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Default Pillars of Eternity - Short Q&A @ RPGCodex

January 18th, 2015, 07:21
Our friends at RPGCodex asked Chris Avellone about his current work on Pillars of Eternity. Here's a brief excerpt. Visit the Codex to read the whole thing.

Sitting down to write two characters for Eternity, Avellone felt as if the chains were off.

Im not writing for a publisher right now, he thought. So I can write about subjects were normally not allowed to. Whats interesting about the world of Eternity that I think these two companions could have something to say about?

In the end, Avellone went too far even for his colleagues at Obsidian - those characters wont appear in the game as he originally intended.
More information.
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January 18th, 2015, 07:21
Thanks for the Link Gorath but they're not my friends.

Still it was nice to get some answers from Chris Avellone on a few topics.
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January 18th, 2015, 10:47
Codexers howling for MCA to be project lead again, and right they are. Given the amount of control Sawyer had over this project it's gonna be a good way to gauge his qualification for that position.

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January 18th, 2015, 14:18
You realize this isn't Sawyer first job as project lead right? He was the lead designer and director behind Fallout New Vegas.
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January 18th, 2015, 15:16
Go back even further and you'll find more relevant experience in the light of Pillars of Eternity: He was the lead for Icewind Dale 2 as well and before that we can't forget the shelved projects the Black Hound too.

At this point I don't think your average gamer (unless extremely close to the company) is really in the position to be making judgement calls on who should be lead designer: All it merely does is indicates a particular unhelpful bias in favor of someone over another.

Having said that, based upon MCA's responses to these questions, I am a little surprised at how much less work he has done on PoE than perhaps I anticipated. It's also interesting to note that even given the situation of not having to answer to a publisher, some of his character work was still "toned down" as it were.

I wonder therefore, what circumstances would be required for Chris to write completely and utterly "unbound" as it were?
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January 18th, 2015, 16:21
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
You realize this isn't Sawyer first job as project lead right?
This is the first project where he didn't have to answer to a publisher.

He even designed the stats system - and probably not without some arguing with the mastermind of the project you mentioned (Cain would certainly have voted in favor of stat checks la Fallout and Arcanum, for instance).

So yeah, this time Sawyer is clearly and fully in the spotlight.

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January 18th, 2015, 16:23
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post

At this point I don't think your average gamer (unless extremely close to the company) is really in the position to be making judgement calls on who should be lead designer: All it merely does is indicates a particular unhelpful bias in favor of someone over another.
Unless the development project is pretty transparent - as it was with PoE. I can clearly cite things about the game even now that would have been different if Cain had been project lead.

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January 18th, 2015, 23:33
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
You realize this isn't Sawyer first job as project lead right? He was the lead designer and director behind Fallout New Vegas.
Wasn't he in some lead role on IWD2 as well?
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January 18th, 2015, 23:59
Originally Posted by Archangel View Post
Wasn't he in some lead role on IWD2 as well?
He was a designer, I don't remember if he was the lead of the game though. Pessimeister seems to think he was. I don't follow game designers pedigree that much personally. I just knew he was the lead designer and creative director of FNV because I played that recently.
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January 19th, 2015, 00:16
Sawyer explained his roles in detail in one of his YouTube videos. It's easy to find.
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January 19th, 2015, 00:19
In those examples of Sawyer's lead work cited above, he was working with an already-established rule system. Here with PoE, he has created his own. The attributes, in particular, are his baby.. I've read interviews with Sawyer where he talks about addressing a longtime pet peeve of his, dump stats. So, he designed this system where every attribute is relevent to every class. It sounds like this has also watered down the importance of attributes in the process, which Sawyer has already drawn fire for, particularly from Codex folks.

Personally, I don't like the sound of it either, but I'm going to try to keep an open mind when I play PoE on release.
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January 19th, 2015, 00:25
Josh Sawyer seems like an extremely intelligent, well-spoken and creative guy. I have no doubts PoE is going to be great under his lead. You guys just need to have a little faith.

Sadly, I already seem the crapstorm brewing from the Codex. No game is going to live up to Baldur's Gate, but at least we can have something new that captures some of the spirit of those games. I have no doubts that this game is going to deliver a complex RPG experience for us "old-school" gamers.
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January 19th, 2015, 00:58
Let me shake your hand once again Fluent for speaking the truth.

