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Why SoD and Beamdog are important

Back in the late 90's, it was amazing to see Bioware rise to such great heights so quickly with Baldurs Gate and its sequel, and I think I speak for many when I say that it was equally disappointing to see the direction that Bioware went afterwards.
To watch them depart from that pinnacle of crpg complexity in order to create games with mass market appeal that were more "cinematic" and action-oriented was very frustrating and disheartening to many of us.
So to have Beamdog pick up this crpg torch of valuing substance over style all these years later seems like a modern day miracle.
This is why Beamdog and this expansion are so important to modern game design as well as a breath of fresh air to so many of us.

SertoriusGrammarsaladRaduzielSirBatinceelminsterrjmacreadyJuliusBorisovVarwulfBelgarathMTHVallmyrGoturalGloomfrostArcalian

Comments

  • LifatLifat Member Posts: 353
    I didn't hate the direction bioware went, but I am glad that someone is holding up the "crpg torch".

    JuliusBorisovGrammarsaladFaydarkBanArd
  • Son_of_ImoenSon_of_Imoen Member Posts: 1,810
    edited February 2016
    For me, the strangest move Bioware took is the strange fancy moves mages suddenly seemed to feel necessary to make (from Dragon Age II onwards) to deal damage with the staff. To do damage with a staff, why would flashy Japanese sword-fight-like-moves be necessary, does the magical energy from a staff hit better if you turn your back to the enemy first, taking him out of your sight, than aiming again where you were aiming all the while before making that strange move. It's not like it's an evasion move, mages do it even when the enemy is tens of feet away.

    So we know what signs to look for if Beamdog loses it's focus: if mages start making flashy sword-dance moves.

  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 5,876

    For me, the strangest move Bioware took is the strange fancy moves mages suddenly seemed to feel necessary to make (from Dragon Age II onwards) to deal damage with the staff. To do damage with a staff, why would flashy Japanese sword-fight-like-moves be necessary, does the magical energy from a staff hit better if you turn your back to the enemy first, taking him out of your sight, than aiming again where you were aiming all the while before making that strange move. It's not like it's an evasion move, mages do it even when the enemy is tens of feet away.

    So we know what signs to look for if Beamdog loses it's focus: if mages start making flashy sword-dance moves.

    You mean like Kensai/Mages? :wink:

  • Mikey205Mikey205 Member Posts: 302
    Bioware didnt lose focus until aquired by EA. Initially it was good as helped promote Mass Effect 2 and DA:O but you can see how they're now influencing development too which is when it goes wrong from an outsider perspective.

    Triskster
  • TorinTorin Member Posts: 229
    I just hope that if Beamdog score it high with SoD, they don't follow in Bioware steps and start making their next games more for mass market. Making more money is not always the best choice, most of old Bioware left the company when they went big.

  • Mikey205Mikey205 Member Posts: 302
    If they scored it big then might make publishers think again about investing in good RPGs. Though the Witcher 3 and Kickstarter has done a good job already.

    thefirstbigw
  • ChippyChippy Member Posts: 241
    It's great that WIzards of the Coast are allowing SOD to be published (assuming I got that right) but if they (or whoever published Sword Coast Legends) had an interest in old school RPG's appealing to the audience that would buy SOD - I kinda wonder what they had in mind when they put Sword Coast Legends out there.

    Although I've boycotted Bioware, I did love their games, and hopefully Beamdog will pick up where Bioware left off years ago.

    ValamirCleaver
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    Why a boycott of Bioware? I can understand no buying simply because they stopped making interesting games, but a boycott is usually something more principled - did I miss something?

    (I mostly don't buy any mainstream titles these days, boycotting the industry for screwing up DRM - but will probably make an exception for Mass Effect: Andromeda)

    As for the original topic, I think Bioware continued evolving the games that started with the Balder's Gate series. One of the most commonly observed differences between BG and BG2 is the richer NPC interactions, and that engagement with the virtual members of your party, trying to tell a rich story for a role-playing experience, is clearly the area they decided to focus on - and that is not a bad thing.

    At some point, rather than having a rich world to be explored by the gamer, it turned into telling largely the same rich story for all players, due to the cost of creating such detailed content rather than leaving much of the detail to our respective imaginations. Old school games succeed in much the same way that radio has better pictures than TV - most folks don't appreciate that, and won't appreciate old-school gaming for the same reason, when offered more modern alternatives.

    While Bioware may be seen as simply chasing the dollar, I think that is much more of an EA trait (marketing through almost-mandatory DLC etc.) while I see Bioware up to that point simply trying to entertain a larger audience.

    I think there is plenty of room for both old-school and new-school Bioware gaming, and am very happy Beamdog have picked up the mantle of the old. EA with the new, not so much.

