[major spoilers]The scene in the Dal'Varek hideout

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Woolie Wool
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Overall I'm still really liking Enderal, but this scene really angered me. The entire thing was an obvious setup for Adila to kill Jespar, I saw it coming well in advance, and the game actively prevents me from doing the sensible thing and leaping out of the bushes to gut her like a fish. There's an invisible wall that blocks both me and my arrows, just so I can be forced to watch Jespar be an idiot and get himself killed.

This...this is like the opposite of good RPG design, and Enderal is usually good at that. Don't force me to be stupid, and especially not with an invisible wall. Jespar's death isn't tragic, it's infuriating, because it is directly within the PC's power to prevent it and the developers actively intervene to prevent you from doing it. Why? Why did you do this?!

I really liked Jespar, and I feel like the game completely wasted his character. He should have been a full-time follower I could actually go on an adventure with, and actually be able to make a meaningful impact on his life. This is an RPG but at the exact moment where the player most needs to role play, you make it impossible. What a shame.

E: and now I'm even more annoyed that something like this is just God performing a parlor trick.
badgesareus
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So, even though Jespar tells you not to interfere, you want to jump out of the bushes and gut his sister like a fish right before his eyes. And then what, he'll give you a big hug and thank you for murdering her? No, he might attack you and kill you -- game over, or you might kill him -- game over, or he walks away and never speaks to you again -- game over.
draneiwow2
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sorry if this sounds rude as its by no means intended to be but luckily shortly after this incident you actually DO get to gut her like a fish and then out of nowheres the veiled woman steps in and says her trademark line of "breathe" and just like that jespar is alive and well but as his sister's corpse is still nearby after u loot it or not he notices and gets a bit flustered but for the most part things go on as if nothing had happened at all
Woolie Wool
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02.01.2018 19:08badgesareus hat geschrieben:
So, even though Jespar tells you not to interfere, you want to jump out of the bushes and gut his sister like a fish right before his eyes. And then what, he'll give you a big hug and thank you for murdering her? No, he might attack you and kill you -- game over, or you might kill him -- game over, or he walks away and never speaks to you again -- game over.
If Jespar acted like any actual reasonable human being he'd have known what was going to happen the moment she started her obviously crazy villain speech. Sorry, but this quest is a classic idiot plot--it requires both Jespar and the PC to be idiots for the events depicted in the quest to take place. Though I still would have respected the quest more if it did let me take a path that made the game unwinnable (hopefully with a warning prompt like Morrowind has when you kill an essential NPC), just for acknowledging the player's agency.
Buccaneer
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03.01.2018 00:07Woolie Wool hat geschrieben:
If Jespar acted like any actual reasonable human being he'd have known what was going to happen the moment she started her obviously crazy villain speech. Sorry, but this quest is a classic idiot plot--it requires both Jespar and the PC to be idiots for the events depicted in the quest to take place. Though I still would have respected the quest more if it did let me take a path that made the game unwinnable (hopefully with a warning prompt like Morrowind has when you kill an essential NPC), just for acknowledging the player's agency.
This isn't some sandbox RPG where you get to make up your own story or fantasy (like Skyrim) but a real story-driven action game that gets you engaged in participating in the fantastic story and its characters. Jespar's temporary death was a shock, as it was intended to be, and then there's a good reason to why he can't dead and why you could not interfere in the events - you don't get that right. Would all of that had been more acceptable if it was all a cut-scene like many others in the game?
Woolie Wool
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If you must have it noninteractive, I think the best way to do it would be to have some sort of magical force field or something created by the Veiled Woman, just so your lack of options has some kind of in-game justification.

And speaking of railroading, why do I not have the option of telling that guy in the estate "I'm a Keeper of the Holy Order, and you will give me the Black Stone or else"? I was invested with great authority by the Order yet at a crucial moment in the plot I cannot use my authority to get the Order what it needs. Really "a sandbox like Skyrim" isn't what I want, it's more like Fallout New Vegas, where the quests account for several playstyles and carefully hide their railroading so you don't notice it (to the point where there is only one essential character in the entire game, and it's a robot). Don't want to hear Caesar explain the principles of Hegelian dialectics to you? Just shoot him! You're probably going to die unless you're at the level cap and brought backup but that's your problem.

(yes, I'd be that guy where, if you were doing tabletop D&D or something, I would call out "roll for initiative" in the middle of the villain's grand speech.)

The mechanics that Enderal is built around are designed to facilitate player agency. The systems of Skyrim push players inexorably to free-form exploration and expressing themselves through gameplay and dialogue options. Enderal's tendency to railroad the player through cinematic sequences grinds against its own mechanics. I feel like the project could have benefited from adapting Obsidian's strategy of presenting quests more as problems to solve with varying options depending on your character's skills, abilities, and alliances than linear sequences of events, since the basic gameplay loop of Skyrim is what it is and no mod can fundamentally alter it. Gothic II doesn't run on my computer so I haven't played your biggest inspiration, but I imagine it is probably a far more linear game with very different mechanics from Skyrim.

