Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review RPG Codex Review: Tyranny - Kyros Demands Better

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

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    This sounds like more of a theoretical issue. It doesn't seem to me that the level scaling algorithm is that aggressive, otherwise people would have noticed this happening and complained about it.
     
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  2. Prime Junta Arcane

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    I wish.

    Since the topic came up though, here's a bit of navel-gazing.

    If I write in stream-of-consciousness mode, I have a tendency to fudge. My writing wants to fall into on-the-one-hand-but-on-the-other murk that ends up just being turgid and not really communicating anything.

    Over the years I have worked pretty hard to fight this tendency, and the technique I've come up with is to make my first draft hyperbolic. Instead of "good" I write "classic," instead of bad I write "irredeemable." This stops me from digressing into "but on the other hand" stuff.

    Then as I edit, I remove and tone down the adjectives until the text approximates what I actually think.

    If I'm working with an editor, this becomes much easier as they'll quickly catch the bits I've missed. This time I didn't have one, and some bits of that first draft remain. Editing your own text isn't easy, as I'm sure you know if you've done any writing.
     
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  3. Prime Junta Arcane

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    He already offered, but I don't feel comfortable doing post-publication revisions except to correct factual errors. I wish I had gotten the feedback pre-publication, but I didn't, so it is what it is.
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Mozg Arcane

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    This is a nitpick but I got the impression that even at its most advanced state the AoD setting was "Pseudo-Rome that was obliterated at most a few decades after it began a magical Manhattan project" rather than a truly regressed magitech science fictional culture. Even the magi figures seem like proto-scientific types.
     
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  5. Azarkon Arcane

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    People do complain about it. It's why enemies take so long to kill - because their health scales up, while your own damage doesn't scale up nearly as fast. However, I will agree that the game is easy enough that you can get through it even with a shit character; but that again is more a side effect of poor design than anything else.
     
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  6. Prime Junta Arcane

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    My experience was that the level scaling approximately keeps pace with your progress. Fights didn't take any longer near the end of the game, but they weren't any faster either. (Okay, Graven Ashe took fucking forever to whittle down, but other than that.)
     
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  7. Bohrain Educated

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    Tyranny's C&C suffers from the fact that in the end, the only choices that matter are faction alignments. Character generation doesn't matter since all the skill checks can be easily cleared on the first playthrough without sacrificing any strengths, companions don't matter since you get all the 6 even if you piss off their faction and the only choices that remain only affect one paragraph in the ending slides at best. You can kick off a character from a tower who you won't see again anyway, woo.
    And faction alignments don't really offer you anything majorly different, you'll end up siding with someone with a colorful armor, female commanders whose sole way of displaying anger is saying "fuck" really loud and fighting virtually the same encounters. The way people talk, fight and to a great extend act is basically all the same. Someone smarter than me said that RNG based content is good if it changes what you do instead of what you see. Obsidian managed to make scripted content that hardly changes neither.
     
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  8. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

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    It's possible that Azarkon is describing a real phenomenon, but it's also possible that the level scaling isn't causing it and the designers have it balanced that way regardless.

    What they could do is have the level scaling use an exponential-type algorithm so that your most advanced skills (ie, the ones you're really using) have the vast majority of the effect on it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  9. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    It still sounds like Dragon Age 2 with an edgier plot and no ending. If the combat is that bad I'll have to skip this no matter what the price, which is a shame as the world does sound quite interesting.

    I actually liked DA:2 at the time (got it for less than $10, judged that I just about got my money's worth), but the thought of trying to play it again makes me feel nauseous.
     
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  10. Prime Junta Arcane

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    It does change what you read though. That's why I characterised the game as a big ol' CYOA.

    The big failing is with the gameplay: there's no real difference between fighting the Chorus, the Disfavored, the Bronze Brotherhood, the Vendrien Guard, or anyone else. If the combat mechanics and skill differentiation had been done better, this would not have been the case, and the story branches would have impacted the gameplay experience as well.

    I.e. from where I'm at, the failure isn't with C&C. It's with the systems which don't support it. A mod that did nothing at all to change the quests or encounters but only gave the different units noticeably different abilities would fix it.
     
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  11. hell bovine Magister

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    It's more than a theoretical issue. If your mage casts a spell that adds fire damage to weapons, then - because experience from spells is granted based on damage in combat - the character using this weapon will get points in the control fire skill. And if they didn't have that skill? Well, now they have. :hahano:
     
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  12. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Heh, that sounds like it could be a bug.
     
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  13. Prime Junta Arcane

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    If you're into setting and story, there is some enjoyment to be had. I dug reading the texts, missives, dialogues, and what have you. The combat is a chore but if you turn down the difficulty you can get through it pretty quickly. (And if you turn it up, it won't be much harder, it'll just take longer, and since it's not much fun, why would you do that?)
     
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  14. Fenix Arbiter

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    Maybe this was a matter of some kind of training work for junior designers?
    Like long-term practic for personnel? Or it is just pure naivety how things work there?
     
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  15. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    That quote is pure art and should be the entire review. :D

    Seriously, I'll probably get it eventually, but I'm not paying full price for a game I have to force myself to play.
     
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  16. Fenix Arbiter

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    Yes, sadly I can only agree with it.
     
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  17. Excidium II Arcane

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    Yes.
     
