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Surprising observation about the quality of writing in BG2:EE - anyone feel the same?

24

Comments

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,796
    @Grond0

    "- complaining about the use of the RH as a wedding venue. The building was clearly constructed with ceremonial purposes in mind, rather than being purely administrative. As such it would seem like an entirely obvious choice of venue for someone connected to the RH."

    You have (inadvertantly) underlined exactly what is wrong with the initial Dorn quest by your use of language in this sentence.

    "obvious choice of venue"

    That's current day, real world lifestyle choices inserted into high fantasy BG.
    Did they hire caterers as well?

    Day or night you see the members of the RH in the building or outside guarding the building, they live there, they sleep in the rooms off the main hall, their horses are stabled there.

    The original design is a stylised representation of a large, important, respected organisation that operates from those premises. It's the base, it's the home.

    And yes, you have to, and are expected to imagine and understand what the RH building is, it's significance to the order from the small scale representation you are shown on screen.

    Much like you are expected to believe you do sleep in those beds, you do sit in those chairs, ect. throughout the game without it showing the "sprites" doing so.

    The Dorn quest rides a coach and horses through those conventions and through the understanding of what the RH building on screen represents.

    Clumsy, jarring, immersion breaking.

    Ravenslight
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @UnderstandMouseMagic I don't think people getting married in a place important to them is a modern construct.

    megamike15
  • QuartzQuartz Member Posts: 3,756
    I agree with you 100%. I think it's part of the reason I've played BG:EE way more than BGII:EE––I like BG1 Dorn, Neera, and especially Baeloth. BGII Dorn and Neera? Not so much... especially Dorn, he's just godawful in BGII in my view.

    In Trademeet, I noticed Rasaad fighting with some other monks. We talked. He told me his story concerning some figures I'd never even heard of, and it was articulated badly enough to leave me somewhat unsure as to what had really been going on - but hey, at least I was able to make a snarky comment at every opportunity! (Which I didn't do, by the way.)

    So glad it isn't just me. That conversation just left me like, "wait what?"

  • CashewCashew Member Posts: 12
    Quartz said:

    I agree with you 100%. I think it's part of the reason I've played BG:EE way more than BGII:EE––I like BG1 Dorn, Neera, and especially Baeloth. BGII Dorn and Neera? Not so much... especially Dorn, he's just godawful in BGII in my view.

    In Trademeet, I noticed Rasaad fighting with some other monks. We talked. He told me his story concerning some figures I'd never even heard of, and it was articulated badly enough to leave me somewhat unsure as to what had really been going on - but hey, at least I was able to make a snarky comment at every opportunity! (Which I didn't do, by the way.)

    So glad it isn't just me. That conversation just left me like, "wait what?"
    I feel like for Rasaad, even though overall his stuff is actually well written, they did do a large info dump with name drops and references that make no sense in that initial conversation. Which puts off a lot of people. For me personally I just don't like monks in general, so he gets an automatic skip.

    QuartzNoloir
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984

    "Look it up" doesn't reflect well on you. Girly girl isn't a knock, and it is characterization, but whether said characterization works is a different question altogether. To me, it doesn't.

    Fair enough, edited. Doesn't change the broader point that the OP mixed up an opinion about their personal preferences (don't want a spunky girly girl in the party) with an argument anout the quality if the characterization. The characterization is fine, it's just not to their taste. Which is perfectly valid... it just doesn't support to broader argument.

    Could you specify the ways in which the original NPCs are "SUPER" annoying?

    Anomen is a 1-dimensional tool with 1st-world problems that I really couldn't care less about. If he wasn't statted out in such a useful way to take advantage of cheesy departures from the rules (priests with grandnastery, indeed), no one would ever have him in the party.

    Ditto Nalia.

    Cernd is a 1-dimensional tool who doesn't behave at all the way someone in his position would behave. If they did something interesting with him - like, head tiward a psychotic break, or expose him as the source of the corruption of the grove - then it might have been drsmatic and interesting, and his family drama might have offered a path to redemption. As it is, he's just stupid.

