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Wow, bad story progression cues

SeraphX2SeraphX2 Member Posts: 4
So, I do all of the areas except Dragonspear Castle. When I get back to camp, I am told to go meet with Caelar, not knowing this is a conversation that will start war. My next stop was to go to Dragonspear Castle after unloading and resting. Since I was told to do something, I decided to go ahead and do it. Now, because of the way I save, I am totally locked out of a zone I didn't even get a chance to explore without going all the way back to the second bridge... That's a crap-ton of gameplay to replay. Dragonspear Castle has several key quest chains in it that I can't do with this character without going back 2 nights worth of gameplay or starting a new player.

The trigger for the next phase should have come from something in the Dragonspear Castle area, not the fact that I planted the barrel.......seriously? Or, better yet, a combination of two things of the barrel and something from the Castle. You can't guarantee the order people will do things in. I like to keep a minimum of saves so that I have to live with the consequences of certain choices, but to push me in a direction with no out because I happened to do something in a certain order, when it is such big story archs of the game seems a bit short-sighted.
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Comments

  • SeraphX2SeraphX2 Member Posts: 4
    Well, went back to an earlier save to check something, walked out of the bridge zone to the final encampment......it overwrote Chapter 10 Start and my Auto Save files in one fell swoop... (that's how I save...keeping only one recent Chapter and the Auto Save current). So, I guess I get to do the Dragonspear zone after all PLUS get to start over 2 nights worth of game-play....yay!!! /s
  • SeraphX2SeraphX2 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 9
    I had a feeling someone would say it's a consequence. There's a difference between being unknowingly locked out of a whole area of a game because of game progression that I was guided into and making a decision in a story arch. The very next section I was going to do was the Castle. How was I supposed to know that talking to Caelar would result in a war and the whole area being subsequently locked out to me? Sure, it's a decision I made that caused a consequence, but at the end of the day, from a design perspective, they locked me out of a whole area instead of letting me choose when I was done. Usually there is a cue given that once you make a choice, there is no turning back. They didn't convey that very well when they pushed me to go join the parley with Caelar upon my returning to camp. Thusly, not getting to experience some key parts of the game. It wasn't like these were just some stupid side-quests, they were at least 2 of the main quests that came out of the camp.

    I feel like constantly saving is cheaty or cheap. If I just save every single decision, then I'm just working the game till I get the outcome I want, not actually beating the game. What challenge is that?
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 316
    I agree with your sentiment about saving, but up to a point. If it's your first time through, by all means abuse saving - it's only when you're familiar with it that you should be trying a more restrictive run.

    When you were playing Baldur's Gate to completion for the first time, did you know about the various triggers in Chapter Six that automatically send you to the Candlekeep Gaol? How is this any different from that?
    ThacoBellArtonaCrevsDaak
  • Abi_DalzimAbi_Dalzim Member Posts: 1,161
    Pokota said:


    When you were playing Baldur's Gate to completion for the first time, did you know about the various triggers in Chapter Six that automatically send you to the Candlekeep Gaol? How is this any different from that?

    What's different is that there's next to nothing else to do in Candlekeep otherwise. You can kill a Greater Doppelganger for 4,000 XP which is nice, you can get some minor loot on the 6th floor if you avoided talking to Koveras, and that's about it. There are multiple quests and sidequests that involve Dragonspear Castle that he just lost though little fault of his own.
    SeraphX2
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,075
    Pokota said:

    I agree with your sentiment about saving, but up to a point. If it's your first time through, by all means abuse saving - it's only when you're familiar with it that you should be trying a more restrictive run.

    When you were playing Baldur's Gate to completion for the first time, did you know about the various triggers in Chapter Six that automatically send you to the Candlekeep Gaol? How is this any different from that?

    No, but what do you miss?

    First playthrough SOD I inadvertantly went straight to the camp, hell it's at the end of the main path. They wouldn't let me in, I thought from the prompts I had to get in so attacked. Not a problem, could kill everything anyway. Then found, like the OP, masses of missed gameplay.

    So played again with a walkthrough guide.

    Going back to first playing BG, I wasn't online, couldn't access any playthrough guides, but never needed them to complete everything. Perhaps a few small details, but the game didn't cheat you.
    In fact, probably like so many at that time, I was so keen to not finish BG, I went back to every single area just in case there was something I had missed. Cleared all the black bits. Basically, more BG, that's all I had.

