New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Page 33 of 33 FirstFirst ... 82324252627282930313233
Results 961 to 986 of 986
  1. - Top - End - #961
    Titan in the Playground
     
    tyckspoon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'm currently at 4/4/3 at the beginning of exam prep week, and planning to use the days to focus on Charm and Courage.

    Yeah, I've only got them for Mitsuru and Akihiko right now but they seem great.
    Things the game won't tell you, even beyond the fact these upgrades exist at all: they can upgrade too! If you do the character's other line of hangouts (eg if you read books with Mitsuru also do her cooking hangouts) their trait will advance to its second level. Yukari's is 'discounted healing spells' - casting Mediarahan for 10 SP feels vaguely like cheating.

  2. - Top - End - #962
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    ME2 just completely messed up when it came to the Reaper's. It should have shuffled them off screen, instead they spend half the game talking at you whenever you fight one enemy faction, with so few voice clips that they become boring. Oh, it tries to bait you into believing it's not a Reaper, but what's the first thing the characters say when you're given your overall mission? That the Inhibitors are behind it.
    Uh, what? ME2 had more than one enemy faction - you spend most of it fighting mercs and other humanoid foes, with ocassional Geth fights. You can count the number of Collector encounters on one hand: Horizon, the Collector Ship raid, and the suicide mission. As for talking, I assume you're referring to Harbinger, but you don't have any reason to believe he's anything but a Collector leader, or the embodiment of a hive-mind perhaps, until the very end on a first run, and what little he says is just vague threats, much like what little you hear from Sovereign in the first game.

    I'd also disagree about Saren. He was fine - certainly a better villain than the Reapers themselves - but never more than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Also I like about 90% of ME3's story, I think having to creep around the galaxy securing alliances works. Most of your commando squad missions aren't about directly fighting the Reapers but the result of negotiations for aid that the Alliances needs.
    I generally agree with you there. ME3 is a fantastic game overall, with Tuchanka and Rannoch being two of the highest points for the series, and most of the rest of it works. But again, all of the good stuff is taking place around the Reapers more than anything - Tuchanka and Rannoch involve fighting Reapers, but are more about resolving the Genophage and Geth subplots (certainly those are what make those missions so good, not the fighting the Reapers part). The best side-quests just have Reaper forces as generic enemies while you pursue plotlines centered around companions from previous games, or don't involve the Reapers at all when Cerberus forces take the generic enemy role instead, as in Jack's mission. Once you actually get to the point where you just need to deal with the Reapers, you get the ending.
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

  3. - Top - End - #963
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    The best side-quests just have Reaper forces as generic enemies while you pursue plotlines centered around companions from previous games, or don't involve the Reapers at all when Cerberus forces take the generic enemy role instead, as in Jack's mission. Once you actually get to the point where you just need to deal with the Reapers, you get the ending.
    The Reaper stuff that worked in ME3 was in the Leviathan DLC, which was like the only time the game remembered that these things were meant to be cosmic horror and framed the fight against them as a quest for knowledge.

  4. - Top - End - #964
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    One of the things that I think keeps tripping up choice and consequence in games is the idea that your choices matter means they drastically impact the plot. I much prefer to see choices as revealing character, which can be done with much less plot impact, arguably almost none at all. You can have the protagonist saves the world plot and all the same setpieces, but if the protagonist is a bitter jerk it'll feel very different than if they're a nice person, and all you need to alter is dialog.
    I agree with this. I read a few negative impressions of Rogue Trader, to name something recent, where people were annoyed that the only impact was a different dialog tree. But sometimes it's enough that my character responds to something with revulsion or admiration and gets a reaction from a party member because of it. Not everything needs to spiral off into its own quest.

    That said, I also commend Wrath of the Righteous here for having some of the most believable evil paths in an RPG.
    Spoiler
    Show
    The first 3 chapters or so of an Evil playthrough are almost identical to a Good one, aside from dialog and maybe the occasional brusque murder. It makes sense, though, since the goal of an Evil character should mostly align with Good here. Both Good and Evil want to lead the crusade for very different reasons, but your allies can't know your intentions. So the Evil protagonist looks identical if you squint, though some characters will point out that you're not exactly the stereotypical hero or question your motives at times.

