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alhoon

Shouldn't in Geneforge the society be female-dominant?

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alhoon   

I was thinking the other day about the balance of gender power in GF (human) society based on what we can deduct solely from the (human) class system of the games.

 

- Women and Men seem to be equally able in Shaping. We have male and female Shapers\Lifecrafters.

- Men are better warriors than women. Only male classes are "Strong" in combat.

- Women are better in magic than men. Only female classes are "Strong" in magic.  

 

So, we have no (human) women "Strong" in physical combat and no men "strong" in magic. That leads me to think:

Millennia of real-world history indicates that when pre-enlightment human side A is stronger than human side B, side A dominates side B. It was during enlightment that very few people at first started questioning "OK, we could oppress women \ less advanced people \ less numerous people. But should we do it?" And let's not pretend that the "perhaps not" side has won worldwide even in 21st century.

 

Undeniably, skill in magic is more powerful than combat skill. Before Shaping got in the equation, that would mean that women would be much more powerful than men in crucial positions. Which should have led to a vastly disproportionate number of matriarchies, Queens, female chieftains, etc etc. before the inevitable Shaper domination (cause Shaping is presented as somewhat more powerful than magic and Shapers are not bad in magic either). And yet, in GF5 and GF4, the remains of pre-Shaper people are not shown to be female-dominated as I think they should have been.

 

So, I am asking, in such a world where the most powerful weapon was women spellcasters before the Shapers shouldn't there have been a culture of matriarchy that would have "infiltrated" the Shaper Society making Shapers too pro-female-dominant? I mean the first Shapers could have been "oppressed males" that became the equivalent of Guardian or Shaper but after the Empire started expanding and incorporating thousands of people that should have been female-dominated for centuries, shouldn't that have shifted towards female-dominance?

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Lilith   
2 hours ago, alhoon said:

I was thinking the other day about the balance of gender power in GF (human) society based on what we can deduct solely from the (human) class system of the games.

 

- Women and Men seem to be equally able in Shaping. We have male and female Shapers\Lifecrafters.

- Men are better warriors than women. Only male classes are "Strong" in combat.

- Women are better in magic than men. Only female classes are "Strong" in magic. 

 

So, we have no (human) women "Strong" in physical combat and no men "strong" in magic.

 

Jeff's said in the past that the genders associated with the playable classes shouldn't be taken as a reflection of the Geneforge setting's "actual" demographics but simply as a consequence of limited art assets, for what it's worth.

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alhoon   

But there are strictly NOT men agents and only ONE woman guardian that had Rawal Shape her to man to pass the physicals in the whole series...

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Triumph   

Geneforge 5 plays fast and loose with previous explicit canonical facts (the second continent? The size of the shaper council? The age of the Shaper empire?). Given this fact, one might argue that other things in G5 should at least be taken with a grain of salt, not automaticallly accepted as accurate reflections of the Geneforge world, particularly if they stand out as weird, unusual, or contradictory in any way. IIRC, nothing prior to G5 gave any indication that any of the shaper classes were segregated, and there's no basis in the games' lore for thinking women are better at magic than men. Your theory simply doesn't have support outside a few wonky data points in G5, the game known for getting stuff wrong. There's just not enough evidence to build your spellcaster-matriarchy.

(While I'm not going to argue the point at any length, I also just have to say that the history of human rights in real life is a LOT more nuanced than "Everything was awful until the Enlightenment happened and things started to improve.")

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Sudanna   

The Guardian graphics are somewhat androgynous, and you'll fairly frequently find women Guardians throughout the series because of it. The Agent graphics are very feminine, so all the Agents we see are women, but the non-Shaper mage graphics are on a masculine end of androgynous and are usually used for men, though not always. There's no reason to think of the class graphics as reflective of gendered skill inclinations in GF.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
Quote

Geneforge 5 plays fast and loose with previous explicit canonical facts (the second continent? The size of the shaper council? The age of the Shaper empire?). Given this fact, one might argue that other things in G5 should at least be taken with a grain of salt, not automaticallly accepted as accurate reflections of the Geneforge world, particularly if they stand out as weird, unusual, or contradictory in any way. IIRC, nothing prior to G5 gave any indication that any of the shaper classes were segregated, and there's no basis in the games' lore for thinking women are better at magic than men. Your theory simply doesn't have support outside a few wonky data points in G5, the game known for getting stuff wrong. There's just not enough evidence to build your spellcaster-matriarchy.

(While I'm not going to argue the point at any length, I also just have to say that the history of human rights in real life is a LOT more nuanced than "Everything was awful until the Enlightenment happened and things started to improve.")

 

The size of the Shaper council changed cause provinces were lost and a decade passed. The age of the Shaper Empire and the 2nd continent were never explicitly detailed. Given this fact, I would say that "no sir, GF5 doesn't seem to play fast and loose and is completely canonical" + "if there is any contradiction I would say the last game takes precedence". Aside of that, IIRC there are mentions before GF5 that Guardians are male only and that Agents are female only in GF4 and GF3. It wasn't a surprise for me when I found that in GF5 because I've seen it in GF4. And even if we take that out (which I think we shouldn't), there are no female Guardians (aside of Manola that required Shaping) or male Agents in GF. And the "art constraints"... Guardians are shown with an armor. Like Guardian Manola is a normal guardian model and she's a woman Guardians could have been made to be both women and men. A different model for Agent that was less obviously feminine could have worked also. So, I don't believe art constraints are the reason all Guardians encountered are men and all Agents encountered are women. I believe it was an decision of the game maker.

