Finished the game. Story feedback and appreciation

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ninjamelody
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Hello from Thailand. First of all thank you so much for the developers and supporters who created this wonderful new world out of TES Skyrim! I know countless hours spent on this.

I wrote gameplay feedback in the "Enderal - Questions, Critique & Wishes" but here's the story feedback which I will write about:
1. Overall feelings from beginning to end
2. Thoughts on the revelations and plot twists at the end

Things related to real world and unanswered questions I'll join other threads.

Those who had similar feelings with me or contrast are welcomed to discuss it.

SPOILERS FOR SURE:
[+]
1. Overall feelings
I like how the game started with a dark atmosphere, death, dreams, and mystery, it makes me feel like a wimp at first, but later on I started feeling more of a badass when character develops and being part of an important thing in the order. The involvement of Nehrimese mages who has a different ideology as opposed to what the Order stands for, makes things more interesting that they work together against a common enemy with me (formerly a wimp) as a key part, makes me feel my quest is more important than before.

As soon as there those who do not believe the beacon plan, and there are betrayals within the order makes me pay much more attention to conversations, and find any chance I may catch insiders but sadly, non of it could be done. Then I started to learn a lot about Tealor Arantheal's flaws as a leader, suspecting I may have to fight him at the end because of his stubbornness and ego.

I like how deep the main quests involve exploring inner struggles of our close companions, their childhood struggles and how they are related to the black stones and things that might have been bugging them all their lives. Exploring Ryneus is quite phenomenal, with that power he could create a world by his own imagination and how sad I felt for him when it all has to end. The Starcity trip was epic! Got to fly and learn something that gives hope but ended with loss because of Kurmai went hysterical.

About the daddy dreams it seems like a childhood struggle for the protagonist, (as my interpretation) he must have been blamed a failure, might have been indirectly called the people to help, but instead those people burned their houses including daddy, mom, and sister, but the guilt is put on the protagonist, which could have been the strongest drive to become fleshless and be manipulated by the High Ones all along.

2. Revelations and plot twists at the end.
It is an epic ending. But there are things that kind of bummed me down, a lot of thoughts and information to swallow/rething, please do not take this as a bashing but it may be a result from a great story must come to and end, overall I'm still satisfied because of something deep to be interpreted, so it's kind of a mixed feeling of epic/shocked/depressed...

2.1 Efforts were counterproductive or in vain, really?
It's the feeling that all the hard work I've done with the order against the High Ones, where actually increasing the power of the High Ones, increasing Tealor's ego, without anyone bringing this up, really? Even the Aged Man has warned. And what bugs me is that nobody puts an effort to catch (spelling?) Lishari Peghast's murder, nothing we could do about Yuslan Sha'Rim or egotistic Tealor Arantheal before going down the tunnels urghhh.

2.2 Too long conversation with the Black Guardian. Around 50 minutes! I felt that he is genuine of telling the truth about High Ones manipulation, fleshless conditions, and the cycle, but then he lied about the "mercy kill" switch, this nearly hopeless prophet who failed on defeating going against the High Ones could shut down the multi-millennia old epic/revealer/observer instead. And wow, that's the final boss battle in the game..........?

2.3 Both choices to end the game has kind of the same dark mood. Whether it's we as a couple escaping to Starcity with most humanity destroyed vs. A heroic sacrifice that makes the explosion less severe, my lover, the survivor goes to a different continent to "help" with another beacon. Still, both choices requires the survivor very hard work to convince other people to how not to fall by the High Ones, or being consumed by their own ego, whether it's to the people of next generation or those who are building another beacon. Also, seeing those people who work close to us with the least ego such as Arch Magister Lexill, Guard commander Leora, and High Mater all have to die...


3. I'll say it short as it's about inner struggles and childhood that drives a person's ego, but also a grown man as a leader, could fail miserably because of his/her own ego too! An organization can be corrupted from the inside and its purpose could change 180 degrees. Not much about "religion = good" or "religion = bad I'd say", it's more of when someone does not want to feel "failed" or "wrong" or "rejected" or "weak" or "selfish", they could put a lot of effort to cover it up with a huge expense on other's lives.

The thing I saw about religion is that when human having a desire to be worshiped as a "god" always results massive loss, even the Aged Man, the Light Borns, etc..
BigElectricCat
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OK, I'm game.

Even though downloaded day of English release, rather late to the party when it came to discussing and one post was probably too long.

Either that, or was rude by inserting a post between a couple of members who were already having a kind of multi-thread converation.

So how would you like to do this? Am a bit shy about posting "interpretations" or whatever because of educational background.

Don't want to come off as a snob or stuffed shirt.

