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G1 info + revelations


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So yesterday, on a lark, I started playing G1 again for the first time in probably 13 or 14 years. Immediately glad of the choice. The interface might be awkward, but it has the charm of something being carved out freshly for the first time -- right down to the thorny-wood windowframes, and that spastic green background, which I would not now swap out for anything else. (And that title music: shades of Chrono Cross.)

 

The writing, well, the descriptions are all interesting because everything is uniquely constructed: the zones are simple but don't feel mass-produced. Even early on different creations feel very distinct in a way that was lost in the more recent games: thahds wander randomly while roamers sneak up on you, and vlish are dangerous due to their cries for other vlish.

 

The sects, too, are fresher than I remembered: the hopefulness and joy of the Awakened, which is already gone by G2; the never again seen obsequiousness of the Obeyers; and of course the angst of the Takers (that I didn't forget).

 

Of course I'm also approaching with a dissectionary mindset that I didn't have, once upon a time, so I've been looking at a few things. First, and I haven't seen this info anywhere else on the web, I've figured out how tools, Mechanics, and Unlock work.

 

Manually attempting a lock will succeed if the lock's level is no higher than:

 

Mechanics

 

Casting Unlock will succeed if the lock's level is no higher than:

 

Mechanics + 2 * (Unlock level + Mental Magic + Spellcraft)

 

Using a living tool will lower the level of a given lock by:

 

Mechanics

 

The estimate the game gives is actually wrong, most of the time: it calculates how many living tools you would need to lower the lock's level to zero, rather than what you actually need to do -- lowering it to equal your Mechanics skill. Another way of looking at these: raising Mental Magic or Spellcraft increases your lockpicking power by 2 points; raising Mechanics increases it by 1 point PLUS 1 point per Living Tool you use.

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I'm not sure how mechanics works in G1, but there is the infinte X living tool in the area past Pentil, somewhere near the bottom of the screen, that pretty much renders mechanics moot excluding a few places.

Mines. But yah the x living tool on a cryoa nest might have been a bug. You can only get it if you have no living tools in your inventory though. If you do it will count as 0

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I'm part way through an agent game of G1 and I agree that it is very eye opening after playing the later games. I actually find coming through with a lot more future story experience lets me appreciate some of the little things a lot more, even if they may not have necessarily have been written with a sequel in mind.

 

Like watching your favourite movie a few years later through a new lens.

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I just hope it will be updated sooner or later with the better game mechanics of the later games.

 

I actually hate myself for agreeing with you. It was the first computer game i got. And i really like it. The story and the options.

But i replayed the game recently. Quite successfully even. And it pained me.

I guess what bothers me the most is the limited money. And spells.

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I honestly feel more sorry for the pentil guys. Unltimatelly misguided anyone remember the record keeper. That poor fellow. The takers knew better, the awakened were too hopefull. Damn did they get down to earth quickly.

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Yeah, the I always felt really bad for the Obeyers. They waited all these years (200 hundred I think) for their masters, the Shapers to come, only to get squashed by the Shapers first. It's all the more heartbreaking that they really really believed they would come and make everything right. Truth be told, even though I prefer aligning with the awakened, I think the Obeyer ending touched my heart more.

 

I would actually pay to have someone wipe my mind so I could re-enjoy Geneforge 1 like it should be, a game about a mysterious island full of lost history, warring factions, and of course forbidden secrets. Having already played it, I can't get that sense of wonder I did the first time. (Still played it like a bajillion times though)

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Why would you feel bad for the Obeyers ? They can get a great ending

 

They are brought before the council to be judged and then put in charge of other serviles, as a humane element between the shapers and the non-intelligent serviles. Rydell dies happy at some point.

 

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Why would you feel bad for the Obeyers ? They can get a great ending

 

They are brought before the council to be judged and then put in charge of other serviles, as a humane element between the shapers and the non-intelligent serviles. Rydell dies happy at some point.

 

 

Sure but then there is the canon.