    Then in Act 4+5, you're let off the chain more and the Evil player finally gets to deliver their masterstroke. Coming back from Hell, completing the ritual to become a Lich, then waving your hand to turn the country into your undead kingdom while the people who could've stopped it are now powerless against your might is the type of villainous catharsis you can only dream of. And even then, the end goal is the same as a Good player, since defeating the villains who could challenge your power is still the most practical thing to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    The Reaper stuff that worked in ME3 was in the Leviathan DLC, which was like the only time the game remembered that these things were meant to be cosmic horror and framed the fight against them as a quest for knowledge.
    I still can't believe ME3 featured a boss fight
    Spoiler
    Show
    where you fight a Reaper face-to-face on foot. Sure, you're orbital striking it, but seriously? The same type of creature that squared off against a combined military fleet in ME1 can't hit a single human? How'd these things ever cleanse the galaxy?
    Last edited by ArmyOfOptimists; 2024-02-21 at 12:12 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #965
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Gridania, Eorzea
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    I still can't believe ME3 featured a boss fight
    Spoiler
    Show
    where you fight a Reaper face-to-face on foot. Sure, you're orbital striking it, but seriously? The same type of creature that squared off against a combined military fleet in ME1 can't hit a single human? How'd these things ever cleanse the galaxy?
    I kept hoping for a mission/boss fight where you infiltrated a Reaper and took it out from the inside. Would've been real easy to lean more into the horror side of things as well with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    Dwarf Fortress would like to have a word with you. The word is decorated with bands of microcline and meanaces with spikes of rose gold. On the word is an image of the word in cinnabar.
    Quote Originally Posted by kpenguin View Post
    This is an image of Wookietank the Destroyer of Fortresses engraved in sandstone. Wookietank the Destroyer of Fortresses is leaving Trotknives. Trotknives is on fire and full of goblins. This image refers to the destruction of Trotknives in late winter of 109 by Wookietank the Destroyer of Fortresses.

  6. - Top - End - #966
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    The Reaper stuff that worked in ME3 was in the Leviathan DLC, which was like the only time the game remembered that these things were meant to be cosmic horror and framed the fight against them as a quest for knowledge.
    I don't agree in the slightest. Leviathan was the weakest ME3 DLC by far to me, and one of the weaker parts of the game on the whole when you count it. It felt like them trying retroactively to justify the ending, and was just kind of dull.

    But I also always thought that portraying the Reapers as "cosmic horror" was laughable. I rolled my eyes the first time Sovereign tried to tell me he was beyond my comprehension, and outright thought to myself "you're a machine, not Cthulu." It was one of my criticisms of ME1 even before 2 had come out. That part of the Reapers' portrayal never worked for me at all.
    Last edited by Zevox; 2024-02-21 at 01:38 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #967
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    But I also always thought that portraying the Reapers as "cosmic horror" was laughable. I rolled my eyes the first time Sovereign tried to tell me he was beyond my comprehension, and outright thought to myself "you're a machine, not Cthulu." It was one of my criticisms of ME1 even before 2 had come out. That part of the Reapers' portrayal never worked for me at all.
    I don't really see the disconnect there. If Cthulu is beyond comprehension, why not a machine? It's not like there's anything inherent to one or the other. Cthulu (or a Cthulu-like entity) could even make a machine and wouldn't it then inherit his unknowable trait? Since you can't understand his mind, you wouldn't be able to comprehend his motivation or the purpose of his machine.

    Of course, Cthulu isn't actually beyond comprehension. He's a big tentacle-faced doodoo head that sleeps under the ocean and sometimes he wakes up cranky and hungry. Even in his most famous story, a sailor bonks a ship into him and he decides today isn't his day so he heads back to sleep - as if that ain't the most relatable thing. Lovecraft, despite inventing cosmic horror, wasn't all that great at writing it. Most of his work is spot on with Sovereign's dialogue, in that "I won't even bother explaining it. Trust me, it's way too deep for you to understand, bro." way. The only way to do cosmic horror properly, in my opinion, is to make the comparison between an ant and a human. To an ant, a human is a vast towering mystery beyond comprehension. The ant can never meaningfully interact with the human or even understand the vastness of it existing. The horror is that the ant has little understanding and absolutely no hope of ever opposing a human's efforts. The only thing it can do is try not to get stepped on. The horror in cosmic horror comes from humanity being utterly powerless in the face of it.

    So in that sense, I agree that having Shepard talk directly to Sovereign was a mistake. It's impossible to do a creature "totally beyond comprehension" when you can chat with it. Heroes that can't understand, confront or do anything to stop the inevitable makes for a real downer of a story, though.
    Last edited by ArmyOfOptimists; 2024-02-21 at 02:15 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #968
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    I don't agree in the slightest. Leviathan was the weakest ME3 DLC by far to me, and one of the weaker parts of the game on the whole when you count it. It felt like them trying retroactively to justify the ending, and was just kind of dull
    Leviathan absolutely does have to try and justify the ending, and it does about as well as could be expected with that.

