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Default Dragon Age - 20 Minute Look @ Giant Bomb

October 11th, 2009, 07:08
They call this a Quick Look over at Giant Bomb but 20 minutes of gameplay footage is fairly substantial. The video concentrates on combat from an early part of the game and is spoiler free but you get a good feel for the menus and general flow and is well worth a look.
Thanks, leth!
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October 11th, 2009, 07:09
Hmmmm.. I do like indoor combat more than outdoor. Looks nice.
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October 11th, 2009, 09:33
Ya that looks real nice.
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October 11th, 2009, 12:29
Frankly, this game is starting to look better and better.

Damn.
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October 11th, 2009, 13:25
Nice video.

Just need to make the fog dx10 to prevent the horrible slab effect
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October 11th, 2009, 13:55
Frankly, this game is looking worse and worse.

Damn.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Seriously, how much more derivative of the D&D universe can they get? Looks like NWN 3.0 nothing more. Coupled with the horrendous advertisements and "everything is bloody" motif, I find myself dreadfully disappointed.
Mind, I was never a Bioware fan, but I did enjoy Jade Empire. Wonky combat system aside (along with the typical "make a choice, though it hardly matters which" Biowarian design), it was a decent and relatively unique RPG. My expectations for this, however, have plummeted since day one.
Also, what is up with the retard-aka-console-friendly "allies faint when defeated" nonsense? They had best append a permadeath option or count one lost customer.
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October 11th, 2009, 14:09
Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
Frankly, this game is looking worse and worse.

Damn.

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 覧覧覧

They had best append a permadeath option or count one lost customer.
I don't think they will miss you. Bio has gone mainstream long time ago and I think they are doing well where they are so no reason for them to change.

However I have already pre ordered Dragon Age
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October 11th, 2009, 14:25
Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
Frankly, this game is looking worse and worse.

Damn.

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 覧覧覧

Seriously, how much more derivative of the D&D universe can they get? Looks like NWN 3.0 nothing more. Coupled with the horrendous advertisements and "everything is bloody" motif, I find myself dreadfully disappointed.
Mind, I was never a Bioware fan, but I did enjoy Jade Empire. Wonky combat system aside (along with the typical "make a choice, though it hardly matters which" Biowarian design), it was a decent and relatively unique RPG. My expectations for this, however, have plummeted since day one.
Also, what is up with the retard-aka-console-friendly "allies faint when defeated" nonsense? They had best append a permadeath option or count one lost customer.
I enjoyed JE too, for much the same reasons, and I have much the same beefs with BioWare games. However, at their best, they do do certain things better than anyone else out there, and by the looks of it, with DA, they're playing to their strengths.

Originality, maturity, or cutting-edge writing isn't one of them, though.

(Re ally death — that, IMO, is a red herring. Games have to handle death in some way; having ally perma-death with no possibility of raising them is just stupid, because all it means that you'll be re-re-re-reloading battles, which isn't challenge — it's lazy game design masquerading as challenge. IMO the only cRPG to handle ally (and PC) death truly elegantly is Planescape: Torment, and that solution isn't easily portable to other games.)
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October 11th, 2009, 14:49
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
(Re ally death — that, IMO, is a red herring. Games have to handle death in some way; having ally perma-death with no possibility of raising them is just stupid, because all it means that you'll be re-re-re-reloading battles, which isn't challenge — it's lazy game design masquerading as challenge. IMO the only cRPG to handle ally (and PC) death truly elegantly is Planescape: Torment, and that solution isn't easily portable to other games.)
You don't necessarily reload endlessly in that case, as it tends to provoke players into playing smart and with fewer deaths.

A good game design will let smart players avoid death altogether. The really wonderful thing about games that pull this off, is that they not only make you think - they also make you feel good about yourself and make your choices have real meaning. That's something players tend to enjoy immensely, even if they don't realise it at first, cursing the game for being too hard on them.

If you simply revive dead players, you're not only making a non-immersive design choice, you're also taking the easy way out.