 

They all get purged by the shaper council and few that survived only did so due to the greed of two shapers. Actually im not entirelly sure any obeyer got saved.

 

If we're to scope in just within g1 then you're right, along with awakened they had the best. But seeing it with the rest of the games in mind...

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Thanks man, duly corrected. And well the canon for 4 was pretty decisive and depending on your opinion, good?

I'll have to replay geneforge 2 to find out who else.

But I'll have to agree with you if we're considering geneforge 1 solo.

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Why would you feel bad for the Obeyers ? They can get a great ending

 

They are brought before the council to be judged and then put in charge of other serviles, as a humane element between the shapers and the non-intelligent serviles. Rydell dies happy at some point.

 

Sure but then there is the canon.

 

They all get purged by the shaper council and few that survived only did so due to the greed of two shapers. Actually im not entirelly sure any obeyer got saved.

 

If we're to scope in just within g1 then you're right, along with awakened they had the best. But seeing it with the rest of the games in mind...

 

This is exactly what I meant. I liked the happy Obeyer ending but I'm sad when I play it because I know what really happens to them in the end.

 

Btw, I think the Obeyer ending is happier for the Obeyers than the Awakened ending is for the awakened.

 

At least the Shapers like them in the Obeyer ending. They're so so with the Awakened in their ending, needing them for trade more than they needed to purge a few harmless rouges.

 

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This is exactly what I meant. I liked the happy Obeyer ending but I'm sad when I play it because I know what really happens to them in the end.

 

Canon endings preventing me from playing g2-3-4.

What point in playing as pro-Shaper in g3 if Ashen isles will be rebel's land in g4 ? Its makes me feel like i just waste my time and decide nothing.

So i finished g1 and now close to ending in g5. That is all.

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Canon endings preventing me from playing g2-3-4.

What point in playing as pro-Shaper in g3 if Ashen isles will be rebel's land in g4 ? Its makes me feel like i just waste my time and decide nothing.

 

I personally play for the fun gameplay and story element.

 

Your comment is similar to "why read books 1 and 2 of the lord of the rings? We all know the juicy bits happen in book three so I only read the final chapter."

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It would be interesting if they'd done something like what bioware did with Mass Effect, where your choices carry through the series. Would have been a nightmare to make though given how complex the story is. That's why I always wanted a Blades of Geneforge, we could explore all the "what if"s.

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One thing I'm realizing, playing G1, is how much G2 really did to establish the philosophical spectrum for the series. G1 introduces the themes, of course, of the question of servile freedom and the overreach of Shaping powers. But the development is limited. Even though the game tracks your statements on servile freedom/subjugation, the fact that there is no Shaper society present on Sucia for the serviles to interact with, makes all those questions almost purely hypothetical. And despite having the focal point for the question of Shaping overreach -- the original Geneforge -- opinions there are rather limited. None of the servile leaders really have any concept of the problems Shaping can unleash; Ellhrah and Gnorrel just want power so their faction can survive, while Rydell's position is about blind obedience to Shaper tradition. Trajkov and Goettsch want personal power at any cost, but that's simple self-interest compared to the ideological goals that Barzahl and the G2 Takers offer.

 

Also, no wonder Shanti was so beloved! She's the second NPC Shaper you meet in the entire series, but the first one who (a) isn't crazy, and (B) is part of Shaper society. Shanti gives us a concrete, realized version of the ideals of the Obeyers, the fears of the Takers, and the pragmatic chess-playing of the Awakened -- and then her ultimate fate makes her an icon of the perils of Shaping overreach, given the faction involved in it. Like Litalia, she connects with all the bases, but she does it in one game, through her character and personality, rather than by being essentially a tasteless shapeshifter.

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Also, no wonder Shanti was so beloved! She's the second NPC Shaper you meet in the entire series, but the first one who (a) isn't crazy, and (B) is part of Shaper society. Shanti gives us a concrete, realized version of the ideals of the Obeyers, the fears of the Takers, and the pragmatic chess-playing of the Awakened -- and then her ultimate fate makes her an icon of the perils of Shaping overreach, given the faction involved in it. Like Litalia, she connects with all the bases, but she does it in one game, through her character and personality, rather than by being essentially a tasteless shapeshifter.