    Citadel's definitely better, but Leviathan's still got it's high points. Some memorable missions and a strong finale, which is more than I'm willing to say for Omega, which all sort of blends together for me.
    Last edited by Errorname; 2024-02-21 at 02:18 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #969
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    I don't really see the disconnect there. If Cthulu is beyond comprehension, why not a machine? It's not like there's anything inherent to one or the other. Cthulu (or a Cthulu-like entity) could even make a machine and wouldn't it then inherit his unknowable trait? Since you can't understand his mind, you wouldn't be able to comprehend his motivation or the purpose of his machine.
    The thing that's supposed to be unknowable about cosmic horrors like Cthulu in the Lovecraftian sense isn't specifically their mind, it's the very nature of their existence. They're from outside ordinary reality as we know it, and the rules of the universe as we know it don't apply to them.

    But the Reapers are machines. We know and understand what machines are, they're not outside our experience at all. Moreover, they're artificial - someone had to have created them, as warty pointed out in his criticism. That inherently makes casting them in that sort of "unknowable" role a poor idea, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    Leviathan absolutely does have to try and justify the ending, and it does about as well as could be expected with that. Citadel's definitely better, Leviathan has some strong setpieces and memorable moments, which is more than I can say for Omega, which all sort of blends together for me. It also builds on the Indoctrination stuff well, which was always one of the more effective beats with the Reapers.
    Omega was a fun adventure to me. Not up there with Shadowbroker and Citadel as one of the best ME DLCs, but not one of the weaker ones either (which I would put as Overlord and Leviathan).
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

  10. - Top - End - #970
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tail of the Bellcurve
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    I don't really see the disconnect there. If Cthulu is beyond comprehension, why not a machine? It's not like there's anything inherent to one or the other. Cthulu (or a Cthulu-like entity) could even make a machine and wouldn't it then inherit his unknowable trait? Since you can't understand his mind, you wouldn't be able to comprehend his motivation or the purpose of his machine.
    The distinction is that Cthulhu is an entity that just, like, is. You don't need to give it a background or a reason or anything. It exists, as I said before, the explanation for a demon is the word "demon." A machine is built for a purpose by something. You don't just amble across a fax machine or an omnicidal robot space squid, some entity designed them. The fax machine is there to send cover letters, but the audience is going to want to know why anybody built the omnicidal robot space squid, because it seems like killing everything isn't generally in the best interest of the people building it, as they count as part of 'everything.'

    Of course, Cthulu isn't actually beyond comprehension. He's a big tentacle-faced doodoo head that sleeps under the ocean and sometimes he wakes up cranky and hungry. Even in his most famous story, a sailor bonks a ship into him and he decides today isn't his day so he heads back to sleep - as if that ain't the most relatable thing. Lovecraft, despite inventing cosmic horror, wasn't all that great at writing it. Most of his work is spot on with Sovereign's dialogue, in that "I won't even bother explaining it. Trust me, it's way too deep for you to understand, bro." way. The only way to do cosmic horror properly, in my opinion, is to make the comparison between an ant and a human. To an ant, a human is a vast towering mystery beyond comprehension. The ant can never meaningfully interact with the human or even understand the vastness of it existing. The horror is that the ant has little understanding and absolutely no hope of ever opposing a human's efforts. The only thing it can do is try not to get stepped on. The horror in cosmic horror comes from humanity being utterly powerless in the face of it.

    Heroes that can't do anything to stop the inevitable makes for a real downer of a story, though.
    There's two major aspects to the horror in Lovecraft. Well, three, but let's do our best to ignore the racism. The first is that the universe is large and indifferent and does not care, and you really only can exist as a functional human being in the little protective bubble of human culture and so on. Step outside of that, and your brain, built for the human world, kinda unhinges a bit. The actual nature of the universe is a limit experience.

    The second is that insofar as the universe has any purpose, humans aren't it. We're just accidents, afterthoughts, things that exist in a moment because a quirk of fate has allowed it.


    You can get both of these from the Reapers relatively easily. They operate over inhuman spans of time, they are profoundly indifferent to human desires. You can argue that in some odd way they're a final, hyper-efficient evolution of an entire species, condensed into a single entity that reproduces through bizarre processes that use entire species as engines and fuels of creation.