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  18. Prime Junta Arcane

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    Yeah no, I wouldn't recommend this as a full-price buy unless you're a rabid Obsidian fanboy, really really into CYOAs, or rich. Or just don't much care about gameplay. DA:I has lots of fans and it has bland, boring, repetitive gameplay too.
     
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  19. Azarkon Arcane

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    They gave out details regarding how they were going to do it before:

    http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/117654-tyranny-interview/all-pages.html

    More likely they had to drop the average difficulty down because of their broken system. You can always design around a bad system but it raises the question of why you don't just design a proper system in the first place.
     
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  20. Prime Junta Arcane

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    Whatever system they have, it doesn't even work to that extent. The hardest fight in the game is at the end of Chapter 1. The endgame bossfights were piss-easy by comparison, they just took a while because of the HP bloat.
     
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  21. Dayyālu Arcane

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    Let's get away from the jest that "AoD is fantasy post-apoc and not Dark Ages" because that was merely a joke and another mistake due to poor editing ( never quote in a paper something you haven't read\saw youself, as someone will notice sooner or later or even worse if you admit it). Prob is, there is good writing to be found in Tyranny?

    I'll freely admit that I have played only Act 1 and I admire you for having the strength to endure the dreadful combat, but in Act 1 the entire "writing" thing is a bit messy. You can discover the fact that Verse is a spy and get a shitton of loyalty points with her before exiting the tutorial area, after she knew you for roughly two minutes.

    Most NPCs are literally walking plot dispensers, always repeating ad nauseum the two-three things we know of the world (the Disfavoured come from the North, they can't read, their Archon cares, they fight in a phalanx, they can't read, they fight in a phalanx, they are better than the Chorus, they come from the North) plus some very light "Generic NPC" dialogue ("I'm Genericus McGenericus The Third, Scion of Genericus the Second"). All the Chorus NPCs can be simplified as 1) Madmen 2) rabble recruited by force. I again point out that the only thing that got stuck in my brain is the Voices toying with his fourth-wall breaking power.

    The Chorus is Caesar's Legion Redux, and having played New Vegas earlier this year I was wondering why they felt the need to rehash the concept. Furthermore, there is little in the way of "moral dilemmas" or challenging the player's morality and choices: in Geneforge, still my golden standard for factional choice, you get options that challenge your own opinions (how power should be employed, responsability, freedom and consequences). Tyranny's writing puts you between red mad guys and blue guys. Worldbuilding by itself is mediocre: this is no Dark Sun, Torment, or even Nethergate for chrissakes.

    If in Act 2 and 3 you get some reedeming writing that gives you insight how the bickering Archons are characters and not stereotypes, I'd happily eat my own words: but I did not saw the beginning of an "interesting power dynamic of immortals ruling a bronze age empire". I saw two cartoon villains screaming at each other in a tent with their colour-coded bodyguards.
     
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  22. Azarkon Arcane

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    My personal feeling is that it's because of the equipment system, since it's very, very easy to get end game equipment in this game once you get the ability to upgrade your equipment, and it likely makes a much bigger difference than your skills.
     
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  23. Prime Junta Arcane

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    The Scarlet Chorus is nothing like Caesar's Legion. Its internal logic is completely different. Did you miss that bit with the kid conscript? How they deal with desertion? How come the Disfavored want to raze a village and kill everyone in it, while the Chorus doesn't? What the consequences are of having many of their recruits be Tiersmen? How the whole conscription racket actually works, in practice?

    There's also a lot of subtle stuff about how the civilians experience life under the occupation: what they think of the Disfavored, the Chorus, the Bronze Brotherhood, or whoever else happens to be in charge. There's a lot of stuff there; they just don't shove it in your face, you have to actually be interested and look into it. Talk to people. Read stuff. That sort of thing.
     
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  24. Excidium II Arcane

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    Yeah, they're not much alike. Only thing in common is their brutal methods and how they tend to integrate the enemies they conquer.

    If anything both the Disfavored and Chorus are two different aspects of the Legion. (Legion is also much cooler than both)
     
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  25. Azarkon Arcane

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    All the Archons are one dimension characters, maybe with the exception of Sirin who ends up being a bit different than you what expect her to be.

    But the problem with Tyranny writing goes further than that. One of the main problems with Tyranny writing is the choice of when and where the player gets to choose. Tyranny has a lot of choices & consequences, but most of them are trivial, and of those that aren't, many are poorly placed. The developers obviously did not think very carefully about when and where the player might want to choose.

    For example, in the Scarlet Chorus path, there's one instance where you are faced with a mostly innocent woman and her baby. You are simply not given the option of doing anything that isn't a dick move - either you send her to Nerat, who eats her and claims her baby for himself, or you kill her right then and there, and the baby still gets sent to Nerat. This is a perfect opportunity for the player to break the alliance, to tell Nerat to fuck off, etc. But you aren't given that choice. But you know when you do get that choice? It's when you first visit the town and talk to the Scarlet Chorus leader in that town, and the text goes like "guess what, this town is mine, I'm taking over".

    There is, in fact, a lot of up front information dumps in Tyranny, just as you said, but it's not just information, it's also decisions.

    Many of the most important decisions the player has to make are made too early, without proper knowledge, while too few are capable of being made when the situation calls for it.
     
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