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Outside the Ox

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About Outside the Ox

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    The Demon of Good Taste
  • Birthday December 25

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  1. I really don't understand how you get that from "quest hub". Call that a required quest, a gatekeeper, whatever -- that's simply not what the word "hub" means. I mean, here's what Giant Bomb says it is: https://www.giantbomb.com/quest-hub/3015-6065/ We've been talking about it in terms of people (Bob) rather than locations, but it applies the same way there. It's a central person with multiple quests. OK, now I'm just confused. You said before that quest hubs were the "result" of going away from the open world system. Now you seem to be arguing that these open world games all had quest hubs?
  2. Again I disagree. In Exile 1, quests were all over the place, and often quite informal. The bigger quests were interwoven amongst a number of different characters. Erika tells you about a bunch of stuff you need to do, but most of that info comes from other people as well. Micah I think is the only person in the game who actually gives you rewards for a sequence of accomplishments -- but again, about 800 people talk about those quests and how great it would be for someone to take out Sss-Thsss, etc. Those are not quest hubs. Compare to E3: although Anaximander isn't the only person who tells you to go after the plagues (which after all the whole game is about), he nonetheless gives you explicit directions, missions, and rewards, spanning the entire game. In Nethergate and G1, many quests do require speaking to your faction leader either to hear about them, or to activate them, depending. How exactly are you defining "quest hubs" such that G3 and A4 have them, but Nethergate and G1 (for example) do not?
  3. I strongly disagree. "Quest hubs" in Spiderweb games predate the scripted-path world by quite a bit. E3, Nethergate, G1 and G2 all had quest hubs, even though scripted-path didn't replace open-world until G3 and A4. And even in G3-5, quest hubs weren't quite as formulaic as they became in A5-6 and, especially, in Avadon. It's part of the same general evolution of SW games -- absolutely. But it's not the result of scripted-path world design. -- It's one thing to have a faction leader or a commander who you collaborate with over the course of the game, an organic part of the game world like Cartumnus or Ellhrah. It's another thing to have 10 different hubs that you repeatedly check in with, each time the story advances, to get new quests, and who all magically have one new quest per new area. That becomes mechanical and, worse, transparent. It kills the suspension of disbelief. And you can certainly have scripted-path world design without quest hubs: JRPGs did that for a good 15 years. JRPGs did that by having game progress be plot-based. In early SW games, like most Western CRPGs of the era, progress was more gradual and atmospheric. Both of those ways of doing things can work out great. With the focus on quest hubs, though, progress is instead hub-based. Mechanical. Perfunctory. With good stories and good writing, sometimes it's possible to gloss over this. But that doesn't always work out.
  4. I wish the concept "quest hub" was not a thing. Just in general...
  5. Outside the Ox

    Geneforge 4 Trakovites *Spoilers*

    Be careful about drawing conclusions here! There are two things that might be likely to affect that part of the ending. One of them is your "reputation", the number that lots of actions (and a few conversation choices) alter. The other is specifically how you resolve the major quests at the end of each chapter. The rewards from Manohla in Derenton Freehold depend SOLELY on the reputation number. I would be careful about assuming that that is what affects the ending rather than how you resolved the major quests. It's certainly possible, I just don't think it's a given. Both of these things could be tested by using shift-D to edit SDFs right before the ending, if you wanted to. Re repairing Moseh... I believe that buying creations from Duncan simply requires a slightly pro-shaper reputation and does not depend on Moseh specifically. You may wish to consult this: https://minmax.ermarian.net/g4/g4q.html
  6. I don't think this has been done much, because it's generally simpler (and there is definitely less chance of collateral damage) to just edit a dialogue script in a zone to increase a stat (or whatever you need).
  7. Outside the Ox

    Avernum 7

    Actually, the majority of the linked article comes directly from the Avernum 3 ending. The bit about the City of Dawn and Redmark College is a collective fan invention.
  8. Outside the Ox

    Geneforge 4 display problem

    Awesome! What a happy ending. I'm moving this to Tech Support so the solution will be easier for other people who are having problems to find.
  9. Outside the Ox

    G3 small oops

    Just wait until you want to go back and do something on a previous island and have to backtrack through multiple boats, walking in and out of 4 different zones to get there
  10. Outside the Ox

    Hardest/strangest party creation?

    It's not. (I mean, I can't speak to how you played it -- I think replenishing SP would be a more likely cause of extra trips than inventory -- but those spells definitely do not exist ) Look, people really trust your word around here, Randomizer; I wish you wouldn't speak authoritatively about stuff you're only guessing about. If you're basing your statement on a vague memory from a decade ago -- or, equally, on a vague statement Jeff made -- I really wish you'd indicate that. People take your factual statements as expert opinions, because of the detailed work you put into your atlases, and so on. You are trusted. Which makes it extra important that you say something different when you just mean to bring up a thought as a possibility that you aren't sure about. When you don't, that's how we end up with urban legends about game mechanics
  11. Outside the Ox

    Hardest/strangest party creation?

    Exile I in particular had relatively little in the way of lootable items. But even II and III weren't full of random sellable crap the way post-Geneforge SW games all are. Neither one of those are spells in Exile I. I'm not really sure what you're thinking of here.
  12. Outside the Ox

    Hardest/strangest party creation?

    Singletons were actually pretty popular during the Exile days -- often viewed less as a challenge and more as a personal preference. They streamlined some of the logistical tasks involved in playing, and as you noted, weren't actually any harder than parties. Inventory for them on E1/2 was less an issue than you might expect. There were fewer slots per PC, but also fewer different pieces of equipment to wear.
  13. See, these are the little details and caveats that I wish you would share from the get-go, to avoid creating urban legends Remember that "invisible -36% Torment armor penalty"? (note to anyone reading: that is not a thing, that was never a thing) This is something you saw once, during beta testing, a month before a massive engine overhaul; it can no longer be tested for, and we know it definitely doesn't happen in more recent games. It also doesn't sound like "20 rounds in a fight with a monster swarm" is an environment in which all other variables could possibly be controlled for. Even in A4 and A5, we know a lot about how the engine handles things. It does not have the ability to register multiple copies of the same status. It just tracks the duration of the status on the character, and a duration of 0 means the status is not present, otherwise it is. That's it.
  14. Even then it would just be a mechanic of the shield degrading when there are e.g. 3 or fewer rounds remaining in its duration -- the actual number of times you cast it wouldn't be relevant, just the duration. Right?
  15. Wait, what? That makes no sense, nothing has ever had a multiplicative effect on to hit rolls in any SW game. Are you completely sure there wasn't something else going on?
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