Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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How do you like your companions?

Discussion in 'What Remains' started by Surf Solar, Dec 4, 2011.

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How do you like your companions?

  1. Give me few but very detailed members.

    20 vote(s)
    80.0%
  2. I want a pool out of human ressources to choose from.

    5 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. Make America Great Again Johannesgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Johannes
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    Mercenaries. Gives freedom to play the type of party you want when there's more picks, and someone dying might not be an instant reload if people are replaceable.

    Though you should usually have to pay some sort of compensation to a dead mercs family or guild or something (at least if you want to keep good terms with future recruits), so that you can't just suicide them constantly.
     
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  2. Major_Blackhartgender: ⚧ Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Maybe have something that happens to them while they are traveling with you that makes the big bad their enemy too, your quest their quest?
     
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  3. seagender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman inXile Entertainment Developer

    sea
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    Fewer but more defined characters is probably best, but I wouldn't mind a hybrid system - have a few "main" characters coupled with a bunch of mercs for hire in case the player needs extra backup for a particularly challenging encounter, or if the regulars all die.

    As for main companion characters, give them a stake in the proceeding... give them something to do, some sort of reason for caring about what's going on. It doesn't have to be "they murdered my father, now I want revenge" but just as the player should have motivation for advancing the plot, companions should have motivation for actually following the player. This way you can set up character arcs for them - a character who's purely in it to find some information may learn the Value of Friendship(TM) along the way and choose to stick with the player even after their needs have been met, for instance. That said, it's always good to have one companion who will follow the player more or less no matter what - someone who's been left stranded or destitute (raided caravan?) and has nowhere else to go. Such companions should be optional, but it's good to have at least one more or less guaranteed dedicated follower from a pure utility perspective.
     
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  4. Grunkergender: ⚧ RPG Codex Ghost Patron

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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    This could be a good "solution" for one companion, but it's important to avoid "recipes" :)
     
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  5. Major_Blackhartgender: ⚧ Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Here's the kicker:
    What's the penalty if they die while with you on your journey?
    Should there be one at all?
    Maybe for some and not others?
     
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  6. Make America Great Again Johannesgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Johannes
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    If that is the case for someone, the situation likely won't be like that for too long unless they are also useless. As you travel the guy will get better, and as a side-effect become fully capable of taking care of himself unless he's somehow retarded.

    Companions should have some needs in any case - some want to be paid in money, some want their constant fix of drugs (dwarven snuff?), some are with the PC for sex, some want you to follow the main quest in a timely manner, someone wants you to be virtuous, whatever.

    And of course it's not usually sensible for them to leave when right in a dangerous dungeon or such, but keeping someone constantly no matter what you do shouldn't be a given. Sure stuff like that takes it into strategy game territory a bit, but that's not a bad thing at all.

    Then you could also do away with the boring Charisma-based companion limit.
     
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  7. seagender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman inXile Entertainment Developer

    sea
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    I don't know about charisma. It's the primary mark of a good leader and you need to have something about it influence companions, if not the maximum limit then maybe their general effectiveness, like a +% modifier as seen in New Vegas. You could also give them a chance every few weeks to leave the player, and a high charisma would lower that chance.
     
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  8. kaizokugender: ⚧ Arcane

    kaizoku
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    :decline:
    More like the exact opposite.
    If you have rescued someone from a deep shit situation it's only natural that that person develops a sense of trust and wants to stay with you. Furthermore, unity makes them stronger.

    People are trying to survive in the wasteland. No one survives alone. And when a location/town is not enough to provide for your survival, you are forced to move on.
    Agreed that it shouldn't be "oh I was just waiting for you to pick me up to join your party" but it doesn't make any sense at all to set impossible to meet situations for a NPC to join you.
    IMO one thing that could be interesting is when (if?) the party reaches a town which provides enough conditions for survival, for some NPCs to be tempted to stay. Maybe they went too many times close to the red line (0 HP) and feel they better quit? Or maybe you did something that really went against them? The gold diggers will ask for more money?


    One thing that I've always hated in games in general is that they assume gender equality hurr duerrrp.
    When there is no law and order: women get raped. That's the way it goes.
    A women walking on a wasteland without male protection is going to get her pooper raped in 90% of the cases (the other 10% are when she is a fucking ex-military or something like that).
    Scenario of a female NPC: women can get sex whenever they want, they don't need to tag along for sex.
    Scenario of a male NPC: or both him and the PC are gay, or the female PC is a fucking marine with a fetish for boy toys.
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Johannesgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Johannes
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    Yeah but that's a different thing than "having nowhere else to go".


