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

13

Comments

  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    @BelgarathMTH: In his marvelous memoir, So Anyway, the British comedy legend John Cleese points out that almost nobody has any idea of what they're talking about. This is very helpful to keep in mind. You can bet a heck of a lot that anyone mentioning just "getting over it" has no idea what they're talking about.

    Lack of sensitivity, unfortunately, seems to be the norm, perhaps particularly among men who haunt internet forums. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that many people have great difficulties empathizing or understanding anything they haven't directly experienced themselves. (And I'm not saying that stepping into another person's shoes is easy.)

    Anyway, you are correct. It is simply not reasonable to expect Anomen to "get over it" before he is in his forties, at the very least. Whether his "not getting over it" manifests outwardly is a different question altogether.

    ThacoBelltbone1BelgarathMTHMirandel
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    Hey, tell me more about the depth in Minsc! I would love to hear.

    As for Jan: I can wholeheartedly understand why somebody wouldn't like him. And I agree that he doesn't develop. However, I happen to have a fondness for precisely the kind of silliness he represents, and I also happen to think he's voiced superbly, so gets my vote nearly every time (although he is not a part of my current playthrough group).

    Yes, Anomen has terrible self-esteem, just like Cernd is unable to face up to his adult responsibilities, and both of them react to their interior struggles in the most common way. This is well represented in the game.

    tbone1
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    Hey, that was pretty good! Thanks.

  • Joan_DaroJoan_Daro Member Posts: 67

    Only problem I had was how Dorn gets away with all sorts of blatant atrocities, other than that I had no problem.

    If this makes you feel better: he *didn't*. Just read his epilogues. Charname did get away with everything though.

    "The murder of many doesn't go unseen or unpunished." -Dorn himself, in SOD
    Although imo that sentence itself is bad writing. It feels like they're trying to add non-exist layers to someone who's supposed to be cliche evil.

    ThacoBell
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 8,984
    edited April 26

    Jan fails as a character because while the game gives him depth it fails to go any further with him beyond his little sidequest. ... It's the main reason I dislike him because he gets a character arc that could have made him interesting for someone like me who doesn't enjoy his gimmick but it's ultimately pointless.

    And yet Jan is a perennial favorite of lots of players. He's fun to have in the party. I always saw his failure to develop in a more meaningful way as something like a disability - roughly the same as Minsc's brain injury. (Unfortunately the games and various writers sometimes suggest it is maybe an inborn characteristic of the gnomish race, which is problematic in several ways, not least because it detracts from Jan's characterization.)

    But you can spill lots of ink about how Anomen's or Cernd's writing is considered and smart (I'd argue otherwise in the latter case, but this isn't the place) but it doesn't change the fact that lots of people don't find them fun and don't enjoy having them in the party. Which is all well and good - maybe people who deal with trauma IRL don't want more of it in their video games, and would prefer something more light and escapist. (Especially a game that tends to be played over and over, and which invites the player to fill in details - I'd argue that a light touch and somewhat shallow chatacterization can be a boon in that case.)

    The point is, there was an assertion that [EE character annoys me] equals [EE character demonstrates bad writing] and you have ably shown that that doesn't hold.

    Cernd actively makes the decision not to own up to his mistakes by giving his child over to the grove essentially refusing to make amends for his decisions regardless of whether or not he acknowledges them or not, and while this is also extremely frustrating for me especially because the player is pretty much railroaded into just accepting it and moving on, it does at least follow a cohesive character arc and so I can't really call it a failure per se.

    Yeah but is that really the bar? Because if so I don't see how you knock the new NPCs. I mean Dorn has a cohesive character arc... but I still think the fundamental premise of his character is flawed and not particularly believable.

    I'm just trying to see how people draw the line of "a failure per se" such that the original NPCs are all on one side of it, and all the newer NPCs are on the other side.

    tbone1ThacoBell
  • MalicronMalicron Member Posts: 629
    @Joan_Daro I think you've hit the nail on the head. Most of the EE content is actually fairly decent, it's just implemented horribly in places. Things like using BG2 style cut-scenes in BG1, romance-gated character development, and a (contract mandated, admittedly) lack of any similar changes to the core game make the new content feel forced and/or tacked on.

    Joan_Daro
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    @Joan_Daro: Don't give yourself a hard time over the Rasaad question. You write pretty good English for a non-native (English is not my first language, either), and I'm sure the lack of understanding was not your fault.