  • Mikey205Mikey205 Member Posts: 302
    I think Witcher 3 and CD Projekt are doing the best job with the new. Bethesda with Skyrim to an extent too. Bioware still write good dialogue and npcs and I did enjoy all 3 mass effects (but da2 and inquisition were letdowns).

    On the old school we have Obsidian, InXile and Beamdog too. Also Larian too.

    All around good time for crpgs.

  • ChippyChippy Member Posts: 241
    @GreenWarlock

    It was their DLC practices in part - I bought all their DLC, but then saw the route they took with the prothen DLC. Also (just my point of view) for a company that heavily pushed inclusivity, they completely missed the point (or chose to) with the Tali romance by making her a stunningly beautiful supermodel with alien hands.
    They should have at least given her a third nostril...

    All in all I don't have a problem with DLC, and have a disposable income when it comes to gaming (I put $1000 each in to TTON, Wasteland2, POE), and if Beamdog started cranking out the DLC e.g. $5-10 for NPC kit quests such as making Jaheira a wizard killer, I'd be behind it.

    I even play games from every genre, and don't mind when companies dip into other areas - like Obsidian with Dungeon Siege, or that tank game - but I've worked in corrupt companies that have contempt for their clients and Bioware started to show that in their buisness dealings.
    Or I might have been drinking too much at the time and completely misread the situation.

    But watching the Beamdog guys in livestreams/interviews aswell as knowing how good/funny a writer David Gaider is gives me a sense that Beamdog have a great positivity and culture about them for the future.

    ...Unless they're all Dopplegangers and Mindflayers with a master plan...

  • LifatLifat Member Posts: 353
    Of course beamdog are all dopplegangers and mindflayers. DUH! It is the most obvious thing in the world! They are trying to indoctrinate us into only liking excellent games the elitist bastards!

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    @Chippy - I think you are describing the EA business practices more than Bioware, the game-makers, but EA own them now so it might not be fair of me to make the distinction. Also, most of the creatives I associate with the Bioware brand seem to have left the company since the buy-out, David Gaider being the most recent example, so I am not sure how much of what I think of as Bioware is truly left but the name - but I'm not at the point of a boycott yet. I'm not buying their stuff simply because it no longer appeals ;)

  • spacejawsspacejaws Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 370
    I think the real issue is that modern bioware shyied away from complicated systems and rpg number crunching and wanted to streamline the game mechanics for cinematic gameplay and less frustration. Its very apparrant with the differences between mass effect/dragon age and it's sequels.

    In mass effect 2's case it created a stellar game, but the mechanics were very much grars of war with rpg numbers sprinkled on top and ever since then the game philosophy is almost attempting to drift as far away from rpgs as possible while still maintaing itself as mainly an rpg creator.

    GreenWarlock
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,238
    edited February 2016
    Lifat said:

    Of course beamdog are all dopplegangers and mindflayers. DUH! It is the most obvious thing in the world! They are trying to indoctrinate us into only liking excellent games the elitist bastards!

    We're actually a mix of beholders and beholderkin.

    GreenWarlockJuliusBorisov
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    elminster said:

    Lifat said:

    Of course beamdog are all dopplegangers and mindflayers. DUH! It is the most obvious thing in the world! They are trying to indoctrinate us into only liking excellent games the elitist bastards!

    We're actually a mix of beholders and beholderkin.
    Speak for yourftagn!

    elminsterJuliusBorisov
  • ValamirCleaverValamirCleaver Member Posts: 184
    Chippy said:

    It's great that WIzards of the Coast are allowing SOD to be published (assuming I got that right) but if they (or whoever published Sword Coast Legends) had an interest in old school RPG's appealing to the audience that would buy SOD - I kinda wonder what they had in mind when they put Sword Coast Legends out there.

    This is pure conjecture on my part, I haven't played the game; but it could possibly be that instead of focusing on what was the great appeal of the Infinity / Aurora / Electron Engine games, whoever was in charge of the project decided to focus on monetization and as of result of that decided to not only make Sword Coast Legends piecemeal (so as to facilitate DLC), but also to make Sword Coast Legends more of an action game instead of focusing on RPG elements to potentially appeal to a larger sales base. Whether or not that will work time will tell.
    Although I've boycotted Bioware, I did love their games, and hopefully Beamdog will pick up where Bioware left off years ago.
    I don't know if I would describe myself as boycotting developers, though I have refused to purchase games that aren't DRM free, especially since I started purchasing digital download games. As a result of that the last Bioware game I purchased was Hordes of the Underdark and due to the fact that EA uses extremely onerous DRM, I don't foresee myself purchasing a Bioware game in the future.

    GreenWarlock
  • LifatLifat Member Posts: 353
    elminster said:

    Lifat said:

    Of course beamdog are all dopplegangers and mindflayers. DUH! It is the most obvious thing in the world! They are trying to indoctrinate us into only liking excellent games the elitist bastards!

