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Videogames: All Valves on Deck


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27 minutes ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

 

Side note: Nudity and sex in video games really is weird to me. Romance options are, in general, kinda weird to me but this game can get graphic with that. I don't "get" why it exists unless they're catering to people aged 13-20 and mostly boys at that.

You can choose in accessibility to turn off graphic nudity if you want. I think there are other options like that as well.

As to who it appeals to, it turns out that the romance options and graphical nudity is in general more appealing to women than men, and definitely not teenage boys. It's been a long time since that sort of thing was exclusive to horn dog kids, and they have porn on the internet if they need it.  

In terms of why it exists - specifically why nudity - this is an adult game in an age of game of thrones and they are going to render giant dongs for the masses. 

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1 hour ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

 

For a variety of reasons, I would reject this comparison and distinguish role playing any action from merely observing it portrayed. There are similarities but the distinction are significant enough and, importantly, very much the entire basis of the point made. I don't really care to argue it but I suppose I'm happy enough to note that it doesn't really move the needle for me.

But two things related to this:

1. I, personally, often object to nudity and sex as gratuitous and distracting from TV shows and movies. Even books, tbh. Fair me, personally, to step further into objection when it's role-played is simply in keeping with my own perspective.

2. Following on that, I freely admitted I don't "get" it. That's both qualified as a personal reaction (see: not an argument for objective reality) and it's couched in language that presumes my own lack of insight (see: it doesn't place my response as primary). I feel it's a rather intentionally weakly-structured observation to spark such a strong reaction and I'd hope that, upon further reflection, you find it acceptable for someone to have a different response to media than you do.

Buddy I’m okay with you not getting it or it not being personally appealing to you, everyone has their own tastes and preferences.

I guess I just got triggered with you blatantly speaking for the rest of us and saying that you suspect only teenage boys enjoy this sort of thing,implying anyone else outside of that demographic enjoying this sort of thing would be weird to do so.That was uncalled for and is frankly quite outdated and old fashioned as one look at any let’s plays of these games would show you the reality of the current day and age of gaming of which women and older people form a significant part of.This line of thinking is similar to the censorship of Hollywood prior to the 60s where only perverts were considered to enjoy nudity in films.

Like Kalbear said, romance in video games is alot more nuanced and well written than 20 years ago or indeed than many films and similiar art forms today.Witcher 3 and Red Dead are two such examples.

I would argue romance is even more appropriate in video games as there is an actual element of interaction involved and you spend more time with these characters to get attached to them.

Edited by Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II
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Even though I share Ser Not Appearing's disinterest in game-based fucking, I agree with the others that its existence is only for teenage boys is an unnecessary stereotype and ignores who actually plays these kinds of games.

 

 

However, I find it really funny that Rodrigo's objecting to anyone else being 'old-fashioned' and rudely imposing their views on everyone else. Like, self-awareness dude, self-awareness. 

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3 hours ago, Relic said:

Never forget - 

Why are there dildos everywhere in 'Cyberpunk 2077'? It's a bug that's being addressed, the game's developer says.

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-are-there-so-many-dildos-in-cyberpunk-2077-bug-2020-12

They became very, very rare with 2.0. Almost too rare, if you ask me, Night City is full of perverts.

Edited by Ran
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9 hours ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

Oh, and I'm playing on a setting above the normal and it still feels pretty easy most of the time. Is this game viewed that way?

The difficulty of the game is directly proportional to how much experience you have with CRPGs in general, other Larian games, and D&D, and how good you are at reading tooltips. I suspect they may have erred on the easier side of things for people who know what they are doing because for people who don't it can already be a real struggle, especially at the start, and the non-linear nature means you can be either under or over levelled for certain encounters depending on where you go. That said there are a number of fights even in act 1 which are generally regarded as quite challenging. You've said you think you're approaching the end of act 1, what/how much have you done exactly?

Fights I feel were challenging in act 1 (probably contains spoilers for you, more for others to agree/disagree):

Spoiler

Phase Spider Matriarch.

Anders and his fallen paladin friends (ouch those smites).

Auntie Ethel in her lair.

The Gith patrol can be exceptionally brutal.

Nere (and the rest of his lackeys).

 

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6 hours ago, Poobah said:

 

  Hide contents

Phase Spider Matriarch.

Anders and his fallen paladin friends (ouch those smites).

Auntie Ethel in her lair.

The Gith patrol can be exceptionally brutal.

Nere (and the rest of his lackeys).

 

I've done all of those but the first one, I think. I noped out of an area with those creatures fairly early on. I'm guessing it's there and I'll go back for it.

Second one I think I succeeded in early ambush attacks because it was super easy.

Third one took me three tries. First one was a jumble because I didn't understand what happened and my whole team got held until they died. Second try, I reset after something I was trying to protect fell (after they held the guy I was trying to protect it with). Third try was still pretty tough but straight forward. Marking with an ability helped narrow my focus.