I backed the game because it interested me not just because of nostalgia. I look forward to playing the final version in March, but I might wait for a few patches.
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January 19th, 2015, 01:44
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Josh Sawyer seems like an extremely intelligent, well-spoken and creative guy. I have no doubts PoE is going to be great under his lead. You guys just need to have a little faith.

Sadly, I already seem the crapstorm brewing from the Codex. No game is going to live up to Baldur's Gate, but at least we can have something new that captures some of the spirit of those games. I have no doubts that this game is going to deliver a complex RPG experience for us "old-school" gamers.
Being intelligent and creative one thing, getting things done is another. Considering PoE has been delayed for well over a year, it's quite clear he didn't manage time well enough. Personally, I think they've got too ambitious with contents, especially with stretch goals, than they can handle.

I don't have "faith" in them, but hoping I will be pleasantly surprised. Nolstagia is a strong thing, and in this case, what drove my interest in this game - I can't say I won't be comparing PoE to BG
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January 19th, 2015, 02:02
Many people will be comparing PoE to BG, but I will just accept PoE for what it is going to be - a new cRPG capturing some of the spirit of the Infinity Engine games.

I think if you try to compare it to BG you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Just my opinion, though.
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January 19th, 2015, 02:45
Spent all weekend learning how to do combat in this game as a Cipher with a Barbarian added to the BB party. Hated it at first, completely quit out of the game multiple times, but after awhile I figured out how to manage fights and after a few gear upgrades it was getting very easy on normal setting. The quests and locales in the BB are great, the loot system is fun and I think that, bugs aside, this will be a well received game.

As far as the stats being unimportant or watered down….not sure I understand that argument. I'd like to see someone make an argument and not have a tantrum in its place. That said, perception seemed pretty important for every class regardless of the recommendations in-game.

If you haven't sunk 10 or so hours into the latest build of the BB, then you may be basing your opinions off of old info.
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January 19th, 2015, 02:52
Originally Posted by Capt. Huggy Face View Post
In those examples of Sawyer's lead work cited above, he was working with an already-established rule system. Here with PoE, he has created his own. The attributes, in particular, are his baby.. I've read interviews with Sawyer where he talks about addressing a longtime pet peeve of his, dump stats.
Sawyer is just tilting at windmills here in my opinion, and has created a solution in search of a problem. I think an attribute is really only a problem if it is a dump stat that is universal (or nearly so, Charisma in most D&D cRPGs I'm looking at you! *glare*) for all classes.

I have no problem with an attribute being a dump stat for specific classes or roles, and I think it adds a bit of flavor having stat distributions that are skewed in favor of said classes or party roles. I hate it when stat distributions end up too cookie-cutter and samey.

I need to do some serious soul searching here, because I concur with Codexers here in their wariness of PoE's stat system. *shudders* At least I know who to blame (Sawyer) if the game ends up being a lemon because of flaws at the fundamental system level. Here's hoping it doesn't suck. *sigh*
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January 19th, 2015, 06:44
Originally Posted by Melvil View Post
I'd like to see someone make an argument and not have a tantrum in its place.
Just remember, you asked for it.

And, no, the paper linked in this original post was written in response to the initial outcry after the beta was first released, I believe, not the latest build.
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January 19th, 2015, 12:10
Game looks very nice overall, though I'm not particularly excited about this kind of "going back in time" in terms of gameplay and style.

But if I'm getting a quality game in BG style, I'll consider it worth the investment - and then some.

Obviously, I'd prefer something representing an actual evolution, but I never expected that from these fan-service Kickstarters.

It's all good

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January 19th, 2015, 12:22
Originally Posted by fuzzicalFighter View Post
Sawyer is just tilting at windmills here in my opinion, and has created a solution in search of a problem. I think an attribute is really only a problem if it is a dump stat that is universal (or nearly so, Charisma in most D&D cRPGs I'm looking at you! *glare*) for all classes.

I have no problem with an attribute being a dump stat for specific classes or roles, and I think it adds a bit of flavor having stat distributions that are skewed in favor of said classes or party roles. I hate it when stat distributions end up too cookie-cutter and samey.

I need to do some serious soul searching here, because I concur with Codexers here in their wariness of PoE's stat system. *shudders* At least I know who to blame (Sawyer) if the game ends up being a lemon because of flaws at the fundamental system level. Here's hoping it doesn't suck. *sigh*
I agree with this. There was no need to break everything apart and try to put it together. He just needed to fix Charisma.
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