However, if death is not avoidable by smart character choices and smart tactical decisions, then naturally you don't want to compound a weak design by punishing players further, forcing them to reload.

The sad thing about this case, as far as I can see, is that Dragon Age SEEMS to be the kind of game that rewards clever players - and as such it's kinda counterproductive to have this insta-revive thing, but such is par for the course when dealing with a large audience that can't be bothered to learn the intricacies of battle and would likely be frustrated with a proper death mechanic.

Anyway, it's not something I can really know until I play the game for myself.
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October 11th, 2009, 15:24
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
having ally perma-death with no possibility of raising them is just stupid, because all it means that you'll be re-re-re-reloading battles, which isn't challenge — it's lazy game design masquerading as challenge.
BG2 comes to mind, or was it IWD1/2? One of those or all of them featured hard battles that were pretty much impossible to prepare for in advance if you had never seen them before — which made re-re-re-reloading part of the strategy. Just from what I've heard, never played them myself (I did play BG2 until some time in chapter 2, but lost all savegames and never tried again).

Great, some more games to put on my "To Play" list, just what I need …

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October 11th, 2009, 16:45
Well there's an economic cost to insta-revive if I understood the commentary correctly - you suffer from injuries if you go down mid-fight, which apply penalties to stats etc.
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October 11th, 2009, 16:46
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You don't necessarily reload endlessly in that case, as it tends to provoke players into playing smart and with fewer deaths.

A good game design will let smart players avoid death altogether. The really wonderful thing about games that pull this off, is that they not only make you think - they also make you feel good about yourself and make your choices have real meaning. That's something players tend to enjoy immensely, even if they don't realise it at first, cursing the game for being too hard on them.
That's kinda my point. Character and ally death is one part of a big gameplay package. If you want to have ally perma-death in a party-based RPG, you have to structure the gameplay in such a way that it makes sense. Perma-death makes balancing way, way more difficult, in a genre that's already hard to balance because of the variety of character and party builds you can make.

IOW, yeah, I like the idea of ally perma-death as well. However, in practice, I realize how much work it would be to get it working well enough that the game wouldn't be either incredibly frustrating or mindlessly easy; therefore, I recognize that all the effort needed to make it work might be better spent elsewhere.

If you simply revive dead players, you're not only making a non-immersive design choice, you're also taking the easy way out.
True. It's sort of the flip side of forcing players to endlessly reload — just as lazy. Given a choice between lazily implemented perma-death and post-combat revival, I'll take revival; I just don't have the patience for the save-and-load rhumba the former entails.

Didn't DA have some kind of semi-permanent injury system going on, though? I.e., that characters that were knocked out in combat didn't fully heal up until you had a chance to rest, or something? If so, that sounds like a good way to mitigate that design choice and motivate players to play smart.
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October 11th, 2009, 17:00
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
I don't think they will miss you. Bio has gone mainstream long time ago and I think they are doing well where they are so no reason for them to change
Kinda stating the obvious there, mate. The remark, on my part, was merely my way of expressing disapproval, nothing more. I had plans to purchase DA on its initial announcement, yet as ever more elaborate videos displaying one feature or another are unveiled, I find them conflicting more and more with what I desire from a "dark and gritty epic roleplaying experience" (to quote their PR blurb).
Hence, too, the very dry copy-edit-paste of DArtagnan's first post.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
(Really death — that, IMO, is a red herring. Games have to handle death in some way; having ally perma-death with no possibility of raising them is just stupid, because all it means that you'll be re-re-re-reloading battles, which isn't challenge — it's lazy game design masquerading as challenge.
I can appreciate the distinction and have often made that jump myself: permadeath = quicksave/quickload spam.
However, here I am forced to agree with DArtagnan, whose points I would rehash if only he hadn't so succinctly summed them up already.
In any case I did say permadeath option. By all means, let everyone else play with the system as displayed in the linked-clip, but let me play my way. Seems like the sort of thing they should include in all serious roleplaying games; rather akin to the touted customization aspects of the forthcoming Arcania (really, the only aspects I like thus far), such as the ability to toggle on or off the in-game quest markers, minimap and the like. Something that allows a player to truly personalize their gameplay experience.