    The English language is my job, at a high level of expertise, and I do not hesitate to say that I know it quite well, going back to Chaucer and all that. The fact is, Rasaad's tale is badly written and may leave you somewhat uncertain as to what has been happening. It is not horribly complicated or completely messed up, but just vague enough to puzzle you in just about the way you described.

    proghead3
  • Joan_DaroJoan_Daro Member Posts: 67
    @Malicron
    And they compressed all the .plt files!!!
    I prefer the original character appearances and used to put all the old plt files in /override, but after a certain version the old files don't work anymore :/

    @xzar_monty
    Thanks a lot.
    Perhaps I can try it again sometime :)

  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,134

    Ardanis said:


    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.
    As a survivor of an emotionally abusive narcissistic parent, I can tell you that I still carry the scars of that at age 52, and it informs and influences everything about me. She died a few years ago, and I still get angry and upset when I think about her. So I do my best not to think about her.

    Anyway, the point is that I can sympathize with Anomen. And he's probably only in his 20's and not even had much time to start trying to recover emotionally and win his independence. Then his sister is murdered. His father still has a huge influence in his life.

    I'm a little surprised at the lack of sensitivity being shown suddenly in this thread to survivors of emotional abuse. The implication that an abused child should just "get over it" as soon as he or she is over 21 is abhorrent to me.
    I have no reason to doubt what you said, but the point was that taking the display of sensitivity for granted is quite literally a 1st world privilege. If I started to complain to my friends about troubled childhood, I'd get funny looks in return.
    I am aware that the majority of people here are from Europe/NA, though, so I don't hold my breath expecting this viewpoint to be understood for what it is, because

    The issue is exacerbated by the fact that many people have great difficulties empathizing or understanding anything they haven't directly experienced themselves.

    subtledoctor
  • xzar_montyxzar_monty Member Posts: 565
    edited April 27
    @Ardanis: It is most certainly a 1st world privilege, and a very recent one at that, too.

    I don't know where you're from, but it's probably still a fact that there are more places in the world where the regular beating of children, for instance, is a given, than there are places where it's frowned upon or even outlawed (like in my country). These differences are indeed staggering.

    Post edited by xzar_monty on
    ThacoBell
  • MirandelMirandel Member Posts: 424
    edited April 28

    Ardanis said:


    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.

    As a survivor of an emotionally abusive narcissistic parent, I can tell you that I still carry the scars of that at age 52, and it informs and influences everything about me. She died a few years ago, and I still get angry and upset when I think about her. So I do my best not to think about her.

    Anyway, the point is that I can sympathize with Anomen. And he's probably only in his 20's and not even had much time to start trying to recover emotionally and win his independence. Then his sister is murdered. His father still has a huge influence in his life.

    I'm a little surprised at the lack of sensitivity being shown suddenly in this thread to survivors of emotional abuse. The implication that an abused child should just "get over it" as soon as he or she is over 21 is abhorrent to me.
    The problem with Anomen can be in his unpleasant personality - hard to feel sorry for someone so ... well... unpleasant. But also another thing - he is not just a modern guy with quiet life, that can allow himself to be seen as someone sensitive and with a weakness. Anomen is a knight (ok, future knight, but he was a warrior and then become priest in the military order). He is supposed to be a protector, a guardian, someone others can rely upon, someone strong. Inability to overcome (at least for outside) his own childhood problems is like a whole in the wall - what this wall is good for, then?

    From the other hand, as much as I dislike Anomen (mostly for his romance, I do think Anomen is a great character) - does he really complain about his problems? With all the mods I am using it's easy to loose the original idea, but I though, all Anomen's problems were shown to us during his quest, he did not whine about it in dialogs. I'd say he keeps strong facade pretty well and DG translated that psychological type very accurately.

    Post edited by Mirandel on
    ArdanisMalicronUnderstandMouseMagic
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @Mirandel Yeah, he never once complains about his hone life, its only until you follow him home taht you learn about it. While I feel bad for him, from an rp standpoint, my charnames don't know the problems he faces, so it doesn't make sense for me to put up with him most of the time.

    MalicronMirandel
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,796
    @Mirandel and @ThacoBell

    There's a conversation where he tells you about his father turning up drunk to his acceptance into the Order ceremony.

    ThacoBelltbone1StummvonBordwehr
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @UnderstandMouseMagic I thought that was after you go to his home?