    Of course charisma should matter, but preferably in a more interesting way than a simple hard limit of how many people you can have at the same time.
     
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  10. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    You don't have to worry about that the companions aren't tied in the mainstory, 3 of them actually were normal (elaborate) NPC with lots of quests before, when I noticed that it would make much more sense for them to be part of the characters party - it felt just more natural. It's things like these coincidences which makes working on a game an enjoyment sometimes. :D

    As for those mercenaries - do you think there should be an unlimited amount (random name generator is already working for them ;P ) but with high costs (less loot you find to emulate they take their share of the loot) or should they be finite but with less severe costs?

    As for Charisma, I am aware that it's pretty much a dump stat without the restriction of party members. New Vegas' system that makes companions stronger is a step in the right direction, but I don't know how it really works (which stats get affected) and thus don't know how to translate it in my game. Anyone know how the formula there works?

    Ofcourse I wouldn't mind suggestions towards making Charisma a more used stat too.
     
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  11. kaizokugender: ⚧ Arcane

    kaizoku
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    An unlimited amount will probably make some people abuse them as cannon fodder.
    I prefer a low number of mercs and somewhat expensive (as in the price you pay them) so that you're forced to use them wisely and only when you really need them.
    About having "less loot you find to emulate their share", how exactly will you implement this?
    Will the game have realistic loot? kill 1 wolf get 1 pelt, kill an armored bandit get his weapon, ammo and gun?
     
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  12. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    It's simply using the formula that the "Scrounger" Perk uses, only with negative amount. ;) Ofcourse single items won't be affected, but I don't plan on full loot drop (armors won't be lootable)
     
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  13. tiagocc0gender: ⚧ Arcane

    tiagocc0
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    It's a little late but I vote for both, mercenaries and companions, that's a great idea!
     
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  14. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Well make it so their deaths mean something:

    Punishment: 2 more reputation/perks immediately upon each death (cumulative, too). Blood Debt, and Cheap Stake. Blood Debt will persist until you visit the dead companion's family/relative; and Cheap Stake until you pay said family/relative an amount of blood money or something. As long as you have one of these perks remain, you can only hire new companion with much difficulty, like triple the usual rate, with big chunk of it upfront.
     
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  15. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    Some general questions regarding companions:

    Do you find it good/bad when followers leave, or even attack you for your actions? Do you find it ok when npc part way of your adventures course temporarily? Do you find it ok, that when they come back have the same level/experience as when they left you? Also, if there is some sort of safehouse/"Player-base" - would it be ok for you if they stay there so you can easily re-recruit them?
     
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  16. Make America Great Again The Brazilian Slaughtergender: ⚧ Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    I think followers leaving or attacking should be something gradual rather than the abrupt "We and I think that you surpassed the numerical limit of evilness we could tolerate, and now we and I will shatter head with big hammer." So if you see your NPC appears to be pissy lately, you can try and placate him somehow, like a bigger share of loot, some personnal favor or even sex (lol for humilating sex). I think NPCs leaving should have consequences. So, if one of your NPCs leave you because he had enough of your child-eating, woman-raping, lifehood-destroying banditry, he may go back to his hometown, tell everybody about you and your horrible deeds, and when your PC shows up to try and take him back (or kill him for sullying your name), he's greeted by a multitude of weapons pointed at him, and a loud "Fuck off or die, you monster." Or maybe not even that, maybe the shooting starts immediatly. Or maybe it never happens, because your PC is like the Wasteland equivalent of The Joker and he's too fucking scared to tell because he's afraid that you will one day show up, gut his cousins, eat his mother's flesh, rape his sisters and make him suffer until he begs you for death.

