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  1. #61
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    I would like there to be a game where some NPCs are constantly bombarding you with gifts, facile agreements, and quest assistance -- slowly forcing your character (like everyone else in the world) to fall involuntarily and inconveniently in love unless you can find a way to avoid those NPCs or sabotage the relationships.
    I'm sure there's a GTA 4 mod where you can kill your cousin and girlfriends.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    But only crazy people who enjoy the company of annoyingly dull men with one-track minds romance Anders. :P

    EDIT to be slightly more serious: Not to mention I thought the story played out perfectly fine as "Maybe I do have to pick a side, but you're still a self-righteous, fundamentally unlovable tool who deserves to be ostracised by polite society as a terrorist, quite honestly. Now I'm running off with my crazy lesbian girlfriend with the adorable accent to live happily ever after in hiding, kthxbye".
    Well he was funny in Awakenings.

    But there's a brilliant bit at the end, where Anders does his thing, and does the whole 'kill me, I deserve it' thing. So of course, you get the options to kill him, or to forgive him and run away with him. But you also get the option to do what I wanted to do, and was surprised to see they bothered to include - you can turn around and say "I'm not going to kill you, but we're done".

  3. #63
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    I thought he was quite right, really. I was sort of miffed all the options centred around forgiving him as some sort of act of great friendship and sacrifice, instead of just standing up against the hilariously tyranical arseholes with the soul annihilating fetish. I didn't think he was all that great, but my reaction to his cutscene moment in act 3 was 'finally.'

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    I thought he was quite right, really. I was sort of miffed all the options centred around forgiving him as some sort of act of great friendship and sacrifice, instead of just standing up against the hilariously tyranical arseholes with the soul annihilating fetish. I didn't think he was all that great, but my reaction to his cutscene moment in act 3 was 'finally.'
    He contributed to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of innocent people... which would probably have had more dramatic weight if Kirkwall actually looked like a place anyone lived at all. Ah, missed opportunity, thy name is Dragon Age II. :(

    EDIT: I mean, if you really want to get into DAII (spoilered it all, just in case)?

    While the Templars were just a bit too obviously unhinged to really command as much sympathy as the writers seemed to hope for, I personally thought it was hilarious how anyone expected me to side with Anders when every single mage was doing their level best to prove the Templars right. "Help, help, I'm being oppressed! There's nothing wrong with me, I swear! Nah, fuck it, LET'S KILL EVERYONE, MWAHAHA, THIS IS FUN, MAGIC IS AWESOME".

    The game still made its point, and I greatly enjoyed being made to really think about who had the better case - and deciding they were both as bad as each other. But it really, really didn't excuse Anders' pompous, insufferable "I AM THE MESSIAH WHO WILL SACRIFICE HIMSELF FOR THE GOOD OF THE WORLD" schtick. He was right, but he wasn't "right", right.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 08-08-2014 at 11:00 PM.

  5. #65
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    Yeah, DA2's Pretty terrible treatment of what was meant to emerge as its central conflict is emblematic of everything I found DA2 to be. Lots of good ideas that the devs either compromised with unsubtle treatment, or tried to back out of entirely, leading to a game that could have been amazing! And ended up being... less so. I still prefer it over DA1, but it's got big issues. Having every single escaped mage turn into an evil blood demon was dumb as hell, but even acknowledging that, save for the crowning moment of stupid just before the end boss fight, it was always an individual's choice. At the very least, you can always weigh their decision against the alternative, an in-universe fate worse than death of having your soul burned away. Running lifetime imprisonment facilities for people who haven't committed any crimes (but might) is transparently evil, and tacitly endorsed by the society and city, so blowing up the face of that (in the form of the chantry cathedral) was to me, inherently justified. Of course, part of why I imagine it's never felt particularly impactful to me probably is that the human weight of that act is singularly absent, and I don't feel that bad about someone blowing up an ugly building that represents dogmatic evildoers!