As such, I believe there's established lore in several of the GF games that supports females are stronger in magic than males.

 

Now on the other point, GF5 is not the game known for getting stuff wrong. Changes from GF1-3 can be because of the large time frame. Changes from GF4 can be because of the imminent victory of the Rebellion.

 

 

(Of course, I don't disagree that my synopsis of 5 millennia of recorded human interaction is simplified. )

 

17 minutes ago, Sudanna said:

and you'll fairly frequently find women Guardians throughout the series because of it.

 

There are more women Guardians than GF5 Manola? Haven't met any, at all. Perhaps in GF1-2 there are (since I haven't played them), but I haven't seen them.

As for the Agent feminine graphics... it wouldn't be hard to order a sprite that was less feminine and could be used for both genders, like the Shaper, Guardian and Servile ones.

 

Edited by alhoon

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Triumph   

Tell us again which Geneforge games you've never played, Alhoon? I forget. :p

Your failure to play the earlier games undermines your ability to speak accurately on what they do or don't say.

 

In addition, you persist in ignoring gameplay / story segregation, and keep trying to take aspects of the game that aren't meant to serve a lore-conveying function (such as Jeff's limited, low-budget art assets) and force them to carry world-building significance.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Triumph said:

Tell us again which Geneforge games you've never played, Alhoon? I forget. :p

Your failure to play the earlier games undermines your ability to speak accurately on what they do or don't say.

 

In addition, you persist in ignoring gameplay / story segregation, and keep trying to take aspects of the game that aren't meant to serve a lore-conveying function (such as Jeff's limited, low-budget art assets) and force them to carry world-building significance.

 

That could be, but there is canon reference that Guardians are only males and the "low-budget art asset" of the Agent could have been less feminine. So, I strongly believe that what you call "story/gameplay differences" doesn't apply here. The argument you brought up that GF5 is somehow less canon than the rest also doesn't apply here (in my opinion) since GF5 is the last game thus the one most recent and developed.

 

So, if I may ask, are there any male Agents or Female guardians (other than Manola) in the series? Is there a reference that contradicts Manola that only men can be Guardians?

If yes, and there's a reference in the early games about it, we could discuss whether it takes precedence.

Also, if there's a reference of the kind "Shapers decided only Women will be agents for X reason" and X is not "because women are stronger in magic and weaker in physical combat" then we could also discuss it.

 

And of course, if there's a reference "Men and women are of equal magic \ physical prowess but Shapers decided men will be Guardians and Women will be agents" that would invalidate my whole argument.

 

 

But... are there any such references?

Edited by alhoon

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1. Alhoon, if your deductions are really logical, we should be able to apply them to all of the classes.  Including the Servile class.  That would mean that serviles are, on average, physically stronger than humans (of either gender).  Pretty much every piece of in-game lore disputes this.  It would also mean that serviles have better magical ability than human men do (provided it is unsealed).  Pretty much every piece of in-game lore disputes this too: those serviles who manage to use magic do so only after tremendous struggle.

 

The game mechanics in Geneforge very, very rarely do a good job of reflecting the nuances of the world.  If they did, let's face it, the Ashen Isles would have been overrun by Vlish (and presumably both the Shapers and the Rebellion would have been squished); and on the mainland, the Shapers would have won the war as soon as they started making Wingbolts.  Obviously, that is not what happened.  I think this shows why this concept of how to derive game world facts from mechanics is so ridiculous.

 

Spiderweb games, though they have moderately complex mechanics, are now and have always been games where the world comes first.  The world is not subordinate to the mechanics.  Your inferences might be reasonable if we had Geneforge mechanics in a void, but we don't.

 

2. It is sort of ridiculous for you to talk about "canon reference" when you ignore the direct explanation of the author (quoted earlier in the thread).

 

3. Finally, G5 absolutely mucks up a bunch of continuity.  Obviously it doesn't seem like that to you because you played it first.  Doesn't matter!  It came out last.  Now you're right that it is no less canonical than the earlier games, but a retcon is still a retcon.

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Triumph   
5 minutes ago, Slartibus said:

The game mechanics in Geneforge very, very rarely do a good job of reflecting the nuances of the world.  If they did, let's face it, the Ashen Isles would have been overrun by Vlish (and presumably both the Shapers and the Rebellion would have been squished).

 

This. This is the best thing. I'm cracking up imagining the Great Vlish Apocalypse. :lol:

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Slartibus said:

1. Alhoon, if your deductions are really logical, we should be able to apply them to all of the classes.  Including the Servile class.  That would mean that serviles are, on average, physically stronger than humans (of either gender).  Pretty much every piece of in-game lore disputes this.  It would also mean that serviles have better magical ability than human men do (provided it is unsealed).  Pretty much every piece of in-game lore disputes this too: those serviles who manage to use magic do so only after tremendous struggle.