Finally a statement i can fully stand behind.

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More info: I went and looked up everything that Luck, Mechanics, Leadership, reputation, faction membership, and Sholai language knowledge affect.

 

tl;dr -- surprisingly little.

 

 

LUCK

 

6 - highest stone pylon compartment

 

 

MECHANICS (besides locks, traps, etc.)

 

4 - use gem-making machines (N, W, E Mines)

7 - repair baton; access Shaper Equipment quest (Junkyard)

12 - make old gloves look new (Geneforge, also need 10 Leadership)

 

 

LEADERSHIP (I have left out unimportant effects like being able to avoid wimpy fights and recruit wimpy temporary allies)

 

3 - access Learned Darian's reputation switch (Pine Valley)

3 - access Proof's quest & better shop (Junkyard)

5 - Firebolt +1 (Ruined School)

5 - Fire Shaping +1 (Pentil, must be Obeyer)

5 - Spellcraft +1 (Wooded Valley, must not have alienated Masha)

5 - Luck +1 (Spirit Circle)

6 - Shielding Knife (Freeplace)

8 - Join Obeyers without completing quest (Pentil)

8 - Endurance +1 after killing Goettsch (The Sentinels)

9 - give Trajkov fake gloves (Geneforge)

10 - Join Takers without killing Ellhrah (Kazg)

10 - make old gloves look new (Geneforge, also need 12 Mechanics)

12 - Join Awakened without killing Control Four (Ellhrah's Keep)

 

 

SERVILE SYMPATHY REPUTATION

 

90- = Join Obeyers (checked only when quest is given)

110+ = Join Awakened (checked only when quest is given)

110+ = Join Takers (checked only when quest is given)

 

Extreme reputation can also lower the prices of merchants in each sect's main settlement, just as if you have joined that sect. This number has pretty much no other impact, however.

 

 

SECT MEMBERSHIP

 

Outside of the bonuses you can get in the three sects' main settlements (which are well documented elsewhere), this has almost no impact. I was a bit surprised. Taker membership is more significant as the amulet is one way to avoid some fights with Trajkov's forces, but also prevents you from dealing with some of Masha's allies.

 

 

SHOLAI LANGUAGE LESSONS

 

(+1) Pentil - Learned Jaffee - if Obeyer

(+1) Pentil East - Sorkin - if Awakened

(+1) Kazg - Notebook - can only be used before getting Toivo's lesson

(+2) Kazg - Toivo - if Taker

(+1) Refugee Cave - Chest - can only be used before getting Masha's lesson

(+2) Refugee Cave - Masha - after returning Sea Chest Key

(+1) Patrolled Dell - Notebook - must have at least +1 alrady

(+1) Winding Road - Znaf - for 500 or 1000 coins

(+1) Crossroads - Gavrila - if not allied with Takers

(+1) Quarters - Notebook

 

In theory it is possible to obtain ALL of these lessons. However, a score of 2 will suffice for many interactions with Sholai, and a score of 3 is enough for almost all of them. You do need a score of 4 to read Trajkov's journal, but I think that's the only encounter above 3.

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...I'm also remembering, slowly at first but swiftly as I get further into the game, the limitations of the Shaping mechanics. I'm playing the PC version as a Shaper, so it's sort of like G3 all over again: a few Fyoras till I find a Create Artila canister, then those tide me over until I make Vlish. I guess with the Mac version I'd have a mix of Artila and Vlish, but it wouldn't be that different.

 

The unique creation stat mechanic in G1 (where they get stat gains every level at creation, but every other level when they level up later) means that at least there's less of a rush, but it's still, boom, OK now I have enough skill points to make lots of Vlish and Terror Vlish while still getting Magic Shaping up to... well, 10 would have been OK but I went for 20 for the extra 5 levels. Now combat is a joke, and the most difficult thing about the game is sitting impatiently while my AI creations wander around aimlessly, waiting for the game to accept my 'f' to end combat.

