Writing is good, writing is bad

Discussing the story & setting of Wasteland 2. Beware spoilers. Please avoid spoilers in thread titles.

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randomguy
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Writing is good, writing is bad

Post by randomguy »

I just finished the game.
Overall i had fun but i was often deluded by writing, so i'm sharing some thoughs about it.

I liked a lot the characterization of the post apocalyptic cultures you meet. The Rail Nomads are interesting (i don't get who the Hobos are tough, and why it's normal that they are living like that), the Mad Monks in temple of titan (best area in the game IMHO ) are cool and pose an interesting moral question, the Mannerites, Robinsons and God's Militia are a pretty funny reflection of what could happen if someone in a distant future found some products of our culture pulled out of context, lacking the knowledge to fully understand them.

Some ideas are really good but the overall writing has a lot of up and downs. There's a lot of lines of dialogue but for the most part you end up reading the same things over and over, e.g. the same rundown of the location given slighlty differently by 4 different characters. Sometimes NPCs have poor or no emotional reactions to big events in the plot. Not always, but often. Pillars of Eternity has a lot of text but far superior writing, you don't get the constant feeling of reading something you already know.

There are also lot of plot holes and things that simply doesn't make sense in this world. These are the 2 the bothered me the most.

Radiation: There are giant radiation clouds moving around constantly but at the same time there seems to be a lot of commerce routes going trough.
It's impossible to cross radiation fields without equipment, so how a merchant is supposed to do it? At some point you meet cowboys who are crossing an irradiated valley with cows. How do they do it? they have radiation suits for cattle?

Money: money drives me mad. Why people care so much about money in this game? How can be money be a priority in a devastated world? It does not make sense. Seems the devs just cannot imagine a non capitalistic society. People in this game lives in a middleage like wasteland with raiders, cannibals and such but they have the mindset of a middle class man, like the apocalypse was not such a big deal.
You visit cities on the brink of survival and you get dialogues with people talking about how they are losing money. They are risking starvation or slavery or dying by a thousand terrible things and they rant about business going bad. The point should be resources, water, food, medicines, shelter, not money.
I can accept some kind of valute for gameplay purposes like caps in the first Fallout, but the majority of commerce in a broken world should be based on barter. it's not the case of Wasteland.
There's a city with a bank. Why someone should use a bank in a destroyed world where no central authority is printing money?

Anyone noticed the same things? Am i missing something?
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madmaxthc
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Re: Writing is good, writing is bad

Post by madmaxthc »

I agree with you that the east part of the map being isolated/not isolated could have been dealt with in a better way. Good point about the cows, never thought about it :D

Regarding the money, I think they tried to use a currency that would make sense. I guess metal scraps might be valuable in those settings, depending on the type of metal and scraps. Not all alloys are good for all uses. In the end they had to simplify a bit, and went for a generic "metal scrap". A bit like for the guns: there's many more guns than kind of ammo in W2, but a game is a simplified model of reality, and adding complexity does not necessarily make the game more entertaining.

I am not sure what you mean about the hobos in Rail Nomads. They are rejects, alcoholics, possibly people with mental issues. There's probably such people in any society and historical time. Why do they live like that? Possibly each one of them for a different reason. We only know Scotchmo's story.
What are your doubts about it?
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Drool
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Re: Writing is good, writing is bad

Post by Drool »

madmaxthc wrote: May 15th, 2020, 5:51 pmRegarding the money, I think they tried to use a currency that would make sense.
They seemed more interested in aping Fallout. Especially galling since Wasteland already had an established currency: gold-backed dollars.
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madmaxthc
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Re: Writing is good, writing is bad

Post by madmaxthc »

Drool wrote: May 16th, 2020, 1:25 pm
madmaxthc wrote: May 15th, 2020, 5:51 pmRegarding the money, I think they tried to use a currency that would make sense.
They seemed more interested in aping Fallout. Especially galling since Wasteland already had an established currency: gold-backed dollars.
Didn't know that, hadn't played the first one. Thank you for the history lesson ;)

In any case, money and banks also existed in historical times, so I guess money can make sense, as long as it's coins made of precious metals, like it used to be.
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