limit how much insight they get about the 'evil' path. Players that might skip a majority of side content could end up going into the goblin temple with only one or two long rests, long before any real encounter with the mysterious figure.
I suggest you actually have this transformative conversation occur in a forced rest scene sometime around entering the Druid Grove irrespective of how much they use their powers. Players need to have a tantalizing reason to believe the Cult of the Absolute actually could lead them to either mastering or eliminating the tadpole, leading to a more reasonable cause to join with them against the druids. Encourage the player, in this dialogue, to use their powers more to bring them closer together. Basically, give evil players more of a reasonable position to begin siding with the Cult. It'd also provide us insight as to why we are not transforming - this mysterious figure is seemingly holding it at bay. Tangible proof that they can be our salvation.
I might suggest ways to convert the tieflings, convince them to turn against the druids beyond stealing the idol, or any other solutions where evil - but not quite sociopathic - characters might have a compelling reason. I still feel as though the excuse to wipe out the druids feels flimsy.
[Playing as Evil feedback from another user].
Other than some (quite nice) boobs, there's no real incentive or indication to play evil. It doesn't even feel like an option. Joining them feels like something you set out to do after knowing what happens. It should be an organic decision; something that leads you on that path before you know about other options.
So far, these are my biggest complains. You asked us to play an evil playthrough. The best part are the tadpole powers, which I love. Aswell as the Dream scenes. There needs to be more like this. The Goblin raid of the grove and the rewards are just terribly dissapointing and poorly written. Please read the suggestions carefully and change this up, so that it makes more sense to side with them, with greater incentive and greater rewards.