    We're actually a mix of beholders and beholderkin.
    OH NOES! The humanity, the humanity, not beholders!

    elminster
  • Mikey205Mikey205 Member Posts: 302

    Chippy said:

    It's great that WIzards of the Coast are allowing SOD to be published (assuming I got that right) but if they (or whoever published Sword Coast Legends) had an interest in old school RPG's appealing to the audience that would buy SOD - I kinda wonder what they had in mind when they put Sword Coast Legends out there.

    This is pure conjecture on my part, I haven't played the game; but it could possibly be that instead of focusing on what was the great appeal of the Infinity / Aurora / Electron Engine games, whoever was in charge of the project decided to focus on monetization and as of result of that decided to not only make Sword Coast Legends piecemeal (so as to facilitate DLC), but also to make Sword Coast Legends more of an action game instead of focusing on RPG elements to potentially appeal to a larger sales base. Whether or not that will work time will tell.
    Although I've boycotted Bioware, I did love their games, and hopefully Beamdog will pick up where Bioware left off years ago.
    I don't know if I would describe myself as boycotting developers, though I have refused to purchase games that aren't DRM free, especially since I started purchasing digital download games. As a result of that the last Bioware game I purchased was Hordes of the Underdark and due to the fact that EA uses extremely onerous DRM, I don't foresee myself purchasing a Bioware game in the future.

    Do you not buy Steam games in that case since that is also DRM? Almost no games are DRM-free these days.

  • BigfishBigfish Member Posts: 368
    Mikey205 said:


    Do you not buy Steam games in that case since that is also DRM? Almost no games are DRM-free these days.

    DRM isn't the issue so much as the asinine way EA goes about doing it. Scanning your computer, SecuROM, forcing single player games to play on a server, revoking access to games because some kid mouthed off on a forum, etc. Google is filled with pages of the shady stuff EA does with their DRM, the largest offender being people who BOUGHT a game not being able to play it because the DRM server was down.

    DRM is fine when its non-invasive, doesn't steal your personal data, and doesn't stop you from playing games you actually purchased. If it can't do that, you shouldn't tolerate it.

    Avenger_teambgGreenWarlock
  • ValamirCleaverValamirCleaver Member Posts: 184
    @Mikey205 No, I don't buy Steam games; I've never even had an account. I will not purchase a game that is not DRM free. Mandating the use of any proprietary program to download, install and/or play a game fits my definition of DRM. If retailers & publishers are going to treat me as a presumed potential pirate, then they don't deserve my patronage. I even refuse to endure DRM for so-called "free" games; I value liberty much more than any type of ale, stout, lager or lambic without prepaid financial remuneration. In other words, freedom means a lot more to me than "free beer".

    There's plenty of places that sell DRM free games; GOG.com (my personal favorite & obviously the one I use the most), FireFlower Games, Playism-Games, itch.io, IndieGala, Groupees, Bundle In A Box, some of the games sold by Humble Bundle (just be care to filter for only DRM Free because a lot of what the sell are keys for Steam or other services such as Origin, Uplay, et cetera). At one time this also included Indie Royale & Desura, but given the fact that Desura is in bankruptcy proceedings and that Indie Royale is in part owned by the same company as Desura I would suggest not potentially wasting money with them at this time.

    I stopped following Sword Coast Legends once it was publicly announced that it was going to be a Steam exclusive. Based on the reviews I heard about Sword Coast Legends, I'm probably not missing much.

    GreenWarlock
  • GloomfrostGloomfrost Member Posts: 256
    edited February 2016
    Agree with the OP. In fact i have a gut feeling David Gaider came to Beamdog for just this reason. Freedom from EA and the creative possibilities with Beamdog are so exciting. It's like everything is new again and we could have a legendary new game in BG3 or something similar. Just so excited with the future now.

    JuliusBorisovValamirCleaverMonkeyLungs
  • MonkeyLungsMonkeyLungs Member Posts: 44
    I still enjoy Bioware games. I also still enjoy old IE games. Dragon Age is fantastic with Origins being the best of the lot and Baldur's Gate, BG2, Planescape Torment, and even Icewind Dale are fantastic.

    If anything the current RPG renaissance is providing me more hope even for the big time companies and further fueling my admiration for the little guys digging new trenches!

    Bring on the RPG's ...

    JuliusBorisovFiachFaydark
  • FiachFiach Member Posts: 231
    I think that Beamdog are a gift from the gods. My PC crapped out on me recently and the only games of interest I own on android are IWD and BG 1+2 EE.

    I have loved IWD since release and I am so glad that I have been "forced" to replay it again, I have spent so many hours delving back into the game with different characters and so many playstyles, It really is an under appreciated gem of a game.

