Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Divinity: Original Sin 2 Post-Release Interview at PC Gamer

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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    Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

    Over at PC Gamer, Swen Vincke has given what I believe is his first major interview after the release of Divinity: Original Sin 2. It's not very in-depth, about what you'd expect from a mainstream media interview less than a month after a game's release. There's the expected discussion of the game's stellar reception (now at over 700,000 copies sold), a few anecdotes from development, Swen's thoughts about speedrunning and the burgeoning mod scene, and a hint about Larian's future plans. Here's an excerpt:

    PC Gamer: How are things at Larian Studios at the moment?

    Swen Vincke: Quiet. Most people are on their holidays and [patch 3] is a big one. We're start working on patch four next and slowly people will start returning from their holidays and we're gearing up for our next things.

    According to SteamSpy, you sold somewhere in the region of 700,000 sales in less than three weeks.

    I think we're over 700,000 now.

    Is there ever a point during the development and testing of such a big game where you realise: Hang on, this is really good, this might do better than we expect?

    I think any developer will tell you that, first of all, you fall in love with your game. But then the relationship lasts so long that you start focussing on all the negatives. A very classic phenomena means that by the time you're ready to release, the only thing that you're aware of is everything that's still wrong with it.

    Then somebody reminds you of how much good stuff is in there. We're busy focusing on: We need to fix this, we need to fix that, this is not good, man we need time to sort this, we need more resources to do that', and that basically dominated the conversation over the course of the last six months. But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun.

    With Divinity: Original Sin 2, this was particularly true. I don't know how many times we redid the beginning of this game. Every time we presented it it was different, and every single time I enjoyed myself. Luckily for us, this seems to have rubbed off on the general gaming audience.

    But then there are moments where you're playing and you forget you're hunting for bugs and realise: Actually, this is a lot of fun.

    Through your Kickstarter and Early Access phase you've had a pretty open development cycle—would be players got regular feedback throughout. With the first Divinity being received so well, did this make dealing with expectation easier or harder?

    That's a really good question. Because it puts a lot of pressure on you, that's for sure. But you also can't make diamonds without pressure, right? I think that it's both. It is harder because the moment that the community figures out that they want it and you've said you're going to do it, it's very hard to change course—even if you later discover what you're doing won't work. We did actually change course a few times, but if you explain exactly why you're doing it, most people will listen. You're always going to have some people who don't, but that's just the way it is.

    At the same time, things become easier because you instantly know what's wrong. You put it out there and you don't even have to wait a day, you know right away what's wrong. This type of feedback can be very hard to get, unless you have a large community playing. Another thing that's easier with a large community is that there's a large amount of them and can in turn let statistics speak for you.

    You may have a very vocal minority screaming how badly something is done, but then you have 95 percent actually enjoy what you've done, so you say: Well, we can certainly say that that feature is okay because so many players are having fun with it. If you didn't do that, and that vocal minority were represented by, say, a couple of developers inside your company, you may wind up going in the completely wrong direction. That's where and why I really like the early access model.

    You've mentioned the patch, however what does Larian have planned in the long run for Divinity: Original Sin 2?

    We have a couple of things that are in the works but we'll only announce them when we're ready. There's stuff coming, for sure.

    To that end: It's early days yet, but I assume the success of number two means we're in line for a Divinity: Original Sin 3, 4 and 5?


    [Laughs] We have a couple of surprises planned. But we're going to work on the patch just now, then we're going to work in silence for a little bit so that we can get our shit together and then… yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be at least one big surprise in there.
    A very vocal minority, huh? Why do I suspect that paragraph isn't purely hypothetical...
     
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  2. DeepOceangender: ⚧ Arcane

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    To those that hope Larian will fix this game:
    :mixedemotions:

    They don't need you anymore average codexians very vocal minority, they have new friends now.
     
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  3. frajaqgender: ⚧ Literate

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    To be fair most of the glaring issues in D:OS 2 would force them to re-make a lot of the entire fucking game
     
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  4. DeepOceangender: ⚧ Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Local asian man exploded himself while shouting Allahu Snackbar.
    Vocal minority criticize game for its blatant gameplay faults that should have been noticed on Early Access.