    Also, I think followers attacking is lame because when it usually happens, its just you and your partners filling your ex-bro full of lead, or unbrofisting him from all sides like a Polish Corridor. I would rather see the NPCs do something surprising when it can FUCK YOU UP. Say, your friend "acidentally" hits you with "friendly fire." Or your explosives expert calls you for a lonely chat at the ruins, and when you come, its bombs bombs bombs exploding everywhere, sending shrapnel flying all over you, with him being in a proper position to snipe you in case you somehow remain alive. Or your knife-nut stealthly shivs you in the back when nobody's looking. Or your NPC turning on you to side with the Bad Guys during a big firefight, having sold you out before because he grew to hate you (for whatever reason). Or one of your NPCs leaving, then telling you though emissaries or messages of somekind that he has proof of some of your actions that make certain powerful people unhappy, and unless you hand over a constant, nice stipend, he's telling on you and handing you proof, therefore screwing you over. Or even a ex-lover sending butthurt mail about how you're a egocentric bastard who only saw her as a sexual object, but now she's happy because she found a nice, strong, working man of her dreams who keeps her happy, safe and satisfied.

    I like the idea of NPCs leaving to do their stuff sometimes, this works well specially if the game stimulates you to get another NPC to fill his place. This stimulates players to get to know other, new people. Of course, in Brazil we would say it is "Switching the asured for the doubtful." But if its played correctly according to the main quest and the game's feeling, it makes sense.

    About a safe house: I like it as a idea. I always found it a bit weird that 99% RPG characters are drifters who go around town from town without any place to sleep or stay. Sometimes people need to RELAX, talk and stuff. It depends on the player's possession of a vehicle, though. In Fallout 2, for example, the player had a quite big car for most of the game. Also, it is a far more realistic location to store loot than a vehicle. Fallout 2's Highwayman comes to mind, it could pack enough weaponry and ammunition for five platoons of well-armed men. Of course, I think any safe house should be "alive", in the sense that its very possession by the player can affect the world.
     
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  17. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    :brofist:

    Your examples for NPC leaving/backstabbing you (the shrapnel guy) were very cool, I'll take these in in variations asap - a very cool idea. Say, instead of from zero to hero "Hey you are my best friend" to "I hate you and attack you", there should be 2-3 variables inbetween where the companions already utter their doubts then? Ok. So, if the "butthurt level" of npc xy would be at only 1, he would just utter his complaints throughout text floats and dialogs. In butthurt level 2, he says he rather leaves soon to the safehouse. In level 3, he, just like in your example, leaves to his hometown and ruins your reputation there. This makes excellent sense in the game, since the endgame entirely depends on your reputation level with all the factions involved in the game. Thanks - this was a really cool idea!
     
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  18. Omicrongender: ⚧ Scholar

    Omicron
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    I think that companions should be able to leave when they strongly disagree with what you're doing, but they should only attack you when you do something that is completely against whatever morals or goals they have, murdering children left and right, attacking their family, destroying whatever McGuffin they needed etc.

    When a companion will leave you, whether permanent or not, you should be able to see it coming in most cases. A character whose reason for joining you is to find a certain object could leave once he has found said object, for example.

    As for re-recruiting companions, after going to the next 'chapter' of the game or after a timeskip of sorts, they should go on with their lives and you could possibly meet them again over the course of game, whether in expected places such as their home or more surprising locations such as travelling as a caravan guard or something. In which case their stats should have changed accordingly, the caravan guard has gained more skill with rifles when you meet him again, when someone has worked as a doctor the past months/years his medical skills should have increased accordingly and if a companion spent his time gambling away all the phat lewt he acquired over de the course of the game he should either be broke or filthy rich when you meet him again.

    As for characters going to hang out at your clubhouse after you dismiss them should really depend on the situation, but I think it is a bit silly to have people waiting at said clubhouse for the glorious PCname to recruit them once again, at least give them a logical reason for being there. The clubhouse being some sort of (military?)base where important people decide make important decisions for example.

    (Edit: Oh, and I humbly agree with Brazilian Slaughter)
     
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  19. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    The "clubhouse" as you say it will be a huge part of the actual game and has even some small RTS elements (if everything goes well and we can punch it into the engine) so it would make sense to have some companions there to regulate/order the machines/slaves or whatever (don't want to spoiler) around. I agree however that temporar companions (find macguffin then (s)he leaves) should be just that. The games pacing changes dramatically from the second chapter to the third chapter as in there is a change in the overall powers, allowing you to have this "stronghold". It's like JA2's strategy map management, just much less sophisticated. And it is connected to this:

    There are several "tiers" of vehicles. At the start, there is none, then you can build/craft your first one, then there comes boats (keep in mind the game plays in the Great Lakes region of USA), then later huge vehicles to drive around.
     
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  20. Omicrongender: ⚧ Scholar

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    Sounds great!
    :thumbsup:
     
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  21. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Depends on the type of party members.

