Author Topic: Project Eternity  (Read 2611 times)

Cain

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Project Eternity
« on: October 03, 2012, 06:11:05 pm »
Just thought I'd mention this, since I know we have a few old school CRPG fans out there

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity

Basically, Obsidian, one of the two successor company's to Black Isle (the other being Bioware) are looking to make a game that draws directly from the Black Isle classics - Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment and so on, all critically acclaimed games from back in the day.  They're looking to make an indepth, heavily role-playing/character driven RPG game very much like those, but in its own independent setting so they have more creative control over the series.

But the thing is, Obsidian isn't a massive company, and they're not backed by some huge gaming enterprise like Electronic Arts.  Furthermore, the demand for these kind of games is not exactly huge....they're something of a select market.  So, Obsidian needs money.

And that's where the Kickstarter above comes in.  Not only do people funding the game get the items mentioned at the various tiers of donations, but each milestone reached allows for new elements to be added to the game - extra races, classes, dungeons or factions that every player will benefit from.

The Kickstarter is actually doing amazingly well, reaching its target in only a number of days.  But the more money they have, the better the game will be.  So, if you're a fan of the above kind of games, I strongly recommend checking out their plans and seeing if this is something you'd like to contribute to.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Prince Glittersnatch III

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 05:44:39 am »
Its good to see a big name developer like Obsidian circumventing the traditional publisher bootlicking and compromise. Hopefully more developers will follow suit.
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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 07:12:00 am »
Yeah, I think it's ideal for a company in their situation.  Especially given how insane the publishers can be nowadays (the demands EA places on Bioware are mental, and the company is suffering for it - just look at Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3).  Deadlines can be set based on what the devs feel is adequate, content is less subejct to boycott or revision, and stupid gimmicks like mandated online, interactive components are not necessary.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 03:40:06 pm »
Don't even remind me about what EA is doing to Bioware, because I think we all know how its going to end.

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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 09:52:16 pm »
Yeah, I'm waiting to see what happens with Dragon Age III: Inquisition.  My hope is that EA will realise shit is falling apart at Bioware, and they need to give a lot of time and support to get a game with DAO/Mass Effect 1+2 levels of acclaim, and so they will calm down, give more time and control to Bioware's staff and allow them to develop the game without trying to get it out within six months of being announced.

But they probably will try and do all that.

Anyway, more news about Project Eternity.  The magic system seems interesting...a sort of hybrid Vancian/cooldown system.  Essentially, you have spells up to a certain level, where you can cast them several times without having to prepare them.  After a pre-set amount of casts, that entire level is locked out and you have to wait for a cooldown.  And then you have the top level spells, which are in grimoires. You can only have one grimoire equipped at a time, and once the spell is cast, that is it.  You need to rest to get it back.

I'm quite happy about that.  Seems like it would require some tactical thinking, while allowing enough flexibility to be truly creative.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Don Coyote

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 02:33:26 am »
Yeah, I'm waiting to see what happens with Dragon Age III: Inquisition.  My hope is that EA will realise shit is falling apart at Bioware, and they need to give a lot of time and support to get a game with DAO/Mass Effect 1+2 levels of acclaim, and so they will calm down, give more time and control to Bioware's staff and allow them to develop the game without trying to get it out within six months of being announced.

But they probably will try and do all that.

Anyway, more news about Project Eternity.  The magic system seems interesting...a sort of hybrid Vancian/cooldown system.  Essentially, you have spells up to a certain level, where you can cast them several times without having to prepare them.  After a pre-set amount of casts, that entire level is locked out and you have to wait for a cooldown.  And then you have the top level spells, which are in grimoires. You can only have one grimoire equipped at a time, and once the spell is cast, that is it.  You need to rest to get it back.

I'm quite happy about that.  Seems like it would require some tactical thinking, while allowing enough flexibility to be truly creative.

That sounds like a boss magic system. Maybe I'll kick a few bucks towards their kickstarter.
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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 05:57:51 am »
Yeah, I think that'll be a pretty good system.  It doesn't leave mages entirely useless after a few fights, but doesn't mean you can faceroll your way to victory either.

Also of potential interest are the difficulty settings.  "Expert mode" sounds like the most interesting to me...

Quote
Expert Mode will disable all of the common ease-of-use / in-case-you-missed it gameplay elements like the display of skill thresholds, influence/reputation modifiers, and similar "helper" information. In a fashion similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode will also enable more punitive and demanding gameplay elements, in and out of combat. We're not saying we're going to have weighty gold (for real, we're not saying that), but if we did, you can bet that would be automatically turned on by Expert Mode.