    To me the Reapers are most interesting as a solution to the twin problems of stasis/ homogeneity and preservation. Because sapient life develops space travel and colonizes places, any indigenous life will be crushed and lose any chance at itself becoming sapient. Humans, in the Mass Effect universe, only get to exist because some prior civilization didn't turn Earth into an interstellar gas station a hundred thousand years ago. If you value the diversity of biological life, this is a problem. But if you value the diversity of life, you also value its preservation in some form. So you need to compress a species into a very compact form, such that it does not inhibit the development of further species. In fact, if you use your compressed species vessel to make more of itself, to keep tilling the soil and clearing out established species, it can encourage the growth of further species, and over vast stretches of time maximize the diversity of species that exist and are preserved. The key here is that thing of value isn't an individual or a nation or a culture, it's the species. You create a beautiful and infinitely diverse garden that grows and weeds itself.

    Where this gets interesting is that it's a consistent moral principle, and is both extremely alien to a human perspective, but also sort of a government-eye view of people taken to an absolute extremis. The tax agency doesn't care about you as an individual, you're just numbers in a file. We already compress ourselves, the Reapers just do it with vastly more efficiency. And it presents an ethical challenge to the human protagonist, if the Cycle stops, the current mix of species is very likely to be the only mix of species that ever develops. Why are humans so great that they should be the terminal form? Maybe the Protheans were, in fact, better? If it's good that humans exist, is it not also bad that humans existing will prevent other sapient species from doing so? Even if you value the individual, no individual human gets to exist unless humans exist, not only is Shepard the product and beneficiary of the Cycle, stopping the Cycle is basically pulling the ladder up behind you.

    I'd have been quite interested in a Mass Effect that went with a genesis for the Reapers such as that. And you could do some cool things by leaning into it. Make the Reapers distinct from each other, like, wildly distinct. They're entire species after all. Maybe have the creation of a human Reaper succeed, now there's an entity that you can more sensibly communicate with. Give some idea of what being a Reaper, or an entity contained in a Reaper is like. Is destroying them itself another genocide?

    But that's very much not a Captain Heropants saves the day story, and we were never going to get any sci-fi ideas that weird out of Bioware. Or really anybody, that's more the realm of novellas from, like, 1974.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  11. - Top - End - #971
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    Omega was a fun adventure to me. Not up there with Shadowbroker and Citadel as one of the best ME DLCs, but not one of the weaker ones either (which I would put as Overlord and Leviathan).
    Eh. It's very Aria-centric, and she's not a character I find particularly compelling. I also think compared to Leviathan and Citadel it's setpieces were pretty weak. Returning to the bar from Mass Effect 2 to fight another Cerberus flunky just did not have the same impact for me as meeting an ancient Leviathan in the abyss or fighting through the Normandy to confront your own clone.

  12. - Top - End - #972
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    The distinction is that Cthulhu is an entity that just, like, is. You don't need to give it a background or a reason or anything. It exists, as I said before, the explanation for a demon is the word "demon." A machine is built for a purpose by something. You don't just amble across a fax machine or an omnicidal robot space squid, some entity designed them. The fax machine is there to send cover letters, but the audience is going to want to know why anybody built the omnicidal robot space squid, because it seems like killing everything isn't generally in the best interest of the people building it, as they count as part of 'everything.'
    That's not an answer to the correct question, though. The interesting question behind an incomprehensible entity isn't its origin, but its motivation. Demons, elementals, gods, or what have you aren't made interesting because of what they are, but what they do in the setting. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone was ever angry about Reapers being ancient machines that predate civilization. The anger set in when they explained their plan and people thought it was stupid.

    (As an aside, it's a bit interesting that entities and machines have the assumptions about their origin and motivation flipped. You can have an entity that "just exists" but you need to explain its motivation. Inversely, a machine's motivation can simply be "it's what I do" but you need to explain its origin. I don't know if that's relevant to anything, but I like the mirroring.)

    There's two major aspects to the horror in Lovecraft. Well, three, but let's do our best to ignore the racism. The first is that the universe is large and indifferent and does not care, and you really only can exist as a functional human being in the little protective bubble of human culture and so on. Step outside of that, and your brain, built for the human world, kinda unhinges a bit. The actual nature of the universe is a limit experience.

    The second is that insofar as the universe has any purpose, humans aren't it. We're just accidents, afterthoughts, things that exist in a moment because a quirk of fate has allowed it.
    Yeah, that's basically the jist of the ant vs. human analogy I was making. An individual ant is tiny and inconsequential in the universe. The idea of a human being also being as tiny and inconsequential freaks us out because we are all control freaks. Fear is, at its root, the dread of losing control. Cosmic horror laughs at us and says not only are we not in control, we're vastly overestimating the little control we think we have.