    I can't wait do do it all over again with the BG games and SoD and hope against all hope that there may be a PST and an IWD2 on the not too distant horizon.

    The reason I am so appreciative of Beamdog, apart from the personal enjoyment I get from their refurbishing of these classics, it is that they have brought these great games back from relative obscurity, to a totally new audience and in doing so have also proved that this genre is still financially viable.

    I think it's great that Beamdog have decided to dip their collective toes into something like SoD, it retains the cachet of the past but will still be a fresh experience for those not yet sated with their previous endeavours and prove that the are capable of more than just rehashing classics and I hope this will be a springboard financially to do more new stuff and give them an opportunity to refurbish some more gems... Did I mention PST and IWD 2 *cough* :)

    Thank you Beamdog! :)

    JuliusBorisovMonkeyLungsBelgarathMTH
  • ChippyChippy Member Posts: 241
    edited March 2016
    Would be interesting if SOD made more money (or significant profit to ratio of money spent) than Sword Coast Legends. I do remember Bioware saying (right about the transition from isometric to 3d) that the cost of doing a BG2 with the latest tech would be astranomical - think they were referring to the movies/voiceovers, etc as in Mass Effect.

    But here we are alomost 20 years later with an expansion to BG. I know they're using the same engine, and are a small team, and there's a load of other stuff that I don't know about in the comparison. But just saying it'd be interesting if...

    MonkeyLungsFiach
  • MonkeyLungsMonkeyLungs Member Posts: 44
    Well I hope Beamdog does well financially in all their endeavors and especially with the upcoming Siege of Dragonspear. I will be getting a copy a copy day 1, already own BGEE and BG2EE and I have been playing around with the intro of BGEE just wetting the whistle to get ready for Dragonspear.

    The latest livestream of Dragonspear was really fun to watch and was especially informative for providing a glimpse into just how into these games and fun the folks at Beamdog are.

    /stoked

    EnialusMeliamneJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • AnaximanderAnaximander Member Posts: 191
    edited March 2016
    These games still have a strong pull on me, been thinking hard what would make an ideal bhaalspawn for the expansion well that's always a good sign. The fact that I'm struggling between rehashing a favorite build or trying something different heh, but I think despite everything I might play a cannon good party :D ... what's counterintuitive is that Jaheira has to be in it :D Sorry not exactly deep thoughts but but anyhooo haha

    Beamdog have become very important to me restoring this classic game and now adding to it significantly I hope for their continued success. Fond memories of Bioware and Interplay's good old days.

    FiachJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • MonkeyLungsMonkeyLungs Member Posts: 44
    I got a great custom portrait pack and rolled up a Cleric, a Sorc, a Thief, and a Bard. All ready to go. I don't really plan on playing much else after Dragonspear releases at least for awhile. BG has always been one of my favorites and I haven't played through the game in a long time.

    Currently playing Planescape Torment and doing a Trial of Iron run in Pillars of Eternity. Co-op'ing a game of Divinity: Original Sin with my brother on my PS4 and slowly shooting my way through Wasteland 2 on the PS4. I also just got done running in some shadows with Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall Director's Cut, going to wait to play Hong Kong because I am playing too many games right now.

    But really I just want to play some Beamdog Siege of Dragonspear. I LOVE what they have done with BG and watching the livestream for SoD and the youtube of the reveal press conference has got me really excited for some BG. I don't want to start BG in earnest until SoD comes out but it is getting harder and harder to wait even if I do have some good games to play in the meantime.

    It's an isometric rpg extravaganza in my gaming world right now!

    BelgarathMTH
  • jobbyjobby Member Posts: 181
    Sod and beamdog are important to me because I feel like many of the crpg Renaissance rpgs have failed to even come close to the baldurs gate trilogy.

    Its not blind fanboyism I have enjoyed many rpgs from fallout 1 to arcanum. Morrowind to vampire: the masquerade. Sadly the more recent Bioware games have failed to match the complexity, depth and sense of adventure of their older counterparts. The kickstarters for me have also been a bit disappointing, I enjoyed WL2 but PoE (spiritual successor bla bla bla) which I had very high hopes for just felt broken. I'm sure the plot is wonderful but I can't get past the combat which felt broken (I enjoyed arcanum remember)

    SoD represents an actual spiritual interquel and with the work beamdog are doing I hope and believe whatever they create in the future will be more than just a pale imitation of the games we know and love.

    MonkeyLungsFiach
  • onewithoutasoulonewithoutasoul Member Posts: 18
    BioWare's fall is a sad one. They paired up with Pandemic to remain independent. The private equity fund Elevation Partners helped fund the process. However, they eventually went and sold the BioWare/Pandemic group to EA. Precisely why both companies merged, was to prevent this from happening.

    It was not greed that led to their fall. Well, at least not on their part.

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