If I do, just tell me I sound like a snot! :wink:

PS: Thailand eh? Off topic, but can you suggest some good movies? I like K-drama & stuff from Japan, but don't think I've caught any flicks from Thailand.
ninjamelody
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BigElectricCat hat geschrieben:
OK, I'm game.

Even though downloaded day of English release, rather late to the party when it came to discussing and one post was probably too long.

Either that, or was rude by inserting a post between a couple of members who were already having a kind of multi-thread converation.

So how would you like to do this? Am a bit shy about posting "interpretations" or whatever because of educational background.

Don't want to come off as a snob or stuffed shirt.

If I do, just tell me I sound like a snot! :wink:

PS: Thailand eh? Off topic, but can you suggest some good movies? I like K-drama & stuff from Japan, but don't think I've caught any flicks from Thailand.
1. Are you saying that I'm late for finishing the game and start discussions about it when everybody's already done it?
Yes I'm late, I downloaded it quite early but hard to manage time to play the game. The idea of posting actually started from appreciating, but the writing got out of hand hahahaha sorry. I was worried if waited longer than this I will forget my feelings after gameplay so I wrote everything that came in my mind hahaha.

2. Maybe I should edit the OP and make a TLDR version. I agree it's so much longer than what I first intended.

3. I don't mind anyone having different educational/experience background whether it's going to be higher or lower than me. Just to remind that sometimes experience in a warring country could tell more things about war than and educated scholar. I have a Croation friend who could not go to school because their country has been warring for decades.

4. I will tell you if your snobness is standing out, but we are all snobs in some ways, in different things anyway.

5. Drama and stuff is not my type of entertainment at all, Korean drama is popular in Thailand though. I did not expect that taste on Enderal or RPG forum hahahaa but some popular puppy love drama series from Thailand check out "Hormones" people have been watching this for a while, not me.
I can recommend war and combat movies: King Naresuan, Suriyothai, Tony Ja's Ong Bak, Tom Yum Kung...
BigElectricCat
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Cool. Good that you see it that way and will call me if get too nit-picky.

Sorry for any misunderstanding about being "Late the Party" Am sure they appreciate and I know I did.

All I meant was (at other forums & not here that I've noticed) -- someone could post, "My take on it is...."

And no replies at all, or... Someone might reply

"That post duplicates posting.php?.Mode=reply1234 , posting.php?.Mode=reply4321 and posting.php?.Mode=reply6789 Use the search engine."

He has nothing better to do with his time? More a reflection on him I think. :thumbsdown:

For me, longer is better. More info. to talk about!

Examples:

---
a.) I really liked this game. It rocked!

(That doesn't tell me much. What did he like about it and why?)

b.) Wow! This game is amazing. When <npc name> let the baddie go, that really hit home because IRL - I had a similar experience. (goes on to explain.) OTOH, I found the part where you have to choose between one or the other kind of bogus. IRL wouldn't there be more than just two choices?
---

Hope that makes sense!

PS: Thanks for movie suggestions. Will see if can find them here across the Pacific.

====
Meat & Bones Time. :twisted:

Premise that the player character is dead strikes me as "reducing to absurdity"-- even if it is just a game and fantasy. Requires quite a bit of "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" and can be very problematic (from a writing & critique perspective.)

If you're dead and 'dreaming' or whatever, then how can you "die" a second time? You're already dead! You can't wake up as if from a nightmare. You're dead! Why do you need to eat, sleep, etc.?

But as John Locke (?) said, "He who defines the terms rules the world."

Bottom line: You're braver than I am. Still trying to make sense of the premise that (imo) opens up holes you could drive a truck through. I know the writer is better than that, so obviously I haven't figured it out yet or am missing something.

Or.... It was never intended to be 'critiqued' or whatever. Just take the story at face value. :)
ninjamelody
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Yea, about long posts that are well-written at least it gives more "substance" than the "good or bad". But I'm not sure I'm that good in writing haha.

About the part of the protagonist is already dead, Tealor who acts as my supervisor is also already dead but revived as a new creature, closer to immortality kind of bums me in some way like:
"So it's kind of a waste of effort avoid dying during the gameplay and combat?"
"Man, why didn't I know about my super-cheating fleshless state before."
BigElectricCat
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Sorry I'm late in replying. You're right. Trying to do a critique or play "devil's advocate" is hard. Wanted to put some thought into this, and it's still too long!

Here goes though. Just stuff I noticed. :)

1.) Don't Trust People:
They will betray you, hurt you, or worse... They'll up and die on you! What hurt could be more than the death of a friend or loved one? Yet we see it again and again.