  6. #66
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    I liked it much more than most people, bear in mind. It's easily my favourite Bioware game and one of my favourite RPGs. I'm just not... completely blind to its flaws. But I think even if it had the budget of Inquisition - or more! - that choice would still have been just a bit too transparent. Anyway, this is derailing the thread even further, but... I'd still take it over The Witcher 2, for example. Without hesitation.

  7. #67
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I’m still trying to figure out why Bioware took out the interlocking animations they’d been developing for almost ten years, and why nobody mentioned this. It started off a bit naff in Neverwinter Nights where fights took the form of ballroom dancing, but in just over a year had been significantly reworked to make a lightsaber fight in Knights of the Old Republic look passable. By the time they got to Dragon Age: Origins it was looking quite nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    I liked it much more than most people, bear in mind. It's easily my favourite Bioware game and one of my favourite RPGs. I'm just not... completely blind to its flaws. But I think even if it had the budget of Inquisition - or more! - that choice would still have been just a bit too transparent. Anyway, this is derailing the thread even further, but... I'd still take it over The Witcher 2, for example. Without hesitation.
    The dead city and drab visuals (seriously, how did they make a game that looks worse in every respect than its predecessor?) alone compels me to disagree. They stripped it bare, claiming that taking out unimportant details like books in a library allowed them to allocate resources elsewhere.
    Last edited by Drake Sigar; 09-08-2014 at 12:09 AM.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    The dead city and drab visuals (seriously, how did they make a game that looks worse in every respect than its predecessor?) alone compels me to disagree. They stripped it bare, claiming that taking out unimportant details like books in a library allowed them to allocate resources elsewhere.
    If it wasn't obvious I am in all seriousness saying I like the storytelling and the character work that much that I don't... well, it's not that I don't care, but I'd still pick DAII over God knows how many other games, weird, lazy, half-finished levels aside. (If for some strange reason I had to choose.) Honestly. Not trolling.

    Though I suppose it's not just the story and so on - while I roll my eyes at the crappy asset re-use I do kind of see what they were trying to do...? I have a soft spot for strange, failed experimental projects like Unlimited Saga on PS2, and if Bioware had actually gone all out and tried to make those repeating level maps look like a board game or something I might have genuinely enjoyed that every house was basically the same. I still think the end result's absolute balls for the most part, mind, but there's juuust enough idiosyncratic weirdness there I find it a little bit easier to grit my teeth and look past it.

  9. #69
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Well, this is at least partly coloured by players deciding that "I want my avatar to have sex with that NPC" and then mistakenly assuming that automatically leads to "...so the writers ought to have created a scenario whereby my avatar has sex with them and everything is rainbows and kittens forever". This doesn't necessarily mean developers ought to remove player agency from the equation entirely to get a slightly more believable representation of human relationships. It'd help if Bioware or anyone else put more emphasis on the idea that each of these characters is their own person, and that they won't automatically become your willing love-slave just because you picked option A, B or C that one time.

    More characters should be flatly unavailable if you don't meet particular criteria, or they should be unavailable point blank - I'd love to see an NPC who had a BFFs quest line, but declined to sleep with you no matter what. (Can't think of any off the top of my head.) More characters should leave permanently if you piss them off, and so on. All of this would still be flawed, obviously, still far, far, far from perfect, but there's still a lot more people could do with simple If/Then stuff if they just stopped thinking players have an automatic right to treat Mass Effect et al the way Fox News think they work. Yes, "Gifts go in, sex comes out" is a deeply problematic way of representing romance, but "Gotta buy the strategy guide, to make sure I can bang whoever I want" has to shoulder some of the blame too.

    (EDIT: Also, I'm pretty sure some people would say your bolded text matches up with reality all too well.)
    For all that people complain about the gift-giving I think Dragon Age: Origins gets much closer to this than Mass Effect. I felt a strong sense of consistency from the various characters and their relationships with mine when things slid from "normal" to "romance;" indeed, sometimes it barely felt like the boundary was really there as it clearly was in Mass Effect.