    Valygar is a piece of damp cardboard, in more ways than one. Even the voice acting sounds like the director said "pretend youre a piece of damp cardboard." The acting is totally competent... it's just a bad decision.

    Aerie is utterly insufferable... and totally not believable as a trauma victim. PTSD manifests in more complicated ways than having nightmares and being horribly indecisive. Not to mention that her perdonality has no effect on how she actuslly plays in the game. She can single-handedly take down a centuries-old plane-hopping lich archmage... and then she'll whine about how she doesn't know what she's doing. It's jarring.

    Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    Minsc is actually totally fine; at least he's fun. Of course, he's doing the Forrest Gump thing where he's supposed to have some indeterminate mental deficiency that doesn't correspond to anything in the real world, but it earns an Oscar anyway. That's not great... but like I say, at least he's fun.

    tbone1ArunsunQuartz
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984
    Family issues that I don't care about. I'm not a cop - Athkatla already has those. Anomen's a blowhard, and there's no good reason for Charname to care any more about his family issues than every other citizen of the city. The writing should make you bond with him, should make you care. I don't think it does. (IMHO!) Of course, it is entirely possible to roleplay and think he is sympathetic and that his situation is worth getting involved in... but the same can be said for, say, Neera. I just fail to see some kind of categorical difference in the writing.

    I mean look, this is a bit hyperbolic... but the point is show that criticism and defense of the original NPCs can be more or less identical to criticism and defense of the Beamdog NPCs. Which undermines the premise of the OP.

    (Except for Dorn and Hexxat, they are just cheesy concepts in their entirety. (Although then again, Viconia is too...))

    Noloir
  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,134
    edited April 23


    You have to "roleplay" to feel sympathy with a person who has suffered abuse from their parent which you witness?

    Eh... yes? Anomen is a grown man, a knight noble, working his own career, and not even living with his father (I think). If their exchange that you witness constitutes abuse, then it really is a 1st world problem.

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 929
    yeah the abusive father trope only really works if the character is younger and currently living with said father.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984
    edited April 23

    You have to "roleplay" to feel sympathy with a person who has suffered abuse from their parent which you witness?

    Yes?

    It's fiction dude.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984
    edited April 23
    Not the point. Believe me I get what abusive relationships are like... but (maybe because I've been close to their effects IRL) Anomen's did not really stir anything in me.

    Now, If I roleplay, I can also sympathize with someone who lost control of a fire and horribly burnt her friends, and resorted to a life on the run to stop from hurting people. And how she might react to being unable to escape such danger, but still having to, you know, live every day. I'm just not seeing a categorical difference. And incredulous accusations of failure to sympathize do not speak to whether there is such a difference.

    Should we discuss another? How about Edwin? His one-dimensional pathetic grasping for power and delusions of grandeur... are expressed through dumbe paranthetical asides that are stylistically different from every other dialogue in the game. Who thought that was a good idea? It reads like a bad NPC mod.

    Again: et cetera.

    Skatan
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,796
    edited April 23

    Not the point. Believe me I get what abusive relationships are like... but (maybe because I've been close to their effects IRL) Anomen's did not really stir anything in me.

    Now, If I roleplay, I can also sympathize with someone who lost control of a fire and horribly burnt her friends, and resorted to a life on the run to stop from hurting people. And how she might react to being unable to escape such danger, but still having to, you know, live every day. I'm just not seeing a categorical difference. And incredulous accusations of failure to sympathize do not speak to whether there is such a difference.

    Should we discuss another? How about Edwin? His one-dimensional pathetic grasping for power and delusions of grandeur... are expressed through dumbe paranthetical asides that are stylistically different from every other dialogue in the game. Who thought that was a good idea? It reads like a bad NPC mod.

    Again: et cetera.

    When does Neera ever stop throwing spells and hurting people?

    Another reason the character's a bit crap, big back story reason for her appearence that affects nothing about her actions.
    Any reason she doesn't resort to using weapons rather than risk everybody around her?

    Now that might have been interesting, wild mage who vows to never use magic.