    All these years later, what excuse is there for designing something that misleads players and leaves them feeling cheated?

    That's my main gripe and why I am so unforgiving of what is bad in SOD. Experience/knowledge is now available yet bad design, worse than nearly 20 years ago, is still being excused.
    islandking
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 5,961
    I don't think I understand.

    I remember entering Dragonspear Castle on my first run. I went up to the barrier, the Barrel of Bwoosh thingy took down the barrier, there was a lot of fighting, I accidentally broke the terms of the duel with Ashatiel, there was even more fighting, and eventually we spoke to Caelar. Then I went into the basement and proceeded to the endgame.

    I didn't think there were any side quests left. When I went to Dragonspear Castle, I assumed that the only thing left was to finish the game, just like when you went to the Tree of Life in BG2, the Throne of Bhaal in ToB, the crystal tower in IWD, Sovngarde in Skyrim, Dagoth Ur in Morrowind, Ganon's Castle in Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past, the Wind Fish's Egg in Link's Awakening, or the final area in any game. From the beginning of the game, Dragonspear Castle was clearly supposed to be the final area, so I assumed the side quests ended there.

    What quests did I miss?
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,603
    The whole of the game is leading to a confrontation with Caelar. When all the generals of the coalition camp say they are going to be present with Caelar and her entourage, how does that not sound like the initiation of endgame?
    Skatan
  • SunderSunder Member Posts: 56
    edited March 9
    Remember, SoD is an expansion based on a old RPG that is based in part on an even older style of RPG. Part of the lure for many of the fans is the lack of "hand holding" and "sign posts" directing the plot so that as you point out- you do NOT always know where to go and what to do. And that is a consequence of your style & your choice and I would say just adds to the RP part of the Role Playing Game.

    A lot of us like the idea that we are very likely to miss many elements of the game in a single play through. If you are used to newer style RPGs that have obvious quests paths that practically give a neon painted path to follow, you would be well served to set those expectations aside with all the BG games. Without guides you WILL miss many little parts of the games on any given play through and for many of us that is great cuz it just leaves more to learn/explore/try in the next run through instead of shelving the game cuz everything worth doing was done in one go. If you prefer to always have the plot & where to go next, there are plenty of guides to follow.

    What you deem as "bad design" is your opinion, but it is not done on accident. It is the style of the games this modern day expansion is based upon and intentional. While it may not be your cup of tea, it doesn't make it a "bad game". I don't particularly like action RPGs, but that doesn't mean Diablo 2 or Titan Quests are therefore poorly designed games......just means they don't suit my tastes.
    ThacoBellArtona
  • BigfishBigfish Member Posts: 365
    ThacoBell said:

    The whole of the game is leading to a confrontation with Caelar. When all the generals of the coalition camp say they are going to be present with Caelar and her entourage, how does that not sound like the initiation of endgame?

    I don't see it as an indication one way or another, given the number of scenes that are just "Look at how awesome Caelar is". It could just as easily be the parlay fails, you all head back to the coalition camp, and you have to go talk to De Lancie or whoever and say "I'm done piddling around, let's get the siege going and end this."
  • SeraphX2SeraphX2 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 9
    I feel like UnderstandMouseMagic is the only one here who truly understands me and where I'm coming from..lol. I'm 33 years old and played these as they came out.
    ThacoBell said:

    The whole of the game is leading to a confrontation with Caelar. When all the generals of the coalition camp say they are going to be present with Caelar and her entourage, how does that not sound like the initiation of endgame?

    Because I assumed the endgame was at the Castle, which is why I left the zone until the end and which is why I thought, at most, this conversation was pushing me in that direction, not immediately ending all of my questing. When I wanted to fight Sarevok, that was my choice, and I knew when it was happening. I could go back and run through the new ToSC areas if I wanted to, right before that fight.
    Sunder said:

    Remember, SoD is an expansion based on a old RPG that is based in part on an even older style of RPG. Part of the lure for many of the fans is the lack of "hand holding" and "sign posts" directing the plot so that as you point out- you do NOT always know where to go and what to do. And that is a consequence of your style & your choice and I would say just adds to the RP part of the Role Playing Game.