Clarification:
For me, far more than the mere "ironman" experience that stems from a permadeath feature, it is the suspension-of-belief that hangs in the balance. In watching the clip, notably the last three minutes, I was absolutely appalled at the manner in which the VO-guys laughed off the sudden rising of nearly the entire team after being horribly "slain" by some kind of monsters.
"Ah-ha-ha, they fainted in the middle of a fight! I'm Mordecai the Mage!"
Seriously? I thought. These daemonic-creatures slashed your men with their non-Nerf swords, filled them with arrows and ultimately bashed 'em to the ground, yet all it took for a revival was for the monsters to fall over…ingenious! What a world!
That kind of illogicality frustrates me. When a character in a game is cut down, they ought to stay down. Revive them with a necromancy or resurrection spell, go JRPG on me and use a phoenix down, whatever, just don't tell me that in the midst of all this bloodshed, they "fainted."
With mechanics such as that, your characters are effectively immortal.
Last edited by themadhatter; October 11th, 2009 at 17:17.
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October 11th, 2009, 17:18
I would do something like a hybrid method, where there are are levels of functionality. So a guy/gal does not just get up after they have been put down, it all depends on the variables, their con, how much they are damaged, any bleeding wounds sort of thing. So someone would have to get them back up though there is a chance they get back up on their own. Healing spells, potions, bandages, work normally. Point is the more people that are down the worse off you are, which is true anyway presently, but more pronounced in this stated case.

So you could have a variety of results. Where one person is unconscious, or comatose as no appropriate healing is available at present, so the party has to drag them along. Ever done that? I think most players have ,at least the PnP crowd. Also the variations conditions that the party are in would make the party more vulnerable to wandering patrols, monsters, who happened upon them.

Alternatively you could just have them all get up based on their con, hits below a certain level i.e. unconscious, and they all get up in a random order, unless they are attended too. Would not be all that hard to script.
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October 11th, 2009, 17:26
Originally Posted by themadhatter View Post
Clarification:
For me, far more than the mere "ironman" experience that stems from a permadeath feature, it is the suspension-of-belief that hangs in the balance. In watching the clip, notably the last three minutes, I was absolutely appalled at the manner in which the VO-guys laughed off the sudden rising of nearly the entire team after being horribly "slain" by some kind of monsters.
"Ah-ha-ha, they fainted in the middle of a fight! I'm Mordecai the Mage!"
Seriously? I thought. These daemonic-creatures slashed your men with their non-Nerf swords, filled them with arrows and ultimately bashed 'em to the ground, yet all it took for a revival was for the monsters to fall overingenious! What a world!
That kind of illogicality frustrates me. When a character in a game is cut down, they ought to stay down. Revive them with a necromancy or resurrection spell, go JRPG on me and use a phoenix down, whatever, just don't tell me that in the midst of all this bloodshed, they "fainted."
With mechanics such as that, your characters are effectively immortal.
Games are different things to different people. The commentary guys had a great sense of humour (IMHO) and it sounded like they were having fun. Games also inherently illogical and if you want to be immersed then you need to have some measure of suspension-of-disbelief. Why do I have x amount of mana and spells take y amount from it? Why does my sword do 16 points of damage? The list goes on, but we recognise they are things for gameplay mechanics, which help us have more fun, and exercise our imagination to get around.

If you're happy with jRPG systems etc. then just pretend your characters were all taught the basics of a revival spell and as soon as it's safe to do so they utter it. Job done, no more illogicality and makes sense within the game world.
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October 11th, 2009, 17:29
@themadhatter: I've nothing against an "ironman" mode. Hell, make it even tougher — save only on quit, and load wipes your save, NetHack style.