    You are prestigious right now RPG codex.
     
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  5. himmygender: ⚧ Arcane

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    I'm willing to bet that one of the Larian projects that has been in the works in the meantime (probably in the Quebec studio) is more far along than we might expect and they're going to announce in the following year. I'm also willing to bet that it's going to be a non-Divinity game.
     
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  6. lukaszekgender: ⚧ Magister

    lukaszek
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    non-divine divinity.
     
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  7. Make America Great Again Blackgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    What a splendid defence for skyrim and fo4.
     
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  8. Chaotic_Hereticgender: ⚧ Magister

    Chaotic_Heretic
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    And this interview heavily reinforces my prophetic predictions:

    :stabbedintheback:

    :mixedemotions:

    The Present:
    :thisisfine:

    The Future:
    :thingsareokay:
     
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  9. Make America Great Again CyberWhalegender: ⚧ Arcane

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    No one gives a shit about your game - hey Codex you're a really prestigious and knowledgeable community, we're carefully listening to your advices
    Everyone is putting your game on a pedestal - I'm not going to pay attention to a very vocal minority, lel
     
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  10. ArchAngelgender: ⚧ Magister

    ArchAngel
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    Or maybe you all are giving too much credit to yourselves.
     
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  11. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
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    I doubt the vocal minority comment refers to the Codex. Actually, you can ask Sven about this when you do an interview. I guess the answer will reveal an interesting insight.

    I would be surprised if the surprises Sven hinted at were not related to the game.

    Until then there is still so much to discover in D:OS2.

    Having invested something like 50 hours into the game, I find the criticism directed at the combat system unfounded. I am usually playing hardcore TBS like Heroes of Might and Magic III and played chess on a highly competitive level. Playing D:OS2 on tactician difficulty, I find the combat highly enjoyable and if you invest some thought the magical/physical armor feature truly works to give shape to each battle. It's a good thing that you can't go for charm and crowd control right away like in D&D.

    The sequence I am typically going for in Fort Joy:
    Show Spoiler

    Naturally you start out in the area surrounding Fort Joy. The voidwoken, turtles and crocodiles are your first test and earn you needed experience. In Fort Joy you can fight the frogs, the two groups of undead guardians, earn some additional experience by discovering different locations, and then go for the Arena, the Magister Houndmaster, the Flenser's Playground (reminds me of Bioshock where I looked out of the window and truly felt that the world is a better place after putting an end to this doctor early in the game), Captain Trippel and The Hall of Penitence, although you may want to delay the latter. This sequence brings you to full speed on what to do in combat.


    The battles teach you pretty well what you need to do and that you have to invest thought. The encounters are set up smartly and on tactician mode you most likely loose each battle at least once. Once you understand what matters in an encounter, you will eventually succeed. You truly pick up skills here, and you get better with each battle. It's incredible fun to figure out how each battle works. The encounter design is exceptional, and the skills and tools at your disposal are fun to use. You will have to hone your skills and habits to avoid missclicks (right click to undo selections and make sure to wait until you get the cue that an item/skill/spell is selected and your target is confirmed), but in general the combat system with the action points and the UI is very well done. It lets you do stuff with minimal hassle. Sure, for slowpokes and non-combat inclined players it may be helpful to have an alternate more safe UI that does mitigate the potential for missclicks against a tradeoff of doing a bit more work. But for me, the way the UI is done is fine.

    The other thing D:OS2 does right is the scarcity of high quality loot, so that you really have to go bartering and acquire the stuff you need to be successful, gear, potions, scrolls, skillbooks. It's the first game that I played since the original Deus Ex where the traders truly make sense and I am actually buying gear. The levelling system that features comparatively high increments in combat power works effectively to the game's advantage. It adds more structure to the paths you can choose. On tactician difficulty you actually have to earn the experience from the battles you currently can do, before you can tackle the tougher ones.