    A lot of us like the idea that we are very likely to miss many elements of the game in a single play through. If you are used to newer style RPGs that have obvious quests paths that practically give a neon painted path to follow, you would be well served to set those expectations aside with all the BG games. Without guides you WILL miss many little parts of the games on any given play through and for many of us that is great cuz it just leaves more to learn/explore/try in the next run through instead of shelving the game cuz everything worth doing was done in one go. If you prefer to always have the plot & where to go next, there are plenty of guides to follow.

    What you deem as "bad design" is your opinion, but it is not done on accident. It is the style of the games this modern day expansion is based upon and intentional. While it may not be your cup of tea, it doesn't make it a "bad game". I don't particularly like action RPGs, but that doesn't mean Diablo 2 or Titan Quests are therefore poorly designed games......just means they don't suit my tastes.

    I'm not talking about hand-holding. I'm talking about not practically forcing me into the next phase before I'm ready. In the original Baldur's Gate, you knew, without a doubt, that if you said "let's go" that you were about to make a choice that you couldn't turn back: it happened several times and you knew. This encounter with Caelar was not so explicit and so I did not think it was a final leap into Chapter 11, and especially didn't think it was going to blatantly lock me out of some quests at this point.

    I have NEVER played with a walkthrough. I may look things up, here and there, but have never relied on the guides. Back when I was playing when they originally came out, the Internet was not as much of a thing, (even though I had access to it). Honestly, this game is a little bit out of the mold of the original BG games if you ask me. It's a good successor for sure, but they definitely did things differently, like scripted waylays, and permanently unreachable zones. Maybe I'm wrong, but you strike me as someone who got into the games when the walkthroughs were much more ubiquitous, unlike me, since you seem to not find it as big a deal to rely on them. IMO, I feel SoD has more hand-holding than any of the originals. It has little to do with my cup of tea, and more about a design choice where by forcing me into a conflict without me knowing it's a pivotal conflict, I am inadvertently locking myself out of content. Sure, I can play through again, but I was locked out of some key quests. And I never said it was a bad game; I just feel like the progression cues are a little lacking; especially at such a pivotal point in the story.

    What quests did I miss?

    Did you manage to get all the items for the merchant dude? Did you find Skie? After the meeting with Caelar and finding out I couldn't find those items for him anymore and all I had left was the Dragonspear Castle zone, I walked up to the barrier and it just sat there and the barrel did not affect anything. I killed the person guarding, and still nothing.
  • SunderSunder Member Posts: 56
    How/when were you "forced" to speak to Caelar"? I don't seem to remember the game locking you into speaking to him before you were allowed to do other things? Apparently we did not play the same Baldur's Gate series either cuz there is plenty of content that can be walled off based on in game choices in everything from quests, to items, to npcs in the versions I have played?
    ThacoBell
  • SunderSunder Member Posts: 56
    edited March 9
    I mean my first play thru of SOA I choose to have a certain statue built and as a result I missed out on being able to have a very handy enchantment added to a certain weapon later on......it was a consequence of my much earlier decision that I had no way of knowing would affect my ability to enhance that item later. Is that bad game design? To me (and apparently a great many others) it is excellent design. Forced/scripted? At one point in SOA, if you are in a romance, a certain party member will be dead and removed from your party and there is absolutely nothing that the player can do to avoid this. Maybe it is nostalgia, long time since you played the original series, but the same things you are unhappy with in SoD happen to either a lesser or greater degree in her predecessors as well.

    You state it like the design is bad as if it is fact, when really it is just personal preference. You choose a play style based on wanting to live with consequences, then get mad at the game when you actually have to deal with consequences, based on a rather narrow view of what consequences you deem acceptable. I don't know what else to say, you seem determined in your view and I shall leave ya to it.

    While I certainly have no issues with using guides/forums to get more out of the game as time goes on....I don't recall mentioning that I did so or that you should do so, just pointing out there options to avoid the consequences you did not enjoy.


    Post edited by Sunder on
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,075
    Sunder said:

    Remember, SoD is an expansion based on a old RPG that is based in part on an even older style of RPG. Part of the lure for many of the fans is the lack of "hand holding" and "sign posts" directing the plot so that as you point out- you do NOT always know where to go and what to do. And that is a consequence of your style & your choice and I would say just adds to the RP part of the Role Playing Game.