    If party members are fully controlled by the player and are nothing but marionettes, then any sudden signs of independent thought are jarring. You level a guy up, dress him up, load him up with shit, tell him whom to attack and when, and then suddenly he says "killing that dude wasn't cool"? You are the one who killed him, jackass.

    So, if party members are controllable zombies, I want full control without any surprises. If party members are pretending to be people, I want them to behave in a realistic fashion and have preferences, motives, goals, which might be different from yours, etc.
     
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  22. Majestic47gender: ⚧ Learned

    Majestic47
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    Hidden motivation is nice. It always made me feel happier when the companions are actually concerned about what we're doing instead of going on a full blown exposition throughout their quest line and then suddenly went full bot mode when we're not doing theirs.

    Have a consistent opinion on certain matters, allow the player to attempt to change it. Successful or not, I would love a chance to try to change an idealistic man into a more practical guy or a straight man into - uh..no.
     
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  23. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    Your post leaks a bit of your opinion that NPC should not be controllable by the PC. I disagree, but I would like to hear your opinions nonetheless! It ofcourse depends on the game, but I personally rather have a game balanced around me taking an (eventual) party (or when i want to fancy the system I play alone) against a system, instead of having totally random AI followers that I can not control (why? because an active participant in combat, that is ultimateively a game I can not control is not fun). We all know Ian shooting us in the back and this should not be an example of good followers AI, but for me, as a player, a game becomes more interesting when I can control the other NPC too, for reasons stated above.
    Why? It gives me even more pleasure over when someone levels up, multiplies the "I can dress up people with thousands of different items to raise/change resistances, stats, skills and so on" feeling. Someone, a few years ago (I think it was even you ?) made a chart on what players in RPG are looking forward to. And the old "level up" sound was damn near at the front! It sounds odd, but the more carrots you have before your nose, the more reason you have togo on playing! Just imagine the Scrounger having a few more Xp before you finally can loot this skyscaper, a Ranger who can craft more and more useful items for your party the more he levels up, a guy who is a master thief and finally at level n- he earns a perk to silently steal shit from people, a guy who makes the party shine in a light which in reality it never did these things ( I took weeks in researching how legends in the wild west ((billy the kid ec)) were formed). All of these thuings, inside the Player character and the NPC have grounds in basic stats and skills. So, this has nothing to do with LARPing, but I want to provide the RNG with as many variables as possible - the less variables RNG gets fed, the worse. I know, AoD will have the character growth rather limited to a single character (which still will be great!), but I personally rather find pleasure in rolling a full party and see how the stats I made unfold in the game. My ultimate design choice on how to develop a game is rather similar to yours, Vince (Develop a fuckload of possibilities, then design different builds around) but that I add as many different variables to the Character system as I can. This, ultimately results in me having a very short game (if one knows everything and you skip WR, you will play it in 5-6hourts) but with VASTLY different playstyles.

    My ultimate design philosophy is, to make as many as possible COMBAT abilities and then design it around everything else. COMBAT is IMO always the core of the actual fun in RPG, so it needs to be as verbose as possible. That I am a fan of Choose your own adventures games is only a bonus.
     
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  24. PorkaMorkagender: ⚧ Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    A large pool of semi disposable companions makes for better gameplay, as you can try the game on ironman or semi iron man and accept that some companions will die. If there are only 6 plot essential companions it almost forces a reload centric style of play.

    As for personality, a little goes a long way. I prefer the companions from BG1 or JA2 over companions from modern games that lecture you and require you to click through a ton of text about their issues to max out their abilities/loyalty.

    Unless they are about to betray you or something, they should always be fully controlled by the player, as nobody can make an AI that controls them acceptably and besides, it is a game and it is more fun to control them. Letting the AI control them creates a minigame in tough fights, where you are not only trying to win, but also trying to manipulate the companion AI into not doing something stupid and dieing.
     
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  25. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Only when the lines mentioned above are crossed. I love traditional 6-party-member games where you create and fine-tune the entire party and I can't imagine playing a tactical RPG without having full control over the characters. I have no problems with the marionette setup, but I do believe that "real people" should behave like real people.

    The way I see it, a developer has to choose the focus. Either tactical combat or dealing with real people and their shit, which could be fairly entertaining.

    If that's your intention (let the player roll a full party and maintain full control), then we are in agreement.

    Sounds like a good plan. Good luck.
     
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