    On the other hand the game is beautifully set up with alternative choices. If you are not interested in the combat, you could make your escape from Fort Joy by exploring and sneaking (on its basic level) alone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  12. Tom Baker's Arsegender: ⚧ Educated

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    Lets hope so, because I am fucking well sick of Divinity.
     
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  13. Make America Great Again torogender: ⚧ Arcane

    toro
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    DOS2 combat is simply different from both M&M3 or chess therefore your personal experience with those games doesn't mean shit. What you are doing above is setting up a string of false arguments by using Appeal to Authority fallacy.

    Magical/physical armor was intended to fix cheese but it failed: it punishes parties with split damage or hybrids, it extends each fight with 1 or 2 rounds needed to destroy magical armor, crowd control is gimped or no longer possible and overall it enforces one fighting strategy - 'damage is all that matters'.

    The encounter design is simply awful: ambush after ambush after ambush combined with no simple way to position your party members before a fight. This design enforces meta-gaming: trigger fight, memorize spawns positions, load previous save, position party and trigger fight.

    Trading is encumbered by stupid UI design and most items become obsolete on leveling up.

    Nope. It doesn't. Leveling in this game is retarded and the additional level gating enforces linearity.

    So many "choices". Literally.

    Please put down the Kool-Aid. The game is somewhat fun but the combat mechanics are just shit in a bucket.
     
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  14. I'm With Her SausageInYourFacegender: ⚧ for prison Arcane Patron

    SausageInYourFace
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    People itt assuming vocal minority means 'most of the Codex' for some reason when most of the Codex actually also thinks the game is excellent (edit: or at least bredy gud).
     
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  15. Mark Richardgender: ⚧ Savant

    Mark Richard
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    That's my impression as well, though patching together an opinion that's representative of the Codex isn't easy.
     
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  16. Make America Great Again Blackgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Hard to say when the opposition is silent on the matter. Would love to hear Sven's thoughts on how the current armor system isn't trash.
     
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  17. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
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    Perspective matters.

    Armor, magical and physical, is per target. It's easy to focus your physical damage on one target and your magical damage on another. Besides, switching weapons costs only one AP, so you easily switch from a magical damage dealing weapon to one with physical damage. Plus the variety of skills your party members have give you even more flexibility.

    I play with Ifan, who is mostly a hydrophosist, which helps with healing and support, but he also gets my best armor and can easily wield a physical weapon. Naturally he has water magic and high intelligence to deal lots of magic damage as well.

    The Red Prince in my party is primarily a pyromancer, with additional geomancer and warfare skills. He is equipped with a good one handed sword and a large shield. Most of the time he walks into the thick of the battle. But his geomancer skills, like fossil strike which creates an oily patch, come in handy as well. If he is surrounded he can cast supernova.

    Lohse specializes as an aerotheurge and additionally has hydrosophist skills, which means a second healer which is a must. Both Ifan and Lohse can cast rain, which creates large water surfaces that Lohse's air magic can electrify for shocking and stunning effects. She also can teleport, which is very useful to dispose temporarily of opponents that you want to deal with later. Why not have the Red Prince place an oily patch at the rim of the battlefield for your teleporters to dump enemies into, so that they get slowed right away?

    Sebille was initially specializing on two handed combat, as a scoundrel with backslash and throwing knives. But she was too vulnerable in combat, so I switched to give her a powerful crossbow. From a commanding point of height its incredible powerful in combination with Adrenaline. That allows her three shots in one turn. This is primarily physical damage, but you can easily switch to elemental arrow heads or knock-down arrows if the situation demands it. She also has teleport, having two teleporters gets you covered and deals with the cooldowns, and Cloak & Dagger, which lets her teleport to a new destination as well.

    With so much flexibility you can always focus your damage in a way that is tactically favourable.