 

G4 and G5 made different creations a little more different, which was good. But neither game changed the black-and-white power level of Shaping. High experience level creations are much, much better than low experience level creations; because the Shaping stats easily apply a high experience level to ALL your creations, they are a pretty huge value compared (1) to the PC's other stats, and (2) to any other strategic considerations regarding your creations. It's incredibly non-interactive, too: you raise the Shaping stat high, it is checked once when you make your creations, and then that's it. And because Shaping stats are split by type, the options for mixing and matching creations are also very limited.

 

The advantage, I guess, is that the system is very simple. But a marginal amount of added complexity would make things a whole lot more interesting. Imagine if instead of Fire Shaping and Magic Shaping, you had Strength Shaping and Speed Shaping and Health Shaping and so on. Shaping skills would affect stats for all creation types, so you have more flexibility in party assembly, and also less wildly unbalanced results. The lack of huge boosts to experience level would also restore the balance between different tiers (and essence costs!) of creations. And one step further... imagine if existing creations were affected as well -- maybe when you learn something new, you can shape it into them, too. The life of a Shaper would be bursting with variety, changing over time, interesting, tactical.

 

I was always generally happier playing Agents; this must have been why; somehow, the most interesting way to play the games about Shaping was not to Shape. Someday, somewhere, maybe...

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What an interesting idea regarding shaping skills. I do like the concept of health and attack and speed shaping, etc.

 

I also think shaping should be more fluid and alive. I feel it should be less about: create creation A, keep them alive forever and they are stronger than next tier creation B. The exp level-ups seem overpowered and almost seems to go against the ethos of the shaper making creations and then throwing them heartlessly into battle. I like the concept of an arms race towards the big nasties.

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Yeah, definitely a ridiculous outlier.

 

There are a lot of situations where you can avoid a fight by using Leadership; the Goettsch fight obviously isn't minor, but it also isn't the only way to avoid it, which is why it isn't listed. There are about 30 or 40 of those "minor" situations in the game. Didn't seem like a list would be worthwhile. I mean, is someone really going to invest a bunch of skill points just so they can accept a quest to kill Goettsch, then not kill him right away?

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I usually have about 12 Leadership, as I like to have all game-play options available to me.Luckily, it can be bought, as well as Mechanics and Luck. They're really the only things worth spending your money on, bar a few exceptional cases. Geneforge 1 seems to have a lack of good places to spend money on. Later games I usually spend my money on spell, creations, or trainers but Geneforge 1 only has the three I mentioned. I usually end the game with 30 Luck with not a skill point spent in it, although I'm not really sure how much good it does. It seems to raise armor and resistance stats but I haven't noticed it make a big difference.

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Yeah, definitely a ridiculous outlier.

 

It's an outlier for sure, but I dunno if it's all that ridiculous by the standards of the series: most Geneforge games have at least one or two high checks like that relatively early on. Leadership and Mechanics requirements aren't always balanced around the point in the game you're at to the same extent that combat is. Usually it seems like once you get enough Leadership and Mechanics to pass all the important checks in the first half of the game, you can coast by on equipment boosts for the rest.

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I think the ridiculous part is the context. It takes more leadership to convince Ellhrah (who comes off, frankly, as one of the clearer-headed faction leaders over the whole series) that Control Four is not the biggest deal in the world, than to convince the more fanatical leaders that assassinating the other faction leaders isn't necessary. This is particularly silly given that the Awakened have the fewest resources of the three sects, have basically no functional plan for achieving their goals that doesn't involve the PC's help, and are the only sect whose ideology would actually support making an "alliance" with a Shaper in the first place.

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  • 4 years later...
On 4/15/2016 at 12:30 AM, alhoon said:

I just hope it will be updated sooner or later with the better game mechanics of the later games.

Well well well.