Fourth one was incredibly brutal (I ended up using a horn and calling in reinforcements) but I also had a certain party member leave the party and fight on their own, which was fine, until they kept going aggro after a about 3/4 of the fight for some reason. Whenever that happened, they weren't revivable after the fight and so I save scummed a few times and eventually just swapped them out before the fight.

I won the last fight on the first try but I had decided to kill every single person in the place and so I imagine that most of the work was already done.

Edited by Ser Not Appearing
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As someone who isn't much of a CRPG player and had almost no familiarity with D&D or Larian, the combat in BG3 was definitely a challenge and not intuitive. In my first attempt, I played on normal and didn't even finish Act I. I finished the game on easy, but even then there were plenty of challenging fights, and often tried to gain advantages, like have allies, prior to a fight or even avoid fights if possible.

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BG3 relies heavily on players being real, real clever and not just going and stabbing things. This isn't helped by there being a VERY large gulf in power between level 4 and 5 (where fighter types get their second attack) and even levels 3 and 4 (where you get your first feat), but they also set up encounters to often require savescumming or be real observant. 

For example:

Spoiler

In the fight with the phase spider matriarch, you can make it significantly easier by destroying her eggs before combat starts. The really really big win however is to use any kind of flame attack to burn the webbing while she's on it, which will cause her to fall, take 40ish damage, and go prone. 

Other fights can be won by liberal application of grease. I kid you not - grease is an absolute game-winner in many encounters.

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I'm playing a ranger and I feel like 90% of encounters are solved by myself and Astarion just mowing down enemies with bows. Add in a few ranged attacks from more up-close fighters as they approach and it's basically over already.

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I've found a fair number of foes don't handle lightning well either. 

This play-through, it was also much easier to take our Dzur by climbing into the rafters, casting blade cloud from afar, setting off some explosives, and unleashing some cross-bow bolts and lightning bolts on him. 

 

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17 hours ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

I think I'm about through Act I of BG3 but I'm not certain. I want to do everything because I don't enjoy replays but that appears impossible in general because the game is designed where some doors close depending on your actions but it also appears impossible because you have to get somewhere and there are multiple routes and, ultimately, you have to pick one.

I've done one route up until a point where it asks if I really want to continue and I backed out. I think I'm gonna try doing the other routes through that same point to see if there's anything unique leading up to their turning point. Then I'll progress.

If this is the end of the first big area in Act I, you have the two options to go in:

Spoiler

The Mountain Pass and the Underdark. The Underdark is somewhat longer and has more side-quests and battles. The Mountain Pass has major story material for Lae'zel and furthers the githyanki storyline in important ways.

You can do both. I'd do the githyanki base and associated ruins in the Mountain Pass and then go through the Underdark, although if you're close to levelling up it might be an idea to do the Underdark before you level up and then double back using the fast travel portals to the Mountain Pass.

The important thing is to do both. There isn't a "point of no return" until you go up the lift from Grymforge to the lands under shadow, or through the Mountain Pass's far exit to the same map (different entry point). I believe there is, weirdly, a warning before you leave the goblin camp/nautiloid/druid camp map to the Mountain Pass, but that's completely immaterial, as you can still go back anyway. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Ser Not Appearing said:

I'm playing a ranger and I feel like 90% of encounters are solved by myself and Astarion just mowing down enemies with bows. Add in a few ranged attacks from more up-close fighters as they approach and it's basically over already.

One of the common metagaming strats is to go with some combination of fighter/ranger/bard and rogue and use dual-wielded hand crossbows with sharpshooter and shoot all the things. This is generally better with fighter due to action surge being amazing, but can work with all sorts of things. 

Later on this loses its luster somewhat due to immunities and other game mechanics, but it still remains very strong. 

Fighters/Barbarians in melee tend to do better with the feat Great Weapon Mastery and utilizing advantage to hit things while having the -5 penalty to add +10 damage. This works great with pure fighters, where you use battlemaster's trip attack to knock things prone, then proceed to beat on it relentlessly with advantage while it's down. 

Other metagaming strats are things like Paladin/Sorc or Bard using Divine Smite heavily, Paladin/Warlock using hexblade/hex/smite, rogue/monk punching all the things with having a crazy amount of extra attacks (Rogue 3 Thief/Monk 9 is a GREAT build for Astarion)...but really you can do well with a whole lot of stuff.

Another big point is to make sure that if you can, start hidden. Getting surprise on fights and getting advantage on your first attack is a massive win. Many fights that are hard become almost trivial if you get that first shot in. 

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4 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Another big point is to make sure that if you can, start hidden. Getting surprise on fights and getting advantage on your first attack is a massive win. Many fights that are hard become almost trivial if you get that first shot in. 

