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Default Pillars of Eternity - GDC Next Presentation

January 4th, 2014, 09:15
Josh Sawyer gave a presentation for Pillars of Eternity in November at the GDC Next conference. The good news is you can now watch it on the GDC Vault.

Session Name: Gathering Your Party with Project Eternity (GDC Next 10)
Speaker: Josh Sawyer
Company Name: Obsidian Entertainment
Track / Format: Future of Gaming

Overview: This talk will feature the retro-evolution of classic 2D RPG elements in Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity. From the challenges of creating massive, dynamically-lit isometric environments to trusting in players' vivid imaginations and problem-solving capabilities, Project Eternity poses some interesting challenges to its veteran team. To find the right balance between using contemporary development practices and meeting classic RPG expectations, the developers have solicited community feedback, returned to past titles and, of course, played a bunch of D&D. Join us on an adventure fraught with wonders and perils more dazzling than the Warlock's
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January 4th, 2014, 09:15
Not sure quite how I feel about their outsourcing of wilderness levels. Guess it can depend on how prominent they'll end up being among the 2 cities and the various settlements.

Also I didn't really get whether all the options presented in the difficulty/GUI slide are actually going to be in the game. For one I can't imagine someone turning off AoE highlighting and I think I'd rather the developer decided on the visibility of skill check thresholds, reputation modifiers and the explicitness of the journal and design the game around those decisions.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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January 4th, 2014, 14:12
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
Also I didn't really get whether all the options presented in the difficulty/GUI slide are actually going to be in the game. For one I can't imagine someone turning off AoE highlighting and I think I'd rather the developer decided on the visibility of skill check thresholds, reputation modifiers and the explicitness of the journal and design the game around those decisions.
For me, the difficulty and immersion options were some of the most exciting parts to Josh's presentation. There is no "One Vision" these days: some gamers may have been brought up Eye of the Beholder, some on Infinity Engine, and still others on Dragon Age. Despite Project Eternity's self-appointed Infinity Engine successor status, the devs realize that no two gamers will have the same preferences across the board. Easier to shape together different customizable options than it is to listen to a horde of whining gamers after the fact on why their preference for the game is superior.

Option for no explicit Quest Objectives in Journal? Awesome!
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January 4th, 2014, 16:05
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
For me, the difficulty and immersion options were some of the most exciting parts to Josh's presentation. There is no "One Vision" these days: some gamers may have been brought up Eye of the Beholder, some on Infinity Engine, and still others on Dragon Age. Despite Project Eternity's self-appointed Infinity Engine successor status, the devs realize that no two gamers will have the same preferences across the board. Easier to shape together different customizable options than it is to listen to a horde of whining gamers after the fact on why their preference for the game is superior.

Option for no explicit Quest Objectives in Journal? Awesome!
Not only that, but Infinity games were D&D, which also has a fractured fan-base with no version or spin-off to please everyone. Even though Obsidian is implementing their own system you still see posts referring to and making comparisons to D&D'isms and the edition wars on their forum. (A brief web search found someone accusing a 4e fan of trying to touch off an edition war and then includes "4th edition didn't succeed at anything", in their own post. Even I've got my inner voice telling me not to reply to a 15 month old thread to point out 4e was overwhelmingly the best official edition at tackling the LFQW problem.)
And then there's old school D&D'ers complaining of anything remotely WoW-like or indeed anything MMO-like.
Last edited by hairyscotsman2; January 4th, 2014 at 16:55.
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January 4th, 2014, 16:18
Everyone I know who backed PoE wanted a spiritual successor to IE games like Baldur's Gate - so I would hope that they don't include "WoW-like" or MMO elements. Unless you were joking? I certainly don't recall the devs indicating they'd do any such thing.
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January 4th, 2014, 16:42
It was originally supposed to be the next Infinity Engine game in spirit, which means its backers are from Baldur's Gate etc. If they cater to the masses like Dragon Age it would be a betrayal in my opinion.