 

The game mechanics in Geneforge very, very rarely do a good job of reflecting the nuances of the world.  If they did, let's face it, the Ashen Isles would have been overrun by Vlish (and presumably both the Shapers and the Rebellion would have been squished); and on the mainland, the Shapers would have won the war as soon as they started making Wingbolts.  Obviously, that is not what happened.  I think this shows why this concept of how to derive game world facts from mechanics is so ridiculous.

 

Spiderweb games, though they have moderately complex mechanics, are now and have always been games where the world comes first.  The world is not subordinate to the mechanics.  Your inferences might be reasonable if we had Geneforge mechanics in a void, but we don't.

 

2. It is sort of ridiculous for you to talk about "canon reference" when you ignore the direct explanation of the author (quoted earlier in the thread).

 

3. Finally, G5 absolutely mucks up a bunch of continuity.  Obviously it doesn't seem like that to you because you played it first.  Doesn't matter!  It came out last.  Now you're right that it is no less canonical than the earlier games, but a retcon is still a retcon.

 

 

Hmmm... interesting take but it's not just the class system, it's also what we're being told in the games I've seen.

However: If Lilith remembers correctly the quote and Jeff did say "don't make gender assumptions based on the class system for Geneforge" (I assumed it was for his other games really),  then of course, the whole point is mute. He made the world.

 

Now, in the case the quote was about different games, if I may:

1. How would Serviles be stronger or better in magic than humans? There are powerful human warriors (Guardians\Warriors) and powerful human spellcasters (sorceress, Agent, Infilitrator).

Also, I was not talking about game mechanics. I completely agree they can't be applied well. We often see guards in low-level areas that are said to be awesome and have 1/4th of the power of guards in high-level areas. "Not good in Shaping" Agents drop tier 5 creations in combat without any hiccup. I don't dispute that at all.

However, as I said my assumptions were not based on mechanics. They were based on what we're being told in the games I've seen.

 

[PS. While it was never said, I (probably erroneously, I admit that) assumed miner-serviles were stronger than humans... Seemed too... unfair otherwise. ]

 

2. It would be silly, true. The author may have used feminine models because that's what he liked and not because Agents were supposed to be women only. But perhaps that reference was made about other games? Is that quote somewhere in the site so I could check it? 

 

3. Well, was it mentioned in the earlier games that the sects were not gender based?

I'm not playing coy here, I sincerely ask and would like to know the answer since my knowledge of the pre-retcon world lacks heavily. (Please avoid major spoilers. A "Yes, in GF2 someone mentions it" would be sufficient)

 

 

Now, since it has been mentioned:

Other examples of "ehh... what?!" differences from arts \ mechanics \ story come to mind aside of the Vlish Dominion of the Ashen Isles (can Vlish reproduce? If yes... )

(No need to remind me that I haven't played GF1-2 with a remark about my incomplete knowledge please :) If those are mentioned elsewhere please just inform me, and you'll have my gratitude)

 

- Nearly all introductions mention Shapers making Creations for light housework... We could assume it's Serviles but very rarely Servile-Shaping is mentioned. It's just in passing in GF4 that the Shapers are Shaping new Serviles that are more Obedient and the ending of GF5 from what I recall.

- Has anyone seen any kid being mentioned?  

- Why door creations never go rogue?

- Who feeds the doors?

- Why can't Shapers control a non-rogue door to open or lock? Same with mines to not blow up.

- If essence pools are big enough to hold enough essence to support spamming of dozens of creations without the essence finishing, why Essence pods are so damned expensive?

Edited by alhoon

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8 hours ago, alhoon said:

(No need to remind me that I haven't played GF1-2 with a remark about my incomplete knowledge please :) If those are mentioned elsewhere please just inform me, and you'll have my gratitude)

Replying separately to this because it is a constantly recurring issue.

 

It's OK that you haven't played G1-2.  On its own, no one will give you a hard time about that.

 

Now, you want to talk and think about things where the whole Geneforge series is relevant.  No one will begrudge you that either.

 

Your arguments also tend to be very strongly worded and to present themselves as if they are obviously and without a doubt true, even though you know you have only seen 60% of the primary source material.  That's annoying, but if it stopped there, you wouldn't get criticized so much.

 

Here's what the real problem is:

 

When somebody else tries to "inform you" (as you request above), you:

- argue endlessly

- argue with just as much confidence as you had before finding out that people who played G1-2 disagree with you

make demands of others in the conversation to "prove" things that nobody who's played G1-2 seems to need proved

 

It's OK that you chose to skip the first two games, that provide by far the most foundational information about the world of Geneforge.  But that does not make it our responsibility to cater to the holes in your knowledge base.

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9 hours ago, Slartibus said:

It would also mean that serviles have better magical ability than human men do (provided it is unsealed).  Pretty much every piece of in-game lore disputes this too: those serviles who manage to use magic do so only after tremendous struggle.

 

8 hours ago, alhoon said:

How would Serviles be stronger or better in magic than humans? There are powerful human warriors (Guardians\Warriors) and powerful human spellcasters (sorceress, Agent, Infilitrator).