    On the Fort Joy map, the fights with the voidwoken, turtles and crocodiles can easily be spotted from a distance. The fight in the Arena is initiated on your behest. In Fort Joy proper, you absolutely have to sneak around beforehand, and the game provides you with lots of paths that reward you for it. It's not even shy to tell you so. Effectively you know well in advance what awaits you when you fight the Magister Houndmaster, in the Flenser's Playground, with Captain Trippel or in the Hall of Penitence.

    It's necessary and rewarding to split your party members before combat, have Sebille climb to a commanding height, examine the opponents armor, switch to the proper weapons and distribute potions if required.

    The random loot is merely a bonus for bartering away. The few special items you find, plus what you buy, last you many battles and more than a couple of levels.

    Did you play the game at all?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  18. *-*/\--/\~gender: ⚧ Learned

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    Interesting how well it did, I got bored just before leaving the first island a never touched it again.
     
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  19. Make America Great Again torogender: ⚧ Arcane

    toro
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    The Codex is vast and full of Wonders: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?forums/larian-studios.107/

    Sorry I'm not into autism.
     
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  20. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
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    These days I only have a limited time for playing games, about two hours each day.

    I don't mind if this time is spent on going over an area again more thoroughly, or preparing for and engaging in a battle properly, if the game makes it an enjoyable experience. Everything matters here, the setting, story, UI and game systems. The one thing I can say about D:OS2 with certainty is that it definitely gets this right. That's the most important criteria for me to decide whether continuing to play a game. It's a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience than binge gaming.

    In this case D:OS2 may very well be the mythical game that offers 600 hours of playing time with this thorough approach, so that I can play it for half a year or more.

    And you can the play the game without combat, if that is not your thing. Iirc one of the writers said you can play the game entirely without killing someone.

    That's the reason why the Codex got a reputation of decline. Posters perpetuating opinions without first hand experience.

    At least you are honest enough to admit it. But don't think that these posts matter. They are easily spotted as they lack rationale arguments and spout derogatory slang. Or are the typical one-liners meant to trigger a response.

    But these create noise. You hardly can have a sensible discussion on the Codex after a thread is bigger than a couple pages because the meaningful stuff gets buried by the reflexive posting.

    Think about it for a minute.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  21. Fenixgender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    Agree with Quantomas - most of the time Codex is right, except those cases when it is not. Lol.
    Also, I have to add - looks like Larian's studio in St. Petersburg responsibly for designing fights, or at least "responsibly too".
     
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  22. Make America Great Again torogender: ⚧ Arcane

    toro
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    I finished the game with a non-optimal party because I just wanted to get off the carousel.

    The setting is garbage, the story is mediocre, the UI is competent (if you are into that) and some game systems are un-inspired or simply broken (lack of tactical layer, magic armor system, initiative system, unfinished crafting system, loot scaling, awful encounter design).

    To be honest this entire discussion is pointless: there are no arguments I can make when you refuse to acknowledge that the game is flawed in any way. Also I envy you considering that bland and tedious fights are enjoyable experiences for you.

    This is valid criticism but at the same time it's irrelevant cause it's not always the case. Chaos is not effective in conveying arguments but at the same time that's what happens when people are free to express themselves.

    As annoying as it can be to read a lot of useless shit, threads on codex usually contain real insight on game mechanics and healthy discussions about issues while neither one of these can be found on curated forums.

    Anyway, drop the elitist attitude and post there (there are many more capable discussion partners than me). Or go to ign, reddit, rpgwatch and so on ... where praising the game is standard procedure and feelings can hardly be hurt.
     
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  23. screeggender: ⚧ Iron Tower Studio Developer

    screeg
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    Don't dump rpgwatch in that shit bucket. I bitch about games on there all the time.
     
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  24. Gecosgender: ⚧ Educated

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  25. Shackletongender: ⚧ Savant Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Exactly the same experience here. I'm not going to slate it's features and combat because the first few hours just bored me so intensely I shelved it to see what happens with patches down the line. How people can enjoy this dull, plodding game with awkward camera controls and constant container opening is beyond me. It reminds me a bit of Wasteland 2 on release, except not as good and with worse camera.
     
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