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April 1st, 2013, 13:03
The idea of doing away with the 'nameless hero saves world' is fine. This is not at all the problem most had with DA2.

But if you do try to go for a 'personal' story over 'kill ancient evil', you have to do it right. The narrative has to grab the player and make them identify with the protagonist and his 'little' world. This is not helped at the outset by Hawke being voiced, and paraphrasing his own lines. But more importantly, the world around the player should evolve and react to actions. The politics, economics and dynamics of "my" Kirkwall at end of game should be noticeably different to "your" Kirkwall. DA2 failed hardest in this. Whatever you did, the world was 99.99% the same, right down to final decision of siding with faction A or B (the game forces you to kill both).

For example there was one quest where you had to investigate something for the chief prosecutor (or something similar) of Kirkwall. You investigate and find the crime was done by his son. You report back, and he tells you to hush it up, with the game suggesting that if you do, this will earn you a powerful political ally. If you don't collude, you'll get reputation as a "just and good" guy via the victim's word of mouth. Reality - zip. Nothing. Whatever you chose, there are no consequences and no further quests involving the prosecutor. All that changes is the quest either ends with him saying "thank you" or "you'll pay for this!" (and you never do).

And I think CRPG fans weren't dumb. The dumb ones were those who believed the BioWare marketing machine that suggested the negativity was due to players being mentally unable to deal with a "sophisticated" plot with no "save the world" (as opposed to players having problems with the lazily designed, dumb action game as a whole).
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