 

Read what I said again.  Human men.  Let's look at the classes by race and gender:

 

Human female: 3 strong at magic, 1 weak at magic

Human not specified: 2 average at magic

Human male: 2 weak at magic

 

Servile: 1 average at magic

 

Again, this is just drawing conclusions from the classes the same way you were.  Even if you count shapers and lifecrafters as exclusively male, men still come out on average "weaker" at magic than serviles.

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alhoon   
2 hours ago, Slartibus said:

Replying separately to this because it is a constantly recurring issue.

 

Here's what the real problem is:

 

When somebody else tries to "inform you" (as you request above), you:

- argue endlessly

- argue with just as much confidence as you had before finding out that people who played G1-2 disagree with you

make demands of others in the conversation to "prove" things that nobody who's played G1-2 seems to need proved

 

 

My apologies if it seems that way, but I think you take the wrong impressions of my posts and my tone.

 

- I agree I discuss or debate (not argue) a lot. But not endlessly and I don't do it out of spite or stubbornness. Like the example above. I just have not been convinced.

- I don't argue strongly or with as much conviction. In this thread for example I am not sure I am right and I have said so several times. I don't know why you say that I argue with as much confidence, but that's not the case after you all mentioned GF1-2.

Before you mention GF1-2 in those discussions that you disagree with me though, apologies but how would I know that GF1-2 would be relevant?

- I don't make demands, I politely request in cases that the GF1-2 when I am told that they contradict GF3-5.

 

To be sincere, I think we're on the wrong foot here. You make me sound like a stubborn, argumentative, demanding kid when I am not. Several people disagreed with me in this thread but only you seem to take offence that I am not convinced. Perhaps I read the tone of your post wrong, but the impression I get is that you're offended that a person with less knowledge about this topic disagrees with you.

 

2 hours ago, Slartibus said:

But that does not make it our responsibility to cater to the holes in your knowledge base.

Of course not and I am thankful that you take the time to reply.

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alhoon   
2 hours ago, Slartibus said:

 

 

Read what I said again.  Human men.  Let's look at the classes by race and gender:

 

Human female: 3 strong at magic, 1 weak at magic

Human not specified: 2 average at magic

Human male: 2 weak at magic

 

Servile: 1 average at magic

 

Again, this is just drawing conclusions from the classes the same way you were.  Even if you count shapers and lifecrafters as exclusively male, men still come out on average "weaker" at magic than serviles.

 

You make a nice point here and that's the reason I am happy you take the time to debate with me even after commenting unfavorably about my posting habits and stubbornness.

 

Yes, going by class Serviles > Men.

:sick:

 

Serviles are not more powerful than men. No debate about that. Those that are better than men in magic are because they went to extreme lengths, scars etc or they used the geneforge.

Geneforge\Canisters effects aside, it is clear that "going to extreme lengths" leads to serviles being better in magic, hence arguably one's potential is not "locked" by race. And if Serviles can focus on an area and become "Average" at it from "weak", it is logical that genders can too.

 

 

Now, let me change the question (And I don't do it out of stubbornness or need to endlessly argue, the question popped in my mind):

- Does the Geneforge \ Ability to Shape make women stronger than men in magic? You know, the basis of the class system.

 

And another one, which is kinda what I should have started with:

- Are Guardians actually weak in magic and Agents weak in Shaping, or it is a result of game balance and design?

It makes sense world-wise that people focusing on combat would spend more time training in weapons (thus NPC Guardians would have weapon skills when encountered) while people working behind enemy lines (Guardians) would spend more time in crowd control (thus NPC Agents would be good in magic when encountered). And of course, people that stay in labs and do research should be good in Shaping.

But Agents are not presented as weak in Shaping (with the exception of Perhaps Greta) as they can call several and powerful creations. Before someone says "That's game balance! Don't take the abilities Agents show in combat as representative!" ... is there any reference that they are actually weak in shaping?

 

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Triumph   

I don't expect this convince you, but off the top of my head (I don't remember every minor character in the series) there's definitely a female guardian in the very first town of G2 (and there's absolutely no indication that there's anything atypical or unusual about this). Happy now?

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Triumph said:

I don't expect this convince you, but off the top of my head (I don't remember every minor character in the series) there's definitely a female guardian in the very first town of G2 (and there's absolutely no indication that there's anything atypical or unusual about this). Happy now?

 

- Yes, happy.

- I have already been convinced by the "if we go by class, Serviles > men" argument.

- If I may ask, why did yo assume I would not be convinced by the "there was a female guardian that was nothing out of the ordinary in GF2"?

I am not on a crusade here people... I am not trying to prove that I am right. I am asking and trying to make sense.

It is evident by two arguments (Servile one, GF2 Guardian one) that I was wrong. That's perfectly fine.

Edited by alhoon

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Triumph   
10 minutes ago, alhoon said:

- If I may ask, why did yo assume I would not be convinced by the "there was a female guardian that was nothing out of the ordinary in GF2"?

