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One of my more evil Wardens put Anora on the throne and turned Alistair into a drunk for the specific purpose of forcing Loghain to kill himself on the Archdemon.
Also because it felt wrong to let Morrigan run around with something that could turn her into a more powerful mage than myself. But mostly just to fuck with people.
Edited by TheLovecraftian on Jan 23rd 2019 at 8:31:26 AM
Personally, I would like if this series stopped pretending it can let you play villains and committed on focusing on how much you can screw up some things to protect others even assuming you do have good intentions. The few asshole choices in Inquisition are really out of place and feel like an artifact from the days where you had to put an Evil route in every RPG.
We'd probably need the Dragon Age IP to go to Obsidian for that to happen. Heck, the fact that you can screw things up regardless of good intentions is the Central Theme of their most recent game Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.
Edited by M84 on Jan 23rd 2019 at 6:36:54 PM
It's already a theme of the Dragon Age universe too, where almost every major villain is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes they're improving things or preventing them to get worse, from Loghain to Solas. Even you, as the main character, end up having to make that kind of difficult choice most of the time.
(Personally, I like how the Dragon Age universe handles this theme more than how Pillars of Eternity handles it).
Pillars of Eternity is a lot bleaker in this regard. Eora is not a happy place. The Engwithans left behind a huge mess.
x4 Which is honestly not the direction that I'm particularly fond of, because it has been done to the death already with Obsidian games and Witcher series. It relies too much on Not Quite the Right Thing, which just usually means you have to consult a guide before anything, making things just too tedious. (And can easily cause Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy) I would much prefer if they go the Atlus route, with choices reflects where the players at on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism and the Order Versus Chaos scale. I think this is what they're going for with the Divine choice, but had 2 problems: 1) there was no clear indication on how to get the choice and 2) they both end the same way in a pretty lazy, retconny fashion. Otherwise they can go the Dishonored route, where Evil Is Cool and Evil Is Easy, but the world suffers because of it.
At least in Pillars you don't have to use a guide to get the Golden Ending of any questline...because none of the quests have a Golden Ending. Okay, one early sidequest in Deadfire has one but it's really easy to get and fairly obvious — heck, one party member will outright encourage it.
But for the most part, Deadfire remains true to the idea that no matter what you do, you're probably going to piss someone off and leave them with the short end of the stick.
No, wait, I don't mean that every choice should have unpredictable horrible consequences. I'm OK with the main characters being able to slowly improve the world. I'd just like for "I'm a selfish asshole" choices to disappear, and the main conflicts in player choices being driven by being unable to satisfy everyone or improve everything.
My point is: "do I want to be a hero and improve things or a selfish villain?" is an extremely uninteresting choice for me. I'd rather have the game focus on if and how can I improve things, taking for granted that I want to try. Again, the series is already moving in that direction; in Inquisition the "selfish asshole" choices are extremely few and already feel out of place.
Edited by Cozzer on Jan 23rd 2019 at 12:52:47 PM
Pillars doesn't do the "unpredictable horrible consequence" thing, it does "Well you should have seen this coming because it was kinda obvious in retrospect" in event you didn't see it coming
Like for example, not destroying the soul draining machine in Pillars 1. In retrospect, if you do that nothing prevents anyone else turning it back on
Pillars is pretty good about that but, I don't know, I just can't get attached to its setting the way I got attached to Thedas. It helps that Dragon Age started small-ish with Ferelden and expanded the scope gradually, while Pillars drops so many proper nouns on you from the very beginning that I couldn't follow what was happening until midway through the first game.
I think its less of "They drop too many location names" and more of that Pillars 1 maingame doesn't show you too many cool fantastical things you have seen nowhere else. Like it feels almost low fantasy in a way, White March has more fantastical thing in comparison.
Heck even in Pillars 2, I didn't actually find the setting actively cool before Forbidden Sanctum and I say that as someone who likes both games and the setting
I kind of like how magic in the POE games isn't considered all that extraordinary in the setting since everyone can potentially do it. It makes the moments where you encounter something fantastical and bizarre even by their standards all the more powerful.
Edited by M84 on Jan 23rd 2019 at 9:58:17 PM
Yeah, that is exactly what I mean: Eora manages to make magic feel mundane and not in the accidental "oops our bad" way. Like, biggest "Da fuq is that" reactions in first game are those two statues turning flesh in final boss, kraken and eyeless.