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 896
    edited April 29
    Regarding Jan, I feel like there is a ton of potential for the character. In a lot of ways he's the perfect example of an illusionist/thief, he is the master of distraction and deceit and his tales are just another tool in his arsenal. We see him use his tales to distract government officials evade the law, make thinly-veiled insults as those he doesn't like, and more. If he had just a few more examples of this kind of method behind his madness i'd say he was one of the best written of the NPC's.

    ThacoBellMalicronZaghoul
  • QuartzQuartz Member Posts: 3,756
    Joan_Daro said:

    Btw, I went through Rasaad's quests only once. English is not my mother tongue, and I can hardly understand what my mission is or who am I supposed to be fighting, I have the feeling that there's a good story being told, but I just can't comprehend. Which, is totally my fault, though.

    English is my first language, I'm receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in six days and even I don't get what the hell is going on in Rasaad's BGII quest-line.
    Cashew said:

    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.

    ...Yea, this.

    UnderstandMouseMagicjoluvNeverusedBelgarathMTH
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    Rasaad is investigating a heretical cult that combines his goddess Selune and the dark goddess Shar, saying they are the same. He wants to stop it, but is forced to use deception (something encouraged by Shar and forbidden by Selune) to make any progress. He is terrified of this because in trying to protect his faith, he is (in his own eyes) betraying his goddess. This is reinforced by his own sect hunting him, believing him turned. The meaty core of Rasaad's questline is inner conflict and how it reflects the very real physical one he is fighting.

    StummvonBordwehrQuartz
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,796
    ThacoBell said:

    Rasaad is investigating a heretical cult that combines his goddess Selune and the dark goddess Shar, saying they are the same. He wants to stop it, but is forced to use deception (something encouraged by Shar and forbidden by Selune) to make any progress. He is terrified of this because in trying to protect his faith, he is (in his own eyes) betraying his goddess. This is reinforced by his own sect hunting him, believing him turned. The meaty core of Rasaad's questline is inner conflict and how it reflects the very real physical one he is fighting.



    Ooops, I knew I'd missed something.
    I thought the heretics were on the right track and in the end it would turn out they were one and the same.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    edited April 30
    @UnderstandMouseMagic
    It turns out that the cult is a deception by the Alorogoth to weed out unfaithful Sharrans and drag in some Selunites and kill them as well, as a bonus. Though Charname CAN convince Rasaad to take over as leader of the new cult.


    I have no idea if this would eventually legitimize it though. Maybe someone who more about hoe faith and religion works in FR could shed some light.

    Zaghoul
  • Joan_DaroJoan_Daro Member Posts: 67
    edited May 1
    @ThacoBell
    Wait WHAT
    I briefly went through the .dlg files and...
    I think there's no way you can actually lead a *cult* without having actual godly power behind them? Like Alorgoth's cult is actually supported by Shar but if you convince Rasaad to lead the Truth...
    Like Alorgoth said, there is no Twofold Goddess, so there's no way it's going to work right???

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    @Joan_Daro Thats the thing isn't it? I honestly don't know. But the gods of FR are powered by faith right? Theoretically, wouldn't enough sincere worshippers give rise to a deity to match? I realize this may be a poor comparison, but the "Order of the Stick" webcomic pokes fun at the system by having a running joke of a sock puppet becoming a deity because a Bard tricked enough people into worshipping it.

    Balrog99BelgarathMTH
  • MalicronMalicron Member Posts: 629
    I think it would be more likely that one of the less scrupulous deities would simply take start giving the cultists powers and taking all of that tasty worship-power.

    For that matter, if CHARNAME ascended at the end of ToB, they could become the cult's new patron.

    ThacoBell
  • Joan_DaroJoan_Daro Member Posts: 67
    edited May 1
    But deities have their... portfolios? Isn't that the difference between faiths and cults? What's the domain of this so-called Twofold Goddess?
    (And what's the difference between the portfolio and domains of a deity?)
    And in Rasaad's case if someone actually claims to be the patron of the Truth, isn't they stealing worshippers from Shar and Selune, won't they earn the ire of the two goddesses?

    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • MalicronMalicron Member Posts: 629
    Technically, at the time this is taking place, gods can try and usurp each others portfolios, it will just lead to the two gods coming into direct conflict. So it probably wouldn't be a good idea for a newly minted minor god like CHARNAME to try and muscle in on Shar and/or Selune's turf.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,273
    Yeah see? This deity stuff is complicated. The Twofold trust could easily fill the space between Shar and Selune. Being two extremes, the Twofold would be a moderate middle ground. They could be the neutral good to Selune's lawful good and Shar's Neutral Evil.

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