 

Well, you have a history of not being convinced by anything anyone says. More than once, you've put forth a theory, and then when people offer points that don't mesh with whatever your theory happened to be, you deny, explain away, or otherwise devise reasons to reject that information.

 

I'm glad we can put this particular debate to bed, at least. :D

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alhoon   
3 minutes ago, Triumph said:

 

I'm glad we can put this particular debate to bed, at least. :D

 

Ah, I posted two follow-up questions.

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2 hours ago, alhoon said:

Before you mention GF1-2 in those discussions that you disagree with me though, apologies but how would I know that GF1-2 would be relevant?

You would know this if you are discussing a topic to which the entire Geneforge corpus is obviously relevant.  You know, at this point, that G1-2 cover the earliest period of time of any Geneforge game; and that they are the only games that show anything of Shaper society before this big huge war started.  So for broad cultural topics, especially historical ones like this thread -- it seems like a safe assumption that they might be relevant.

 

If you're talking about Wingbolts, then obviously it's a different story.

 

2 hours ago, alhoon said:

- I don't make demands, I politely request in cases that the GF1-2 when I am told that they contradict GF3-5.

I'm not saying you use nasty words or anything.  Typically, though, you do not restrain one inch of your arguments (which, however you want to characterize your style, are certainly very assertive) in response to somebody else saying "but what about this in G2"?  I realize you did that here.  I hope that means you are turning over a new leaf.  If so, let me be the first to shake your hand.

 

The bottom line is, as I guess you agreed above, it is not our job to teach you about the games you choose not to play.  G1 and G2 are hardly "specialist" topics of knowledge around here.  People expect to be able to talk about them and the stuff in them because they are widely known.  So when somebody says "but what about this in G2?" it is frustrating for you to ask every time for specific details that nobody else needs -- and then to completely ignore the comment, and go on pushing your opinion without taking the other information into account, if you don't receive it (or if you find some other reason to write it off without actually having played through it yourself).  I'm not trying to be mean here: that is honestly what I have seen happen in numerous threads: and that's why I used the word "demand."

 

2 hours ago, alhoon said:

You make me sound like a stubborn, argumentative, demanding kid when I am not. Several people disagreed with me in this thread but only you seem to take offence that I am not convinced. Perhaps I read the tone of your post wrong, but the impression I get is that you're offended that a person with less knowledge about this topic disagrees with you.

Alhoon, I am certainly not the only person who's ever gotten frustrated while debating with you on these forums.  Nor am I the only one to characterize your debating style (not you as a person) that way.  (See, for example, Triumph's post 2 above this one.)

 

To be clear: I'm happy for you to disagree with me.  Actually I think that a lot of your interpretations are really interesting, and even if I disagree with them, they are a great jumping-off point for discussion.  The problem comes when you don't treat arguments from the earlier games fairly and/or place unfair burdens of proof on the other party, when you are the one restricting your access to information.

 

But, I agree.  Things look better in this thread, so let's just move on and hope they stay that way.

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alhoon   

Point taken. Don't expect miracles but expect things to improve on how I regard GF2.

I have not realized that what I did was mostly saying "Look, I decided to read that book of Asian history from chapter 14, the point of the Mongol Invasions onwards cause that I want to know" and then bugging people with "wait, you say the Chinese system X that is covered in chapter 10 because it was developed in the 5th century? What did the chapter say?"

 

Why I say "don't expect miracles"?

It will not come as a surprise for any of you but... I consider GF1-GF2 prequels to the main thing, the Great Rebellion, not GF3-5 as sequels to the main thing, someone stepping at the wrong island and discovering a secret that would profoundly change history (because the Rebellion WILL win! Down with the oppressors!) . Which is the reason I started late in the chain of the games.

 

But I've found a solution on the GF2 at least issues. I'll play on easy difficulty to be able to focus on mechanics* without frustrating battles + I will cheat myself to a +10 strength to be able to carry stuff.

And I need some help to enjoy it despite the system's shortcomings.

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"Because the Rebellion WILL win! Down with the Oppressors!" Yes. They get to win. In your copy of the game. Not my copy. Hehehe... XD 

And I can't say the rebellion wins for the rest of the player base with the game. XD XD XD

Your dedication to the rebellion is impressive, alhoon... but at the same time, I doubt the rest of the people on this forum necessarily share that opinion. I know I sure as hell don't. XD #fiteme

 

Talking about the aforementioned GF2 and GF1 games: I don't really play the older games, mainly because they're very clunky and annoying in terms of mechanics and fighting, quite frankly. I have trouble trying to play them simply because the mechanics are annoying to deal with, especially since I've played from GF3 all the way to GF5, meaning I'm used to the newer and more streamlined mechanics and better graphics.

 

As for the whole Female-dominance thing: I doubt using the in-game graphics and gameplay mechanics for the PCs are a good way to measure that, especially given the game we're talking about. Like some of the earlier posters mentioned, you're using gameplay mechanics to try and explain the lore, world, and story of the game itself. It doesn't work like that; there's a thing called "Gameplay and Story Segregation" on TVTropes for a reason, you know. Limited graphics, time limits, limited budget, coding, etc. can show in a game, and it does show in the Geneforge series (though it doesn't take away from the experience, fortunately. :)). For example, how can your player character run around in Shaper controlled towns and fortresses with Barred creations like Drayks, Drakons, and Gazers without the Shapers getting upset/nervous at you for doing so? Trying to weave the story and lore into the gameplay mechanics (also known as "Gameplay and Story Integration") would be difficult to do, especially given Jeff's limited budget (For example, I doubt fighting capability is as useless in the story as the game makes it out to be, but we're stuck with it since we don't have anything like combat disciplines from Avernum in Geneforge.)