Also, given what they're saying about the toolset, I don't think it'd be hard at all to mod in perma-death plus some resurrection magic of some kind.
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October 11th, 2009, 17:43
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
That's kinda my point. Character and ally death is one part of a big gameplay package. If you want to have ally perma-death in a party-based RPG, you have to structure the gameplay in such a way that it makes sense. Perma-death makes balancing way, way more difficult, in a genre that's already hard to balance because of the variety of character and party builds you can make.
Well, I'm not a big supporter of perma-death as the standard option. I wasn't aware that was the only alternative to insta-revival.

I'm talking about the more traditional resurrection method, or a limited resource system where you'd rather not have to spend resources reviving as they should be precious.

But perma-death is, in my opinion, something that should be reserved as a special option and there definitely should be some kind of reward for that. Increased XP is an obvious choice.

However, then it'd have to be real perma-death, as in death = death and no reloads to avoid it.

True. It's sort of the flip side of forcing players to endlessly reload — just as lazy. Given a choice between lazily implemented perma-death and post-combat revival, I'll take revival; I just don't have the patience for the save-and-load rhumba the former entails.
In that case, I'd agree - but again, I wasn't thinking of perma-death as the only alternative to instant free-of-charge revival.

Didn't DA have some kind of semi-permanent injury system going on, though? I.e., that characters that were knocked out in combat didn't fully heal up until you had a chance to rest, or something? If so, that sounds like a good way to mitigate that design choice and motivate players to play smart.
Don't know about this one. I think perhaps crippled limbs or something, that can be healed by a proper healer or at the "home-base" would work better. What you're talking about is still hardly an incentive to fight well - because you get them back in a fighting state no matter what happens to them.

A reasonably good solution is sort of what they did in Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter IIRC. Make the standard difficulty level "normal" be the instant revival thing - and let there be a difficulty level called "hardcore" (not hard) and let it be what I'm talking about with limited resurrection. Then all would be happy, and I wouldn't have to worry about the game being "hard" just "hardcore" as they liked to call it back in the day. I tend to loathe the average "hard" mode because that's just scaled hitpoints/damage and can never really work well unless the developers worked twice as hard when balancing the game - which they never do.
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October 11th, 2009, 19:24
Looking great, definite purchase for me.

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October 11th, 2009, 19:54
To clarify things a little, there are persistent combat injuries:

From the wiki and gamebanshee preview:
Characters, including the Player Character, that fall in combat receive a debilitating injury that lowers an attribute until treated. These injuries can stack. To remove a persistent injury, you must return to your party camp or use an injury kit. As with poultices, each kit has a certain level of potency that determines how much damage it’s able to repair. Lesser injury kits heal a single injury and a small amount of health, for example.
While I don't see the appeal of being forced to save and reload all the time, here is something that will make sure that you experience "perma death" (or complete party wipe) ALL the time:

Use Nightmare difficulty settings
Casual - No friendly fire. Easy AI
Normal - 50% damage from friendly fire, traps, and other abilities. Moderate AI
Hard - 100% damage from friendly fire, traps, and other abilities. Full AI. Opponents hit harder.
Nightmare - 100% damage from friendly fire, traps, and other abilities. Full AI. Opponents hit harder and additional resistances

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October 11th, 2009, 20:10
Well, now, that sounds pretty good about the persistant injuries. That should do to inspire me to play well without getting lazy.

I don't think it makes sense to have Full AI removed from "normal" mode, as I expect most of us want the AI as smart as possible.

However, since it's 100% damage in hard and not beyond that, I guess I'll be playing it on hard. I think it sounds like what normal should have been, though - or rather the "hardcore" mode I was wishing for. I'd have to see what they mean by enemies hitting harder before being certain.

I think they should have made AI sophistication be a separate choice, or in fact all the aspects should be separate selections. But that can likely be modded in with ease.

In any case, this sounds quite good and I don't think I will have a problem with revival afterall - even if I think it's kinda non-immersive to have your characters just stand up after death. But maybe that's just me.
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