The thing that still does my head in a bit - as I discovered when I played Solasta: Crown of the Magister, is the three-dimensionality of the game, in particular with relation to the ability to strike from above, around corners (with magic missile), and beyond. Having been weaned on line-of-sight mechanics in games like, well, most of the Infinity Engine games, and more recently Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2, it still occasionally causes me some frustration, due to having less than great spatial awareness and mild dyspraxia. 

That said, Astarion's ability to sneak attack has proven useful in places like the goblin camp and ruined village, when I wanted to avoid a direct confrontation and just get the muppets out of my way quickly. So the first-shot thing is definitely accurate. Also, as I have learned: do everything. As annoying as that might be, explore the frell out of the world map, so that by act 2, your party are around level 7 or 8. 

Tangential side note: I've noticed that the game's turns between actors in a combat scenario seem to have been improved - and by improved, I mean sped up, to be closer to the turn-speeds I saw in Solasta. At least, it feels that way, as the first time I played through BG3 last year in August (but didn't finish), the turn-speeds were excruciatingly slow, which led to me getting frustrated and giving up. (The awful bugs I encountered in the Last Light Inn were the nail in the coffin and led to me throwing my hands up and walking away until patches fixed the game.)

Still hate turn-based combat, but at least so far, as of early January of 2024, the game's been improved in ways that have made it less awful. Though the lack of a shared backpack among all my party members is still really annoying. Pillars of Eternity really nailed the design of that feature, and made it a quick and easy thing to navigate, whereas BG3...does not. And backpacks within backpacks. Oy vey! 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

If this is the end of the first big area in Act I, you have the two options to go in:

  Hide contents

The Mountain Pass and the Underdark. The Underdark is somewhat longer and has more side-quests and battles. The Mountain Pass has major story material for Lae'zel and furthers the githyanki storyline in important ways.

You can do both. I'd do the githyanki base and associated ruins in the Mountain Pass and then go through the Underdark, although if you're close to levelling up it might be an idea to do the Underdark before you level up and then double back using the fast travel portals to the Mountain Pass.

The important thing is to do both. There isn't a "point of no return" until you go up the lift from Grymforge to the lands under shadow, or through the Mountain Pass's far exit to the same map (different entry point). I believe there is, weirdly, a warning before you leave the goblin camp/nautiloid/druid camp map to the Mountain Pass, but that's completely immaterial, as you can still go back anyway. 

 

Yes, I did up to the "point of no return" you noted here. I didn't go through the other area at all but that's what I'm thinking I'll do. Story makes it worth the time.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

If this is the end of the first big area in Act I, you have the two options to go in:

  Hide contents

The Mountain Pass and the Underdark. The Underdark is somewhat longer and has more side-quests and battles. The Mountain Pass has major story material for Lae'zel and furthers the githyanki storyline in important ways.

You can do both. I'd do the githyanki base and associated ruins in the Mountain Pass and then go through the Underdark, although if you're close to levelling up it might be an idea to do the Underdark before you level up and then double back using the fast travel portals to the Mountain Pass.

The important thing is to do both. There isn't a "point of no return" until you go up the lift from Grymforge to the lands under shadow, or through the Mountain Pass's far exit to the same map (different entry point). I believe there is, weirdly, a warning before you leave the goblin camp/nautiloid/druid camp map to the Mountain Pass, but that's completely immaterial, as you can still go back anyway. 

 

For the two main paths, I think the only real point of no return is

Spoiler

going after the Nightsong in Shar's realm in Act II.

Because I got to Act II through the Underdark going up that elevator. Then after I got my immunity to the shadows from the pixie (and Isobel) I started wandering the shadow lands, found the point where you enter Act II from the mountain pass and then essentially went through the mountain pass backwards and did the Githyanki Creche plot at the monastery.

 

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Still chugging along at Elden Ring, about 35 hours in now. I'm done with Raya Lucaria Academy and starting to explore Caelid. I'm still having a great time, but some of my usual Dark Souls gripes are starting to creep in after being blessedly absent for the beginning of the game.

Spoiler

I've started running into my first bullshit bosses. Renalla was deeply annoying because her giant laser attack could take you out in one hit. Then to get back to her, you had to run for 3-4 minutes from the closest bonfire and do the easy but time-consuming first stage of her boss fight all over again. Not a fan but I finally got lucky, overpowered her with wolves, and got through. I really hope that this kind of bonfire placement/time wasting is a rarity instead of a sign of things to come.

I think I've also reached the point of the game where the challenge is ramped up by simply throwing more enemies at you. Catacombs bosses are now two of the dog gargoyles instead of one. I've never been a fan of these boss fights.

I've also been playing Super Mario Wonder, which is a great palate cleanser after too much Elden Ring. It's such a fun, creative, and hilarious game. I'm still pretty early on, so it's been generally easy, but I do appreciate the exploration aspects of the levels, and there have been a few with some platforming challenges.

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