 

Talking about the graphics of the player models: Some of the PCs do look kinda odd for what they do, I will admit. For example, Shock Troopers. They don't look like someone that would charge into the heat of battle with their creations, blades and batons out and everything. I feel it looks more suited for a Sorceress character, staying back and blasting the enemy away with powerful magic while her creations keep her safe (Example: Shaila from GF4 uses the Shock Trooper model, but she uses magic, and her graphic has her hold a baton, which looks like a magic staff to me. When I saw her use magic, it felt so very right to me). While I'm not going to complain about getting a new character model for the Sorceress we have now (and the Sorceress' current model looks good and fits well with the character), the Shock Trooper's character model fits just as well. Also kinda strange that there are only female Agents; no male Agents seems a little odd to me. But then again, limited art assets explain why things are like this.

 

Funny thing: The character graphics have actually led to a few incidents where I got completely tricked by the game. For example, in GF5:

Spoiler

When I was fighting Bennhold, the "legendary bandit king", he used the model of the Lifecrafter, so I expected to fight someone that used tons of creations with a bunch of attack magic to support said creations. He did use creations alongside his bandit friends, but imagine my surprise when I found out he used powerful Acid Thorns and physical attacks instead of magic. (Spoilers: I died. Really quickly. XD)

 

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alhoon   

Unfortunately, many mages and the Lifecrafter have the same model I think. GF2 is indeed, very clunky, so I go at it for the story and ignore micromanagement. I hate the equipment screens most: No selling price showed! I have to -guess- which items are more expensive than others if I need to lighten up my character.

As for the "no male agents \ female guardians is a bit odd" well, the Shapers are more than a bit odd. GF2 I think shows them at their worst: Incompetent. The colony in Drypeak is over-run by weed-like trees that grow fast and damage the walls because the Shapers were too fast to say "OK, they work. Plant them". The food production is abysmal. There is a Shaper deserter that just "walked off" and nobody really looked where she was. There's a Shaper officially "dead' for a year and no Shaper spy or Zakary's colony turncoat or just someone fed up with Zakary and wanted to suck up to other Shapers informed the Shapers.

 

About the story-mechanics segregation, you can see my arguments over why that was not necessarily the case but then someone rightly pointed out "If we go by that logic, serviles are more powerful than men because they're 'better' in magic as a class while in the game world it takes great effort for a servile to become mage"

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Maybe wait until you have gotten further into the game to make this many judgments about the people you've seen.  You are already way off in some of what you are saying, as you will discover :)

 

I think selling price shows up in the info box you get when you... right click on an item?  It's been a while.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)

Tried that. :( Doesn't work. And the manual doesn't help either.

And then I figured that an iron mining town has a quest for... iron bars! After I've sold like 12 of them...

 

Quote

You are already way off in some of what you are saying, as you will discover

:)

Love that. I love surprises.

Haven't even found the rebels though aside of a guy that told me "Hi, we don't like Shanti but you show promise! Keep in mind there are Shaper enemies here. We have plans. See you around. We're in tough monsters place. " If you guys are so happy to see me, why not give me a baton or something to let me cross?!

 

Also, if you talk about the Shaper deserter, it's not that I don't like her. It's just that... she was lost in the paperwork. :/ If I haven't seen Alwan's towns (GF4-5) and Dhonal's island (GF3) I would have a very bad image about Shaper efficiency from Monarch \ Taygen \ Rawal \ Harmony island.  

Edited by alhoon

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Shift-click?  Ctrl-click?  (Cmd-click if on a mac.)

 

And yeah, G3 really does do a good job of making modern-day Shapers look incompetent.  Keep in mind that most players got there after several years of thinking about modern Shaper society based largely on the G1 introduction text plus what evidence G2 has of it.  So I think the typical reaction was "wow, they really were not at all prepared for the rebellion" rather than a judgment of their usual operating standards.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)

From what I saw, GF2 doesn't help their cause either. While they do seem very powerful (compared to GF3-5) with tons of powerful creations and text like "seriously?! There's just thands and Fyoras there, don't be a coward" while in GF3 thands and Fyoras in Greenwood island were treated as the heralds of the apocalypse by the people...  the "this is a failed colony" part irks me. I've seen in GF3-5, especially GF5, the unsang wonders of Shaping, with the trees and all in Rawal's lands and the Zephyr Oasis that while a bleak place, it's leaps and bounds above the failed colony. Since... it's not a failed colony.

 

Drypeak so far serves as a poster-example for the Trakovite cause "Shaping creates much more problems than it solves! Look at the mess in Drypeak!", while not all Shaper world is like that. In fact most of the Shaper world is not like that. Sure, there are countless "Locked because experiments went wrong" places, but there's life in Whitespires, there's life in the deserts, there's life in swamps.