    A lot of us like the idea that we are very likely to miss many elements of the game in a single play through. If you are used to newer style RPGs that have obvious quests paths that practically give a neon painted path to follow, you would be well served to set those expectations aside with all the BG games. Without guides you WILL miss many little parts of the games on any given play through and for many of us that is great cuz it just leaves more to learn/explore/try in the next run through instead of shelving the game cuz everything worth doing was done in one go. If you prefer to always have the plot & where to go next, there are plenty of guides to follow.

    What you deem as "bad design" is your opinion, but it is not done on accident. It is the style of the games this modern day expansion is based upon and intentional. While it may not be your cup of tea, it doesn't make it a "bad game". I don't particularly like action RPGs, but that doesn't mean Diablo 2 or Titan Quests are therefore poorly designed games......just means they don't suit my tastes.

    Who is this directed at?

    "If you are used to newer style RPGs that have obvious quests paths that practically give a neon painted path to follow, you would be well served to set those expectations aside with all the BG games."


    Because that's a contradiction when it comes to SOD because the game is quest driven, signpost following.
    No mystery, no plot twists, straightforward, "here's the baddie, lets hunt them down".

    If the developers had followed your guidelines (I wish) it would indeed fit better with the other BG games.
    The fact that it doesn't is it's main failing.




  • SunderSunder Member Posts: 56
    @Understandingmousemagic it was directed towards the OP. I think part of the issue is that rather than an expansion the game gets viewed as a stand alone game (which in fairness is in large part Beamdog's own fault). I am currently about 1/2 way through TOB & the style of it seems very similar to SoD as far as being rather linear. The OP states that the next chapter beginning is not clear enough in SoD, so I assume he would not agree with your opinion. While I agree the game is far more linear than I would choose, they do make attempts to throw the player a curve here and there. How well those twists/surprises/consequences are implemented is another debate all together.
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 278
    edited March 9

    Pokota said:


    When you were playing Baldur's Gate to completion for the first time, did you know about the various triggers in Chapter Six that automatically send you to the Candlekeep Gaol? How is this any different from that?

    What's different is that there's next to nothing else to do in Candlekeep otherwise. You can kill a Greater Doppelganger for 4,000 XP which is nice, you can get some minor loot on the 6th floor if you avoided talking to Koveras, and that's about it. There are multiple quests and sidequests that involve Dragonspear Castle that he just lost though little fault of his own.
    I recall only a few small sidequests of the "gather item X" variety, one of which features annoying backtracking. It is comparable to Candlekeep, imo.

    Btw, you are not forced to go and talk to Caelar - you can go to the Dragonspear Castle and finish the quests there, and only then go the the meeting. I disagree that it is badly telegraphed; you are at this point at war, there is talk about parley, I wouldn't expect for the main plot - which has been very linear up to this point - to stand still after that.
    abacusThacoBell
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 316
    chimaera said:

    Pokota said:


    When you were playing Baldur's Gate to completion for the first time, did you know about the various triggers in Chapter Six that automatically send you to the Candlekeep Gaol? How is this any different from that?

    What's different is that there's next to nothing else to do in Candlekeep otherwise. You can kill a Greater Doppelganger for 4,000 XP which is nice, you can get some minor loot on the 6th floor if you avoided talking to Koveras, and that's about it. There are multiple quests and sidequests that involve Dragonspear Castle that he just lost though little fault of his own.
    I recall only a few small sidequests of the "gather item X" variety, one of which features annoying backtracking. It is comparable to Candlekeep, imo.

    Btw, you are not forced to go and talk to Caelar - you can go to the Dragonspear Castle and finish the quests there, and only then go the the meeting. I disagree that it is badly telegraphed; you are at this point at war, there is talk about parley, I wouldn't expect for the main plot - which has been very linear up to this point - to stand still after that.
    The key issue here is that the OP assumed that the confrontation with Caelar would be a small one, like at that one bridge that gets blown up, as opposed to a Point of No Return.

    Which brings me back to my original point against the OP - since this sounds like it was your first time completing SoD, why are you upset about running into something unexpected? That's what repeat playthroughs are for, and if you didn't like SoD's story you can revert to the non-SoD edition (since you needed to have it to get SoD in the first place)
    ThacoBellArtona
  • abacusabacus Member Posts: 1,268
    The save system is part of the design too. And it is something they spent time on as they added multiple quicksaves and chapter auto-saves.

    The "expected" way to play the game is to use these features. Electing not to do so is a conscious choice the player makes... is it so surprising that it might come back to bite you on the ass?