Ok ok 🙄 Thread necromancy may be frowned on. I admit I played a little G1 this weekend to "scratch the itch" before the official release.

 

On 4/14/2016 at 10:15 AM, Os Mutagênicos said:

[...]
it has the charm of something being carved out freshly for the first time [...]

 

The writing, well, the descriptions are all interesting because everything is uniquely constructed: the zones are simple but don't feel mass-produced. Even early on different creations feel very distinct in a way that was lost in the more recent games: thahds wander randomly while roamers sneak up on you, and vlish are dangerous due to their cries for other vlish.

 

The sects, too, are fresher than I remembered: the hopefulness and joy of the Awakened, which is already gone by G2; the never again seen obsequiousness of the Obeyers; and of course the angst of the Takers (that I didn't forget).


But really I wanted to comment on this. I enjoyed replaying G1 more than I think I've enjoyed replaying any of the other Geneforge's because of how fresh the writing felt. The Awakened, cautiously surviving and hoping for a better, peaceful life. The Obeyers, with Rydell's gut-wrencher of a personal diary. The story of the "first taker" in the town square of Kazg (don't want to spoil for people who haven't played G1 before). All of the sects seem "insane" when you land on the island and by the time you talk to the characters instead it feels like "how could things be any other way?". I hope as the rest of the series is updated that we see more and more of the ingenuity and freshness that made the story of G1 so great.

Compare that to G5 - incredible mechanics and gameplay, but you could just about predict the faction leaders' and citizens views before meeting them and they aren't as memorable. The guy who starts out wanting to control you ... basically wants to carve out his little corner of the world to control and does not change. 1-dimensional. The awakened lady wants... free trade with serviles? And the end of war. 1-dimensional. The shaper guy has a few war stories about losing people close to him and wants to wipe out the baddies. The big baddy drakons are rumored to be power-hungry and insane and when they invite you in to their house they try to murder you a few times as a "test" because they are... power hungry and insane. There are no dimensions to the drakons, they are just varying power levels with the same dose of underlying insanity and pride relative to each individuals' power. 

Where are the dimensions in G1 you ask? [more spoilers ahead, Alhoon]
What of the peaceful, equal-minded awakened? Well, it feels a little different when you discover the violently butchered servile mind in Elrah's basement, and they ask you to "prove your loyalty" by going and killing another. If sentient life is sacred well... it seems the Awakened draw the line on "sentient" where it's most convenient for them. And the most radical Awakened view I ever heard espoused came in G1 - from Learned Darian (I think). What does this sage of the wilderness say? That the mind of humans and serviles is the same, and that serviles are shaped humans, the implication being that in the world of Geneforge exists a race of human beings genetically altered and permanently bent by magic towards a dependent, compliant, obeisant, and a menial existence. I think that's a more edgy "hot take" than G2-G5 manage to put together combined. And how it affects your decisions if you think this is true probably reflects how you role-play the value of human beings vs. very smart robots, etc. For some players, maybe it doesn't change things at all, for some - maybe now they think twice about joining the Awakened or Takers?

The obsequious obeyers? They have co-opted some of the authoritarianism of the shapers for themselves, starving Vakkiri and Kazg of resources, sending spies, leveraging servant minds, and killing serviles who question the Shaper's rule. The leader of the sect, Rydell, still thinks he may have a better idea of what a "True Shaper" is than you (depending on your leadership abilities).

 

The "insane" takers? They have survived the worst conditions. Yes they are insane. Yes, they threaten you on sight & their views will inevitably lead to far more war and death than the other sects, how could there be a sympathetic side to a bunch of insane serviles, a good number of whom are magi-cultists? For starters, they have already "taken" their survival. By extension have they not taken freedom? They were left to die by the Shapers. Since they eluded that fate, whatever they want to do with the rest of their lives, and however they choose to guide their descendants is by definition their right to decide. They were cast off, weren't supposed to live, but since they did they now own their own destiny.

What a mastapiece! Here's hoping the depth of G1 lives on. Can't wait for mutagen in a couple days!

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