Example: in the Dal'Geyss estate, I see several alternate ways to complete the quest if the game would allow it: use the authority of a Keeper of the Holy Order to extort I mean requisition the information from him, follow rumors heard around town about him until you get to something incriminating, use psionics to screw up his mind, create some ruse with rhetoric to lead him to a place where you can beat him up in privacy, or if all you can do is hit things with other things, just storm in, trash the place, beat him within an inch of his life, and deal with whatever consequences happen. Also, since Dal'Geyss warned me not to double-cross him, I now desperately want to double-cross him just to see what happens.
stuemper
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You have a point with the invisbile wall in the hideout of Jespar and Adila. As far as I am aware, you are not able to intervene the scene in the beginning, but as the conversation between Adila and Jespar moves along, you are able to intervene, which ends in an "instant death" for Jespar (Intervening or nor doesn't really change anything on the outcome). The invisible collision plane is just there to let dialogue unfold. For sure, it's far from "immersive" (you have to be very careful with this term ^^ ) and also not very well designed to fit the gameplay. I noted it on my list of things that are "nice to have", maybe I can think of something to make this scene work better.
A similar situation in the similar quest "Angel" was designed far better.
[+] Angel
Calia was captured by the mercenary group in Castle Dal'Galar, and the player was locked away behind a huge gate. So there is no possibility to intervene (even if some people desire so).
But I get what you mean: You want a lot more freedom to solve a quest in a way that would fit your character's playstyle or to experience a quest in another way than you've tried before - that's absolutely legit and I can fully understand that from a player's perspective. That's what Bethesda / Obsidian were and are aiming for in their game and quest design. Replayability is one of the key features and elements of their games. However it needs a ton of effort, time, testing, money and a huge team to achieve this replayability or multiple outcomes for a lot of dialogues and quests. These are all things that we can not bring to the table for obvious reasons. So a decision needs to be made very early during the development when the writing starts how to design and write the quests. Sure, we would love to have more quests during which the player is allowed to choose how he wants to progress, it is not really limited to our imagination but to the other resources that I mentioned above.
badgesareus
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It is nice to have alternate methods to complete a quest, but it is often disappointing when the results are pretty much the same regardless of which method is used. One example I can think of in Enderal is Sillas's quest, where it doesn't matter much if you give him all, half, or none of the treasure. On the other hand, I think of the Wishing Well quests and Tiwan's quests where there is only one way to complete each, but you get to choose a reward, which is nice. Of course, you do get some choices that matter, Jespar vs Calia for example.

The problem (besides time, money and labor) is that you just can't please everyone. I have been playing ELEX for quite a while, and there are some quests such as A wants you to kill B, and B wants you to kill A, so no matter which you choose, you will not only get a completed quest but also a "quest cancelled" message. Those players that want to complete every single quest in a game go nuts with that (judging from the forums)! However I feel PB did a good job of presenting choices that matter, that have different effects, even to the main quest. But of course their resources are a wee bit more than SureAI's, but still much less than Bethesda's or CD Projekt Red's.

A synapse just fired and I had a thought, ouch! It seems that for some reason in RPGs making choices matter seems to be most commonly displayed in the quests involving romances -- in Enderal, Elex, Witcher Series, Dragon Age Inquisitions, to name a few. Food for thought.
Buccaneer
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Good thoughts all. It got me thinking about expectations and the Gothic/Assassin's Creed/Mafia/Skyrim/Enderal series. There have always been two camps on action/adventure rpg games: those who want more story-driven linearity and those who want more open world. The problems have come from when they either switch from one to the other or in most cases, try to appease both camps and not succeeding at either.

Gothic 1 and 2 were linear games (you advance by completing each chapter) but there is flexibility in building your character before moving on. Gothic 3 was more open world, much to the anger of the Gothic 1 and 2 purists, but what an open world they built - only exceeded by Enderal, imo. Same thing with the Mafia series (where I fell within the 1 and 2 purists camp) and refused to play the mostly open world 3. The point is if the linearity produced such an immersive and engaging story (which the first two games of both series did), then the expectation is continue that not give you the flexibility of doing what you want. In other words, the whole point is to play out the story to see how it end.

That was the expectation of Enderal - to actually provide a real story that's immersive and engaging to a Skyrim world. The consequences include reducing the number of choices and options you have because you cannot and should not be able to break the story. Enderal does give you some A/B branches - in the choice (and non-choice?) of a romantic partner, for example. That was extraordinarily cool for immersion but the endings would still be exactly the same (with a switched-out graphics). As far as specific actions, the same thing applies - you do not get to change the story (but while I understand about the missing 'barrier', I'm glad there wasn't one so I think I could get closer to hear the interaction). So, Enderal does give you the big choice of not even playing the story (just like I play Skyrim without dragons most of the time) but if you choose, then you should expect to play by choices the storymaker gives you.
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