    One thing that complicates this issue is that ... well ... there's in-world and out-of-world manipulation. If you make your character present themselves as a particular sort of person, then that's what other character's should see in-world, right? Sure, some should be skeptical of that presentation or not like it or otherwise react in their own way to it. But asking that presentation not to be easily manipulated and gamifed by the player is ludicrous. We can't expect any game that involves relationships in an even remotely interactive way to not have top-down manipulation from an out-of-game perspective. Unless have no real control over that aspect of the game and it's characters, there will be gamified manipulation. Period.

    And, well, in Role Playing games we're often supposed to have control over various aspects of the character. That's one of the main points of most kinds of Role Playing game. Not that we can do whatever we want or make whatever character we want; but that we play out the role and make interesting decisions as part of playing out that role. Relationships being important to many characters (romantic, sexual, friend-y or otherwise), having influence over decisions that alter our character's relationships in interesting and meaningful ways is important to the conceit of most Role Playing games. So how then do we proceed?

    We make interesting characters, interesting decisions, and interesting interactions. If your complaint is that the characters fail to be or interactions fail to be interesting (with the rare exception of special gifts giving you cool character insights and rewarding attentiveness to small details of the character (presuming you don't wiki it, that is) ... gift-giving in DA:O was a stop-gap and a chore, not an interesting task with interesting results), that's a complaint I'm more interested in exploring. If the complaint is that it was not interesting because there was a shallow train of manipulation ... I'm not really interested in exploring that. These games can only get so big and I really don't need a realistic relationship simulator for relationships to both work and be interactive in these games.

    I think, too, it gets a bit dishonest when we look at some of these games too holistically. If, while you're playing, you're constantly being hit-on in ways that don't function in-fiction and you encounter transparent THIS WAY TO SEXY-SEXY modifiers in ways that don't function in-fiction (and, be fair, sometimes that sort of thing functions in fiction) ... that's a problem with the writing. But if, while looking at the game as a whole you're remarking on how it's weird that you can have a romantic and/or sexual relationship with characters W through Z by just choosing the right dialog options ... now you're being kind of dishonest. We may as well throw out the idea of any in game decisions being meaningful and interesting because their results can be diagrammed precisely. It's silly and I don't understand that kind of criticism of these systems. Of course your character can get into a relationship with character X just by choosing the right mechanical options; that is the only possible way you can have two separate possible game states with respect to your character's relationships without resorting to random generation somewhere in there. Even having characters that aren't interested in you doesn't "fix" this because any characters that can conceivably be in a relationship with your character can have that game-play path mapped out. This is not a flaw, this is not a problem, this should not and does not prevent the writing from functioning well in the context of a play-through.


    P.S. I thought of a character that won't sleep with you and has a BFFs quest-line: Mordin Solus (he lampshades it, too). Also Wrex, Grunt, Sten, Wynn, Oghren and Shale (I'm seeing a pattern there ... :P ). Also gender-swapping the protagonist creates a ton of these in DA:O and Mass Effect.
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  10. #70
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Samara has a good romance inversion, where she awkwardly says she doesn't do that... It's a Justicar thing.
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  11. #71
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    Gwathdring - because I'm not quoting that post ;) - I'm more on your side of the court for this one than not, I think. For most of it, at least. I have no basic problem with something as complex as human relationships being depicted with dialogue trees, stat counters etc., because I think it's a necessary compromise to have them included, and I think you gain enough from including even imperfect representations that it's better than leaving them out entirely. And I've never understood the "I said (X, Y or Z) and suddenly I was having sex with a dude! I never asked for this" complaints. It's just at the same time I think Bioware err on the side of making characters react in a certain way not because it's true to who they've been written as, but because that would make the players happy, and I don't think making the players happy no matter what should always be a developer's ultimate goal. I mean, if there's one major issue on which we differ, it'd be

    Even having characters that aren't interested in you doesn't "fix" this because any characters that can conceivably be in a relationship with your character can have that game-play path mapped out.


    because if you're saying that because someone's been defined as bi then the player should have the chance to bang them, to put it crudely, then yeah, I can't agree with that. I would have absolutely no problem with a character being included in a Bioware game who had a romance tree that was exactly the same as every other NPC but simply had no ending, or at least no ending that meant they'd have sex with you. That no matter what you couldn't "convince" them. I would call that a good thing. Players deserve the chance to try to manipulate things about a game's narrative. They do not deserve the certainty that eventually they'll succeed.