    The idea of using the human reaper as the communication bridge to the rest of what they are is interesting, but I still think the communication is an error in the genre. If humans can communicate and understand the adversary, they get some level of control over it, and the cosmic horror fails. The only way it works is if the adversary is so vast and inscrutable that we can't affect it. In a weird way, cosmic horror is just avant garde disaster fiction. A story about surviving a hurricane isn't about defeating the hurricane; it's about why the characters survived and how the experience changed them.
    Last edited by ArmyOfOptimists; 2024-02-21 at 04:04 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #973
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    Eh. It's very Aria-centric, and she's not a character I find particularly compelling. I also think compared to Leviathan and Citadel it's setpieces were pretty weak. Returning to the bar from Mass Effect 2 to fight another Cerberus flunky just did not have the same impact for me as meeting an ancient Leviathan in the abyss or fighting through the Normandy to confront your own clone.
    Aria's not one of my favorite characters, but she's fine, so an adventure centering on her worked for me. Not as much as Citadel in many ways of course, but it worked.

    Leviathan did not. Drawing more attention to the stupidity of the ending was a bad idea and only made me dislike it more. Meeting the Leviathan in particular should not have happened - having there be survivors from the Reapers' first genocide all these eons later just makes the whole thing even dumber than it already was. And the adventure leading up to it was unimpressive and did not make up for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone was ever angry about Reapers being ancient machines that predate civilization. The anger set in when they explained their plan and people thought it was stupid.
    That's part of it, combined with the lack of a satisfying way to ultimately defeat them. But that doesn't stem from people expecting them to be unknowable cosmic horrors, just the opposite, it stems from people having expected there to be an actual explanation that would make sense. Because these are the main antagonists of the trilogy, so you'd assume the writers would've had that in mind from the start.
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

  14. - Top - End - #974
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Rynjin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    It's pretty easy to explain why Cthulh is "incomprehensible" and the Reapers aren't, from a simple worldbuilding sense.

    You just ask a simple question: "where does X come from?"

    Cthulhu comes from...there's no explanation. He just IS. This is a biological creature whose origins are unknown, powers unfathomable, and answers to powers which are even more abstract and weird (this last bit is the most important part).

    The Reapers come from...the people who built them. Even before the EXACT answer is revealed, the simple fact of their existence violates any cosmic horror inherent. They're robots. They were created. This is a simple alien robot invasion story with a couple extra steps. No horror, just action. The explanation of them being built by space whales makes them even less horrifying.

  15. - Top - End - #975
    Titan in the Playground
     
    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Been making good solid progress on Dragon Age: Inquisition, I'm solidly into character backstories and I am loving all of it. Feels on average like a much more textured take on the Dragon Age: Origins companion dynamics. (Although it's kinda goofy that as far as I can tell, you can't see how much a companion approves of you, so I just have to assume that once I've hit a couple of "Greatly Approves", we're probably close to being besties.)

    But I came here to post because they absolutely FLOORED me with a targeted reference I was not ready for. (Vague spoilers for Jade Empire)

    Spoiler
    Show
    I walk up to Cole, and as is his habit, he opens the conversation with a random observation.

    And he says, "He teaches them to fight with a secret flaw, part of a glorious strategy."

    I may have freaked out a little. JADE EMPIRE ACKNOWLEDGED
    Ludicrus Gaming: on games and story
    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    Unless everyone's been lying to me and the next bunch of episodes are The Great Divide II, The Great Divide III, Return to the Great Divide, and Bride of the Great Divide, in which case I hate you all and I'm never touching Avatar again.

  16. - Top - End - #976
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    Aria's not one of my favorite characters, but she's fine, so an adventure centering on her worked for me. Not as much as Citadel in many ways of course, but it worked.
    Omega feels like a higher budget version of Bring Down The Sky. There's more plot happening I guess, but at the end of the day it's a simple adventure that doesn't have much going on and which is mainly notable for introducing a new alien character model.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    Leviathan did not. Drawing more attention to the stupidity of the ending was a bad idea and only made me dislike it more. Meeting the Leviathan in particular should not have happened - having there be survivors from the Reapers' first genocide all these eons later just makes the whole thing even dumber than it already was. And the adventure leading up to it was unimpressive and did not make up for that.
    I think it was an admirable attempt to patch up the flaws of the ending. It's not enough, but it's a good effort and it almost works taken in isolation. It's also the only point where Mass Effect 3 even comes close to recapturing the tone the Reapers had in ME1.

    I also liked the missions. I did this DLC right after slogging through the backhalf of Omega and the Thessia and Sanctuary missions, and Leviathan was a pretty noticeable improvement

  17. - Top - End - #977
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    It's pretty easy to explain why Cthulh is "incomprehensible" and the Reapers aren't, from a simple worldbuilding sense.

    You just ask a simple question: "where does X come from?"