Think I counted 4 NPCs who were orphans, lost a family member or parents, etc. How many times does "My Condolences" come up in dialogue?


2.) Capt. Roccio:

She has to maintain order on a ship or sailors can get killed. Stowaways don't earn their keep. Maybe it's a maritime law. You earn your keep or if caught as a stowaway... Walk the plank!

So why doesn't she just kill PC as well?

Instead she says, "Enjoy your new life."

What? Really a stretch here, but is it Roccio at all?

Veiled Lady to PC's friend, "You mistake my actions as saving you. Nothing personal, but I have a different reason, etc., etc."

Veiled Lady is sea Captain or manipulating sea captain?

You have to admit, tossing someone overboard and saying, "Enjoy your new life" is a bit odd.

3.) Betrayal and Loss:

a.) Starts with Leshari's partner who sells out to mercenaries. Lashari gets bumped off (a shame because I liked her potty mouth dialogue & great voice acting. Of all the NPC's she might be the most believable, or at least the one I related to the most.)

b.) Constantine... Super high level mage conveniently goes nuts? Uhm... Wouldn't he spot the symptoms of Arcane Madness and get the heck out of Dodge?

c.) Calia gets wounded and conveniently out of the picture.

d.) Yuslan Sha'Rim sells out or has been a puppet all along.

e.) Then there's Tealor. Did he ever have a chance? Not buying into the "Pridefully saving my honor-- I'll go down in history as a savior" idea. What history? He's setting off some kind of H-Bomb. There won't be any history! Of all of them, seems like Tealor got screwed over the most.

Summary:

Whole thing reminds me of a song from an old Rock band called Rush. Ever listen to their song, "Freewill" ?

Here's chorus

---
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose freewill

---

Did Tealor, or anyone ever really have freedom of choice? Tyranny and Predestination via some dreamed up "High Ones?"

I say "dreamed up" because that's the only explanation that makes sense to me. Whole thing is just final thoughts of a dying mind as it runs out of oxygen. A projection if you will...

Four graves at childhood home?

Constantine explains the "Masked Men" are a bunch of religious fanatics who are total morons when it comes to debate. "The Gods said it. I believe it. And that's that! You can't reason with the unreasonable." Ha! Loved that one. (He's another likable NPC & a shame they wrote him out.)

Anyway, so these masked fanatics who murder farmers, their wives and innocent children...

...Also are very nice fanatics who give their victims a proper burial complete with some all too handy marble tombstones.

The family was buried by the locals.

Maybe, but where do poor farmers get the cash to pay for marble grave markers?

Unless it's all just in the "prophet's" head-- his last moments among the living.

So yes! Bummer... That's a risky thing to do in writing. Has its flaws, but all stories do. That's why it's easy to play "What's it mean game" and poke holes in it.

Writing though. From my limited experience, that's-- excuse my language but there's no other way to say it.

Writing is damned hard work!

Nicolas (and others or maybe his editor) pulled it off though. Probably better than anything I've come up with as amateur Sci-Fi writer wannabe. :)
Glycerin
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BigElectricCat hat geschrieben:
What? Really a stretch here, but is it Roccio at all?
Veiled Lady to PC's friend, "You mistake my actions as saving you. Nothing personal, but I have a different reason, etc., etc."
Veiled Lady is sea Captain or manipulating sea captain?
You have to admit, tossing someone overboard and saying, "Enjoy your new life" is a bit odd.
I didn't find it odd at all. Rocio knew her two captives wanted to start a new life in Enderal, so it is just a sarcastic comment on how things turned out for them. "Enjoy your new life" has a double meaning only for the player, because you know what is going on, but Rocio doesn't.
BigElectricCat hat geschrieben:
b.) Constantine... Super high level mage conveniently goes nuts? Uhm... Wouldn't he spot the symptoms of Arcane Madness and get the heck out of Dodge?
He lost his mind for sure, but did he suffer from the Red Madness? I don't remember if his eyes were red in his last scene, but I think I would have noticed.
Having the thoughts and feelings of an ancient Pyrean in your mind, who witnessed the destruction of her own civilisation and spent millenia in solitude, is certainly enough to drive even an experienced mage like Constantine crazy.
BigElectricCat hat geschrieben:
I say "dreamed up" because that's the only explanation that makes sense to me. Whole thing is just final thoughts of a dying mind as it runs out of oxygen. A projection if you will...
Four graves at childhood home?
[...]
...Also are very nice fanatics who give their victims a proper burial complete with some all too handy marble tombstones.
Unless it's all just in the "prophet's" head-- his last moments among the living.
When you destroy the beacon, you die, and this time properly, so the scene with the four gravestones definitely is a dream you have in the last moments of your life, but that doesn't mean everything has happened only in the protagonist's mind.
I agree, the theory, that everything is a dream, has its merits. It is even supported by some things in the game, like Aixon's remarks, but it is never stated explicitly.
Maybe the author just didn't want to give a straight answer to whether the whole story is dreamed up or not, so you can decide for yourself. I personally really don't like the thought that nothing actually happened (from an in-game perspective). That feels even more frustrating than being unable to save the Endraleans, no matter what you do, and possibly killing everyone else as well, if you go for the Starcity ending.
BigElectricCat
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Thanks for thoughtful reply. At least I know someone read it! :lol:

Good point about the sea captain. Don't have a save from that early, but does friend ever say "start a new life" or words to that effect? If not, how is the she supposed to know?

If he does say so, then I concede the point. : )

Constantine... I don't know. Good point about Red Madness. That's different than being overwhelmed. Maybe one of those "whatever you want it to mean" type things. 50-50 chance. He's driven insane by information overload, or he's happy with an achievement of a lifetime. Guess I see him as being more excited about it than going off the deep end. More in character if you will.

"I trust you incompetents can handle it from here? I'm off to Ark. What an opportunity! The memories of an entire civilization! Probably take 12 volumes for those idiot archanists to understand. Only one with any sense is that Lexil fellow. Take whatever you find to him and don't bother me!"


(He's written off as being obsessed with writing his books or whatever. To me, that's more believable, but to each his own.)

---
Two things still haven't puzzled out tho

Who's the Veiled Lady? First I figured it was "Mommy" to pair with "Daddy" but a cut-scene ruled that one out.

She sets things up, then conveniently disappears. No more supernatural help I guess.

One of the "Ascended" or "Star-People" ?

Biggest stumbling block is still the whole "dead" thing.

Define "Fleshless."

Good ol' John Locke. "He who defines the terms rules the world."

For me, 'fleshless' means you're dead. (Or maybe belief in some sort of transitional state between life & death.) No returning from the latter unless you believe in some sort of afterlife or resurrection.

After your initiation, there's that cut-scene you mention. Jespar is an imposter, the weird statue, and finally all the "emissaries" appear. "High Ones" messing with PC's head? Same might be true for dialogue with idol later in the game.

Then there's annoying ol' "Daddy" and the cut-scene at the house where Mom & Sis hauntingly repeat what Dad's trying to get across.

"Just admit you're dead & this Prophet stuff is just a fairy tale you're making up to feel important!"

"Fairy Tale... Fairy Tale..." etc., etc.

The game's ending seems a double-bind. Bail out and maybe continue to fight them on your own, or see a country destroyed and trust your friend can convince where so many have failed.

Not a pleasant way to end the game, or even play it. But as a story... If writer's intention was to get us to get us to start thinking rather than just mindlessly playing "Go here Do That - Here's Your Reward" type thing...

...Job well done!

Never thought I'd be reading / discussing the vagaries of the story-line from a computer game! :)

Nicholas & maybe the others really outdid themselves imo.
ninjamelody
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The Veiled Woman and Fleshless condition is pretty much the biggest questions out of Enderal, after finishing the game. Haha
Great writing always makes people discuss after they finish the game/movie/literature.

My take on the Veiled Woman: I can't find anything solid to prove that she is totally supporting the cleansing wiping out mankind, nor totally going against the destruction of mankind via the cleansing. On the other hand, she might be the personification of "wisdom", to let humankind learn from mistake, in Enderal story is that she caused influences to the main characters (PC, Jespar, Calia, etc...) and possibly Tealor Arantheal and Corack, to further their agenda, meanwhile the survivor after each ending knows of the cycle and spreads the knowledge to the further generation.

About Fleshless condition: I am a bit puzzled on how can they not die if they flee, but can die by sacrificing themselves to destroy the beacon?
Did Tealor Arantheal already die when he lights the beacon before we came up from the tunnels?
BigElectricCat
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Yeah, some of the load screens & cut-scenes seem contradictory. (To me at least.) Some mention "after your near death experience, you can go back to your meditation place" implying I'm still alive. Other cut-scenes imply I'm long gone along with other "emissaries." Guess there is no answer?

Veiled lady = wisdom. Cool. "Learn from our mistakes" kind of thing. Sounds good to me.

She seems to set up the possibility we can break the cycle, but won't snap her fingers & banish the high ones from Enderal or its world. That's up to us-- humanity?

Did any of that make sense?

Usually I'm a pretty confident writer & not bashful, but talking about the story here is weird. Inexplicably shy for some reason.

Probably because I don't have a clue! :)
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