And if that Shaper a bit above the town managed to start a farm, since Sharon's grove is explained as having a far-better-performing garden and field, then Zakary, the other Shaper-in-the-lab and the apprentices have few excuses for the state of the colony. It was not that hard apparently, since Sharon made it.

 

But all this talk made me ache to go bash some of those fyoras and show to Shanti that I'm not a weakling coward, and in the process find those Rebels hiding elsewhere.

 

POST-Tunnel edit:

HEAVY SPOILERS



OK, I was wrong apparently. Zakary and Barzahl left the failing colony to remaining failing for some reason and improved the valley behind it. I don't know why, but I do know that Shaper arts worked.

Edited by alhoon

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TheKian   
On 5/12/2017 at 8:30 PM, alhoon said:

 

-snip-

 

3. Well, was it mentioned in the earlier games that the sects were not gender based?

 

-snip-

 

Now, since it has been mentioned:

Other examples of "ehh... what?!" differences from arts \ mechanics \ story come to mind aside of the Vlish Dominion of the Ashen Isles (can Vlish reproduce? If yes... )

 

-snip-

 

- Nearly all introductions mention Shapers making Creations for light housework... We could assume it's Serviles but very rarely Servile-Shaping is mentioned. It's just in passing in GF4 that the Shapers are Shaping new Serviles that are more Obedient and the ending of GF5 from what I recall.

- Has anyone seen any kid being mentioned?  

- Why door creations never go rogue?

- Who feeds the doors?

- Why can't Shapers control a non-rogue door to open or lock? Same with mines to not blow up.

- If essence pools are big enough to hold enough essence to support spamming of dozens of creations without the essence finishing, why Essence pods are so damned expensive?

1. All I can think of in regards to that is that I am 99% certain that, in an earlier game, it mentioned that Agents are always or almost always females.

2. Vlish can indeed reproduce. In the Junkyard area of GF1, for example, there are a number of submission and terror Vlish (and some ordinary ones, but nobody likes them) who have apparently been there for generations; they were part of the original creations left behind by the Shapers (sloppy work, that was).

3. Litalia specifically explains that, in the -SPOILERS- when she was an apprentice, she annihilated a bunch of serviles (sweet girl, that one) and shaped a bunch of new, dumb, loyal serviles. However, Geneforge also explains that serviles are rarely shaped due to the effort it takes: breeding is generally the desired method of obtaining new ones.

4. In Vakkiri (literally the third area, no spoilers here) in Geneforge 1, there is a young servile girl (like, 12 years old or something?) watching the ornks. She's part of a quest to get back a stolen knife.

5. Doors are basically just fungi/plants. Although I would argue that those bloody doors that never open are rogues. Blast them apart!

6. They're basically subterranean plants. They subsist off of nutrients in the soil.

7. I suggest that they are so simple that they can't be controlled. They're basically programmed with one goal that's never changed. They can be manipulated with machines, but you'd probably have to reShape them to lock the doors, in which case it'd probably be simpler to kill the door creation.

8. Essence pools presumably take a good many resources to create, and usually also need properly trained caretakers. Essence pods, being basically Shaping resources, are likely strictly controlled in who is allowed to make them. High demand from Shapers and low supply due to relatively few manufacturers makes them expensive. Also, pods are really tiny, if you're wondering why they restore so little.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
On ‎13‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 6:26 PM, Triumph said:

I don't expect this convince you, but off the top of my head (I don't remember every minor character in the series) there's definitely a female guardian in the very first town of G2 (and there's absolutely no indication that there's anything atypical or unusual about this). Happy now?

 

Found that guardian. Bazrite. They throw all laws under the water except that the Creations should be obedient so I wouldn't say that counts as Shapers allowing women to be Guardians.

 

So while there's actually evidence and logical conclusions that female warriors can be good (several female warriors and commander) there seem to be no female Guardians in the "proper" Shaper ranks in GF2-5 aside of Guardian Manola, at least that I've found.

Why the Shapers do that, remains a mystery.

Edited by alhoon

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Triumph   

Uh, you seem to have missed Zakary's chief bodyguard. She's explicitly identified as a Guardian, and she's a woman.

 

Of course, under your taxonomy of "True Shaperhood," maybe working for Zakary disqualifies her as a valid example. :p

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Presumably she went through the same highly-regulated training as all Shapers/Guardians/Agents go through.  So it's safe to say she has the Shaper Council's approval as a female Guardian.

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Triumph   

Shaka, when the walls fell. 

 

Yes, Slarty, that's what I think. I was poking a little fun at the fact that Alhoon has some stringent standards of what a true Shaper is (as I recall, he found Alwan insufficiently orthodox!), not discounting my own example. ;)

 

Also, love today's PDN.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Triumph said:

Uh, you seem to have missed Zakary's chief bodyguard. She's explicitly identified as a Guardian, and she's a woman.