    Cthulhu comes from...there's no explanation. He just IS. This is a biological creature whose origins are unknown, powers unfathomable, and answers to powers which are even more abstract and weird (this last bit is the most important part).

    The Reapers come from...the people who built them. Even before the EXACT answer is revealed, the simple fact of their existence violates any cosmic horror inherent. They're robots. They were created. This is a simple alien robot invasion story with a couple extra steps. No horror, just action. The explanation of them being built by space whales makes them even less horrifying.
    If that's satisfying to you, I can't change your mind.

    I don't see the distinction between the two. Obviously Cthulhu and the rest of the Old Ones come from somewhere. We're never going to know because it'd destroy genre conventions - as I said, Cosmic Horror is all about the unknown - but many of the Old Ones are explicitly corporeal beings. A character in The Dunwich Horror even discovered Cthulhu's origin, though he doesn't reveal it. And as you said, Cthulhu serves greater powers, which functionally makes his immediate motivations indistinct from a machines ("I do what I was told to do.")

    Bioware could've just run with the Reapers initial statement that they always were and will forever be. They're billions of years old. At that point, origin is meaningless. Lost to time, like the origins of the Great Old Ones. Their mistake was telling too much. There was never going to be an acceptable explanation for a billion year old anything to cyclically exterminate the universe. It's more effective to dodge it by saying their designs are beyond knowing and leave it at that. Refer back to "Cosmic horror is just avant garde disaster fiction." Why are hurricanes and volcanoes a thing? We know how they happen, but a more philosophical "why do they exist?" doesn't have an answer. They're here and we need to deal with them. Maybe Earth has some hidden origin or creator that we can't comprehend that designed it this way.

    Absent of revealing the origin, who's to say the Reapers even are machines in the traditional sense? Maybe they're silicon lifeforms. From a certain point of view, real life is all just carbon machines. Further still, if mysterious deities can exist since the dawn of creation, why can't they be made of metal? We think of them as robots, but a recurring statement in Lovecraft is that we can only partially perceive the horrors.

    I guess I'm arguing both sides here. I just don't see it inherently acceptable that biologics can exist without explanation, but robotics had to have a creator.
    Last edited by ArmyOfOptimists; 2024-02-21 at 06:32 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #978
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    Omega feels like a higher budget version of Bring Down The Sky. There's more plot happening I guess, but at the end of the day it's a simple adventure that doesn't have much going on and which is mainly notable for introducing a new alien character model.
    I don't believe I've ever played Bring Down the Sky, so can't speak to the comparison there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    I think it was an admirable attempt to patch up the flaws of the ending. It's not enough, but it's a good effort and it almost works taken in isolation. It's also the only point where Mass Effect 3 even comes close to recapturing the tone the Reapers had in ME1.
    I guess we just fundamentally disagree there. Hell, I disagree that any of that is even desirable. There was no fixing the ending without completely altering it in ways they were never going to do, so it was best left alone (after Extended Cut added the epilogue anyway, that was needed). And assuming the tone you mean is the cosmic horror thing, I think that was fundamentally a mistake from the start, as I've mentioned.
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

  19. - Top - End - #979
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    I still can't believe ME3 featured a boss fight
    Spoiler
    Show
    where you fight a Reaper face-to-face on foot. Sure, you're orbital striking it, but seriously? The same type of creature that squared off against a combined military fleet in ME1 can't hit a single human? How'd these things ever cleanse the galaxy?
    I still can't believe that wasn't the final boss fight in a game that so desperately needed one. It's so clearly a natural final boss for the game and the series as a whole. It even gives them a way to have that military strength number they've been tracking directly affect gameplay. This one is so obvious that it almost seems like they must have planned it that way and then changed their minds for some reason.

  20. - Top - End - #980
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    I don't believe I've ever played Bring Down the Sky, so can't speak to the comparison there.
    You're not missing much. It's main significance for the franchise was introducing the Batarians, just like how Omega's main contribution was the female Turian model.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    I guess we just fundamentally disagree there. Hell, I disagree that any of that is even desirable. There was no fixing the ending without completely altering it in ways they were never going to do, so it was best left alone (after Extended Cut added the epilogue anyway, that was needed). And assuming the tone you mean is the cosmic horror thing, I think that was fundamentally a mistake from the start, as I've mentioned.
    I'm more thinking of the tone you get from Feros and Noveria with the Thorian and the Rachni. I thought it worked well.