Second game at least does it way earlier when you run into Soul Collector :p And DLC in general add lot of more fantastic stuff you don't run into most of the time.(heck I'd say even scourges count, sure they are essentially minotaurs, but let's face it more crpgs could use more minotaurs)
I think the thing about Eora in general and the Dyrwood especially is you're not really meant to get attached to the setting — the setting is a wholesale deconstruction of the various tropes it uses, and it uses them to parallel the real world, and you're meant to want to break it and see it broken (because it's so grim and bleak), so that it can finally start to improve, not gradually but all at once. Escapist fantasy it's not, and I can understand how it's kind of a grind for a lot of people because of that. But it's a great piece of worldbuilding if you can get into it, the writing is excellent, and hey, the second game has pirates.
I confess, Pillars of Eternity is a great game if you like Grimdark because by the end of the game, my priest character was utterly disgusted with every single side of the conflict.
Sadly, there was no option for, "The gods are man made but I don't see how that disqualifies them as gods."
Said with the full disgust the gods are kind of assholes.
[Sorry, new accounts cannot post external links.]
I've noticed that Well Intentioned Extremist thing as well with Dragon Age.
Personally, I prefer it, if only because Well Intentioned Extremists at last have the ability to be genuinely interesting, three-dimensional characters. Outright villains tend to be dead boring.
Edited by TheLovecraftian on Jan 27th 2019 at 6:37:56 PM
Depends on the medium. Outright Villains tend to sound boring in concept, but can be fun if you execute them properly. For lack of a better subject in mind because KH 3 comes out soon, Ursula, Mother Gothel, and Maleficent from Disney are some of the best villains in animation and some of the most fun even if they aren't motivated by any form of doing something good or particuarly complicated.
A villain like Gothel would probably work best for, say, a Companion side-quest where they're not big or threatening enough to be defeated in combat and the only reason the player doesn't outright move against them is due to companion connection. Something like Alistair's sister sidequest if maybe written more seriously? Though... I suppose Flemeth is basically a Mother Gothel character at this point. Or was in Origins.
Now I'm imagining Flemeth as played by Donna Murphy.
Edited by InkDagger on Jan 27th 2019 at 2:50:33 AM
Everyone is the hero in their own story.
Bronn is Neutral Evil in Game of Thrones but perfectly charming in his Only in It for the Money.
@Ink Dagger, you raise a good point. I think that villains like Ursula and the others you mentioned manage to be fun because they are just so over-the-top melodramatic.
Of course, this makes me think of pointing out how as fun as those villains were, their more morally gray re-imaginings in Once Upon a Time were arguably more compelling as richly-written characters, while still being melodramatic and fun.
Eh. Once Upon a Time was... really poorly written from about mid-Season 3 on.
I will concede that the villains from the Wonderland Spin-Off were AMAZING.
Best Villain Ever:
A bombastically evil villain like this wouldn't work in DA. In DA you need Sister - ahem, MOTHER - Petrice. This is a clearly vile, slimy woman from the first quest you have with her and it only gets worse from there. Yet I won't deny she's very effective. I fuckin' hate her. She's sort of like the Doloree Umbridge of Dragon Age where people hate her more than the actual Dark Lord. She and Umbridge are just so...believable in how awful they are.
I just never felt like Petrice had enough screen time for me to particuarly care about her. I'm not saying Dragon Age should do this, but Villain Songs were useful in really establishing character, hamming things up, and making their villainy recognizable.
Petrice... I kind of forgot who she was after Act 1 my first time through, if I'm honest. And I only remembered her later because I'm obsessive in learning everything I can about the characters and world of the series.
Eh. YMMV. She was one of the more skin-crawling villains for me, but a lot of that is implication — she's not a character who speaks her mind freely. Still, forgetting about her Act I appearance is one thing, but I think we're mostly talking about her organizing the hate crimes that basically kick off the Qunari invasion in Act II.
That's kind of the thing: the truly vile villains in DA do tend to get their just desserts. It's the more layered villains, the ones with more complicated intentions, like Loghain, Solas, even the Arishok — and Anders, for that matter — who stick around. Petrice doesn't have to be on their level to be interesting for what she is.
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