 

Of course, under your taxonomy of "True Shaperhood," maybe working for Zakary disqualifies her as a valid example. :p

 

Hmm? She's not a Guardian, she's an outsider warrior. No Shaper. The text says "his room if full of Guardians" but speaking with them I found that they are all outsiders and the intention for the text was to write "guards". GF2 has several examples that make me think it was hastily released. The entry text contradicts itself some times, there are areas that feel "empty" and the worse: There are area and creation descriptions missing. In GF3-5, you get descriptions for all creations you encounter. In GF2 I first killed a couple of Alphas and then got a message of "there are some alphas here" no description about what an Alpha is. No description of what a Roamer is. No description of what a drayk or Glaahk is. GF2 Requires the player to have played another geneforge game. You cannot start with GF2.

 

Alwan:

Oh, come on guys. Alwan himself finds Alwan unorthodox.

How many Shapers have allowed their subordinates to merge with crystals to boost their Shaping powers x10, so three of them would create a wall? How many Shapers have created not once, but twice, a complex where creations make creations?

Which other Shaper had SPAWNERS as defenses? Or had a Shaper in his employ that makes Rots and teaches people about Drayks?

Or worked not once, but twice with a person that has used the Geneforge and in the first case that person started as a rebel?

 

Alwan has an unhealthy fascination with "hold the line!" and trying again and again a plan that failed.

Edited by alhoon

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Triumph   

Come on, Alhoon. Here's the dialogue when you meet Nora: "The commander of the warren guards is patrolling the halls. She is a guardian, and her armor is still in good shape. You would guess that she came to Drypeak recently." Then she introduces herself thus: "I am Nora, a Guardian of the Warren." BOOM.

 

And no, nothing in the dialogue of that zone suggests the guardians are really just outsider guards.

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)

Ooookaay... Missed that. I don't remember any Nora. Actually, I don't remember any commander in the warren guards.

Going to talk to her again. :)

 

EDIT: Found her. Since I got the intro text, it seems I have not met her. She was not easy to locate, mind you. Hiding in some corridor and not in an office. If I was not specifically hitting tab, I would not have noticed her sprite was sliiightly different.

Damn, she's an obnoxious Zakary lackey. Mindless follower of her failed commander and still arrogant against the person "working" to resolve the situation (i.e. working to get her killed, but she doesn't know that).

 

EDIT2: Oh THAT'S  what the text meant when it said "full of Guardians". I found a place I have missed behind some locked doors that is choke-full with guardians!

Meh, I did a sloppy job of investigating Lying Zakary the Deceiver. In hindsight, I should have assumed he has a huge Shaper force with him, since he said he doesn't have enough.

Edited by alhoon

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Let me preface this by saying I don't mean this as an attack.  I am trying to offer constructive commentary to improve future discussion around here :)

 

Alhoon, this is a shining example of what I am always talking about.  You start by insisting that something is true.  Other people say it isn't and cite evidence.  Instead of looking at that evidence, you cite "evidence" that doesn't even exist.

 

I wish you would either

1) be a little bit less "fast and loose" with your conclusions, or

2) clearly differentiate between the times you are randomly asserting something, and the times you are trulysure about something

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alhoon   
Posted (edited)

Not taken as an attack. You're absolutely right.

I've made a ton of assumptions, jumped into conclusions and I was quite confident in most of them. The Awakened have not told me the Bazrites are the heart of evil for example made me assume they were just more militant and canister happy, falling between the Takers and the Awakened. It had not even crossed my mind that the few things the Awakened were telling me were simply... not the whole story.

It is a problem with half-informed people like me: We see the tree and we assume we know how the forest looks like. To be sincere, in my line of work (geostatistics) that is one of the worst traits to have. I'm always telling people to check whether the sample we investigate can actually be considered representative of the whole. We put such questions in the exams for the students. We put such questions on the class.

 

It is more inexcusable for me to jump in conclusions based on insufficient data than for a 20-years old student.

I understand your frustration here.

 

To my defense, whatever defense that can be in my case, I play the game to unwind and "rush" through it in a way since I don't have as much time to play as I want. I want things to be as I see them in the first cursory glance because I don't want to have to take a 2nd glance. It is simply... bias. :(

OK, weak defense. But that is it.

 

It has been some time that a Geneforge Game brought me face to face with my shortcomings in knowledge.

Edited by alhoon

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Geostatistics, that's awesome.  OK, yeah, definitely gonna hold you to a high standard now that I know the level of precision you are capable of, hehe ;)

 

Actually I am impressed again by your ability to hear feedback.  That is a high-level skill to be sure, and I know I could use a few more points in it myself, so -- props, alhoon.

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alhoon   

We just all witnessed that I don't process feedback at least as far as games go, except through the quite narrow and thick lens of my early-crafter bias.

I also just wanted to say here that the reason I write those huge posts as I progress with GF2 is because I want to go "back in time" later and "gee, that was wrong!" or "That was impressive prescience. Kudos younger-alhoon". Sure GF2 is more of the first part and way less of the 2nd part but still.

The reason I avoid spoilers in this game is that I love the surprises and the twists and the things I've missed.

 

Like a Guardian and a whole lot of stuff in the Warrens, including tons of money. I wish I had found them in time cause I was really short on cash at that point.

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