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January 4th, 2014, 17:19
Originally Posted by booboo View Post
Everyone I know who backed PoE wanted a spiritual successor to IE games like Baldur's Gate - so I would hope that they don't include "WoW-like" or MMO elements. Unless you were joking? I certainly don't recall the devs indicating they'd do any such thing.
What I'm referring to with that is how almost anything 4e-like is jumped on by 1-3.75e D&D'ers and (4e itself was complained of as being too WoW-like) just because it's a bit 4e-like rather than taken on it's own merit in a different context (the context of a different system). For example, 4e fighters (and other defender/tank classes) had a 'marking' ability to discourage enemies from attacking their allies. Enemies would be at a minus to hit allies when marked by the fighter and if they did, the fighter would get an opportunity attack if adjacent. The PE wiki has a class ability listed as: unnamed abillity shield nearby allies.[6] But it's only one of several and you don't need to put points in it if you don't want to. In fact, one thing sometimes complained of by old-school D&D'ers about 4e is giving fighters abilities/powers at all, many of them were quite happy with only getting to move and hit things.
Another complaint was the PE paladin resembling more a 4e warlord than a 1-3.75e paladin. If you look at the D&D Next forums you'd realize that the warlord class was removed by demand of/to appease the old-schooler's. But what people should actually really be doing is looking at the PE classes and abilities in their own context. And if you don't like a particular class in play then don't play one or take one as a companion. In fact, the D&D paladin concept looks like it could be better covered by a war-like priest build in PE.
Another thing 4e-belatedly did was make classes that were mostly for at-will attacks. So they were better round to round but had limited ability to nova compared to other classes (like old-school fighters). The powers/abilities/spells of PE are being purposefully designed so a player can have a lot of passive or active abilities, so the class can be made to feel like what they want in play.
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January 4th, 2014, 17:29
So I think Obsidian are doing very well at making a system disparate players can find something they like in. Their idea of letting people have their own mix of active abilities and passive abilities sounds about right to me. It's not what a class is called, it's how it feels in play.
Personally, in terms of PnP play, the problems of all editions of D&D (including Next re-implementing LFQW issues) are why I've moved to 13th Age (for it's high fantasy story mixed with innovative D&D elements) and a bit of old school WFRP 1e for when we want something gritty (also looking at the RuneQuest 6e and d6 ASoIaF games).
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January 4th, 2014, 17:33
My point, Todd, Boo, was that even fans who want an Infinity Engine successor all want something different. 15 years of acclimation to new standards in gaming can blur a lot of perceptions when looking through rose-tinted nostalgia glasses. Just to what degree depends on the gamer - and THAT is what the options are there for.

If only all this was getting set in a Cyberpunk, Lovecraft, or just mostly any other setting aside from yet another sword & magic themed game.
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January 4th, 2014, 18:43
Dragon Age with its Combat Tactics system was an abomination designed to appeal to the "new gen" ADHD player. Just image what content could have made it in if energies were focused elsewhere. If anything of that ilk that appears here….

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January 4th, 2014, 20:24
I just want a good game
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January 4th, 2014, 20:43
Originally Posted by Yme View Post
I just want a good game
I can subscribe to that

It seems though that they are trying to do difficulty settings the right/non cheesy way: adjusting design and encounter elements and not just hp/damage (which never really works for me). That is quite an undertaking to implement, balance and playtest though…

Do they have the time and resources I wonder…
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January 4th, 2014, 23:37
Awesome looking game. That video made me harder than a diamond in an ice storm..
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January 5th, 2014, 00:04
I think this has the most realistic chance of being a truly great kickstarter rpg.I am more confident of them delivering the goods compared to other big names.
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January 5th, 2014, 05:21
It really doesn't matter what they do, somebody isn't going to like it. I expect they'll be doing very well if 80% of the contributors are pleased with the results.
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January 5th, 2014, 08:49
I really hope their attempt to address all the various game options they mentioned to appeal to such a wide variety of gamers goes well. I think this is a much better approach than dumbing down mechanics and making some people suffer because of it. I also HATE "artificial difficulty", ie hp/damage sliders by difficulty level, so I'd be thrilled to see a better approach there.
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January 5th, 2014, 11:30
Doesn't look like a bad game at all, though I'm clearly less impressed by a BG clone appearing 16 years later - looking like a marginal improvement - than you guys seem to be. Personally, I think these kickstarters could be a lot more ambitious in design terms, but that's me.

Still, I'll be getting it upon release all the same.
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