    (For context, even though I'm not a fan of Christine Love's games, the idea people want to alter Analogue to rewrite a "bad" thing that happens to a major character infuriates, even disgusts me. I don't care if you want to keep every other aspect of the game exactly the same - you want to do that, that's fine - but you re-write the entire thing from scratch, because something like that is not your decision to make.)

  12. #72
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    because if you're saying that because someone's been defined as bi then the player should have the chance to bang them, to put it crudely, then yeah, I can't agree with that.


    Sorry, that has nothing to do with what I meant. I meant that with reference to the idea that Bioware needs to tone down the bangable squadies. Including characters that aren't there as potential sexual devices doesn't get us away from the problem. We could strive to make all of these characters act in a variety of ways that felt authentically in character, and the fact that any characters can end up in a sexual situation with your character can be used to attack the game on the grounds that you can push some buttons to have sex with a character. I was continuing in the vein of the rest of my post and while it is oddly worded I have no idea where you got anything about bisexuality from ...


    The point was that moving from "Pretty much all of them are bangable" to "You can only bang this one" doesn't fix anything nor does "You can only make these ones think you're cool." If we start questioning the agency of characters in our game fictions based on how gamified they are, or the ability of gamified systems to represent meaningful structures--social, personal, or otherwise--we have pretty much given up on meaningful characterization in games entirely.

    So back to the bit that got misread: we can add in as many characters that refuse sexual advances but still want intimate friendship with the PC as we want; we're still running into the same problem both with those characters and with the sexually available characters. For my part, I choose not to see it as a problem at all and instead focus on how the individual implementations did and did not work and how they could be improved.

    Does that make more sense now?

    Edit: Ah. This is probably the bit that got you: "because any characters that can conceivably be in a relationship with your character can have that game-play path mapped out."

    That was supposed to mean: Given that there exists a game-state (an actual, codified game state, not the mere idea of one which is what I think I accidentally implied) in which your character and an NPC are in a relationship, there is a sequence of gameplay triggers and decisions that leads to that game state.


    It's just at the same time I think Bioware err on the side of making characters react in a certain way not because it's true to who they've been written as, but because that would make the players happy, and I don't think making the players happy no matter what should always be a developer's ultimate goal.
    I'm torn on this whenever it's brought up. I think making their customers happy should be a major facet of their goal setting. That's how they stay alive as a business and that's how they know they made something people care about and enjoy, surely. While I recognize the idea of characters suffering for the good of the fiction and the importance of sober, contemplative, and flat-out distressing works of media ... fundamentally we're playing games to have positive experiences. Not happy ones, per se, but positive ones. Ensuring players have positive experiences with their games should be Goal Number One. Which players? What counts as a positive experience? That's where it gets a bit messy and requires detailed translation and discussion. But I think it's still worth putting down as Goal number One.

    I don't feel the need to play Psychiatrist to Bioware's development team. Their writing works here, doesn't here. The game functions here, doesn't here. That's interesting to me. Saying it's because they try too hard to keep their player base happy and then (as some people do) going on to blast that player base as weird or creepy or whatever is just ... erk. I'm not interested in that.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 09-08-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Sorry, that has nothing to do with what I meant. I meant that with reference to the idea that Bioware needs to tone down the bangable squadies. Including characters that aren't there as potential sexual devices doesn't get us away from the problem. We could strive to make all of these characters act in a variety of ways that felt authentically in character, and the fact that any characters can end up in a sexual situation with your character can be used to attack the game on the grounds that you can push some buttons to have sex with a character. I was continuing in the vein of the rest of my post and while it is oddly worded I have no idea where you got anything about bisexuality from ...[/COLOR]
    No, no, just me misinterpreting you. Didn't mean I thought you were saying anything specifically about that, just meant as it relates to the whole "They're alive, they have a pulse, therefore let me at them" thing. As in, if you were saying just because NPCs aren't explicitly categorised as preferring one gender or another ("defined as bi") then the player should rightfully have an in. Which I wouldn't agree with. But you weren't saying that. And obviously none of Bioware's characters (in DAII, anyway) have a sexual orientation, they're whatever you want them to be.