    Quote Originally Posted by MinimanMidget View Post
    I still can't believe that wasn't the final boss fight in a game that so desperately needed one. It's so clearly a natural final boss for the game and the series as a whole. It even gives them a way to have that military strength number they've been tracking directly affect gameplay. This one is so obvious that it almost seems like they must have planned it that way and then changed their minds for some reason.
    The funny thing is that it basically still is the final boss, just a way worse version of it. You still need to blow up Dwarf Reapers (which are just an awful concept to begin with), except instead of proper boss fights you respectively shoot one once with a nuke gun and then hold some missile batteries until they can blow it up for you.

  21. - Top - End - #981
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyOfOptimists View Post
    If that's satisfying to you, I can't change your mind.

    I don't see the distinction between the two. Obviously Cthulhu and the rest of the Old Ones come from somewhere. We're never going to know because it'd destroy genre conventions - as I said, Cosmic Horror is all about the unknown - but many of the Old Ones are explicitly corporeal beings. A character in The Dunwich Horror even discovered Cthulhu's origin, though he doesn't reveal it. And as you said, Cthulhu serves greater powers, which functionally makes his immediate motivations indistinct from a machines ("I do what I was told to do.")

    Bioware could've just run with the Reapers initial statement that they always were and will forever be. They're billions of years old. At that point, origin is meaningless. Lost to time, like the origins of the Great Old Ones. Their mistake was telling too much. There was never going to be an acceptable explanation for a billion year old anything to cyclically exterminate the universe. It's more effective to dodge it by saying their designs are beyond knowing and leave it at that. Refer back to "Cosmic horror is just avant garde disaster fiction." Why are hurricanes and volcanoes a thing? We know how they happen, but a more philosophical "why do they exist?" doesn't have an answer. They're here and we need to deal with them. Maybe Earth has some hidden origin or creator that we can't comprehend that designed it this way.

    Absent of revealing the origin, who's to say the Reapers even are machines in the traditional sense? Maybe they're silicon lifeforms. From a certain point of view, real life is all just carbon machines. Further still, if mysterious deities can exist since the dawn of creation, why can't they be made of metal? We think of them as robots, but a recurring statement in Lovecraft is that we can only partially perceive the horrors.

    I guess I'm arguing both sides here. I just don't see it inherently acceptable that biologics can exist without explanation, but robotics had to have a creator.
    Those genre conventions are why the Reapers were never going to be an unexplained cosmic horror. That works well for a horror novella or short story - you don't have to explain where the creature coms from, and the short form of the fiction encourages not explaining it. This can apply to films as well - the aliens in Bird Box work better if we never know exactly what they are or why they're attacking.

    Mass Effect as a trilogy is a story encompassing 100+ hours (assuming you do at least a little bit of the side content, anyway). That's a long time to have an antagonist that you do not understand, never speak to, and never have anything about it explained. Imagine if the trilogy had said "The Reapers got bored and left, for some ineffable reason we puny humans don't comprehend". That works in a Lovecraft short story, but for your badass space marine who you've developed over three games that's pretty anti-climactic. The games had to have the premise of winning over the Reapers and definitively ensuring they never came back. Because that's how videogames work. A lot of the disgruntlement about the ending is the feeling that Star Child takes that agency away from the player. Marauder Shields is a meme for a reason.

    For a long form epic like Mass Effect, you need a villain to talk to. Saren, Harbinger, The Illusive Man. You need to gradually learn more about the threat, or you wind up with a Dragon Age Origins situation where the Blight is this theoretical thing thats happening but nobody cares about because it's just an army of faceless goons with no motivation.

    Other franchises do this too. In Resident Evil the main threat is supposedly the zombies, but who are the villains? Wesker, Krauser, Chief Irons, Sadler, the Umbrella Corporation. Humans who give a face and direction to the existential threat.

  22. - Top - End - #982
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tail of the Bellcurve
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Speaking of things horrible, the first King Arthur fight in Knight's Tale is, ah, something.

    Spoiler
    Show

    So King Arthur's dead husk is this giant headless zombie thing. Except where his neck should be, there's just a hole, full of skulls. One of his voice lines during the fight is "I am the Round Table."

    He is literally the Round Table.


    A surprisingly solid little piece of enemy design there. Creepy.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  23. - Top - End - #983
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2023

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    Mass Effect as a trilogy is a story encompassing 100+ hours (assuming you do at least a little bit of the side content, anyway). That's a long time to have an antagonist that you do not understand, never speak to, and never have anything about it explained. Imagine if the trilogy had said "The Reapers got bored and left, for some ineffable reason we puny humans don't comprehend". That works in a Lovecraft short story, but for your badass space marine who you've developed over three games that's pretty anti-climactic. The games had to have the premise of winning over the Reapers and definitively ensuring they never came back. Because that's how videogames work. A lot of the disgruntlement about the ending is the feeling that Star Child takes that agency away from the player. Marauder Shields is a meme for a reason.
    For sure. That's usually why Lovecraftian games have a cult or organization working to summon or empower the horrors. You can't defeat the immortal god-creature, but you can stop the cult from ever bringing it forth.

