Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

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Althernai
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Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Althernai » March 28th, 2017, 6:39 pm

So I've finished the game and read a bit on these forums. As far as I can tell, the idea behind the ending was that you get different outcomes depending on your Dominant Tide(s). Well and good... but what am I supposed to do with a Gold Tide? As far as I can tell, the options are:

1) Mass murder v1: sever the castoffs from the Tides thus killing all of them. This works exactly as advertised and is completely unacceptable for obvious reasons.
2) Mass murder v2: merge the castoffs into a single mind, ending all but one of the consciousnesses in the Labyrinth. There are three variants (the Last Castoff, Miika and the First), but all of them are also completely unacceptable for the same obvious reasons.
3) Mass madness: sacrifice yourself to destroy the Sorrow thus saving the castoffs, but also inflicting madness on the surrounding population and weakening the seals the Sorrow is intended to protect. Not quite as bad as the two options above, but also unacceptable -- not only are you inflicting madness on thousands of innocents, but somebody went through a lot of trouble to prevent people from messing with the Tides and there was probably a good reason for it. Also, the game considers this a game over rather than an ending (bug?).
4) The reprieve: the dialog initially presents this as going back to the way things were, but in fact it is not. When you select the option, the Sorrow says that it will destroy the Labyrinth (thus presumably also destroying the consciousnesses in it such as Choi and Saria). It does give the castoffs a head start before it begins hunting them again so this is the least bad of the options, but it is still awful in that innocent beings are destroyed and of course nothing is solved.

So, am I missing something here? At first I thought that you can play the "mutually assured destruction" game with the Sorrow: neither you nor it want option 3, but you can point out that it is an option and, presumably, extract concessions from it... except that the game stops at simply pointing it out. The underlying problem is that the castoffs unintentionally use the Tides to cause harm, so maybe it could teach them how not to do that? The ghost-like guy in the Bloom who teaches you the second-tier Tide affinity doesn't appear to have the same problem. Or maybe they can agree to stay in Miel Avest until they figure it out with only minimal contact with the outside world? It's a technical problem with a variety of solutions and mitigations, but you don't seem to have any options along these lines. Is there something else?

More generally, the ending is pretty disappointing. Independently of everything else, the Sorrow has no voice acting which is just bizarre. Its voice is described, but surely if there is any place in the game to spend the money for some VO, it has to be here? It's been many years since I've played PS:T, but I still remember the Transcendent One and can even recite some of his lines because that was very good voice acting. The same is true of Irenicus from BG2 and many other antagonists. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, neither the Sorrow conversation nor the Specter one before it have any Persuade or Intimidate options. This strikes me as very odd: you've created a mechanic that is useful during the whole game (including even with the Bloom which is more powerful than anything else in the game including the Sorrow), but it's not used at all in the most important conversations.

Basically, the whole thing feels unfinished -- as though there were intended to be options for all Tides, but only some of them made it into the game. Is that the case or am I missing something because of choices earlier in the game?

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Naurgalen » March 31st, 2017, 10:42 pm

I totally agree with you in that its really strange that you cant try to talk out a compromise and/or intimidate the Sorrow. It says it acknowledges your progress and power by talking to you (something it didn't even do to the changing god) and even doubts of telling you some information if you press on it (why doubt when you know you can power-stomp your opponent?). But in that regard the problem is not what it thinks, or that in the end you cant save all.... its the fact that you dont have the option to try it even if its to just auto-fail (because for example the sorrow still thinks it has 90% chances to win and that's enough for it to fight you).

It really feels like your are choosing the "less sucking" option in your mind. And while bittersweet endings are not bad (in fact they can be awesome) they are awesome when the "suck" part is deeply related to the core themes the story is trying to convey. For example: most Cthulhu storys that end bad or mildly bad try to convey how futile/stupid would be to fight/understand that kind of divinity's.
There just isn't that kind of strongly story related finish for gold/Indigo tides. (Silver can save himself, or if you play as the changing god even his daughter, red can go for what they feel, blue-silver can try to destroy the sorrow)

Rink
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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Rink » April 3rd, 2017, 8:12 am

Naurgalen wrote:
March 31st, 2017, 10:42 pm
It really feels like your are choosing the "less sucking" option in your mind. And while bittersweet endings are not bad (in fact they can be awesome) they are awesome when the "suck" part is deeply related to the core themes the story is trying to convey.
That is exactly what the game does though. It shows that the gold tide is relative to where you stand.
If you watch at it from the castoffs standpoint, then the castoffs all have a right to live.
If you watch at it from the sorrows standpoint, then a) castoffs hurt other people by abusing the tides b) they cannot help in doing so, so also cannot "get over it"or "choose not to". c) you are a castoff and in extension will hurt other people as long as the castoffs exist.
Thus there is a dilemma that cannot be solved, every choice you will make will hurt somebody, you can only chose if you want to hurt one side more than others or continue with the dilemma and leaving it unsolved. In my opinion that is what happens in real life with gold tide people as well. Most of them just over and over hurt themselves for the good of other people, but when you aren't the only one that can take the fall then you will have to decide against your gold instincts and just accept and live with the fact that you cannot always save everyone and you will have to decide on who to side with. Don't you think?

My gold ending was like this: I traveled with Erritis, Callistege and Rhin. First I said goodbye to Rhin and it broke my heart, but I knew it was what she wanted, so I let her go. Then I said goodbye to Erritis, because his eyes told me what he wanted to be. Then I said goodbye to Callistege, because it was what she would have wanted for all her life. I was glad to see Rhin again but soon had to find out that she adapted and added the Silver to her Gold tide as well. She said goodbye a second time and I stood there in front of the Sorrow, with all my gold tide and I had to make this difficult decision on my own, where always someone is going to be hurt. Isn't that the best ending for any gold tide character, to see that he maybe should sometimes also think about himself and try to keep the characters close to him that he loves? Is it not perfect if he is able to sacrifice himself after this and swallow another stone by merging all other castoffs into Miika so at least she can experience the world now that nobody needs you in their life anymore? For me it was superb. Difficult and brutal. But perfect.
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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Naurgalen » April 3rd, 2017, 1:23 pm

Rink wrote:
April 3rd, 2017, 8:12 am
That is exactly what the game does though. It shows that the gold tide is relative to where you stand.
If you watch at it from the castoffs standpoint, then the castoffs all have a right to live.
If you watch at it from the sorrows standpoint, then a) castoffs hurt other people by abusing the tides b) they cannot help in doing so, so also cannot "get over it"or "choose not to". c) you are a castoff and in extension will hurt other people as long as the castoffs exist.
Thus there is a dilemma that cannot be solved, every choice you will make will hurt somebody, you can only chose if you want to hurt one side more than others or continue with the dilemma and leaving it unsolved. In my opinion that is what happens in real life with gold tide people as well. Most of them just over and over hurt themselves for the good of other people, but when you aren't the only one that can take the fall then you will have to decide against your gold instincts and just accept and live with the fact that you cannot always save everyone and you will have to decide on who to side with. Don't you think?
The problem IMHO is not that you just cant save everyone, but the fact that you cant really TRY it. You just cant try to convince, intimidate, bluff, imprison, reprogram or whatever the Sorrow. Something that is worse because the explanations the Sorrow makes about Castoffs and Tides are just superficial (if Tides only work in Sagus why not exile to other place/dimension/world? Why it assumes that you will not use the tides but explaining the others will not work? what about the fact that killing entire races to not letting them use the tides may be worse that some deaths until they learn, what about the good things castoffs can make? etc...) and you know/learn absolutely nothing about it (except that he is a powerful "guard") or the race that made it. It really makes it feel like a giant deus ex machina that tries to force you to "choose a side" even if that would be your natural roleplay.

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Rink » April 3rd, 2017, 5:00 pm

Well, if you could try to save everyone with a skillcheck, then this would also mean that if that skillcheck succeeds, you would actually be able to save everyone. So in my opinion this would not serve the purpose of showing you that you CANNOT save everyone all the time. I do think this is an important thing for everyone with gold tide to learn. I do think that it is important to force gold tide people to take a side as well. But well, I want dilemmas in games, I think they are much more important to learn than giving people the option they always wanted and never have to think about again in their life, don't you think? Also making one option vastly superior to all the others takes the choice away from people. Only if there is a up- and downside to all the endings, only then it is really a choice.

I think you are just trying to find reasons around it, to find a solution that is pure gold and doesn't hurt anybody (your natural roleplay), right? So you are seriously complaining that this game should give you the option that every other game would give you, a happily ever after option?

About your remarks:
- As I understand Tides do not only work in Sagus.
- How would bringing the castoffs to another dimension help? They are made from the tides and cannot live without them, so either they are alive and hurt or they are dead and don't hurt.
- It is the plan of the changing god to bring all the castoffs together in one body to make the Sorrow obsolete. We may not have the perfect view of why the Sorrow agrees to this, but we can clearly see that a) it is better for the sorrow to have one castoff in the world than 1000 and b) the sorrow should see from how you lived your life how likely you will be to hurt others. If you have gold tide, this may actually help the sorrow to believe that you will not hurt others.
- the thing with the good that castoffs can do: I thought about this as well during my first ending and that they just have to "learn" and hurt a bit in this time, but then I had to think about the endless battle or the slaver-castoff that hurts Rhin, or the first castoff that had quite a lot of time to "adapt" and didn't. The Sorrow believes with all his experience with 1000ends of years that this cannot happen. Then I asked myself: how did I hurt and help people on my way and I had to honestly admit that I ended dozens of lives during my journey. So while I don't know what the Sorrow knows, I can understand his decision.
- I personally don't think I want to know a lot more about the Sorrow. I know what I need to, that he is also not pure and good, but his intentions are, just like mine. That is what makes this ending and the decision so difficult. That is what makes it interesting.
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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Naurgalen » April 4th, 2017, 3:00 pm

There is no need for a skill-check (but you can have one at -1000 of disadvantage) for you to have options to try to convince/rationalize/intimidate whatever the Sorrow. Just dialogue options.

For me, meaningful is related to what you want to play, how much it can resonate with you (like interesting characters and concepts) and most important: how they relate to the main story. You may think that telling gold players that they cannot save everyone is really important, but I think that it apart of being totally obvious -being "good" its not the same as being "dumb"- it was already done with the castoff that didn't wanted to use its power + all the people you already killed by the end. As I said IMHO, the problem isn't really the choice between "bad things" but how it is presented.

As an Blue-Indigo player my natural choice was to destroy the self-proclaimed "security measure" that genocide many times before, neglected "crucial" info to its victims and negated whole civilizations the chance to learn and make a better world of those "dangerous" powers. Still I too felt strange that and advance IA that seems to be able to reason couldn't be argued with. (and not just because it thinks XXX but because there were no dialogue options to do it)

- The Sagus thing was because I read people with the core-book didn't find them in it (and for extension in non game related places)
- You literally went to a space station/ship and many dimensions without being killed, in game as far as I have read tides gives you immortality + some reality shaping powers but are not essential to live a common life
- The sorrows experience is mostly limited as to what it was programmed: it exterminates tides user when they abuse them too much and you are the only one it has talked as far as you know/there is record. And its solution totally radical: why don't regulate tides use as we regulate other things. It can as a matter of fact punish transgressors far more efficiently that all the things we actually have and shaping reality has some serious advantages.
- Finally lack on knowledge about the Tides and the Sorrow is blessing and a course: it helps devs and makes both things more a mystery. But at the same time little information leaves players far more guessing and without some solid plot-parts.
Last edited by Naurgalen on April 5th, 2017, 12:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by kilobug » April 5th, 2017, 12:24 am

I personally liked the ending (much more than PST ending, which was my least favorite part of the game). Yes, there is no perfect "happy end" solution, but that's part of its strength - it gives it much more weight and realism. The Castoffs abuse the Tides to survive, and doing so hurts everyone around them. That's the kind of dilemma with no real solution you often see in scifi and in real life, but rarely on video games.

I chose (for my Gold/Blue Jack) the "merge everyone into Miika" ending, which seems the best to me - sure the Castoffs will die, but compared to imposing suffering and madness to thousands, that's the best possible outcome, and Miika will be a force of good.

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Rink » April 5th, 2017, 4:18 pm

Naurgalen wrote:
April 4th, 2017, 3:00 pm
There is no need for a skill-check (but you can have one at -1000 of disadvantage) for you to have options to try to convince/rationalize/intimidate whatever the Sorrow. Just dialogue options.
Ah ok, yes I agree that they could have given you more questions at first (before the final set of questions appear) if they don't have an influence on the final options that you are able to chose from.
About the Sorrow: you can ask him, if castoffs cannot just limit their use of the tides and he will tell you that castoffs always use the tides even if they don't know it, because they use the tides in ways they don't understand themselves. And that the use of the tides always leads to pain to everyone around them (so cannot be used for good).
For me it was quite clear after the elaborations of the Sorrow before the choice, that it will not allow me to reason with it. It would be a bit silly of it to change its mind after 1000ends of years just because one castoff said so.

But yes, especially in this game (where everything is explained in detail) it may be hard for some people to be happy with the information they got about the Sorrow and the tides. It could actually have been helpful to show the player where in his game he actually hurt people (with or without knowing it, maybe the guy that lost one more year to his Levi died, maybe the people you recruit for the endless battle murdered 100 people there, etc.) but then again in this case I would try to play the game all over again without doing all those things, expecting a different ending and the game wouldn't allow it to me. So I understand and share the "need" for a happy-end, but I am unsure how giving more information would help gold tide players to really accept the fact that there is no pure pink happy-end, I would expect them to just further try to bargain. But maybe I am wrong.

I don't consider myself dumb, maybe I should, but I am one of the people that needs to be told sometimes that it isn't possible to save everyone, because I play games consistently with very high gold tide. And most games let me get away with it and give me that options I desire to make the game the best place for most of the people in it even at the end. That's one of the major reasons why I liked the ending in this game over most other RPGs :)
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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Naurgalen » April 7th, 2017, 12:32 pm

Rink wrote:
April 5th, 2017, 4:18 pm
But yes, especially in this game (where everything is explained in detail) it may be hard for some people to be happy with the information they got about the Sorrow and the tides. It could actually have been helpful to show the player where in his game he actually hurt people (with or without knowing it, maybe the guy that lost one more year to his Levi died, maybe the people you recruit for the endless battle murdered 100 people there, etc.) but then again in this case I would try to play the game all over again without doing all those things, expecting a different ending and the game wouldn't allow it to me. So I understand and share the "need" for a happy-end, but I am unsure how giving more information would help gold tide players to really accept the fact that there is no pure pink happy-end, I would expect them to just further try to bargain. But maybe I am wrong.
You are totally on point (and I never thought it before!): we know the tides may be bad but mostly looking at others (castoffs war, the self interested changing god)and not at ourselves. There are IMHO 2 reasons of this:

1) In all the game there is only 1 single time were its demonstrated that you harm others even if you don't want: Callistages love with Aligern.
Sadly that plot its treated really superficially not only because you cant try to fix it (maybe with persuasion/time or maybe with the tides, which could led to more interesting and moral problems: both things that by failing could demonstrate how much they can alter people) but because there arent really deep effects of it: they "hate" each other but they are not really "mad", they don't have conflicting emotions (like longing for the past "version" of the other) or more material problems (a child? a mutual investigation / home / something that now they cant go on in the same way).

2) This one its really tricky: In my play-trough I saved-helped tons of people and heck, probably the world itself twice (sealing the door, and killing the psychics enemy). How all that good can compare to messing with the minds of some people (see point 1) or killing thousands (trusting what the sorrow says)? You need the castoffs problem be world threatening at least to compare, as by the gameplay its demonstrated how much good a well intended (and capable) castoff can bring to the world.
Rink wrote:
April 5th, 2017, 4:18 pm
I don't consider myself dumb, maybe I should, but I am one of the people that needs to be told sometimes that it isn't possible to save everyone, because I play games consistently with very high gold tide. And most games let me get away with it and give me that options I desire to make the game the best place for most of the people in it even at the end. That's one of the major reasons why I liked the ending in this game over most other RPGs :)
Thats not because you are dumb! its because you know its just a game and we like to do things that we cant/wont do in real life because of the risk and/or problems they bring. Probably that's the reason why its so fun role-playing in the first place. =)

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by kaiman » April 7th, 2017, 3:25 pm

kilobug wrote:
April 5th, 2017, 12:24 am
I personally liked the ending (much more than PST ending, which was my least favorite part of the game). Yes, there is no perfect "happy end" solution, but that's part of its strength - it gives it much more weight and realism. The Castoffs abuse the Tides to survive, and doing so hurts everyone around them. That's the kind of dilemma with no real solution you often see in scifi and in real life, but rarely on video games.

I chose (for my Gold/Blue Jack) the "merge everyone into Miika" ending, which seems the best to me - sure the Castoffs will die, but compared to imposing suffering and madness to thousands, that's the best possible outcome, and Miika will be a force of good.
I second that. In fact, had I not had a pure Gold tide, one might think we're clones. Everything else you wrote, I'll leave standing 1:1.

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by Althernai » April 7th, 2017, 8:32 pm

Rink wrote:
April 5th, 2017, 4:18 pm
About the Sorrow: you can ask him, if castoffs cannot just limit their use of the tides and he will tell you that castoffs always use the tides even if they don't know it, because they use the tides in ways they don't understand themselves. And that the use of the tides always leads to pain to everyone around them (so cannot be used for good).
Actually, that is only half true: the use of the tides is not inherently evil, but the way the castoffs use them can cause harm whether they will it or not. There are other creatures in the game which use the tides (e.g. the ghostly alien that teaches you the second tier tide skill in the Bloom) seemingly without causing problems. As I said in the first post, this is a technical problem, but you don't get a chance to try solving it in any technical way (the only solutions offered are genocidal).
For me it was quite clear after the elaborations of the Sorrow before the choice, that it will not allow me to reason with it. It would be a bit silly of it to change its mind after 1000ends of years just because one castoff said so.
No, it would not. There is a crucial difference between the player's castoff and everything that came before: you have the power to destroy it once and for all whereas all everyone could do before was run. A Gold castoff probably wouldn't want to exercise this option, but could still use it for negotiation. It's a classic MAD scenario (or it would be if the game gave you the option to play it that way).
kilobug wrote:
April 5th, 2017, 12:24 am
Yes, there is no perfect "happy end" solution, but that's part of its strength - it gives it much more weight and realism.
No, it really does not. I don't understand why some people assume that a tragic ending is necessarily more realistic than a happy one. It can be, but this is not always the case: it has to make sense given the rest of the story and the player's roleplaying up to this point... and in this case it does not. To be fair, it's not quite as terrible as, for example, Mass Effect 3 (which subscribes to the same school of thought regarding tragic endings) and you do get a sort of halfway acceptable option, but it feels unfinished to me.

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Re: Optimal Gold ending? [ENDING SPOILERS]

Post by jsaving » April 8th, 2017, 6:57 am

Althernai wrote:
April 7th, 2017, 8:32 pm
I don't understand why some people assume that a tragic ending is necessarily more realistic than a happy one. It can be, but this is not always the case: it has to make sense given the rest of the story and the player's roleplaying up to this point... and in this case it does not. To be fair, it's not quite as terrible as, for example, Mass Effect 3 (which subscribes to the same school of thought regarding tragic endings) and you do get a sort of halfway acceptable option, but it feels unfinished to me.
I thought TTON was a great game but agree that the endgame was somewhat lacking. PS:T was remarkable in that the main character was doomed to a tragic final resting place yet could have a dramatically uplifting personal story depending on how much he grew over the course of the game. (If he was sufficiently inspirational to those around him, there was even the eventual possibility of rescue from his final resting place because his companions believed to such a great degree that his final resting place was unjust, reinforcing that game's fundamental message that belief drives reality.) The ending of TTON almost feels like the devs first decided on tragedy and then limited player choices so that the only available options would be tragic, which can be misconstrued as realistic but is actually anything but. This does *not* mean players somehow have a "right" to an ending where everything in the game world is put right, only that a gold player should have been given more opportunities in the endgame to have that disposition reflected in his dialogue options instead of being shoehorned into options that didn't fit a gold disposition.

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