But there is also this:

Quote
If you guessed that Trial of Iron is like Temple of Elemental Evil's Ironman Mode, you guessed right. When you start a Trial of Iron game, you have one save game that persists for the entire campaign... or until you die. And if you die, your save game is deleted. Enjoy!

Quote
Path of the Damned is a spiritual successor to Icewind Dale's Heart of Fury mode. In our encounters, we like to turn individual combatants on and off based on the level of difficulty. If you come into an area on Easy, maybe casters are replaced with weak melee enemies. If you come in on Hard, maybe the casters are augmented by a tough melee enemy or two. With Path of the Damned, that goes out the window. All enemies from all levels of difficulty are enabled and the combat mechanics are amplified to make battles much more brutal for everyone involved.

But this is the most interesting part:

Quote
The first question you may have is, "Can I enable multiple challenge modes at once?" Yep, you sure can. They have to be selected at the beginning of the game, but if you want to play with two or all three at the same time, you can certainly can do so. If you're not quite sure you want all of the elements that come along with a given mode, this funding level will also cover implementing the ability to enable and disable the individual sub-features.

They're trying to make the game as flexible as possible when it comes to gameplay subfeatures, given the player vast control over what can actually happen during a game.  And I think that, implemented correctly, that would be hella cool.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Don Coyote

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 02:56:50 pm »
Super customizable gameplay difficulty?
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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 05:52:00 pm »
Yeah, here is what one of the devs said:

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Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games.  For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people donít like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Don Coyote

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2012, 08:47:28 pm »
Yeah, here is what one of the devs said:

Quote
Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games.  For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people donít like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

Hopefully they don't try to do too much.
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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 09:01:46 pm »
A problem I've seen in previous Obsidian games is that they allow for customized characters but that doesn't necessarily mean customized characters are viable.  The other problem is glitches.

This project looks great, though.  It was a good move making the $25 donation reward a copy of the game.  I'm sure that got quite a few people to donate; I might do it myself.

Bioware is one of my favorite companies and has been since Knights of the Old Republic.  I'm hoping EA doesn't ruin the company like happened when Blizzard was eaten up (Activision/Viacom, right?).  Now that I think of it most of my gaming this year has gone to Bioware titles between Mass Effect 3, Old Republic, and finally getting to Dragon Age Origins.  I've heard similar reviews that Dragon Age II is garbage, but could you explain your problem with Mass Effect 3?  I liked it quite a bit overall.
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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 06:30:56 pm »
Well....

Firstly and most importantly, the ending.  Bioware lied about co-op being required to get all results (which really pissed me off, as I had no interest in co-op play, and I'm one of those perfectionists who likes to complete it in every way possible) until the Extended Cut DLC fixed that.  The ending involved massive amounts of deus ex machina, completely out of the blue plot devices and, rather tellingly, didn't tell us a damn thing about the Reapers or where they came from.  You had to buy a DLC for that info.  It also completely ignored hanging thread plots from previous games which hinted heavily at something rather different going on, involving dark energy (which got a passing mention in the Leviathan DLC) and other such things.  The ending was rushed and unclear in the message it presented, and left far too many questions for a supposed end to the trilogy.

Secondly, gameplay.  While I had high hopes for the new additions to combat, the additional stealth/combat roll options, close quarter combat and enemies working as teams, the learning curve on this was not all that difficult.  I can play Insanity difficulty mode and not break a sweat in most combats.  It's "fake hard", which mostly involves putting more enemies on the field and having enemies with bullshit insta-kill moves (Banshees and Phantoms).  I want enemies that work as actual teams, that use powers in conjunction, that apply pressure and in short act like a gamer would in their place.

Thirdly, the roleplay aspects of Mass Effect have always been overstated, and even those modest efforts were mostly stripped out in the second and third games.  You don't have complete control of your character....they are a distinct person with a distinct history and distinct personality, when you pay attention.  You just get to decide whether they are a goodie two shoes type, or a jerkass antihero type.  Part of this is due to the limitations of a voiced main character, only so many lines can be recorded without ridiculous expenses being incurred...but part of it is simply not wanting to have to deal with a open world where more options are available.