    Oddly, Mass Effect has this. Three times over, in fact. First the Geth, then the Collectors, and finally Cerberus. Then they throw in a full scale invasion that should be unwinnable, so they also have to come up with the Catalyst/Starchild nonsense so you can win.

  24. - Top - End - #984
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Quote Originally Posted by Errorname View Post
    I'm more thinking of the tone you get from Feros and Noveria with the Thorian and the Rachni. I thought it worked well.
    I don't see a distinction. The tone there was creepy because Saren seems to have something strange going on and you have no idea what. Which can last only until you learn about Sovereign being a Reaper and what he can do, because at that point there's no mystery anymore, just a threat to be fought. To maintain that kind of creepiness you'd need to do something like cosmic horror, making the villain an unknowable mystery. And I already explained my views on that where the Reapers are concerned.
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

  25. - Top - End - #985
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    I was playing Timberborn these past few days. I always have trouble deciding when my colony is done. I figure when I have a full warehouse of each foodstuff, Solved droughts (and now badtides) of at least a week, and built one of each monument I think I have solved that map. My average beaver happiness is over 50 so I'm pretty much set up for perpetual success. At that point I think I just say Map Done even if I haven't colonized the whole thing yet. If I was more inclined I would set up multiple communities and try to get everything green, but honestly that just seems like work.

    I'm not sure how I feel about unlimited range for district centers, it has its good and bad points but basically I never know when to migrate in this version of the game. since my infrastructure is always localized but I used to try and set up a scrapyard district where needed and build communities around resources. now it just doesn't seem nessicary, yeah it's less efficient but there really isn't a noticable difference in the long run.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; Yesterday at 08:58 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #986
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zevox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What Are You Playing: 9 Years since the Last Dragon Age

    Finished up Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night today. It's a pretty darn good game, but I do have to say, it definitely felt too derivative of Symphony of the Night at times. SotN is a great game and being inspired by that was a selling point to me, but when I'm recognizing numerous areas, enemies, items, and even a major plot point from the game you're inspired by, you might be going a bit too far with it. Not to say that there weren't plenty of unique elements, just that a bit too much of it was a bit too familiar for my preferences. The only thing that never felt like they were just taking something from SotN were the bosses, which were quite good - aside from the final boss, which was highly disorienting due to how it was designed, not a fan of that one.

    I will say I definitely did like their twist on the upside-down castle element. Turning that into a power you can use at will to replace any sort of flight ability was kind of brilliant. Homages that element while avoiding bogging the game down with needing to re-explore the whole castle again in a second half like in SotN, and it's just a cool mechanic to play around with. Kudos to them there.

    I wound up using the flying sword as my main weapon, because, well, once I saw how it worked, it was pretty obvious it had to be the best weapon in the game. Ranged, can hit twice per toss with good spacing, and most importantly it never puts you into an attack animation, you can just keep throwing it while moving? Oh yeah, that's busted. And the upgraded version is insanely more busted once you can craft it, not only significantly increasing the base damage to begin with, but also letting you throw two at once, more than doubling your damage output compared to the normal version. I thought up until I saw that that my big damage output would be from the True Arrow directional spell, which could hit the same target five times with a single cheap casting, but that sword wound up even better in the end.

    Anyway though, it did turn out to be shorter than I expected, and I still have a week until FF7 Rebirth. Fortunately though, it kind of worked out, because Nintendo just shadow-dropped Penny's Big Breakaway, a 3D platformer made by the guys who created Sonic Mania, yesterday. So I'll be grabbing that tomorrow for sure.

    Also, 2B released in Granblue Rising a few days ago, and I've been playing her a lot. She's fun, but weird - she can't use a number of the game's basic mechanics, and has several unique ones of her own instead. This makes her play more like she does in Nier Automata than she otherwise would, but does also handicap her a bit in some ways. And she's odd in other ways too: she has special moves you'd expect from a rushdown character, providing a lot of opportunities to pressure opponents, but normals you'd expecting from a zoner or bruiser, being slower but longer range than most. All of which means she takes some definite adjusting to compared to the rest of the cast. I'm doing fairly well with her though, I've gotten her to rank S2, which means I'm definitely climbing S rank decently, so I might very well be able to make her my third S+ rank character.
    Last edited by Zevox; Today at 12:54 AM.
    Toph Pony avatar by Dirtytabs. Thanks!

    "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •