Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

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Lightzy
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Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Lightzy » February 17th, 2016, 6:48 pm

Can it be explained why does the game already try to freakin shoehorn me after a minute of playing it with the damned "affinity" crap? and in such an infantile and obvious way, no less. "we're cataloging your personality now, based on completely detached little ministories that have nothing to do with the story and no real consequence or grey areas". It felt really... childish when I played through it.

It already makes me ask, what happens to my character later on if I consistently choose a certain affinity? Say the blue one or the green one?
Am I going to be presented with a situation later on where the game ASSUMES that I'll make a certain choice based on my previous choices, thus depriving me of actual choice?
(This "worst-design-award" scenario seems quite likely, because otherwise there would be no point in having a "affinity" system at all, so, it's a question)

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by kilobug » February 18th, 2016, 12:39 am

Tidal affinity is supposed to change some of the special abilities your character will have (a bit like in BG where the Spawn of Bhaal abilities depended of your good/evil alignment) and the reactions of some NPCs who are "tide-aware", but not force your choices.

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by IHaveHugeNick » February 18th, 2016, 3:32 am

Lightzy wrote:
It already makes me ask, what happens to my character later on if I consistently choose a certain affinity? Say the blue one or the green one?
Am I going to be presented with a situation later on where the game ASSUMES that I'll make a certain choice based on my previous choices, thus depriving me of actual choice?
Yeah, that's not how any affinity system works.
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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Firkraag » February 18th, 2016, 8:47 am

Lightzy wrote:"...based on completely detached little ministories that have nothing to do with the story and no real consequence or grey areas"...
Could you elaborate on that?
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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Lightzy » February 18th, 2016, 2:05 pm

Firkraag wrote:
Lightzy wrote:"...based on completely detached little ministories that have nothing to do with the story and no real consequence or grey areas"...
Could you elaborate on that?
The tanks with the creatures with the tides for example.

In each of the "creature in tank" stories you have a situation where the game asks the player "what would you do in this situation"?
I, as the player, think what would be the most practical, most ideal choice for the specific situation. But the game then catalogues my "personality tides", when in fact I have no desire or inclination whatsoever towards that tide, but was only choosing what I think would be most practical or ideal for that very specific situation. Completely devoid of "morality".

I do not want the game deciding my character's personality for me. I want to do it myself through actions and decisions IN THE ACTUAL GAME, and not artificially, externally, through some stupid "choose your personality" quiz.




Here's a practically a *perfect* example of bad story design done in an infantile manner:

"If you choose to save all those guys while sacrificing your own short term benefit, from now on you're a communist. We're sure you're a communist, because only a communist will have chosen that course of action! and so everyone now treats you as a communist. You did it because of your communist ideology and personality, not because of any practical considerations presented to you! we just know it. You communist".
"Set: Continue on the communist plotline: = 1"

I have a very strong hunch that this is on par with what I'm going to find later in TTON

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by MReed » February 18th, 2016, 2:54 pm

Yeah, that's not (supposed) to happen. :)

Just to be clear, you'll get additional tide points as you progress through the game, so the effects of the opening vignettes will quickly be rendered moot. The primary advantage of being strong in one tide or another is additional dialog options (mostly, but probably not 100%, marked with [Tidal Surge]) that allow you to achieve some result that is aligned to your highest(s) tides that is otherwise inaccessible / would require passing one or more checks.

For example: If you are silver dominated, you can use a brainwash the Changing God cultists to believe that you are the Changing God, even though you asked a question that revealed the deception. This has... Negative effects... On the cultists over time... :)

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Lightzy » February 18th, 2016, 3:08 pm

That's a perfect example of the player choosing certain paths of action NOT NECESSARILY based on morality but rather on basis of practicality or for any other reason (a particular like or dislike towards a certain character or something else that's extremely situational), the game assuming that it's a moral choice, and then treating you as morally inclined a certain way, thus able to do certain things.

"If you rescue that guy it means you're blue stereotype, inclined towards helping strangers in need"
"but why? I just liked him because he wore a shirt I liked. I just totally didn't help the other one just before"
"blue stereotype. NEXT. Also, by the way, you're a goody nice helper of man who helped too many people so you can't join the evil RED stereotype gang now because they just KNOW you for what you are really, deep inside"
"WTF?"

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by sear » February 18th, 2016, 4:10 pm

Lightzy wrote:That's a perfect example of the player choosing certain paths of action NOT NECESSARILY based on morality but rather on basis of practicality or for any other reason (a particular like or dislike towards a certain character or something else that's extremely situational), the game assuming that it's a moral choice, and then treating you as morally inclined a certain way, thus able to do certain things.

"If you rescue that guy it means you're blue stereotype, inclined towards helping strangers in need"
"but why? I just liked him because he wore a shirt I liked. I just totally didn't help the other one just before"
"blue stereotype. NEXT. Also, by the way, you're a goody nice helper of man who helped too many people so you can't join the evil RED stereotype gang now because they just KNOW you for what you are really, deep inside"
"WTF?"
I think you may be misunderstanding the Tides. A fundamental quality of the Tides is that they do not represent morality. The Tides are determined based on your actions, not your intentions. That was a guiding principle from very early on in the game's development - we don't tell you what's right and wrong, though characters who are part of the game world might perceive your actions that way.

From https://torment.inxile-entertainment.co ... t/gameplay:

"The understanding of these forces is incomplete and difficult to grasp; the Tides represent concepts that are not entirely definable by language. Those who acknowledge them have given them symbolic colors based on how they appear to correspond with emotional and psychological reactions. The colors are important because a word like "justice" (for example) is too simplistic. The Indigo Tide represents justice and fairness, but it might also mean a desire for the greater good or an "end justifies the means" mentality. The Gold Tide can represent false philanthropy as well as martyrdom. It's the actions that matter, not the motivations."

I'm not sure which exact scenario you are saying shoehorns you into a certain morality path, but specific examples (conversations, choices) with screenshots would be good to have, if there is a scenario which you feel is doing this. You are not "locked into" a dominant Tide, and it can (and probably will) change throughout the game based on your decisions.

The Red Tide and Blue Tide have nothing to do with good or evil, but there may be "nice" or "nasty" choices or people associated with the Blue and Red Tides, just as there are with every other.

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Adam Heine » February 18th, 2016, 8:13 pm

In addition to what Sear said, the game NEVER limits your choices based on your Dominant Tides. This has also been a guiding principle from the beginning; just because you're Dominant Silver doesn't mean you can't say a Gold thing whenever you want.

What the Tides do is affect how some NPCs respond to you, and they will play a larger part of certain end-game conversation branches. There should also eventually be some minor mechanical effects of your Tides (though the details of that are still being worked out).
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Lightzy
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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Lightzy » February 19th, 2016, 12:40 am

Thank you for the explanation, I was honestly worried about this tides concept being overbearing (btw, regarding blue and red tides, I was just making an example, I don't actually remember what each color represents).



So am I to understand that the tides actually have nothing to do with the motivation or morality of an action, but only its end result? If so, how can concepts like "greater good", "kindness", "compassion" or whatever be tied to the tides? confusing.

I still don't fully understand, because, let's say indigo is greater good. How could it possibly weigh only on the action and not on the motivation?
If I make sure a few die to save a whole town, but I did it only because there's a merchant there that's useful, or because of any other external reason whatsoever, then I'm indigo and counted as striving for the greater good? surely striving for the greater good is a morality type judgement? Surely I should be deserving of a "selfish bastard" color tide instead?

I mean, at that point you may as well award someone a "greater good" tide for accidentally forgetting to deliver a message that would have doomed a village. I wanted to deliver it, but I forgot about it. I'm a warrior for the greater good. ???



Also regarding tides being related to the act and not the intention, that is baffling: if I think the message will doom the town but instead saves it, do I get a "doom" tide or a "savior" tide? If it's about morality, then I should get a "doom" tide, if it's about action/result I should get "savior" tide. Since it has been said it's not about morality, then a character in that world should easily be able to consistently be awarded with tides completely not of his choosing and almost unrelated to his actions, ending up in a possible situation where he's a selfish evil bastard but everyone in the world (and the "karma" of the WORLD ITSELF) knows him to be a patron saint of caring.


Regardless, trying to read the players intentions and motivation behind an action is always a tricky business best avoided completely, I feel. It will most certainly end in writing-fails

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by kilobug » February 19th, 2016, 1:05 am

Lightzy wrote:If I make sure a few die to save a whole town, but I did it only because there's a merchant there that's useful, or because of any other external reason whatsoever, then I'm indigo and counted as striving for the greater good?
Well, the idea is that the game engine isn't in your head - and from a lore point of view, whatever judge the Tides (nanomachines, satellite-based IA, transdimenstional entity, we don't really know) isn't in your head. So if you do kill a few people to save a whole town, you're indigo, even if (in your own head) you did it to save the merchant. If later on you repeat that you only did it to save the merchant, perhaps it'll change your Tide, talking is an action too. At least that's how I understood it.
Lightzy wrote:surely striving for the greater good is a morality type judgement? Surely I should be deserving of a "selfish bastard" color tide instead?
One of the purpose of the Tides was to avoid a classical Good/Evil classification. All Tides have some "positive" (ie, "Good") aspects and some negative (ie, "Evil") aspects. Indigo can be desire for justice and fairness, which is usually considered "good", but it can also be "the end justifies the means" which is usually considered an "evil" mindset. A "selfish bastard" Tide wouldn't fit.

But if you really are a "selfish bastard", you'll likely not _keep_ saving towns, it might happen once that your best interest is to save the town, but if you regularly save towns, it's probably more than just being a "selfish bastard".
Lightzy wrote:Regardless, trying to read the players intentions and motivation behind an action is always a tricky business best avoided completely, I feel. It will most certainly end in writing-fails
Yeah, I think that's why they focus on actions rather than on intents.

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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Adam Heine » February 19th, 2016, 1:21 am

Kilobug's got the gist of it. The Tides judge actions, not motivations nor even (in most cases) results. The Tides also aren't about selfishness or good or evil, but about what you're remembered for (Gold is about selflessness, to an extent, but you can be selfless toward one group while being a bastard toward another; it won't change the fact that a certain action was Gold -- I actually tried to explore this in that Gold novella I wrote).

So if you made sure a few died to save a town, what would matter are the specific actions you took toward that end (e.g. did you personally kill the few? Did you make the judgment that saved the town? Did you hire someone to do it or do it yourself? etc.) as well as any reasons you openly stated (e.g. "This town must live so I can have access to that merchant's knowledge!").

In a more pragmatic sense, we tried to avoid designing openly ambiguous situations, and where an action is unclear, the Tides often aren't increased at all. Those situations would make great discussions for humans at an RPG table, but they make a CRPG much more difficult to code and comprehend :-).
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Re: Shoehorning you with stupid affinities

Post by Lightzy » February 19th, 2016, 8:18 am

It really makes a lot more sense if the tides are indeed, as Kilobug said, some external entity that looks at you and judges your actions based on its own criteria and judgement.
Thus this "entity" can be fallible as it is not the character's mind, but only observing and... judging.

I hope the tides are explained better in the game.

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