    Anyway, yeah, confusion aside - sure, none of this is going to "solve" anything, though in turn I'm not sure that's worth worrying about, either. If videogames were a quantifiably flawless representation of human AI I'm pretty certain you'd still get people saying NUH-UH, I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT, WHERE IS SEXYTIMES? ;)

    EDIT: YOU WROTE ANOTHER ENORMOUS POST, damn you

    I guess on that note maybe we do simply disagree - I accept that doing one instead of the other won't "fix" things but I do categorically think changing things so the emphasis isn't always on the player getting what they want will make things - games in general - better. I mean,

    fundamentally we're playing games to have positive experiences. Not happy ones, per se, but positive ones. Ensuring players have positive experiences with their games should be Goal Number One.


    I would be really, really wary of thinking like that, and I think putting it up on a pedestal is getting close to a dangerous philosophy. The moment you say you're going to do this instead of this because it'll give more people "a positive experience"... even the idea you have to please the most people the most often is just... wrong. Videogames have been thinking like that for far too long, and developers - some of them, at least - need to stop. Even AAA ones like Bioware. And of course,

    Saying it's because they try too hard to keep their player base happy and then (as some people do) going on to blast that player base as weird or creepy or whatever is just ... erk. I'm not interested in that.


    Yeah, again, dangerous thinking, to be honest. God knows I get angry and frustrated and lash out at people far too often for my own good, and admittedly much as I dislike certain sections of internet fandom I don't remotely pretend to be smart enough I can say "You shouldn't do that. You mustn't do that" etc., etc. But at the same time - this isn't specifically aimed at you, but still - I am very, very wary of the internet trend towards everyone being excellent to each other at all times, no matter what, and "Well, I don't get it but I guess that's your opinion, man, awesome."

    Obviously that leads to good things... but I don't think it's anything like as positive as people assume it is. I think it's a perfectly reasonable thing to argue that Bioware's forums have an alarmingly high percentage of people who behave like absolute creeps, that it's not at all healthy for them to make it their entire online personas, and that the way Bioware design their games does arguably encourage this to some degree. Sorry. :|
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 09-08-2014 at 12:13 PM.

  14. #74
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    P.S. I may have stealth-edited. Sorry. Bad habit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post

    because if you're saying that because someone's been defined as bi then the player should have the chance to bang them, to put it crudely, then yeah, I can't agree with that. I would have absolutely no problem with a character being included in a Bioware game who had a romance tree that was exactly the same as every other NPC but simply had no ending, or at least no ending that meant they'd have sex with you. That no matter what you couldn't "convince" them. I would call that a good thing. Players deserve the chance to try to manipulate things about a game's narrative. They do not deserve the certainty that eventually they'll succeed.

    Sebastian (the DA2 DLC) is exactly this.

    (For context, even though I'm not a fan of Christine Love's games, the idea people want to alter Analogue to rewrite a "bad" thing that happens to a major character infuriates, even disgusts me.
    Wait what? Link?

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Sebastian (the DA2 DLC) is exactly this.
    I never actually played the DLC, unfortunately.

    Wait what? Link?
    Give me a minute...

    Link here, and quote in spoilers, since it reveals a major, major plot point for Analogue: a Hate Story (I've never played Analogue, but I didn't mind spoiling it for myself)

    "In light of Hate Plus' release and the ending to *Mute's route, a group of us decided to get together and create the ending that Love didn't want to include in the game. An ending where Mute doesn't die.


