Original Title: The Long Rest, Its Problems and its Solutions
"Make certain to rest a lot." "Rest as soon as you get Shadowheart." "Before garnering too much reputation with Gale, you should rest." "As often as you can, rest so that you can get all the dialogue options, because companion reputation..." Etc. etc.
The Complaints: I think most of us have heard recommendations of this sort from those who have been willing to share their experiences of BG3 gaming. We have encountered the frustrating dynamic of having missed conversations with our party members because we did not rest enough, or perhaps that we failed to rest between certain story events. As part of the gaming experience, as part of travelling with party companions, one would expect to get to know them better over time, and it is strange to me, and many others, that this was frustrated by the constant need to rest. I must admit to being somewhat bewildered by this gaming dynamic. Resting should be something we do as a party once our resources have been exhausted, once our party is exhausted, tired. So the question is (or at least, one of my questions): How is it that in BG3, my ability to progress in dialogues with my party members depends on how quickly I exhaust my resources? The more quickly I exhaust my resources, the better my chances of progressing in dialogues with my party members?
The Story Problem: Now, just to be clear, I have had a tremendous amount of fun playing BG3. I was (and still am) fanatically devoted to the original two (as I'm certain many people reading this are), and I am impressed with the direction BG3 is going, and with the story as it's unfolding. With that said, I would like the party and gaming experience to be a bit more fluid, or consonant with the story. So this brings me to my first major problem, which really goes beyond gaming dynamics, to the problem of story consonance: the decision to constantly rest is extremely dissonant with the story we're presented as characters.
We are told that we have a mind flayer tadpole in our skulls, ostensibly eating away at our identity, and soon to turn us into abominations. The absolute farthest thing from my mind, when presented with this information, is to continually rest, to spend day after day in bed. In my first playthrough, I refused to rest at all for the longest time, fearful that any delays would spell doom for myself and my fellow party members. Now, admittedly, this is perhaps an overcautious (neurotic?) approach to the information we were presented with, but certainly the other end of the spectrum, of simply resting and sleeping as much as possible, is just as bizarre.
The Gameplay Problem: Another problem with the Long Rest is how disjunctive it is to the gameplay experience. Shadowheart and I have just killed the three intellect devourers by the beach, and when I click on the Long Rest button, we're magically transported into a coastal camp setting next to the forest. How is it that we just arrived at this campsite? And, how is it that after having rested at camp, we arrived back to the same beach location inside the wrecked mindflayer ship? This kind of magical teleportation breaks gameplay immersion, and it doesn't get any better when I'm in the depths of the goblin fortress, having infiltrated my way inside, and I can immediately pop in and out between the goblin fortress and my party's camp. Finding the camp in the first place should make sense, gameplay wise, and getting back to the camp should make sense, as well.
A Story Solution: For each of these two problems, the solution should correspond with its category: the story problem should have a story solution, and the gameplay problem should have a gameplay solution. As for the story problem, the best solution (as it appears to me) should be that the story itself should, at regular intervals, bring us to camp, in order to make certain that we as a party hit those important party conversations that progress the plotline. I will give some examples: Once Shadowheart and I defeat the intellect devourers, there should be a story cutscene that brings us to our new campsite. This cutscene could take on any number of flavors: After the battle with the three intellect devourers, we witness a goblin horde approaching us as they search the wrecked mindflayer ship, and we have to hide and run away into the forest to escape from certain death. Exhausted, we look around and find ourselves in a clearing, and decide that this is good enough a place as any to rest. Or perhaps we have to flee the intellect devourer battle because we are suddenly overwhelmed by even more of them. Perhaps we are knocked out in the conflict, and we wake up in the forest camp clearing, with someone (Wyll?) having rescued us. There are any number of options. Likewise, after having entered the tiefling camp, we are invited to rest and recover from the battle, and the story brings our party to some quarters the tieflings have set aside in the camp, to give us a chance to rest. I don't pretend to be able to plan out each of these story reasons to bring our party to camp or to rest, but I can well imagine there being story reasons spread out across various events, to make certain that our adventure is punctuated with the party dialogues that complement the adventure.
A Gameplay Solution: As for the gameplay problem, I propose that there is a gameplay solution in order to make our return to the camp more immersive. Littered throughout the map, I propose that there be interactable "forest trails." Once you approach a forest, a bunch of trees, or a road into a forest, there be "forest trail" tags that you can interact with that bring the party to the campsite. It would be like the interactable tags found at the edges of the map that bring you into another instance, but these would be more numerous, and would bring the party to our campsite. Not only does this make sense gameplay-wise, of accessing the forest camp through the forest. It also makes sense of how we will rest once we reach cities: there can be "alleyway" tags in the city map that we interact with in order to bring us to our 'tavern' or whatever our new party rest site will be in the city. Likewise, travel between the "forest trails" and our campsite can now be new opportunities to introduce skill checks: (1) if the party has someone with a high enough stealth check, we can always avoid 'encounters' on the way back to camp; (2) if the party has someone with high enough survival/nature checks, we avoid certain pitfalls or traps along the way; (3) if we have a member with a high enough history/lore check, we may encounter a ruin or some sigils along the way that this party member recognizes; etc. This opens up a new series of ways to introduce story elements into our gameplay.
Feedback: In any case, these are some of the thoughts I have had while playing BG3. Please, let me know what you think. I would be interested to hear what you think of my proposals, of how my proposals could be implemented, but also of any other ideas you have come up with or come across to deal with these problems.
Last edited by RadiantHeart; 03/03/21 07:26 PM.