Fourthly, the co-op gamers are frequently given preferential treatment in regards to DLC releases and similar.  Co-op gets the new weapons first.  Co-op gets to play with new powers which single player doesn't get.  Co-op gets the new maps and enemies.  I understand this is partly business motivated as much as anything, that co-op play will eventually get boring without constant new additions, but it still makes everyone who doesn't have the time or inclination to engage in co-op feel much less valued as a player, and as a consequence has created something of a rift on Bioware Social Network between those who play co-op and do not.

Some of the game was really good....great even.  Mordin and Thane's deaths (lol spoiler) were pretty amazing, as was the curing of the genophage and other set pieces.  But quite a lot of it, such as the N7 missions, seemed ultimately pointless.  A lot of the problem stemmed from this "Prothean superweapon" nonsense, which set the tone for the rest of the game.  I would have liked to have seen a war which looked, well, more like a war.  Precision strikes against Reaper indoctrination facilities, being dropped behind enemy lines and causing enough damage and destruction to divert resources, the slow grind and attrition of what looks like a hopeless conflict before presenting any possible solutions.

/personal gripes
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 06:33:32 pm by Cain »
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 07:30:09 pm »
Incidentally, I do realise some of these criticisms may be seen as a little over the top...but I was posting on the Obsidian board last night, and believe me, some people there wouldn't consider any game an RPG unless you had mechanics for sleeping, drinking and eating.  No joke, they think Fallout: New Vegas' hardcore mode should be the baseline for a role-playing game.  Vancian magic is too broken, and a single arrow should be able to kill you at any level.

By those standards, I consider myself pretty reasonable.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 08:52:00 pm »
 :lulz:

No, those are legitimate concerns.  Any game I've played on high difficulty settings haven't been tactical, they've been platformers mostly.  I couldn't speak as to the standards of AI, but I agree that the difficulty, especially on that final rush to the Citadel, was based on numbers and cheese (the one shots you mentioned) more than tactics.

I agree on the roleplaying thing.  I was not Shepard, I just made Shepard do awesome shit.  It's customized, and I really do think how they had the various choices you make in all three games affect the outcome.  Because I destroyed the genophage cure in 2, Eve died in 3.  For some unfathomable reason, Tali jumped off a fucking cliff (SPOILERS LOL) in my game at full Renegade and not in my brother in law's at full Renegade because of a few seemingly mundane choices.  Rumor has it that even the guide gets it wrong on how to save her.

The complaints I mostly heard is that all of these little things like whether or not you save the Rachni or cure the genophage have negligable consequences on the ending.  The ending seemed arbitrary and rushed, though, there I agree.  I expected it to be worse given the backlash I saw on the interfucks, but it was pretty lackluster.

And co-op and DLC are bullshit.  DLC exists for me so that several years after a game is released I can buy some Ultimate Edition for like $10 on steam.  Co-op might as well not exist as far as I'm concerned.  I'd rather games which are clearly single player stories remain that way instead of adding some ridiculous multiplayer aspect to shit like Dead Space.  That's how the whole industry seems to be going.

I think those are legit gripes.  I like the game overall, but it was forgettable and showed definite signs of meddling.
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Cain

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Re: Project Eternity
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 09:11:02 pm »
What I consider one of the best tactical experiences is, oddly enough, Baldur's Gate 2 with the "Tactics" mod.  This included set encounters with enemies who were programmed by the AI system to powergame and cheese as much as any player would.  The in-game tactics were lackluster, enemies tended to swarm you, use predictable spells or cheese insta-kill attacks.

Tactics changed all that.  In particular, for me, the Chosen of Cyric encounter stands out.  Six high level, powerfully magically equipped enemies who work as a team and abuse the magic system to buggery.  They'd use spells to make them almost invulnerable in combat, with improved invisibility and then immune to divination spells in the first round, and then proceed to tear you a new arsehole in the second round with save-lowering spells, confusion spells, targeted assassinations on your clerics and mages, stripping away your magical protections and generally being as annoying as hell.  The most annoying thing is these were all things your party could be doing, if you had built them right, instead of taking the easy route of "buff-and-haste-and-hack" all the time.

That's the kind of combat I'd like to see.  And since the Infinity Engine is not that sophisticated, I can't see it being that hard to implement.  I mean, I look at something like Dragon Age 2, and it had a brilliant tactics menu.  On Nightmare?  You get more enemies who react faster and friendly fire.  If they had built enemies like the main characters and with similar class abilities, rather than "big glowy exploding ball" and "disappearing into a cloud of bullshit", then my archer wouldn't be able to tear apart enemies on that difficulty setting the way she does, and I might actually feel challenged.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before