    Edited to add

    Since when has it been a defence of something to point to something else and say, well look at how bad that is?


    tbone1QuartzNoloir
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @UnderstandMouseMagic "When does Neera ever stop throwing spells and hurting people?

    Another reason the character's a bit crap, big back story reason for her appearence that affects nothing about her actions.
    Any reason she doesn't resort to using weapons rather than risk everybody around her?"

    Survival. She IS being hunted by a very powerful cabal of wizards.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984

    When does Neera ever stop throwing spells and hurting people?
    ...
    Now that might have been interesting, wild mage who vows to never use magic.

    Nothing's stopping you or me from role-playing that. Heck it would actually be pretty interesting to do a no-cast run with Neera. Dual-class her to thief at very low level, only memorize a few instances of NRD and break out the wild magic only in the direst emergencies... sounds like a pretty cool character concept!

    Since when has it been a defence of something to point to something else and say, well look at how bad that is?

    Don't know and don't care, since I'm not defending anything. :tongue:

    The OP argued in essence, that "this is categorically worse than that." So "that is actually pretty bad" is a perfectly valid way to discuss the comparison.

    Sanctifer
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 929
    i also like aerie and she tends to be a main stay when i'm preplanning parties for future runs. and i seem to be one of few people that acually likes neera and have no real issues with her. and she is the only ee npc i've used so i have no opinion on the others but i do plan to use rassad at some point.

    ThacoBelltbone1Malicron
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    I have found the BG characters to be well written, overall. Certainly, considering the other games that had been were available when BG2 was released, it took character development to a whole new level. By and large, the characters are at least characters, unlike the pale personalities of BG1. For example, Anomen is a jerk, but seeing his background makes him a believable jerk. While we might quibble about things in a game this big from 18 years ago, let’s keep in mind what a huge step the game was.

    RavenslightMalicronThacoBellQuartz
  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,573
    Malicron said:

    Am I the only one who actually likes Aerie, and/or feels that Valygar and Anomen are interesting, well written characters, even if I don't like them as people?

    You are not alone. :)

    MalicronGrond0ThacoBellBelgarathMTH
  • prairiechickenprairiechicken Member Posts: 145
    Only problem I had was how Dorn gets away with all sorts of blatant atrocities, other than that I had no problem. Hexxat was totally fine, I liked the personality where she disregards things

  • CershenCershen Member Posts: 25
    Malicron said:

    Am I the only one who actually likes Aerie, and/or feels that Valygar and Anomen are interesting, well written characters, even if I don't like them as people?

    Aerie's whining is a small price to pay for such a useful utility party member, not to mention I personally find it hard to be annoyed with a character who is essentially a teenager who was captured and mutilated.

    tbone1ThacoBellMalicron
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    @Malicron: No, you are not. I always take Aerie with me. I also think that Valygar and Anomen are well-written. I nearly always take Valygar with me, but not Anomen, because he is a pain. But, as I said, well-written.

    I know it's a bit much to ask, but it would be great to see more growth in the characters. Anomen displays some, Valygar a little, Viconia potentially quite a lot, as does Sarevok, but I think that's about it. Korgan, Jan, Mazzy, Edwin and Minsc, for instance, don't change at all (Jan, Minsc and Edwin seem particularly set in stone). That's not unrealistic, of course, as I'm sure we all know that experience does not necessarily lead to refinement of character.

    ThacoBellMalicronQuartz
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    @Malicron No, I like those characters, too.

    @xzar_monty Jan actually does develop some if you do his personal quest. At least you see behind his mask. And it’s not like everyone will develop or mature. Think of a lot of the people you know ...

    ThacoBellMalicronRavenslight
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    Well I already said that not everyone will mature.

    And I agree that Jan's personal quest does show a glimpse of something else in him, badly written as that quest otherwise is.

    Quartz
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @xzar_monty I'm not even sure what character development for Mazzy would look like. She is probably the most seasoned adventurer in the party and is very grounded. Her story happened some time ago.

    tbone1Quartz
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