    I'm writing, and the rest of the team is helping out with coding and beta-reading.


    Simply put, we are going to extract the Renpy files from Hate Plus, put in our ending, do all the coding we have to do, repack, and publish it as a mod for Hate Plus.


    Instead of sitting on our thumbs for some false hope of a secret update, we are taking action. The namesake of the achievement is the rumor of the ability to bring back Aerith in Final Fantasy 7. Eventually the fans hacked her into the game.


    It's only natural that we do the same."

    ...yeah, no. No, it really fucking isn't. :( I feel this strongly about a game I have no real intention of ever playing by a creator I'm not a fan of, that's how much it pisses me off.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 09-08-2014 at 10:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks;546389
    Give me a minute...

    [URL="http://kotaku.com/the-steam-achievement-that-nobody-unlocked-1610073943"
    Link here,[/URL] and quote in spoilers, since it reveals a major, major plot point for Analogue: a Hate Story (I've never played Analogue, but I didn't mind spoiling it for myself)

    "In light of Hate Plus' release and the ending to *Mute's route, a group of us decided to get together and create the ending that Love didn't want to include in the game. An ending where Mute doesn't die.


    I'm writing, and the rest of the team is helping out with coding and beta-reading.


    Simply put, we are going to extract the Renpy files from Hate Plus, put in our ending, do all the coding we have to do, repack, and publish it as a mod for Hate Plus.


    Instead of sitting on our thumbs for some false hope of a secret update, we are taking action. The namesake of the achievement is the rumor of the ability to bring back Aerith in Final Fantasy 7. Eventually the fans hacked her into the game.


    It's only natural that we do the same."

    ...yeah, no. No, it really fucking isn't. :( I feel this strongly about a game I have no real intention of ever playing by a creator I'm not a fan of, that's how much it pisses me off.
    (Strictly, it's a major plot point for Hate Plus, the sequel to Analogue, which was originally intended to be an expansion pack until it grew massively.) But, yes, having played Analogue and Hate Plus, (and actually mapped out all but one ending), I don't understand why anyone would try to rewrite the game to add an option to avoid said major plot point, on the path that leads inexorably to it. There's no way to remain true to the character in question without that event happening, upsetting though it is when it occurs.
    The quoted text is actually the saner stuff from the sub-set of the community which produced the patch - the actual threads where people expressed panic at not being able to find a way to avoid the plot point happening in the game itself are actually an interesting study of human responses to powerlessness.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by aoanla View Post
    The quoted text is actually the saner stuff from the sub-set of the community which produced the patch - the actual threads where people expressed panic at not being able to find a way to avoid the plot point happening in the game itself are actually an interesting study of human responses to powerlessness.
    Oh, very much so. I get very angry at this sort of thing, but I still find it fascinating, and it sets me off thinking of how close exactly I could get to explaining to these people they're objectively wrong to do what they're doing. (Yes, yes, I know, it just literally causes me mental distress to concede they're not. Hell, if it was my game I'd find someone writing an entirely new, separate game of their own to re-do that plot thread pretty morally objectionable.) It's interesting in the article that even Christine Love herself doesn't seem to be too happy about it.

    (It does tie in to how I feel about Bioware games, and videogames in general - how important I think it is that videogames start explicitly saying to players "No, you can not and should not automatically have everything you want just because". I think Bioware screwed up the way they handled the ending of the Mass Effect trilogy, no argument there, but I still get pretty uncomfortable thinking about the number of irate players who appeared to be taking that Penny Arcade strip seriously.)

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    I have an idea. Let's rewrite Crime and Punishment and remove the fragment where Raskolnikov killed that woman.
    He just entered her house like ninja and took some stuff, sold it and then everyone were happy.


    :/

  20. #80
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    I have an idea. Let's rewrite Crime and Punishment and remove the fragment where Raskolnikov killed that woman.
    He just entered her house like ninja and took some stuff, sold it and then everyone were happy.


    :/
    And then he and Svidrigailov had sex.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

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