    As to the point of the game in question: it's a set-piece confrontation with a major antagonist... to me that just screams "Save Now".
    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 814
    In BG II, you can miss the entire Sahuagin city if you go directly for the portal in Spellhold, which the game strongly encourages you to do. By the time Saemon shows up and offers you a way out (complete with sketchy sword that you can't decline), players have no reason to trust him and are presented with a much more logical alternative (the portal Jon himself went through).

    I would bet that a good chunk of players went straight to the Underdark during their first playthroughs, missing a good chunk of content without even ever knowing it. The way SoD handles it might be due to an inartful quest trigger, but missing content as a consequence of choice or play style isn't unprecedented in CRPGs or even BG as a franchise.

    I am sorry that you didn't have a recent save, though. Given the new rolling quicksave system, the best bet is to do a hard save for every four quicksaves if you want to really cover your bases.
    Skatan
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,345
    edited April 19
    Purudaya said:


    I would bet that a good chunk of players went straight to the Underdark during their first playthroughs, missing a good chunk of content without even ever knowing it.

    Personally I didn't even know about it until years after I had done my first playthrough. It annoyed me too because I could never figure out where I could get the last piece of The Wave (which the manual made sound so cool).
    CrevsDaak
  • Papa_LouPapa_Lou Member Posts: 237
    Purudaya said:

    I would bet that a good chunk of players went straight to the Underdark during their first playthroughs, missing a good chunk of content without even ever knowing it.

    I can confirm that on my first playthrough of BG2 (which was maybe two years ago or so), I completely skipped the Sahuagin city on accident, as I had no idea it was there. I didn't trust Saemon enough to not go straigh to the portal. It wasn't until I joined these forums and did some reading that I found out about what I had missed.

    Granted, depending on the kind of character I'm playing, I still skip the Sahuagin city sometimes. In fact, I think I've only ever been there once out of my three saga runs.
    Skatan
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 279
    BG and it's followup are part of what taught me to ignore story progression until I was ready. Nothing about returning to candlekeep suggests you'll be stuck there until your done with the way the most of bg plays. It is only two quests pieces in Sword Coast that later did this as well. If you chase story and get there under prepared it can be a very bad experience.

    As for SoA. I'm sure many only did one of the three dungeons and missed out on all the nice stuff more than once and that's basically right after the sunken city really. How long did it take some to realize they could do all three? The story presents it like a choose one scenario.
  • GrimLefourbeGrimLefourbe Member Posts: 631
    Nobody mentions how you miss out on Saradush's quests if you progress the main story? How you miss out on the Ust Natha sidequests if you just do what you're told? I mean yeah, if you progress the main story, the world progresses and changes state. That's good design, the world's state evolves over time.

    And if you don't see that as good design you at least have to see how it was there before. There are many examples where advancing a plotline locks you out of other possibilities in the original game.

    I understand the "playing with a limited number of saves to experience consequence", I do the same and there are many games I end with basically a quicksave and 2 to 3 other saves. (Including Tyranny, Tides of Numenera as recent exemples) and I miss out on stuff and then I play it again once i've spoiled myself with all the possibilities I missed. OP may have forgotten how time consuming exploring ALL the content is and was.
    ThacoBellPapa_Lou
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 279
    I forget about the side quest stuff in Ust Natha. I usually run across it as I'm trying to sell all the crap I've picked up from like 2 or 3 different zones to get some space and find where I need to go and whatnot. But you can miss a fair bit yes.

    By the time that Saradush comes along I did not know that you could miss them however. I was well trained to scour by then.
  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 365
    I own my thanks to GameBanshee's guide for this, basically the moment you place the barrel, and the moment you meet Hephernaan you're doomed. I think dev just want add some replay value, but they did it very very badly this time. B)
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,603
    Actually placing the barrel is not the end. As long as you don't enter the map with the Caelar pow wow afterwards, you can revisit the other maps in the area.
  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 365
    @ThacoBell Placing the barrel eventually makes all crusaders in undergroundriver area hostile, any related voiced dialogues and quests gone, but you can still gain access to DS basement by a special pair of gloves. :)
  • BigfishBigfish Member Posts: 365

    @ThacoBell Placing the barrel eventually makes all crusaders in undergroundriver area hostile, any related voiced dialogues and quests gone, but you can still gain access to DS basement by a special pair of gloves. :)

    Placing the barrel is what turns the crusaders hostile? That explains some things.
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